One of the most difficult aspects of scientific education is the learning and retaining of the myriad lists of terminology. Turn this difficulty to Medical Terminology and one turns up the need and difficulty of the education, the lists, the learning, and the retention. What can a medical or any student of medical terminology do to overcome this challenge?
Many experts and successful students recommend “word association”, names and phrases for lists, sub-dividing the huge list of lists into bite-size, memory-size groups of 15 to 25 words, and the old way of repetition, using some home-made or store-bought flash-cards. Add to this the reading out loud while writing it down as one also hears the term and phrases and see the words in close relation to each other. This is the “four senses” collaboration method held high in training circles worldwide. As an example, say one needs to remember the bones of the middle ear and each bone’s purpose. The bones are the malleus, the incus, and the stapes. Malleus is the “hammer” that transfers external sound to the incus. The incus moves the vibrations to the stapes, which moves the vibrations to the inner ear. To set up a phrase or name or even a ditty (silly song) like “hit the mall and ink us soundly to stay put inner” or “malley-inky-stapey; hammy-viby-innie”. It’s silly … of course … humans remember the inane more readily. On word association, “malleus” can be “mallet” for “hammer”. “Incus” can be “incite” to excite, vibrate. “Stapes” can be “Step” to the inner ear. “Mallet Incites Steps” is a phrase possibility. Another is MaIn St. (Main St. – the fast way for sound to reach the inner ear). There are all kinds of possibilities.
Some people recommended looking that the root of the terms and associating the terminology that way. Coupling that with the writing out of a flash card and repetition, and it could be a winning combination.
When testing one’s own self by whatever method or methods one uses, always take the opportunity to speak, write, hear, and see the question and answer. This helps retention in a very strong manner. It is industry-tested.
Another way is to make a game of the testing and repetition. Make charts and pictures and fill in with the proper terminology.
When making flash cards, and using older versions of tests, build up various answers from the tests on the flash cards, building a repertoire of referenced phrases to the term involved.
Search the Web. It is very likely that there are existing “shortcuts”, acronyms, phrases and silly ditties already out there for your immediate use. Write them down while speaking, seeing and hearing! Always take advantage of what is available.
On the flip side, “everybody” (except those who swear by it) says to not cram! Cramming and starting with only a day or so typically is the most confusing to the physique as the person is usually under increasing stress, lack of solid sleep, lack of nourishing food (vs. junk food), and lack of physical movement as the crammer is likely glued to one’s chair. So, avoid cramming, start early on, repeat, use all of the senses, and increase the chances for success.