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SI Prefixes

SI Prefixes mnemonic

Need to convert between prefixes like from picosecond to microsecond? Or kilometer to milimeter? Do you need to memorize the SI prefixes? Find it difficult to remember the letters/symbols, sequence and exponent value? If you answered yes, then you are not alone. My students join you in this struggle. That’s why I developed a mnemonic to help them memorize all 12 prefixes they need for the course. So, here we go, introducing the 12 prefixes:

– Tera – Giga – Mega – kilo – hecto – deca – deci – centi – mili – micro – nano – pico –

Here’s the thing, each of these prefixes have their own abbreviation/symbol. The first three (Tera, Giga, Mega) are abbreviated with 1 upper case letter (T, G and M, respectively). Then, the rest are 1 lower case letter (k, h, d, c, m, n, p), except deca (da) and micro (μ). So, here goes, the mnemonic I created for the 12 prefixes in sequence:

  • Tera – The
  • Giga – Great
  • Mega – Man
  • kilo – king
  • hecto – henry’s
  • deca – daughter
  • BASEBeth
  • deci – drinks
  • centi – cold
  • mili – milk
  • micro – μntil
  • nano – nine
  • pico – pm

As for the exponent value, just start with 0 at base. Then you go 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 12. Do that on both sides, except you place negative sign (-) on the right hand side (refer to the image, it’ll make more sense).

Hope this helped you somehow. Do share it with anyone you think will benefit from this mnemonic.

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