If you are in the medical field, whether you want to become a doctor, nurse, dentist or even a pharmacist, we all have to or have gone through this subject. For some, it will be easy and entertaining but for some, it can be dreadful and difficult, whatever your experience with anatomy is, you cannot deny that it is probably the most helpful subject. When you start your medical journey, when you start to study for it, you will find yourself wishing someone gave you tips on where to start or what to study. Here are some tips I wish I knew before giving my anatomy exam:
1. DRAW IT OUT! The best way to remember anatomy is by drawing it, be it a group of muscles, tracts, vessels e.t.c. Especially for muscles of the lower and upper limb use yourself as the canvas, you will remember it better. When drawing on paper make sure to use different colours and label the diagrams.
2. When studying structures such as the internal organs, topographical regions and triangles or fossa make sure to study the structures around them, anteriorly, posteriorly, medially and laterally. For triangles and fossas know the contents(vessels, lymphs and nerve supply), this will help you to orient easier.
3. Make sure to know 3 things for muscles and internal organs- innervation, blood supply and if they have some lymphatic drainage.
4. If you have a pin test, as I did, make sure to review the pins during the semester. If you can and your university allows it, take photos and videos explaining what the pins are, this helps a lot when reviewing for exams. Making videos means you understand the structures and even if you don’t remember it later, you can always go back to them and re-watch it.
5. Besides the general books, you can use the following resources, (I recommend you do, they helped me a lot). These resources are extremely helpful when preparing for your anatomy exam. For visuals and notes, I recommend TeachMeAnatomy and Ninja Nerd on YouTube, whereas for visual revision Anatomy Zone is more helpful.
6. Use flashcards for Latin names, some professors may require you to remember the names of structures in Latin, you can use either handmade or online flash cards for that. You can also search for already made flashcards on the internet to just review them or get creative and make your own!
7. Use memorization tactics, some books, youtube videos and guides provide a lot of mnemonics and diagrams to help you remember anatomy. You can use those or I have also seen students make their own. It doesn’t have to be a single word, it can also be a sentence or a diagram that helps you remember.
8. Focus on your weakest points. I know you might know the muscles of the upper and lower limb very well, or you know your neuroanatomy very well, but the key to becoming a good doctor is to know your anatomy very well, That’s the first step before getting into the pathology of the organs.
9. Study in groups and quiz each other, some people study better in groups or just with a friend. If you are one of those people then go ahead and find a study buddy or just grab a classmate. Do not worry though if you prefer studying alone, you can quiz yourself too!
10. Before following any tips on the internet, you should know your studying style. Whether you are a visual or auditory learner, or you learn by the muscle memory of writing, you need to know your style of studying in order to apply any study tips.
11. Practice, practice and more practice! Unfortunately, there is only one way around it, only to review and practice. The more you read, review, draw and quiz yourself the better you will remember the material.
In the end, I wish you all the success for your upcoming exam session. Make sure you don’t overwork yourself as taking breaks in between is really important. It’s harder to study after you are burnt out or tired, so cut your work into chunks and stay hydrated. Remember it’s okay not to know everything as everything comes with time, so don’t give up on your dreams!
Feature image by Joyce McCown on Unsplash.