How I remember the 12 cranial nerves and their functions

So, I’m studying for finals right now, and just wanted to post this somewhere so that maybe someone who’s interested or who might find it useful might stumble across it.

Of course, there are tons of one-sentence lines for remembering the 12 cranial nerves. The one that sticks in my mind best is “Oh, oh, oh, to touch and feel a girl’s very soft hands.”

But this doesn’t do much for helping to remember the general functions of each nerve, so I use this slightly longer story in conjunction with the above sentence. The way it works is the above sentence gives you the first letter of the nerve, and the story below gives you said nerve’s function (and what nerve is referred to by said beginning letter).

(Note- for my class, we lumped nerves 3,4, & 6 as all being generally related to ocular motor functions, so my story doesn’t take any specific functions of these three into account.)

First you smell the fire (1), then you see the fire (2). Your eyes widen (3), and you look around (4). You feel the heat of the fire on your face (5). You look back at the house (6) and notice someone trapped inside. You get a look of shock and fear on your face (7). You hear sirens approaching (8). Your throat feels dry from the smoke (9). You try to scream (10) to let them know there’s someone inside, but you can’t make a sound. You try to run forward to help the person trapped in the building, but someone’s holding you back now (11). They’re holding you so firmly that you can barely move, and you can do nothing more than to stick your tongue (12) out at them.

(Notice 11 and 12 vaguely refer to the tests for these nerves.)

No promises, but it works for me and my purposes.


3 thoughts on “How I remember the 12 cranial nerves and their functions

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