Every student, who is or was majoring in medicine, chemistry, or biology knows that struggle attempting to memorizes each amino acid name. This might be one of the most painful memories of the entire college life. Nevertheless, biological chemistry is not a thing that you can skip learning as any other subject when it comes to science. It also helps in studying many other disciplines. Difficult subjects like this require putting some extra effort and taking an individual approach to learning. Luckily, you can avoid old-fashioned cramming and leave this studying method to gather dust.
Today, there are a lot of techniques and tricks that can help students learn the amino acid chapter of biochemistry with ease. One of the most common and effective ways to remember something is by using mnemonics. It can help students to comprehend the studying material faster and much easier due to the associations. Mnemonics also is a great tool for determining, structuring, and processing information. Consequently, it contributes to concentrating better and preparing for an exam with more efficiency, which is very beneficial when the test is around the corner.
Providing that people tend to process information and memorize it in different ways, there is no general method. Fortunately, there are lots of mnemonic techniques so everyone will be able to find a suitable way for their type of memory:
Using rhymes and rhythms;
Using shortenings, abbreviations, and acronyms;
Remembering objects by fixing their placement or image;
Transforming names or various thoughts into objects or pictures, etc.
When you train your memory, your organism generates substances that activate and reorganize neural networks. It enhances thinking and memorizing processes, and mnemonic associations can stay in your mind for a very long time.
Amino Acid Mnemonic Tricks for Easy Name Memorizing
Let's begin with a group of aliphatic amino acids. They are nonpolar and therefore hydrophobic. Here is a simple mnemonic to memorize these six acids – "Glaciers in Alaska valiantly locate isolated prowlers". It is key to remember them in this order – from glycine to proline. This makes it relatively easy to remember their structures.
The next mnemonic is for the group of aromatic amino acids. They are rings, must be planar and must follow the Huckel's rule. The mnemonic is "The aroma of fine pine and yellow timber are worth the trip" where "pine" stands for phenylalanine, "timber" – for tyrosine, and "trip" – for tryptophan.
The next one is for alcohol amino acids. This group is comprised of two representatives – threonine and serine. The mnemonic is "Alcohol is a serious threat".
Here is the way to remember three basic amino acids. "Basically, his lost kid always returned", where "his" is for histidine, "lost" is for lysine, and finally "always" is for arginine.
The easy way to remember the sulfur-containing group is "Methodically check the path for sulfur". Cysteine and methionine are the two sulfur-containing amino acids. And fortunately, the abbreviations are just the first three letters of each and the first letter of each.
There are two acid amino acids. And the mnemonic for them is "Peter digested the glue his stomach became acidic", where the two acid amino acids are aspartate and glutamate.
A useful mnemonic for the amide amino acids is "amid this neatly stacked asparagus is a gluttonous quail", where asparagine and glutamine are the two amide amino acids.
Useful Tips on Learning Amino Acids for Medical Students
When it comes to biochemistry, it is typical advice from senior medical students, which is not to go for cramming. First of all, it is a waste of time and you will forget the information as soon as you take the exam. Another thing is that using special techniques and creating logical links is a better and easier way to study biological chemistry. It is a hard, yet logical discipline that will not appear difficult to learn if you figure out how everything works. Nevertheless, there are some things like lab parameters, formulas, etc., that you will have to memorize as it is. But it will be only a small part of the material.
Do not try to memorize every formula atom by atom. Your meeting with amino acids will be one of your first formula exercises. It will be enough to remember the basic formulas and study how one substance turns into another one.
If any other book has pictures and schemes for illustrating the text, the biochemistry manual has text to explain the pictures and schemes. Never skip studying them as it is will create an image of a particular formula in your mind and ease the learning process. For example, theanine and glutamic acid are similar in structure. And they are easy to confuse if you do not pay attention.
Another good tip is making your tables, diagrams, and schemes. If you picture a process step by step on your own, it will definitely leave a vivid trace in your memory and you will understand it better.
No matter how you decide to learn amino acids and biochemistry as a whole, it should be a systematic process. The chaotic schedule is not your friend here and will lead you to the edge. Now, time management and organizational skills are your new best friends. You need to sit down, take a deep breath, and spend some time to prioritize your assignments and groom your agenda plan. The odds that you will find tasks that you will not be able to finish on time are really high.
But do not go to the frustration side if this happens. You can always get help for Medical Students from CustomWritings.com and buy an assignment online. My experience of work for this writing assistance service shows that hundreds of students entrusted their academic fate to us and did not regret doing that. Students of all medical majors (chemistry, nursing, biology, etc.) can order any type of assignments like a research paper or an essay for the main or minor course subjects. It will save you lots of time to focus on learning more essential things.
The author: Lauren Bradshaw, copywriter at CustomWritings.com.