Wednesday, October 28

How to Remember (and Understand) Medical Terms Easily?


If you try to remember medical terms (often in Greek or classical Latin) using just rote learning or basic repetition methods it is NOT EASY.

However, if you apply the tips shared next, Insya-Allah you will find medical terms (or any other terms for that sake) much easier to remember (with understanding), and at the same time nurture your imagination and creative mind (WHOLE BRAIN THINKING).


So, to remember medical terms (with understanding) more efficiently and effectively here are some tips to help you:

1) Transform the term into exaggerated and vivid MENTAL IMAGE(S) using multiple senses.
  • Video Tutorial (How to easily remember the meaning of "-ptosis")
  • Click Here to read cool article on how to visualize terms using your imagination and creativity.
To be able to spell a difficult term correctly, try saying them out-loud often (Visit a medical dictionary to get the correct pronunciation), and use your imagination to visualize the letters in a word into different colours and sizes, especially if there are any unusual or silent letters in the word.

2) Describe what it means in your OWN WORDS (Understanding).  

By teaching yourself (Feynman technique) and/or others what you have just learned using your own words is a powerful way to foster deeper understanding, and even discover new insights into what you are learning.

3) Give EXAMPLES of how it works, or is applied in context to the topic studied. 

By doing so, you will also more likely remember the term, and even if you are not able to initially recall the term at a crucial point, the example(s) you have remembered might trigger back the memory of it. 

4) SHOW how it is done, if that is required (e.g. procedure and skill).

This requires practice (deliberate practice with reflection and reiteration), and keep on doing it until you have mastered it (without hesitation).


If you have to remember a CLUSTER OR SEQUENCE of medical terms (e.g. medical procedure), mind maps, acronyms and acrostics can be really helpful.

Here are few juicy resources to discover more about medical mnemonics (any medical acronym or acrostic that you can imagine):

Another and perhaps faster way, is to simply GOOGLE "Mnemonics" with whatever medical term (cluster or sequence) you want to remember, and someone out there has probably already posted it freely on the web.


If an acronym is not memorable, convert it to an acrostic. If the words in an acrostic is not memorable, change them into words that you find memorable.

Another smart approach, is to familiarize yourself and remember the roots, suffixes, and prefixes used in medical terminology (derived mostly from ancient Greek or classical Latin). By understanding these building blocks, you will find it easier to understand and remember various medical terms by simply looking at the roots, suffixes and prefixes. 

When you need to remember anything related to ANATOMY (Touch-based anatomy) try to make it a habit to point out (and touch it, if possible) the item learned (e.g. Fibula) on your body (or head), and also point it out on another person. Why? Because, every time you look at it (on your body or head) after that, your mind is probably going to trigger a recall (spaced repetition) memory. With a bit of practice, you will be wearing the anatomy dictionary for your exam(s). And of course, this will be very useful once you work, too.

Finally, to make any term learned stick in your LONG-TERM MEMORY, try using flashcard tools like Anki, which help you to memorize anything using spaced repetition (repeated intervals) until you really get it, which is embedded into the program.

All the best and HAVE FUN memorizing medical terms and acquiring a deeper understanding of them using the tips just shared.

If you have some other memory tips to share, please do so! We can all learn from one another!

To discover more juice, please join the Super Memory 101 course :)

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