MCAT Mnemonics: Ultimate Guide By 515+ Scorers

February 20, 2024

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Studying for the MCAT can be challenging. With many scientific terms and equations to master, you cannot help but feel overwhelmed. 

Thankfully, you can employ many techniques and strategies to make preparing for the MCAT a little less challenging

One such technique is the use of mnemonics. When information is structured into lists like attributes, processes, stages, components, phases, etc., it is simpler to recall larger amounts of it. 

This article will provide you with an MCAT mnemonics guide; if that is what you are looking for, you have come to the right page. Let’s keep going.

What Do I Need to Memorize for the MCAT?

The MCAT covers a vast array of topics. There’s biology, biochemistry, general chemistry, organic chemistry, psychology, and sociology, among others.

As you prepare for the MCAT, ensure that you have read and understood what percentage of these subjects are included in the MCAT. This will let you know which subjects to focus more on. 

Below are the different topics and disciplines that you need to study and memorize important concepts for the MCAT: 

What are Mnemonics?

A mnemonic device is a memory strategy that can improve your capacity for information recall and retention. This learning technique originated in Greece. You can use mnemonic devices as memory aids to transfer information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory.

Mnemonics could be expressed as a rhyme, song, acronym, picture, word, or entire statement. When the sequence of events is crucial, mnemonics are very helpful in recalling details and information.

Do Mnemonics Work on the MCAT?

Having mentioned the different topics included and covered in the MCAT, it is obvious that retaining information is vital. 

Learning reaction mechanisms, chemical principles, biological processes, electrochemical equations, metabolic pathways, and developmental theories by heart is essential.

However, there is nothing to worry about. Because of how your brain is organized, all this information may already be instantaneously perceived and encoded (stored in long-term memory). 

With the use of MCAT mnemonics, larger amounts of information are simpler to remember, especially when they are presented in lists like steps, attributes, components, stages, phases, etc. 

Mnemonic devices are indeed beneficial and will help you ace the MCAT. 

Different Types of Mnemonics

There are different kinds of mnemonics that you can use while studying for the MCAT. 

Depending on your preference (and creativity), you can always choose from the different types of mnemonics we have below, which one best suits your learning style. 

Acronyms and Acrostics

A term or words created using the first letter(s) of the things you want to remember are called acronyms.

Examples:

Colors of the rainbow – ROYGBIV

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet 

Order of operations – PEMDAS 

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally 

Chunking 

Chunking is a type of organization mnemonic in which you separate knowledge into smaller units and memorize each one separately before putting it all together. Chunking is helpful for retaining more information than the typical short-term memory limit of seven items.

Examples:

Phone Number – 2125489870

Chunked: 212 – 548 – 9870 

Password – P3850tf21 

Chunked: P385 – 50 – tf21 

Songs and Rhymes 

Making use of music can help you successfully encode information in your brain. The "A-B-C" song is a well-known illustration, but there is no end to the lessons that can be taught when they are put to music. 

You can learn math equations, memory verses, science cycles, the nations of Africa, and more.

For instance, some kids will sing the "ABC" song while they learn their ABCs. Others use the song "50 Nifty United States" to teach them the alphabetical order of all the states.

Method of Loci

This mnemonic device uses visualizations and is often referred to as the memory journey method. 

Utilize the loci method by visualizing oneself moving through a familiar environment. This type of picture mnemonic can help you recall lists, directions, and locations.

Imagery and Visualization

Transforming pieces of information you wish to remember into mental images can be a powerful mnemonic strategy because our brains remember visuals considerably more quickly than words or sounds. 

If you are trying to learn a new term, for instance, you might find it helpful to visualize some of the vocabulary words:

You could picture a tiger sipping gray tea because the Spanish word for tiger is “tigre”. 

“Sol” is Spanish for sun, so you might picture the sun scorching the sole of your foot.

Connection Mnemonics

The information that has to be remembered is linked to previously learned information in this sort of mnemonic. 

Examples:

When you understand that the long lines on a globe that travel North and South coincide with LONGitude, it is simpler to remember the direction of longitude and latitude. 

There is an N in LONGitude and an N in North, as demonstrated by another connection mnemonic. 

There is no N in latitude; hence latitude lines must run from east to west.

MCAT Mnemonics Examples and Use Cases

It is a fact that studying for the MCAT requires significant time and effort. Employing mnemonics is one technique to guarantee that you get to keep the facts and knowledge you need, especially with so many other parts to study for.

Here are a few MCAT mnemonics you can utilize as you prepare for the test. 

