Mnemonic Device Challenge
Memory tools can help you remember everything from the names of the Great Lakes to the seven continents. Check out 27 popular mnemonic devices.
Our Mnemonic Device Challenge will put your memory to test. If you know the devices, this quiz will be a snap. If not, in addition to learning answers to commonly asked pieces of knowledge, you’ll also learn easy ways to remember them.
(And be sure to get your FREE printable below!)
What is a mnemonic device?
A mnemonic device is a learning technique that helps in information retention and retrieval for our memories. It’s a memory device or tool that helps you recall information effectively.
Know Your Mnemonic Device Challenge
We’ve assembled 27 of the best mnemonic devices and formulated questions around them to put you to the test. A heads up: these are tough questions, so don’t be upset if your correct answer percentage isn’t as high as usual.
By learning the answers to these questions and the associated memory device, you’ll be in great shape going forward.
Good Mnemonic Devices
1.) The three segments of an insect’s body can be remembered easily by the word HAT. What are the three parts?
ANSWER: Head, Abdomen, and Thorax.
2.) The colors of the rainbow can be recalled with the name Roy G. Biv. What are those colors?
ANSWER: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet.
3.) It’s easy to remember the Great Lakes by remembering the word HOMES. What are the five Great Lakes?
ANSWER: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.
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Geography and History Mnemonic Device
4.) “We Just Like Rushmore” is a mnemonic device for remembering the four presidents on Mount Rushmore. Who are they?
ANSWER: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt.
5.) How do you remember the seven continents? It’s a snap. Just remember this line: “Eat an aspirin after a nasty sandwich.” What are the seven continents?
ANSWER: Europe, Asia, Antarctica, Africa, Australia, North America, and South America.
6.) “NAY” will help you remember the three longest rivers in the world. What are they?
ANSWER: Nile, Amazon, and the Yangtze.
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7.) SAG will help you remember the three largest deserts in the world. What are they?
ANSWER: Sahara, Arabian, and Gobi.
8.) Can you name the eight planets in our solar system closest to the sun? Here’s a hint: “Many very evil Martians just showed up naked.”
ANSWER: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
9.) No one likes diarrhea, but if you have it you’ll likely want to follow the BRAT diet. What items should you eat?
ANSWER: Bananas, Rice, Apples, and Toast.
Good Mnemonic Device Hacks
10.) What’s a mnemonic device for remembering the notes on the lines of the treble clef?
ANSWER: Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge (for E, G, B, D, and F). Alternative: Every Good Boy Does Fine.
11.) So you know the lines, what about the spaces on the treble staff? Hint: It spells a part of your body.
12.) “I Value Xylophones Like Cows Dig Milk” is a mnemonic device for what?
ANSWER: It helps you remember the order and value of Roman numerals. I = One, V = Five, X = 10, L = 50, C = 100, D = 500, and M = 1,000.
Retain, Recall, and Retrieve
13.) FANBOYS is an acronym for remembering the seven coordinating conjunctions. Can you name them?
ANSWER: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, and So.
14.) The order of operations for math is recalled with this sentence: Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally. What is the order of operations?
ANSWER: Parentheses, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Add, and Subtract.
15.) Which months have 30 days, 31 days, and 28 days?
ANSWER: 30 days hath September, April, June, and November. All the rest have 31 except February.
Which word to use when?
16.) When do you use “gray” and when do you use “grey”?
ANSWER: Use grAy in America, and grEy in England.
17.) When to use the words affect and effect?
ANSWER: RAVEN — Remember: Affect = Verb, Effect = Noun
18.) Who is depicted on the one-dollar U.S. bill, the $2, the $5, the $10, the $20, the $50, and the $100?
ANSWER: Use “When Jeff Left Home Jack Got Fat” which stands for Washington $1, Jefferson $2, Lincoln $5, Hamilton $10, Jackson $20, Grant $50, and Franklin $100. That will be one Franklin, please.
Master of the Mnemonic Device
19.) Stalagmites and stalactites are mineral formations in caves. What is the difference between the two?
ANSWER: StalaGmites are on the Ground; while stalaCtites are on the Ceiling.
20.) What are the first five books of the Old Testament? Here’s your hint: “God Equals Light, Not Darkness.”
ANSWER: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers Deuteronomy
21.) Daylight Saving Time was first used by Germany in 1916 to save fuel. How do you remember when to move your clock forward or back?
ANSWER: Spring ahead; Fall back.
Best Mnemonic Devices
22.) Ok, here’s a tough one: how many countries can you name around the Adriatic Sea? Hint: Incredibly Slimy Cockroach Bit My Aunt.
ANSWER: Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Albania.
23.) Can you name the first eight presidents of the United States in order? Hint: Will A Jolly Man Make A Jolly Visitor?
ANSWER: George Washington, John Quincy Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Martin Van Buren.
24.) How do you spell RHYTHM?
ANSWER: R-H-Y-T-H-M. Remember it easily with this phrase: Rhythm Helps Your Two Hips Move.
Interesting Mnemonic Device
25.) In what year did Columbus sail from Spain to America?
ANSWER: In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. (1492)
26.) What were the fates of King Henry VIII’s wives?
ANSWER: This rhyme holds the answers: “Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived.”
27.) How many countries in Central America can you name? Hint: “Big Gorillas Eat Hotdogs, Not Cold Pizza.”
ANSWER: Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.
Answer Key — Mnemonic Device Challenge
If you answered 10 of these questions correctly, you’re way ahead of most people. Also, give yourself partial credit if you answered part of the question correctly. A partially correct answer equals 1/2 a point.
— Greg Johnson & Mike O’Halloran
Greg and Mike are co-founders of ListCaboodle.
FREE Printable PDF
Take this fun mnemonics quiz with you wherever you go (just print them out for the kiddos) with this FREE Printable PDF:
You’re on the Mnemonic Device Challenge page.
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