An Electromagnetic Mnemonic That Helps You Ace the MCAT

an electromagnetic mnemonic that helps you ace the MCAT feature imageWant the easiest mnemonic for absorbing everything you need to know about the electromagnetic spectrum?

If so, you’ve probably heard people urging you to commit a sentence to memory. I’m talking about something like:

Rabid monkeys interrogate very ugly xylophones greedily.

Although mnemonics like that can work, what do you do if they don’t work for you?

After all, how exactly do those words help you remember the target information? For starters, you need to remember:

  • Radiowaves
  • Microwaves
  • Infrared
  • Visible
  • Ultraviolet
  • X-ray
  • Gamma ray

Since there’s no explicit connection between the word “rabid” and radiowaves, many people need a better mnemonic strategy.

And on this page, that’s exactly what you’ll get.


Let’s dive in!

How to Remember the Electromagnetic Spectrum: The Ultimate Mnemonic

As mentioned, most people teach you to use acronyms to memorize lists of information like the electromagnetic spectrum.

But that approach doesn’t really help you add additional pieces of information.

What if you want to memorize frequency numbers? What about memorizing the exact colors involved with visible light?

To truly be an expert who can ace the MCAT and become a top-notch professional who enjoys an incredible career, you’ll want to master as much of the information involved as possible.

best mnemonic for electromagnetic spectrum

To learn it all, just break the learning process down. Like this:

Step One: Use A Memory Palace

This mnemonic device involves using a mental version of a familiar location to create a journey where you “place” evocative images. These associations help you remember information you want to learn quickly.

It’s easy to overthink this technique, but it’s really simple once you’re set up.

Just take a room, pick a corner and imagine a giant radio exuding waves.

Why a radio? Because “R” and “R” go together and the word “radio” is in the information you need to learn.

radiowave mnemonic example for mcat

Later, when you think back to that corner, just ask yourself, “What was happening there?”

If you make the association big, vibrant in your mind and zany, you should readily recall the information.

To make the image even more memorable, you might include someone who has a name who starts with the same letter with the radio. You could imagine a celebrity like Rick Astley with the radio to compound the strength of the association.

Of course, if you like the idea of using “rabid monkeys” for radiowaves and microwaves, by all means give that a try. But for my money, Rick Astley with a radio is so much more specific.

Step Two: Add The Other Electromagnetic Spectrum Mnemonics In Logical Order

Your next step is to move logically from station to station in the Memory Palace.

electromagnetic spectrum mnemonic example for microwave using a memory palace

The order is important because the list above also represents the frequency scale. Your first station will be the absolute lowest, and your seventh station (gamma rays) will be the highest.

In the image above, the microwave has Michael Moore baking inside of it to help you remember the information.

Step Three: Link the Associations Using A Story

As you place your associations in your Memory Palace, you can create a story based on specific references.

Of course, my examples of Rick Astley with a radio, Michael Moore in a microwave and now The Terminator using infrared technology to remind me of that part of the electromagnetic spectrum are personal to me.

infrared mnemonic example for mcat

You need to come up with pop culture associations that work for you. 

If you feel slow or rusty with using your imagination in this way, don’t worry. Practice will loosen you up. You can also give these visualization exercises a try.

The best way to link your associations, whatever they might be, is to use a story method. Using my example associations, your story might be:

Rick Astely throws a radio at a microwave. This wakes up The Terminator, who uses his infrared wave vision to make the Invisible Man visible.

Since all of these references are specific, concrete and coming from things already in memory, it’s so much easier to remember.

And because everything is laid out in a Memory Palace, it’s like you have a theatre stage you can mentally revisit. You just need to ask your mind what was happening in those locations and it will bring it all back to you.

Step Four: Add More Information

Once you’ve encoded all seven parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, go ahead and add more information.

For example, radiowaves are 104. Using a PAO System and the pegword method, it’s easy to add an image that makes this number jump to mind.

In this case, I would add the “Don’t tase me bro” meme and a sailboat to the Rick Astley with a radio image because those are my images for 10 and 4.

example of how to add numbers to your electromagnetic spectrum mnemonic

Your images might be different for the numbers, but that’s to be expected. 

You see, the reason why the techniques I’m sharing with you today are generally better than taking a sentence cooked up by someone else is simple:

The science of active recall demonstrates beyond a doubt that when you use variety and personalization in your learning efforts, you will retain more.

Pass The Electromagnetic Spectrum MCAT Sections With Ease

As I mentioned before, there’s nothing wrong with the generic mnemonic examples other people give as such. They do work for some people some of the time.

But today you’ve discovered a much more robust approach to learning this information. It’s an approach that people have used for thousands of years and a large community of learners still actively embraces.

If you’d like to learn more about how to ace your exams and move on to also learn languages, the names of everyone you meet and entire speeches, start now by registering for my FREE Memory Improvement Kit:

Magnetic Memory Method Free Memory Improvement Course

It will take your learning skills to the next level quickly.

And the best part?

It makes everything related to learning medical science easier and so much fun.

So what do you say?

Are you ready to master all of these different waves and rays?

Enjoy the process and just shout out or leave a post below if you have any questions.

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Anthony Metivier is the founder of the Magnetic Memory Method, a systematic, 21st century approach to memorizing foreign language vocabulary, names, music, poetry and more in ways that are easy, elegant, effective and fun.

Dr. Metivier holds a Ph.D. in Humanities from York University and has been featured in Forbes, Viva Magazine, Fluent in 3 Months, Daily Stoic, Learning How to Learn and he has delivered one of the most popular TEDx Talks on memory improvement.

His most popular books include, The Victorious Mind and… Read More

Anthony Metivier taught as a professor at:

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