Mnemonic devices are memory tools that have been used for decades and all types of academic endeavors. This is particularly true of technical, highly involved subjects, such as Science, Medicine, Technology, History, and other complex topics that incorporate copious amounts of information. As such, mnemonics can help memorize various details for course work, standardized testing, college or graduate school admission as well as various professional pursuits. Moreover, mnemonic devices can be effective as memory, organization, and facilitation aids with a myriad of uses for business purposes as well as everyday life.
With that being said, here are some easy mnemonics for individuals preparing to take the MCAT, which is the prerequisite admissions exam to apply for and entrance to medical school.
Easy MCAT Mnemonics: Strong Acids
For the MCAT, prospective candidates will need to know about strong acids, which are acids that dissociate completely in solution. Specifically, test-takers will need to be aware of and memorize the details concerning six strong acids in particular. These six strong acids include the following:
—HClO4 (Perchloric Acid)
—HCl (Hydrochloric Acid)
—H₂SO₄ (Sulfuric Acid)
—HNO₃ (Nitric Acid)
—HI (Hydrologic Acid)
—HBr (Hydrobromic Acid)
The common mnemonic that is used to help memorize these six strong acids is: So I Brought No Clean Clothes, which is broken down below.
—SO for Sulfuric Acid
—I for Hydrologic Acid
—Brought for Hydrobromic Acid
—NO for Nitric Acid
—Clean for Hydrochloric Acid
—Clothes for Perchloric Acid
Enzyme Classifications Mnemonics
Another topic that will be addressed on the MCAT involves enzyme classifications. For the exam, MCAT takers will need to know the major enzyme classifications and what activity each classification performs. This biochemistry mnemonic is: Over The HILL, which breaks down as follows:
—Oxioreductase, which are enzymes required for redox reactions and are responsible for catalyzing the oxidation or reduction of different compounds.
—Transferase, which transfers enzyme groups from one molecule to another. A good example of these substances are kinases, which transfer phosphate groups from one molecule to another.
—Hydrolase, which is an enzyme that performs hydrolysis. The literal definition of this term is to break using water. As such, these enzymes break chemical bonds via water.
—Isomerases, which are a class of enzymes that catalyze reactions by structurally rearranging a molecule.
—Ligases, which are enzymes that link two molecules together via a condensation reaction and generate water as a by-product. A prime example includes DNA ligase.
—Lyase, which is a unique enzyme that can both break and form bonds, but they do so without the need for oxidation-reduction reactions or water.
As such, the mnemonics are as follows:
—O is for Oxioreductase
—T is for Transferase
—H is for Hydrolase
—I is for Isomerase
—L is for Ligase
—L is for Lyase
MCAT Mnemonics for Exons and Introns
A third topic that test-takers need to familiarize themselves with thoroughly is DNA and Genetics. As a review, DNA is transcribed into RNA using RNA polymerase during the process of gene expression. As a result, double-stranded DNA is transformed into single-stranded RNA. This RNA molecule, which is produced in eukaryotes, is called pre-mRNA. This pre-mRNA molecule cannot be directly translated into proteins. Instead, the pre-mRNA has to undergo a maturation process called pre-mRNA processing to produce mature mRNA.
During this maturation process, three events occur. The pre-mRNA molecule consists of two components–Exons and Introns. As the process occurs, introns are removed, or spliced out, leaving only the exons. The resulting end products include the exons and the final mRNA molecule sans any more introns. Moreover, a 5′ GTP cap and 3′ poly-a tail are added to the mix.
Thus, a good biology mnemonic to help memorize these details is: Exons are expressed whereas Introns are in the trash. Since the Introns are removed from the final mRNA molecule, they are in the trash. Whereas Exons are incorporated in the final, mature mRNA molecule making it expressed.
While well-known mnemonics are often common knowledge, easier-to-learn, and relatable, an individual can also choose their own words and create personalized mnemonics or combinations to facilitate memorization of details. Furthermore, when crafting customized mnemonics, it may even bolster a person’s ability to memorize information given the personalized connection.