MCAT Mnemonics

MCAT Mnemonics: Metric Prefixes

Ken Tao is the MedSchoolCoach expert on MCAT, and will discuss metric prefixes, explaining how terribly gigantic monsters killed 1 million men napping peacefully can help you remember Tera, Giga, Mega, Kilo, Milli, Micro, Nano and Pico.


Full Transcription

Hey, welcome back to another episode of MCAT Mnemonic Monday. My name is Ken and I’m an MCAT expert with MedSchoolCoach. Today we have a physics mnemonic for you, and it’s on metric prefixes.

And this will actually help you with not just physics problems on the MCAT, but also general chemistry questions as well. All right. So now let’s take a look at the metric prefixes you need to know for the exam.

We can see here we have all the names and the abbreviations in parentheses, as well as what those values mean. So essentially metric prefixes are letters that you add to the beginning of units to modify them.

So for instance, a meter is a unit of distance. And if you put a K in front of a meter then you have a kilometer, and a kilometer is 1,000 meters. All right. So the prefixes you need to know:

We have Tera, denoted by capital T, which is ten to the twelve.

We have Giga, denoted by capital G, ten to the nine.

Mega, denoted by capital M, ten to the six.

Kilo, lowercase K, one-thousand.

And if you have nothing, then that’s just one, so you don’t put anything in front of just a meter.

Milli, lowercase M, ten to a negative three. This means that there is 1,000 millimeters in one meter.

Micro, denoted by μ, ten to the negative six.

Nano, lowercase N, ten to a negative nine.

And finally, Pico, lowercase P, ten to a negative twelve.

You notice that all of these prefixes go in order of three. So you go from 12 to 9 to 6 to 3 to zero and on. The mnemonic I can use to memorize the metric prefixes in this order is:

Terribly Gigantic Monsters Killed One Million Men Napping Peacefully.

All right, so again, terribly gigantic monsters killed one million men napping peacefully.

So this can help you memorize all of the metric prefixes from the largest one to the smallest one in order.

Ken Tao

Ken is nationally recognized as a premier MCAT mind. He has worked with thousands of undergraduate students as a graduate teaching assistant and MCAT instructor/tutor for the Princeton Review. At Princeton Review, Ken was the only tutor certified in all subjects, was one of the highest rated MCAT tutors ever and was a teacher trainer. Additionally, Ken worked to found Magoosh's MCAT division. He has written content for dozen's of MCAT books and guides. He is now the Director of MCAT at MedSchoolCoach

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