How to Memorize the Amino Acids

MCAT Adventure: Pathlight

Journey Goal

Goal: Ability to Recite All Amino Acids and Understand Structural Function

Goal: Ability to Recite All Amino Acids and Understand Structural Function
Amino Acid Mnemonic DrawingMCAT Testing Pad

Amino Acid Mnemonic Drawing

This easy-to-draw mnemonic - once mastered - is not only a means to write down all the Amino Acid abbreviations: it gives context for each functional group, polarity, hydrophobicity, charge, and general characteristics.

Not to mention it is fun and as life-long as the alphabet.

Find the full version in the official book:

https://www.amazon.com/Amino-Acid-Legend-Easiest-Building/dp/B087SGBTW6/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

MCAT Testing Pad

The ideal simulation is to match your testing environment. For the MCAT, it's a testing pad.

Find our recommended pad here:

MCAT Prep Environment: Testing Board

Journey Equipment

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① GET the book.

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Done

WHY?

 

Let’s face it: we’re going
to need to memorize the Amino Acids
for life: not just for Biochemistry nor
the MCAT. Time is precious: this mnemonic
literally takes a day to learn – the rest is just
contextual. Here’s why we are so proud of this book:
it is the only book – as far as we know – that teaches
Biology’s alphabet the way you learned your native
alphabet.
Unconvinced? Sample the book with a free flash card.

MCAT Adventure: How to Memorize the Amino Acids

TIPS

We put this book on different markets,
and have the price lineup below:

Definitive edition: Amazon Paperback
Least expensive: Our Site (In PDF) 
Best ebook version: Google Play

Also in Kindle,
Barnes and Noble Hardback coming soon.

Don’t wait for the book to come:
go ahead and check out
more free material below.

② WATCH the video

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WHY?

 

While the book offers an in-depth
glance at each amino acid, which you can
sample here, the below free video offers
a fun overview of the main mnemonic.
Watching it is like listening to the
“ABC” song for the first time: where
each letter represents one of the 20 Amino Acids.

TIPS

The repeated “P” is not mistake.
The book explains it – but both stand
for Proline.

NEVER

*Rearrange the order:
the order has significant meaning

③ PRACTICE drawing the mountain

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WHY?

 

The mnemonic is meaningless
unless you practice using it. Knowledge
need not only be accessible, it also needs 
to be wielded. Don’t let your neurons commit
apoptosis – rewire your spinal circuits to memorize
the Amino Acids the same way you harness your 
own alphabet. It’s a pretty easy task.

NEVER

*Miss the forest for the trees
(meaning…don’t draw the details!)

ALWAYS

Focus on quickly drawing the letters
in the correct placement.

TIPS

Try practicing with a sharpie or fountain
pen and sticky note.
Then, practice with a test board.

④ READ the book guide

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WHY?

Once your book comes in,
or if you downloaded it,
take special care to read the book’s guide:
It details the mnemonic structure of the book –
emphasizing MCAT-specific material the AAMC
expects you to know about the Amino Acids.

TIPS

Also, don’t miss the Forward. There are
a few hidden tidbits in there: like a
hidden mnemonic regarding the
physiological pH for Amino Acids!

⑤ ENJOY the book

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WHY?

The book was designed to make MCAT prep
more enjoyable. It was meant to be
ridiculous, so you can strongly associate
the Amino Acid one-letter abbreviations with the
full names. If you like the anthropomorphic amino
acids, we are flattered! If you hate them, at least
your retinae have been scarred – to make their structure
more memorable.

TIPS

Perhaps “fall onto” the book when you are
bored. Leverage the
variety of material you have to cover:
apply the spice of life.

Memorizing the Amino Acids
doesn’t have to be boring:
use the three R’s of Remembering.

⑥ COMPARE the tails.

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Done

WHY?

 

Unless you are taking Biochemistry;
you don’t need to know how to draw the
Amino Acid structures – you just need to
recognize them: playing a game of Where’s
Waldo. Comparing and contrasting the 
character tails is a much more efficient method.

NEVER

Slack off on this exercise: it will cost you.

ALWAYS

*Associate, contrast the tail with neighbors within
the Amino Acid’s location.
*Count the number of carbons.

TIPS

It is okay to draw them as a “getting
to know you” exercise, rather than a
“I need to memorize you” one.

⑦ REFERENCE the map

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WHY?

 

One of the cornerstone articles 
on this site covers how to file information 
into your brain. Both posts 
I just linked to have one common
theme: complex information is 
stored with a simple label.
Isn’t that what a word is?
That is why our Amino Acid mnemonic
is a map. Reference it often.

NEVER

*Lose the meaning behind the mnemonic.

ALWAYS

*Spot clean your knowledge
with reference.

⑧ CHERISH the mnemonics

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WHY?

 

The book’s most important mnemonic
is the map and it’s overarching “legend”,
but each individual Amino Acid is filled
with playful mnemonics to help you remember
discrepancies. Sometimes “pseudoreasoning”
the truth reinforces factoids.

TIPS

Look for playful alliterations.

Check out “why” Q is the one-letter abbreviation
for Glutamine. Which Amino Acids are siblings?
Married? Enemies?

⑨ TELL a friend

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Done

WHY?

 

Storybooks are best read aloud.
Teach your youngest sibling or cousin
some biochemistry. Teaching is a
terrific means to solidify knowledge
in your mind: certainly
helping to memorize
the amino acids.

NEVER

*Condescend with knowledge. (Stories
are gifts to children).

⑩ TEST with a practice exam

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Done

WHY?

 

Here is the main goal of the book:
memorize the amino acids
to use them on the MCAT.
After reading the book a few times,
practice drawing your Amino Acid
mountain (should take less than 
a minute) onto your testing board
right at the beginning of 
the B/B section.

NEVER

*Take too much time drawing
the mountain.

ALWAYS

  *Ensure you draw the dotted
line between ED and RHK, and
place the negative and positive
signs in the correct placements.

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