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How to easily memorize Glycolysis

Mnemonics is the easiest way to memorize glycolysis quickly  . I have used this technique the day before the test, and sometimes minutes before the test with a pretty solid success rate.

Using Mnemonics to Memorize glycolysis

Glycolysis is the first stage of cellular respiration and is responsible for converting sugar such as glucose into products that can be used in the next stage of cellular respiration (The Citric Acid Cycle)

To memorize Glycolysis you should not just look at the mnemonic and try to remember it. You should look at this, say it out loud, and write it down several times by memory. This helps people learn in a visual, auditory, and hands on manner.

To memorize glycolysis I use the following mnemonic:

Girls Get Free Food
Guys Dine with Good Girls
Boys Pretend to Pay for the Pricy People


Here is a brief overview of Glycolysis so you can relate the first letter of each word to its corresponding molecule:

Energy Investment


Glucose 6 Phosphate

Fructose 6 Phosphate


Fructose 1,6 Bispohsphate

Glyceraldehyde 3 phosphate (G3P) and Dihydroxyacetone phosphate

G3P and G3P

Energy Generation

(2 molecules) 1,3 Bisphosphoglycerate

(2 molecules) 3 Phosphoglyercerate

(2 molecules) 2 Phosphoglycerate

(2 molecules) Phosphoenolpyruvate

(2 molecules) Pyruvic Acid


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Problems with the mnemonics

It may be a little difficult to use mnemonics to remember the energy generation stage because the last four molecules start with the same letter. An easier method is to recognize that the first 3 molecules of the energy generation stage have “phosphoglycerate” in their names.

The first 3 molecules

1. (2 molecules) 1,3 bisphosphoglycerate

  • A phosphate molecule is removed from Carbon #1 to make ATP. This result is:

2. (2 molecules) 3 phosphoglycerate

  • The phosphate group is moved from Carbon #3 to carbon #2. This results in:

3. (2 molecules) 2 phosphoglycerate

  • The enzyme enolase acts on the molecule. This results in

4. (2 molecules) Phosphoenolpyruvate

  • The last phosphate group is removed from the molecule to make another molecule of ATP.

5. (2 molecules) Pyruvic Acid

During aerobic respiration the end result of Glycolysis is 2 molecules of Pyruvic Acid which can be used in the Citric Acid (Krebs) Cycle. Click here if you want to see how to easily memorize the Krebs (Citric Acid) Cycle.


Why Glycolysis is important

When looking at the grand scheme of life, humans are made of billions of cells that need energy to survive. The sun is the major source of energy on earth but we are not capable of directly converting sunlight into energy.

For photosynthetic bacteria and plants, the sun’s energy can be harnessed via photosynthesis, and converted into glucose. Many higher order organisms like humans must consume plants , or other animals that have consumed plants to harness “a portion” of the sun’s energy that is usually stored in carbohydrates such as glucose. Glycolysis allows us to turn the energy storage molecule glucose into cellular energy(ATP) that allows our cells to function.

The muscles used to force blood out of our heart, or inhale oxygen all depend on the  cellular respiration which begins with Glycolysis.

What if humans could carry out Photosynthesis

Our skin, the largest regenerating organ, can absorb sunlight to convert a molecule in our skin into Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 promotes increased Calcium absorption in the small intestine. This is a very important homeostatic process, but does not produce the energy our cells need to live.

There is a good chance the last movie you watched about  aliens featured “green” extraterrestrials with “large craniums”. One explanation for this phenomena could be the fact that extraterrestrials visiting earth are believed to be more evolutionarily advanced than humans. Larger craniums equal increased cognitive abilities of their brains. The green skin could  indicate the presence of chlorophyll and the ability to carry out photosynthesis. If extraterrestrials could carry out photosynthesis they could reduce foreign energy consumption also known as eating.

Although plausible, I doubt enough surface area would be exposed to the sun to meet the energy demands of an advanced organism.

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  1. Hey!

    Would you make one for the enzymes as well?

  2. Ok. I will update this page so there is a section for the molecules and the enzymes.