As a medical student, the 12 Cranial Nerves should be thoroughly memorized such that even if someone wakes you up from deep sleep and asks their names and functions in order, you should be able to answer. Cranial Nerves are super important.
Now if you need help, there are some valuable mnemonics that can come to your rescue. These mnemonics can be helpful for remembering the names of the twelve cranial nerves, as well as remembering which nerves are sensory, motor, or both.
Remembering cranial nerve names in order of CN I to CN XII:
- On old Olympus’s towering top a Finn and German viewed some hops 2
- Ooh, ooh, ooh to touch and feel very good velvet. Such heaven!
Remembering functional information:
S: sensory; m: motor; b: both
- Some say marry money but my brother says big brains matter more
- Some say my mother bought my brother some bad beer, my, my
So here we go. First, for the names of the twelve cranial nerves in order
On old Olympus’s towering top a Finn and German viewed some hops Ooh, Ooh, Ooh, to touch and feel very good velvet. Such heaven!
- O: olfactory nerve (CN I)
- O: optic nerve (CN II)
- O: oculomotor nerve (CN III)
- T: trochlear nerve (CN IV)
- T: trigeminal nerve(CN V)
- A: abducens nerve (CN VI)
- F: facial nerve (CN VII)
- A: auditory (or vestibulocochlear) nerve (CN VIII)
- G: glossopharyngeal nerve (CN IX)
- V: vagus nerve (CN X)
- S: spinal accessory nerve (CN XI)
- H: hypoglossal nerve (CN XII)
Now, we need to look at which cranial nerves are sensory, motor or both ie mixed.
Remember this mnemonic for cranial nerve functions – Some say marry money but my brother says big brains matter more Some say my mother bought my brother some bad beer, my, my
- S: sensory (olfactory nerve – CN I)
- S: sensory (optic nerve – CN II)
- M: motor (oculomotor nerve – CN III)
- M: motor (trochlear nerve – CN IV)
- B: both (trigeminal nerve – CN V)
- M: motor (abducens nerve – CN VI)
- B: both (facial nerve – CN VII)
- S: sensory (vestibulocochlear nerve – CN VIII)
- B: both (glossopharyngeal nerve CN IX)
- B: both (vagus nerve – CN X)
- M: motor (spinal accessory nerve – CN XI)
- M: motor (hypoglossal nerve – CN XII)
If you write out the mnemonic for remembering the names next to the mnemonic for their function then they will align giving you an easier way to remember both the cranial nerve names and their function.
Hope those mnemonics helped. If you have better ones for the same, do post in the comments below. Also, check out these useful mnemonics below.