Very unusual words (medical)


Hi all,

I’m a dental student who is revising for my final exams that I have to sit in a couple of weeks time and I have really been struggling with the sheer volume of the information that I have to be able to recall for them. I have used the MP technique (to limited effect!) a few times now for various exams over the last few years and while I have found it can be helpful, I found it very time-consuming and the “images”/scenarios that I created for each loci in my MP were often so complex (6 or 7 pieces of information in each) that I often forgot parts of them.

With this in mind and considering the type of information that I need to mentally store, I have been looking at the Peg system and am curious as to whether any of the more experienced people on here might think that this would be a better way to go? I wondered if somebody might be able to advise me as to where I’m going wrong with it though as I seem to be struggling to incorporate the amount/type of information to each Peg when I am trying this.

For example I have used the typical Peg starting list (1-sun, 2-shoe etc) and tried to attach a particular oral disease to each peg but it seems that the words involved in the disease descriptions are very hard to translate into an image/scenario for the Peg and there is just too much information? For example (using the first of the attached images below for Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid) “1-sun” I create a mental image of the sun shining down very brightly on a giant red eye but where I’m falling down is working out how to get more information in - Words like “Nikolsky”, “subepithelial”, “pemphigoid” and the Immunoglobulins etc into a simple image that is easy to remember? When doing the MP technique each loci often had multiple “mini images” interacting with each other and it got very complicated very quickly!

As an example I have included some screenshots of a couple of slides that I have been trying this with (there are 70 slides like this that I have to remember!) and just wondered if anybody might be able to perhaps tell me how you yourself might go about creating an image/scenario for them? I think where I am going wrong is not necessarily that I can’t think of images or scenarios, it’s the thought process that is wrong?

The exams are of a number of different formats. Some of them are the “pick the correct answer from this list” type and others will be ‘short notes’ “tell us what you know about XYZ subject” format. Oral Medicine is only one of a number of disciplines that I need to sharpen up on but hopefully if I can get a little bit of guidance on the ‘how’ I can apply this to the other subject areas!

Any help would be very gratefully received!

Many thanks in advance!



The task you’re undertaking is rather formidable, yet if you’re familiar enough with the material, all you need is a nudge to your memory, using your imagination to store data in tangible ways that can help you retrace them in your mind. I’m not sure how the peg system could be of much value for this-- unless you need a mental list of all the items needed to remember. Memory palaces at this point could cause confusion, especially if you have to memorize tons of information.

You could go about finding the most critical data, then memorize the entire description of each item, as you started with the “sun shining, etc.” part, regardless of pegs. For example, instead of a peg, you could link the name of each item with its description through imagery.

Items with words that could make no sense to you could either be translated into images, or looked up in an etymology dictionary to make sense, or, even better, both. For instance, “pemphigoid” could be recalled provided you create imagery reminding you of the sound, say a pamphlet reading on it go!” and signed “I.D.” Don’t worry too much about the spelling, the nudge is what’s important, and sound can provide it well enough, yet it had better be close enough.

Now if you wanted to remember the whole title of the item, it could be something like "someone sneezes and some mucus falls on a membrane (gross, indeed, but bear with the example) that hides beneath it the aforementioned pamphlet. It seems like a long process for only a title but it might actually save you time.

Then you could link the pamphlet, with the “go!” and the “I.D.” sign, to shine and teleport you to someplace where the info of the description in unveiled through their own imagery, a story of sorts that links the words of the description.

The trick is to form tangible images that will remind you of the abstract words, the connection between which will be relevant to you, regardless of whether it may or may not be so for others ( my suggestion on pemphigoid, too, is impromptu and relevant to me, you’re invited to form any imagery you want-- goes without saying, of course). That connection can be established through images and sound. If your imagery is amusing you or stirs any other kind of emotion during review, I suppose the added feeling reinforces that memory.

I’m by no means a pro at this, but this slow integration of data really can get one involved with the studied material, as I’ve experienced now and again myself, so I hope you find this helpful!

Good luck! :slight_smile: