Tag Archives: mnemonic device

Order of Operations Mnemonic Device

PEMDAS- Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally
The informant was introduced to this mnemonic device in late elementary school and middle school as a method to learn the order of operation: parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction. When solving a mathematical equation, the order that one performs the operations is important to reach the final answer. The students were taught “Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally”; however, the informant and many other students in the class would change to simply say “Pemdas”, a made-up word, but one they could still remember. The phrase was less appealing to the informant and their peers as it was long and required them to break down the phrase into the first letters of each word to get the actual desired content.
My Thoughts
The students were taught the phrase “Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally” by their teachers, but instead made their own mnemonic device to better match their preferences. The shorter device may point to a desire for efficiency in those who use it as they prefer a more straight-forward learning method than one that might be seen as ‘creative’.

Mnemonic device: 聽

Ting (to listen)


Shi si ge xue sheng yong er duo yi xin ting da wang

Ten four students one heart use ear listen king

With one heart, fourteen students use their ears to listen to the king

This is a way of remembering the components of the Chinese character ting, meaning to listen. 十, 四, 一, 心, 耳, and 王are the components that make up the character 聽 and all stand alone as well. This strings them into a sentence to make them easier to remember.

My informant’s Chinese teacher taught her this mnemonic device when she was having remembering how to write ting. The sentence itself is meaningless, but my informant says that she hasn’t once forgotten how to write ting since learning this memory trick.