Structures, names, abbreviations, oh my!

by theadventuresofbeka

After failing my second quiz in Biochemistry this Wednesday, I felt like it was finally time to start putting effort in. My professor specifically told us that we would have a quiz on the amino acids on Friday. So, Thursday, I got my motivation together and memorized all twenty amino acids. I memorized their structures, full names, 3-letter names, and 1-letter names. As a Learning Strategist and SI leader, I have been asked many a time how to memorize large quantities of stuff. I learned two tricks from acting and having to memorize lines (no, I’m not an actress, I was in theater as a young child).

1. Make it meaningful. If you remember something simply as a series of words, it will not stick as much as if you try to understand it or come up with silly ways to remember why two words are related (such as Lysine, Lys, K which makes NO sense at all).

2.  Write it out. I once heard that writing something down is like saying or reading it 13 times. Since going to college and learning the importance of references and credibility, I have scoured the internet for proof of this statistic. Although I have found nothing to prove it, I can attest to the effectiveness of writing things down. Especially as a kinesthetic learner, I find that writing things down saves me a lot of time.

I wrote out my amino acids a total of 9 times on Thursday and never looked at my flash cards after I wrote them. I aced my quiz on Friday. Here’s to hoping for many more quizzes and tests like that!