MCAT Biochemistry Mnemonics

Topics

Sub-topics 

Mnemonics

Polar uncharged amino acids

Glutamine (Gln)

Serine (Ser)

Asparagine (Asn)

Cysteine (Cys)

Threonine (Thr)

Good 

Spaghetti 

Always 

Comes with 

Tomatoes 

Electric amino acids

Histidine (His, H)

Arginine (Arg, R)

Aspartic acid (Asp, D

Lysine (Lys, K)

Glutamic acid (Glu, E

Her

Red

Dress

Kills

Enemies

Aromatic amino acids

Phenylalanine 

Tyrosine

Tryptophan

Please

Think 

Twice 

Molecules in the TCA cycle

Citrate

I

Ketoglutarate

Succinyl

Succinate

Fumarate

Malate

Oxaloacetate

Can

I

Keep

Selling 

Shells 

For

Money,

Officer? 

Enzymes in the TCA cycle

Citrate synthase

Cis-aconitase

Isocitrate dehydrogenase

A-α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase Succinyl CoA synthetase

Succinate dehydrogenase

Fumarase

Malate dehydrogenase

Collared

Central

Intelligence

Agent

Spoke

Slander

For

Money

Enzymes in irreversible steps

Hexokinase

Glucokinase

PFK-1

Pyruvate 

Kinase

Her

Grandma

Puts

Paints in 

Kettles

Three stop codons

UAA

UGA

UAG

U Are Annoying

U Go Away

U Are Gone

Different kinds of blots

Southern blot = DNA

Northern blot =  RNA

O                       O

Western blot =   Proteins

S    D

N    R

O    O

W    P

Click here to learn more MCAT Biochemistry Mnemonics.

MCAT Chemistry Mnemonics 

Topics

Sub-topics

Mnemonics

Sequence of orbitals

k

Susan

Plays 

Darts,

Football and is

Good at

Hiding

In

Kitchens

Noble gases

Helium

Neon

Argon

Krypton

Xenon

Radon

Harry

Needs

A

Kaleidoscope for

X-Mas, 

Right?

Alkali metals

Lithium

Sodium (Na)

Potassium (K)

Rubidium

Cesium

Francium

Linda, 

Noel, and 

Karen

Ruin Ben’s

Cute Shoes

Forever

Alkaline earth metals

Beryllium

Magnesium

Calcium

Strontium

Barium

Radium

Brave 

Men

Can

Swim

By the

River

Chalcogens

Oxygen

Sulfur

Selenium

Tellurium

Polonium

Livermorium

Fifty 

Clowns 

Began 

Imitating 

Aunt 

Tammy

Halogens

Fluorine

Chlorine

Bromine

Iodine

Astatine

Tennessine

Fifty 

Clowns 

Began 

Imitating 

Aunt 

Tammy

Prefixes for naming carbon chains

Meth

Eth

Prop

But

Mike

Enjoys

Playing 

Basketball

Aromatic substituent prefixes

Ortho

Meta

Para

Off to 

Miami 

Party

Click here to learn more MCAT Chemistry Mnemonics.

MCAT Physics Mnemonics 

Topics

Sub-topics

Mnemonics

Ideal Gas law

PV = nRT

Pure Vinegar Needs Raw Tomatoes 

Gibbs's free energy formula

Δ G = Δ HT Δ S

Grandma Hates To Swim

Ohm’s law

Volts = Amps x Resistance

Vegetables Are Raw

Relation between resistivity and resistance

Resistance = ρ (Length/Area)

Rude People Likes Arrogance 

Sequence of decreasing wavelength or increasing frequency of electromagnetic waves

Radio waves

Microwaves

Infrared

Visible light

Ultraviolet

X-Rays

Gamma Rays

Raging 

Martians

Invaded

Venus

Using 

X-ray 

Guns

Order of increasing wavelength

Gamma Rays

X-Rays

Ultraviolet

Visible light

Infrared

Microwaves

Radio waves

Good

Xylophones

Use

Very

Impressive

Musical

Rhythms

Prefixes of the metric system

Kilo

Hector

Deca

Base

Deci

Centi

Milli

King

Henry

Died

Because of

Drinking

Chocolate

Milk

Levels of the atmosphere

Troposphere

Stratosphere

Mesosphere

Thermosphere

Exosphere

The

Silly

Monkeys

Twirled 

Endlessly 

Click here to learn more MCAT Physics Mnemonics.

MCAT Psychology Mnemonics 

Topics

Sub-topics

Mnemonics

Kubler-Ross stages of grief

Denial

Anger

Bargaining

Depression

Acceptance

Did

Anyone

Bring

Dad’s 

Apple’s? 

Types of reinforcement

Positive

Negative

Primary

Conditional

Poor

Nick

Picks

Carrots

Theories of personality

Psychoanalytic

Humanistic

Trait

Behaviorism 

Social/Cognitive

Phones

Have

To

Be

Switched off

Most common mental and psychiatric disorders

Depression

Anxiety

Bipolar Disorder

Phobia

Autism

Schizophrenia 

Did

Anyone

Buy

Papa

A

Spinach? 

