is copyright Michael Curtis 2010-2021. All Rights Reserved.



I would not fancy learning a medicine syllabus at the speed students have to.

I think medical students are told that acrostics are good; and I can see how a small number of acrostics is good for studying any academic subject; but if you have learned tens of acrostics, don't they become a bit samey? You would see a word in an acrostic sentence that begins with 'B' but then what trigger is going to make you remember that the B is for a particular B word of your syllabus?

So my recommendation with acrostics is, where possible, make the 1st and 2nd letter of the acrostic word match the word that you are trying to recall: it increases the chances of success, in my opinion.

I think that I would memorise Greek (and Latin?) prefixes and suffixes a long long time before the course even began; that is because a lot of medical words use Greek in a particular manner in their composition.

Next, and I think this applies to Law (memorising case names) and any subject with loads of terms that only really belong in that subject, is to practise saying those alien phrases so that they are not still sounding alien at the time you need to be memorising them for exams. I think that it does not matter if, at first, you have no idea what the long word means or what happened in a Law case; what you would be doing is making the odd word(s) familiar so that there is less 'noise' when you are later trying to learn what the word(s) mean(s).

I would also think about the 1000 cartoon men and 1000 cartoon women images and how some of those people could have a kind of speech bubble where they say the name of one disease. The cartoon person could be imagined exhibiting symptoms of the illness.

My article about 'sketching an annotated diagram' and 'recreating a table of facts' might come in handy. Although they have a hungry consumption of pegs. I would consider omitting the instructions on how to sketch a diagram and just memorise where on a page an annotated item should sit, a prompt of what the annotated item is called, and maybe a mnemonic representing the nature of the line that points to the annotation: size of line and angle of line - ending at the place where the text annotation occurs.

I can imagine the 'Pointers' article being useful as well as a tidy way to relate a topic to the facts which belong with it.

I have been a fan of using flash cards, for a long time. Actual cards or software containing the Question and Answer format and 'reveal' nature of a flash card are recommended.

The robot mnemonics might be useful, if used sparingly: to represent the first three or four letters of a word you need to recall.

I think that jingle songs - where you use revision notes as lyrics - would be very handy. This ties in with my belief that it is good to become familiar with the lingjargon words early even if you do not know what they mean until a lot later on; that way, you can start learning the jingle songs' lyrics even if you do not yet know what question they are going to help you to solve. And on that theme of having jingle songs, these can be gathered together, with good acrostics, as free resources for students to dip into. I have seen that sort of acrostics resource in the past but the acrostics were the type I mentioned earlier: a bit weak.

Surely, pegs are going to be consumed at an alarming rate because there are surely more facts to learn than the typical peg system has pegs for.

Maybe there is no great mnemonic solution for Medicine. Just know that you want to study it a long time before the course starts! Give yourself time to learn some of it before the rush starts!

The principle of saying that a cartoon person is synonymous with a medical word has potential. If a law case name could be associated with one of the cartoon people of a 1000 person system then the year of the case and facts from the case and its judgment could be represented in visual ways involving the cartoon person. In another academic discipline, the same approach could be applied: take the time to associate cartoon people with jargon words of the discipline; and then imagine facts in stories involving the person.

Aside from the visual techniques of this course, generally, a good way to revise information is 'flash cards'.

A specific way to associate hard-to-say medical terms with simple cartoon images is to have a song or poem that lists these unusual jargon in a sequential order. Once they exist in sequential order, an already known cartoon people list can map to those words; so even if person 'Bazil' sounds nothing like the medical term you want to recall for an essay answer, Bazil's ordinal position in his cartoon people list matches the jargon word's ordinal position.

I would be interested to hear thoughts about this article because, unlike most of this course, it is dipping into an area that I do not have experience of.