Mnemonics: Using acronyms

Beep… you glance at your smart phone and you see this SMS: KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid or SWAK – Sealed With A Kiss or you proudly sayto you best mate in a fleeting moment of connection; GMTA – Great Minds Think Alike or on another occasion somebody asks you for an answer and your sad reply is IDK – I don’t know!

Beep… you glance at your smart phone and you see this SMS: KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid or SWAK – Sealed With A Kiss or you proudly sayto you best mate in a fleeting moment of connection; GMTA – Great Minds Think Alike or on another occasion somebody asks you for an answer and your sad reply is IDK – I don’t know!

With the current use of fewer words and more shortened language as people are very busy or cannot be bothered to write in full, mnemonics are quite common. But did you know that these words are acronyms and are a time honoured and excellent technique for memorising concepts, words or processes?

 

An acronym is a new word formed from using the first letters of words that follow each other for instance, WHO in full is World Health Organisation. Acronyms are especially helpful in memorising items or lists in a particular order but they can also be used to recall any other related items. The brain is better able to recall things in steps rather than in isolation. So, a whole word is easier to store than one items or a group of separated items.

 

The same technique can be used to memorise content such as items in a list or systems. E.g, in biology, to remember the excretory system the acronym SKILLS for skin, kidneys, lungs and liver will aid your memory for the different organs.

 

For your conflict management course, you might be required to recall the causes of conflict which are CUMP: competition, unclear or unfair expectations; misunderstanding and poor communication skills as well as the effects of conflict include: goal adjustments, resources wastage, innovation, change can be summarised into GRIC. Very easy to memorise, now isn’t it?

Finally, you might want to try creating an acronym for the causes of overpopulation (WHENU)which in full is:wars,high cost of living,environment degradation, natural resources depletion and unemployment increase.

Note carefully that to benefit from this method and indeed all the others, you must have understood the items of the list and how they are linked or how they work together. Just producing the words may not help you explain them adequately.

LOL in full is … (you guessed it) laughing out loud.

Next week’s mnemonic is: creating memorable sentences.

The writer is an educator and a counsellor.

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