As an individual who doesn’t primarily learn from visual faculties, anatomy was both challenging yet exciting to learn. With a fair mixture of both Latin terms and Greek terminology, I often wondered why I hadn’t learnt any of these languages. But (poor) jokes aside, listed below are a few things that I found made anatomy less esoteric and more simple to comprehend.
This point cannot be emphasized enough as Leicester is one of the few medical schools that provides IPads to their students. Apps such as Essential Anatomy are a must-have for any budding medic. This app uses live three-dimensional simulations to demonstrate muscle groups, nerve distribution and blood supply. Personally, I also found Net Anatomy immensely useful. This website utilizes prosections and radiographs to demonstrate key anatomical structures. This resource is particularly helpful as the labels of structures can be hidden. This is a great way to test yourself and gage whether you can identify important anatomical features.
Create or use flashcards:
Personally, I like using Moore’s Flashcards as they are available in an app, which makes it convenient to use whilst travelling or even while eating breakfast (if it makes you happy). These flashcards have just the right blend of content and images, and even provide clinical correlates for that particular flashcard in succinct blue boxes. There are several other flashcards available for purchase – Gray’s Anatomy and Netter’s Flashcards being some good examples.
Mnemonics are a great way to remember a piece of information for life. My personal favorite is – “Remember to drink cold beverages”, which conveniently highlights the subdivisions of the brachial plexus in the upper limb (Roots, trunks, divisions, cords, branches). Mnemonics are available for a large variety of things in medicine – from the arrangement of the congenital cardiac tube to the aetiology of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Refer to a range of textbooks:
Using a range of anatomy textbooks helped me a lot. For core learning, I preferred to use Moore’s Clinically Orientated Anatomy, which has detailed anatomical information with accompanying clinical correlates. Gray’s Anatomy for Students is another great book to refer to for images – the clear labels and colorful visuals facilitate enjoyable learning. Learning from different textbooks also enables you to appreciate the same knowledge from different angles, which helps you remember complex information more easily.
This point is possibly the most important. Anatomy is a demanding subject which requires hours of dedication and targeted studying to understand and remember. Don’t be overwhelmed by the detail – instead, try to divide studying into small chunks. Personally, studying different systems works well for me. So for instance, if I am learning the anatomy of the pancreas for an hour, for the next hour, I try and cover the anatomy of the upper urinary tract. Take your time in finding an approach that works for you and then stick to it. And who knows, by the end of medical school, anatomy might just be your favorite part of the course!