Human Anatomy

I just started my human anatomy class today, and I am not looking forward to all the shit I need to study. Well, I am excited about learning where everything is, but the short period of time isn’t good. This is also a cadaver class, so I am cutting up on an old man. Its kinda cool to see everything in the flesh, no pun intended, instead from a book. Anybody have any tips on studying this class aside from study every night?

Learning human anatomy is hard work. Period. There are no shortcuts. You just have to pay your due with the books like the rest of us :slight_smile:

Other than studying every night…how about every other night? It’s pure memorization dude, no way to get around it.

Anatomy is a bitch because it is nothing like any other course you will take in medical (or any other) school. There is an infinite amount of detail, they often test on trivia (seek old exams if possible) and what is expected of you is often not clear [your experience may vary]. Talk to more senior students to see which books they found helpful (likely the usual suspects: grants or clemente or netter and pansky…), master the basics e.g. read the cliff notes for any area of the body before starting on the e.g. 100 pg chapter on the intrinsic muscles of the fingers and study study study.

Gross Anatomy was the best course I’ve ever taken…hands down. Get in for open lab as often as possible, and when dealing with the musculoskeletal system, try to think about what you’re learning in terms of your training. How do certain muscles contribute in various exercises? Where do active and passive insufficiencies arise? What are the common postural abnormalities? What larger muscles are often neglected?

Yes, I’m a functional anatomy dork, but I aced the class and it definitely improved my professional abilities.

Lab time. I find that to be a key component in understanding the human anatomy. Understanding relationships between arteries/nerves/muscles/fascias/etc etc is much easier visually (lab) than conceptually (pure book study).

But, by no means am I condoning slacking on library time. Do both, and you should survive.

Have fun and good luck!

Speaking of functional anatomy, there is a great book I’ve recently discovered called “Anatomy of Movement” by Blandine Calais-Germain. Not a basic text to help you pass your anatomy tests, but a great book from a functional point of view.

I have a lame suggestion. I usually only study by either doing examples, or by using the text’s website and cds. If your text has either of these, use it. Since they often offer some good quizzes, tests, practice problems, tutorials, flash cards, etc. online I find the websites quite useful and rather fun compared to reading and studying straight from a boring text.

On another note I can’t wait to take that class and cut some animals/cadavors up. I love, and live for that kind of stuff. Ahh, the days of slaughtering farm animals with an axe, and gutting them afterwards - I miss it.

A side note about cadavers:

Did y’all know that you have to pay to donate your body to science? All those dudes that y’all cut up actually paid cash for the privilege of becoming your biological playthings. Weird, huh?

Good luck with head and neck. It’s a nightmare. My cadaver had metastatic renal cancer that infiltrated the lungs, liver, and the erector spinae. The muscles were so rotten from the metabolic state of the body prior to death, in addition to sitting in embalming fluid for months, that we were able to pull the muscle apart with our fingers like it was corned beef. And the smell…let’s just say I’m glad I only had to do that once.

That depends where you are, when a university gets too many donations they start charging to discourage people. When they don’t have enough they don’t charge so it’s situation specific.

I have to say that Gross Anatomy was definetly one of the best classes I’ve ever taken. There isn’t a lot you can do but study your brains out and like everyone has said make certain you spend as much time in the lab as possible.

Also, make certain you spend lots of time with all the cadavers, there’s lots of individual variation and you need to see things on different bodies to really grasp everything well.

The only real piece of advice I’ll give is a practical one. Make certain once you’ve skinned the area in question and removed the subQ fat that you go in and seperate the muscles, nerves and blood vessels by hand rather than with a tool. That way you’ll be able to feel the nerves and blood vessels and won’t accidentally slice or tear them.


The only advice I can give you is to stay on top of it. If you start slacking off or falling behind, you are doomed. One helpful tip I learned is to rewrite your notes the night after class. This reinforces what you learned and allows you to see the information better. Good luck man. The class is a killer, but it is fascinating.

I’ve got another study tip that really helped me get an A. While memorizing the structures/projections/components of a muscle/bone/organ, always start and end at the same place. Follow the same path around the muscle/bone/organ every time you study. This makes it much easier to remember and learn. Also, try to group similar organs/muscles/bones together in specific study sessions. For example: study all the muscles that flex the knee in the same session. Memorize all the muscles that insert on the ilium in a session.

I am an expert in human anatomy. Memorization is the key. Use every trick (association) to recall information.

Read ahead before you hit the lab. That way when you actually see the part, it will mean something. This helped me out quite a bit, but it’s all in HOW you learn.

Your next challenge is to eat a can of tuna right after dissecting muscle!

Hey thanks everyone. I have a quiz tomorrow over some of the muscles in the back, superficial and deep. I have to know the second order info about these so I am studying my ass off. I have also called other people in my lab group and now one wants to study. This pisses me off because we also have a group grade. Anyway, thanks for the suggestions.

You take the quizzes/exams in groups? If so, that’s uber lame.

I think the group grade is based on participation and what have you.

i would say really pay attention to origins and insertions of muscles. if you know those, you don’t have to memorize actions like some try to do. think in terms of biomechanics.

i don’t know what context you are taking this course in so i don’t know how to advise you further. but i would say look for relationships i.e. what nerve runs alongside what artery.

all the other folks here have made excellent suggestions.

Another thing that several friends mentioned as being helpful is the book “The Anatomy Coloring Book” by Kapit and Elson. Don’t laugh. Many MDs out there used this book for gross anatomy help. Supposedly very detailed and helpful.

Any you can color it yourself.

Good luck.