Memorise More With The Best Mnemonics From Wikipedia

“If it’s clear and yella, you’ve got juice there fella! If it’s tangy and brown, you’re in cider town!” (Screenshot: Gracie Films)

There is nothing too smart or too stupid for a mnemonic. They can teach you features of specific neurological disorders, or they can teach you how to open a jar. Here are some of the cleverest memory aids that you might not know yet, as catalogued by Wikipedia.

Phases of the Moon

You know the moon waxes and wanes, but here’s how to tell what it’s currently doing: Its phases go D, O, C. So if the crescent bulges to the right like a D, it’s waxing to full. If it’s to the left like a C, then it’s waning into a new moon. (This is reversed in the Southern Hemisphere.) Every time I see the moon I say whether it’s waxing or waning. My wife, who could not be reached for comment, loves it.

Guitar strings

There are a lot of mnemonics for the notes of each string on a standard-tuned guitar, but these are the best:

  • Every Average Dude Gets Better Eventually

  • Eat All Day, Get Big Easy

  • Eddy Ate Dynamite. Good Bye Eddy

For ukuleles, it’s Good Cooks Eat A-lot.

Aviation flight checks

In the course of a flight, pilots run multiple checks, and there are mnemonics for any of them. All the mnemonic words sound like alternates for the NATO phonetic alphabet.

  • pre-landing: GUMPS - Gas, Undercarriage, Mixture, Propeller, Speed.

  • pre-final: MARTHA - Missed (procedure), Altitude (limit), Radios (set), Time (limit), Heading (final), Airspeed (descent)

  • pre-high-altitude - FLOWER - Flow (enabled), Lights (test), Oxygen (charged), Water (humidity), Electricity (on), Radio (check)

  • pre-flight-paperwork - ARROW - Airworthiness (certificate), Registration, Required (charts), Operating (checklists), Weight and balance

  • spin recovery - POKER - Power (off), Opposite (full rudder), Klean (flaps, etc), Elevator (briskly forward), Recover (from dive)

There’s a long one for landing checks called, no joke, BUMMMFITCHH.

Salmon Species

There are five major types of salmon as far as fishers are concerned, says the Coyote Outdoor Living blog, and here’s how to remember them:

Chum is your thumb, Sockeye is your index finger (imagine poking someone’s eye out), King is your middle finger, Silver is your ring finger, and Pink is your pinkie.

Each species has multiple names, and there are others not included here, so I don’t know how far this mnemonic would actually get you on Deadliest Catch. But it feels very clever. If there are any edible types of salmon not included in it, just to keep things simple, we should stop eating them.

Reversible Dementia Causes

Hey, this isn’t so sad, it’s about reversible dementia, yay! While most mnemonics use whatever word or phrase best fits the terms to memorise, this one conveniently spells out the thing you’re memorising:

  • Drugs/Depression

  • Elderliness

  • Multi-infarct/Medication

  • Environment

  • Nutrition

  • Toxins

  • Ischemia

  • Alcohol

It’d make a great halftime cheer. If you like that one, you should check out the discredited suicide risk assessment scale S.A.D. P.E.R.S.O.N.S.! Haha don’t use that though! Seriously don’t.

Spelling

Mnemonics based on words are perfect for spelling:

  • We are weird

  • A principal is your pal; a principle is a rule

  • A compliment puts you in the limelight; a complement adds something to make enough

  • Rhythm: Rhythm Helps Your Two Hips Move

  • Mnemonic: Mnemonics Now Erase Man’s Oldest Nemesis, Insufficient Cerebral Storage

  • You want to separate from a rat

  • A friend til the end

  • Beautiful: Big Elephants Are Ugly

Assorted

  • Large SI prefixes for metric values (exa-, peta-, tera-, giga-, mega- kilo-, hecto-, deca-): Every person that gave me kisses has diarrhea

  • Calculating heat loss (P=I2R): Twinkle twinkle little star, Power equals I squared R.

  • English dynasties (Norman, Plantagenet, Lancaster, York, Tudor, Stuart, Hanover, Windsor): No Plan Like Yours To Study History Wisely

  • Chinese dynasties (Xia (Hsia), Shang, Zhou (Chou), Qin (Ch’in), Han, Jin, Southern and Northern, Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, Qing (Ching)): She Shamefully Chose Chinese Hand Jingles (and) SiNfully Sweet Tango Songs: “You (and) Me, Chickadee!”

  • Stalactites are on the ceiling. Stalagmites are on the ground.

  • The Great Lakes, from largest to smallest (Superior, Huron, Michigan, Erie, Ontario): Super Heroes Must Eat Oats

  • First 20 elements on the Periodic Table (H, He, Li, Be, B, C, N, O, F, Ne, Na, Mg, Al, Si, P, S, Cl, Ar, K, Ca): Harry, he likes beer by cupfuls, not over frothy, never nasty mugs allowed. Since past six closing, are kegs cancelled?

  • “To distinguish colour patterns between the harmless king snake and the poisonous coral snake:” Red next to black is a friend of Jack. Red next to yellow will kill a fellow. (Extreme Ned Flanders vibes.)

Find your own favourites at Wikipedia’s lists of visual mnemonics, and its lists of mnemonics for learning medicine, aviation, firefighting, Morse code, Latin, physics, astronomy, chemistry, anatomy, trig, electronic colour codes, and English monarchs. See how Japanese students memorise numbers with wordplay. And read Mental Floss’s list of history mnemonics.

The mnemonic for opening jars or screwing in light bulbs is: righty tighty, lefty loosey. That will be stuck in your head forever.


Comments

    > English dynasties ... Stuart

    The House of Stuart was Scottish! (Although James VI did move to England pretty sharpish when he got the chance.)

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