Four primary factors for motivation

Instincts 

Needs

Drives

Arousal

I’m

Not

Driving

Anywhere

Components of general adaptation syndrome

Exhaustion

Alarm

Resistance

E A R 

Sequential order of brain waves

Beta

Alpha

Theta

Delta

BATs Drink blood. 

Four primary stimuli

Chemical

Pressure

Light 

Temperature

Calm

People

Like

Thinking

Universal emotions

Surprise

Anger

Disgust

Fear 

Sadness

Happiness

SAD FiSH 

Physiological markers of emotions

Changes in:

Blood pressure

Temperature 

Respiration rate

Adrenaline

Pulse

B - TRAP

Click here for more MCAT Psychology Mnemonics.

MCAT Sociology Mnemonics 

Topics

Sub-topics

Mnemonics

Different types of identities

Race/Ethnicity 

Gender

Politics 

Religion 

Age 

Sexual Orientation

Class

Rocky

Goes

Playing

Rugby

Always

Since 

College 

Types of social norms 

Proscriptive 

Subjective 

Prescriptive

Injunctive

Descriptive

Peter

Saves

People

I

Despair 

Elements of culture

Artifacts

Values

Language 

Economy

Norms

Symbols

Society 

Aunt

Vicky

Loves

Eating

Noodles every

Saturday and

Sunday

Factors of globalization

Economy

Industrial Organization  

Historical 

Technology 

Financial

Politics

Every

Individual

Has

Talent and

Full

Potential

Characteristics of an ideal bureaucracy 

Well-trained Employees 

Impartiality

Division of Labor

Formalized Rules 

Hierarchy of Organization

Will

Insanely

Drove

For 

Hours 

Types of non-verbal communication

Body Language 

Gestures

Posture

Facial Expressions

Eye Contact

Eight

Billy

Goats

Feeding

Properly 

Click here to learn more MCAT Sociology Mnemonics.

How To Make Your Own MCAT Mnemonics?

Mnemonics are a great tool to use during the MCAT, but just how do you go about making them?

Well if you're looking for a quick guide on how you can start making some easy and effective mnemonics to help you in your MCAT prep, check out her video below!'

Music: Pick a popular song, tune, or nursery rhyme such as hot cross buns or ABCS. Music mnemonics work best with long lists such as remembering your scientific elements.

Name: These work best with shorter lists. For example, Fluorine, Oxygen and Nitrogen are the three electronegative atoms important in hydrogen bonding. To remember this, you would create the name - FON.

Expression/Word: Try using the letters of the short list of words you need to memorize to make a ridiculous phrase or word to help have everything stick in your memory! An example is "SAME DAVE" for the nerve fibers and their associated location on the spinal cord - Sensory Afferent, Motor Efferent, Dorsal Afferent, Ventral Efferent.

Your mentors at MCAT mastery have developed their own mnemonics to use when studying for the MCAT exam, Check out some of our MCAT biology mnemonics here! 

While it may take more time than using someone else's, it's always more effective when you make your own mnemonics!

How Can I Best Utilize Mnemonics for the MCAT?

You can improve your memory by creating MCAT mnemonics. Without it, you might have to spend more time trying to remember crucial details. 

Mnemonics aid in memory retention and speed up test-taking, which will both help you earn a competitive MCAT score.

Below are some tips to help you best utilize MCAT mnemonics.

  • Familiarize yourself with mnemonic techniques: Learn more about your alternatives by reading about several mnemonic tools.
  • Choose a technique: Try out various methods until you find the one that works best for you. Make sure the method you select fits your learning style.
  • Create a mnemonic that is more inclined to stick with you than someone else's by using your friends, family, personal experiences, or favorite movie.
  • Flashcards: You can incorporate flashcards into your usual MCAT preparation to assist you in remembering MCAT mnemonics.
  • List your mnemonics among the equations and study aids you can jot down during the instructional period before the exam.
  • Recite the mnemonic device you selected: Use your chosen mnemonic to repeat the information aloud or in your brain once you've chosen it. Memory retention requires practice and repetition.

Additional FAQs – MCAT Mnemonics Guide

What is the Easiest Way to Remember Mnemonics?

The easiest way to remember mnemonic devices is to use them often. It will also help if you read them aloud. 

Furthermore, we recommend that you add a personal touch when creating your own mnemonics, like using your family’s and friends’ names. Incorporate titles of your favorite songs and movies. 

Your MCAT Success Mentors

About the Author

We're a team of future doctors passionate about giving back and mentoring other future doctors! All mentors on the team are top MCAT scorers and we all are committed to seeing you succeed in achieving your physician dreams ???? To help you achieve your goal MCAT score, we take turns hosting these Live MCAT Courses and are also available for 1:1 private tutoring!

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