When asked to name the facial nerve branches would you go “to zanzibar by motor car”? If so, you've used a mnemonic and probably increased your chances of answering the question correctly. Chibuzo Odigwe and Sarah Davidson explain Among the many uses of mnemonics is the recollection of the branches of the facial nerve (temporal, zygomatic, buccal, mandibular, and cervical), as above. Although modern medical students employ numerous mnemonics, the idea of tying one thing to another to facilitate recollection is not new. The ancient Greeks and Romans had a system of mnemonics, that used the loci et res, method. This combined a familiar structure (locus) and the thing to be remembered (res), allowing information to be remembered in a serial order.  The word itself can be traced to Mnemosyne, the Greek personification of memory.
- By: Chibuzo Odigwe, Sarah Davidson
Also referred to as memoria technica, a mnemonic can be defined broadly as “any device, procedure, or operation for aiding the memory in terms of both the acquisition and retrieval of learned material.”1–4
“Mnemonic devices are unquestionably effective in aiding the recall of specific information. They may be troublesome at the start of a learning sequence, since they take time to initiate, but once there, they allow information to remain in place,” said one group of authors.5
The hidden utility of mnemonics stems from the attention that must be used to create sometimes bizarre associations. Forcing yourself to focus and learn the mnemonic is in itself a potent factor for encoding and retrieving information.67
Individual learning style affects the kind of mnemonic you can use successfully. Visual learners study more effectively when they employ visual cues and are effective in written communication and symbol manipulation. Most people learn this way.