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9 MCAT Mnemonics You Need to Know

Most people who have studied for the MCAT will probably agree on this – there are way too many things to memorize for the exam! When memorization becomes unintuitive and overwhelming, I recommend trying out mnemonic devices. MCAT mnemonics help us recall larger pieces of information, especially in the form of lists like characteristics, steps, stages, parts, phases, etc. It can be especially helpful for studying the B/B and P/S section, where there are lots of terminologies, cycles, and stages to memorize.

However, remember that MCAT mnemonics are only tools for surface-level memorization, and not for understanding the concept in depth. We shouldn’t rely too much on mnemonic devices for a lot of the concepts. Rather, we should use it in combination with other study methods, such as flashcards, study sheets, and practice MCAT questions.

If you can, try to make some on your own while studying – be creative! For your reference, I’ll list some of the mnemonics I found the most helpful when I was prepping for the MCAT here:

For the B/B section

“OIL- RIG”: For redox reactions

  • Oxidation Is Loss of electrons, Reduction Is Gain of electrons

“SNOW DROP”: For molecular biology techniques. We take the first letter from each word and combine it (see what I mean below).

  • S D: Southern Blot = DNA seq
  • N R: Northern Blot = RNA expression
  • O O: Nothing (this is filler)
  • W P: Western Blot = Protein Identification

“FLAT PEG”: For anterior pituitary hormones

  • FSH
  • LH
  • ACTH
  • TSH
  • Prolactin
  • Endorphins
  • Growth hormones

“SAME DAVE”: For neurons

  • Sensory Afferent Motor Efferent
  • Dorsal Afferent Ventral Efferent

“SEVEN UP”: For ejaculatory path in human males

  • Seminiferous tubule
  • Epididymis
  • Vas deferens
  • Ejaculatory duct
  • Nothing, this is filler
  • Urethra
  • Penis

Can I Keep Selling Stickers For Money Officer?”: For Citric Acid Cycle

  • Citrate
  • Isocitrate
  • Ketoglutarate
  • Succinyl-CoA
  • Succinate
  • Fumarate
  • Malate
  • Oxaloacetate

For the P/S Section

Some People Can Fly”: For Piaget’s stages of cognitive development

  • Sensorimotor
  • Pre-operational
  • Concrete operational
  • Formal Operational

Old Aged People Love Grandchildren”: For Freud’s stages of psychosexual development

  • Oral
  • Anal
  • Phallic
  • Latent
  • Genital

“HATCH”: For limbic system

  • Hippocampus
  • Amygdala
  • Thalamus
  • Cerebellum
  • Hypothalamus

Do you have any go-to MCAT mnemonics? Let us know in the comments! While you’re at it, try to come up with some new ones while you go through the lesson modules in our MCAT Self-Paced Course. Get access to seven modules for free when you sign up for a free Blueprint MCAT account!


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