Monday, October 10, 2011


Stop Letting Those People Touch The Cadavers Hand.

Sounds like a silly statement, but some students find mnemonic devices helpful for memorizing certain anatomical concepts like the carpal bones/bones of the hand.  Instead of " Scaphoid, Lunate, Triquetrum, Pisiform, Trapezium, Trapezoid, Capitate, Hamate", some people find it easier to remember a sentence like the above.  The first letter of each word of the sentence corresponds to the first letter of the names of the bones of the hand.  By remembering the sentence, you can remember the first letter of the bones in their correct order.

The trick to using mnemonic devices correctly is that you still actually have to learn the names of the bones of the hand, you still actually have to learn their position (in the device above, you need to know that the bones are of the proximal row before the distal row), you still have to memorize spelling.  So you will need to do some studying in addition to remembering "the sentence".  But once you do know the names of the bones, once you have reviewed their location on the models, using the sentence can help you remember the order that is sometimes the difficult step.

Where can you find mnemonic devices?  Sometimes textbooks include them in their discussion of each topic.  A simple web search can point you to websites that contain lists of a number of devices on anatomy topics.  But be careful if you try this route - some medical students are notorious for using shocking terms and themes in their mnemonics to make them memorable or amusing.  Some of those links you don't want to surf if your kids are around the computer!

Why not ask you study partners if they have any mnemonic devices that help them to remember the order of anatomy structures you are reviewing?  You never know when they might come up with something like "Oh, Oh, Oh, To Touch And Feel Very Good Vegetables, Ah Heaven" (that's for cranial nerves)!

1 comment:

  1. brilliant. I coin and collect mnemonics on softskills and behavioral skills