By Andrew Kuhry-Haeuser, Carmenta Founder
1) Create mnemonic devices for everything you have to memorize.
Success in Biology is more about memorization than anything else, and the reality is that most people aren’t very good natural memorizers. They can still do it, though, if they just use the right mnemonic devices.
Two very effective mnemonic device types are acronyms and shared-acronym expressions:
A good example of an acronym used for memorization in Biology is “PMAT” (pronounced “pee-mat”), which contains the first letters of the four stages of mitosis.
While the acronym “PMAT” isn’t an existing English word, this really doesn’t matter. It has a catchy ring to it that makes it easy to remember, making it then very easy to remember the four phases of mitosis in order. I came up with this for one of my students fifteen years ago and I’ve never forgotten it. If anyone asks me now what the four phases of mitosis are, I am able to tell them immediately without thinking.
b) Shared-Acronym Expressions
A well-known shared-acronym expression used by Biology students is “Kings play chess on fine-grained sand”, the first letter of each word matching (in order) the first letters of the scientific classifications in taxonomy.
Kings = Kingdom
Play = Phylum
Chess = Class
On = Order
Fine = Family
Grained = Genus
Sand = Species
I learned this mnemonic 25 years ago, back in high school, and I’ll always know it because it does what it’s meant to do so well. To this day I can produce these seven classifications off the top of my head.
2) Why are mnemonic devices so helpful to Biology students?
Mnemonic devices are tremendously helpful to Biology students because they’re so versatile. You can create a mnemonic device for anything, and if you take the time to learn them or create them for the material you’re studying, then you’ll easily cut your study time in half. Suddenly, a subject that required you to memorize 100 pieces of information now only requires you to memorize as few as 10 or 15, a far more manageable number.
In the end, success in a Biology class is more about the effectiveness of a student’s mnemonic devices than anything else. Spend your time crafting the most memorable mnemonic devices you can, and you’ll save an enormous amount of time and earn an “A”!
If you would like to increase your chances of getting an “A” in Biology, I encourage you to check out Carmenta Online PhD Tutors’ highly experienced Biology tutors. We also have a large faculty of science, math, language, and SAT tutors. We go out of our way to provide each student with the individualized approach that he or she needs.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Magister Andrew Kuhry-Haeuser has a B.A. (Honors) in Latin from Gonzaga University. He is currently the Founder and Head of both Carmenta Online PhD Tutors and Grey Fox Tutors. Magister Andrew has taught a number of classes for Carmenta, including “Classical Literature” and all levels of Latin, Conversational Latin, and Ancient Greek. He has also tutored a wide range of subjects, including Latin, Ancient Greek, English, Writing, German, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus, Geology, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, and History.
Click here to see Magister Andrew’s full profile on the Carmenta website.