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Best way to learn anatomy?

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bonoz

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I feel like I am a very visual learner. I wish there was some sort of a software program or 3d simulation where you can 'navigate' through the different layers, levels, and areas of the human body. Does such a thing exist?

If so, what's the best one?

Any other options to really help and solidify my anatomy learning?

Thanks
 

scarshapedstar

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Zygote is pretty comprehensive, more of a reference than a study aid though. iOS and Android also have some apps that might be helpful to you.
 

altoid25

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I used the Thieme Atlas of Anatomy on the iPad. It is incredibly detailed and allows for zooming and flicking around ofvthe images. Way more interactive than a Netter's and better organized IMO. You can index search for anything which saves time.
 

FutbolFanatic88

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Mcgraw-Hill anatomy and physiology revealed. My school somehow got ahold of a bunch of free subscriptions to it and it made the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems much easier to learn. Not sure how good the organ systems portion is, but the histo portion is pretty handy too
 

bonoz

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I don't have iPhone/iPad.

Do such apps exist for PC or android?

Thanks
 

achamess

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Here is a clip from a blog a wrote a while back on how I'd study anatomy if I were in 1st year again. Your mileage will vary. I just wanted to put this out there.

I often wish I had known certain things when I was a first year medical student. Now having completed that phase of my training, I know that if I had the chance, I would have done many things differently with regards to what and how I studied.

Anatomy

Here is my recipe for how to really, truly learn anatomy well.

1. Watch Acland's
I wish I knew about these gems sooner in my anatomy studying. They are a series of high-quality, expertly narrated fresh dissections. Dr. Acland goes through key structures and landmarks in each region of the body. There are a lot of details missing, to be sure, but these videos give an excellent overview of the body's anatomy. I think anatomy is best studied by zooming in a couple of times from different levels. What I mean is, first, you want to get the 30,000 foot aerial view of the territory, just so you're familiar with the big stuff and the definitions and the overall plan. Then, you want to zoom in a little farther. This is where you want to crack out an excellent, clinically-relevant text like Moore's Essential Clinical Anatomy so you can appreciate the finer detail. I also have become a big fan of Big Picture: Gross Anatomy recently. I think I would have made this my primary book if I could go back to first year. Then, if you really want the nitty-gritty, you can go in even further with Big Gray's or Big Moore. I don't think this is necessary, but for those who love anatomy, this could be useful.


So, I think Aclands should be the first thing you do. Before you start a new body system, get a cup of coffee and some snacks and pull up Aclands on your laptop. Sit back, relax. No need to take notes at this point. Just absorb on the first pass. I DO recommend having a good atlas such as Netter's to consult if anything is unclear on Aclands (which it usually isn't).

2. Read... not too much at once, but a little each day.

After you've got that aerial view, now it's time to zoom in. There are a slew of anatomy texts out there. Gray's Anatomy for Students and Moore's Essential Clinical Anatomy are the most popular I think. Everyone will have their preferences. I used Gray's but I wish I had used Big Picture or maybe Little Moore's. Time is limited in med school and you have to make a choice about how much you think you can reasonably learn and retain for the long term. I think it's better to have a complete albeit superficial understanding of a topic rather than a more detailed but fragmented or incomplete understanding. That's why so many medical students opt for review books; they don't have all the details, but you get the big picture, so that later on when you do need to get more detailed, you've got the intellectual infrastructure.

I think for learning anatomy, the review books like BRS Anatomy or High Yield are too little information. I don't think bullet points work terribly well with anatomy. Other subjects, outline form is great, but I think with anatomy, it's good to get more of a narrative. But not TOO much of a narrative such that you get overwhelmed by the details. It's kind of like Goldy Locks. You have to find the source that is just right. Gray's I thought was too much. BRS anatomy too little. Moore's Essential Clinical Anatomy is just right. It's got more than enough detail (at almost 900 pages) but has ton's of clinical correlates (blue boxes), good pictures and straightforward, approachable, intuitive text. I think a medical student can reasonably make it through this book with a dedicated schedule and get more than enough detail about clinical anatomy.

I think it's important to pace yourself when studying anything, but especially anatomy. Just like with food, information gluttony makes you feel sick and doesn't stay down. So making a reading schedule is key. 15-25 pages/day max. Less is better if you can get away with it.

3. Make Anki Flashcards while you read.. then crush them.

I've extolled the virtues of Anki before so, I'll just summarize here. Anki is a spaced repetition flashcard program. If you want to remember something - anything - Anki is the way to go. If you want to remember something, you need to be drilled on it multiple times and at increasingly longer intervals. This is true of all factual knowledge, but with anatomy, this is particularly so.

Unlike physiology or pathology, where you might use some conceptual knowledge to deduce something about a disease process, anatomy is largely a memorizatoin game. There is no getting around the fact that you just need to spend time with the material - lots of time. And if you want to have a chance of remembering most of the stuff you're learning as you slog through the texts and slice into you cadaver, you need something like Anki to keep reminding you.

Here is what I recommend (and I actually did this; I started Anki because I was looking for a way to help me retain all the anatomy info I was hit with):

Read. -> As you're reading, take note of salient facts and structures. Make a card for whatever fact you want to remember. Include an image. If you have your anatomy texts online, you can copy and paste with ease right into your card. This is one area where I will hand it to Gray's - the images are best in this book.

So you make your cards as you go through your reading. Then after your reading, you immediately review your cards. It is essential to do this as soon as possible. Don't let any time lag between your reading and you reviewing. This process is critical for committing your hard-earned knowledge to memory. And remember, Anki will schedule these cards for future reviews.


You don't just see these cards once and move on. You need to continually review even while you're learning new stuff. That is why I say it's so important to pace yourself and set a reasonable schedule.

4. Repeat.

Do this same process for every body system. Watch Aclands -> read and make cards -> review cards -> read again the next day -> and so on and so forth.

5. Before you go to lab...

Anatomy lab is a rite of passage of medical school. When you're in there slicing through layers of fascia and fat and dissecting body parts, you really feel like a medical student. Some people find anatomy lab extremely helpful while others find it less so. I was in the latter camp, but I don't want to dissuade anyone from going to lab. You have to see what's best for you. What I will say, however, is that lab will be infinitely more meaningful if you know what you're looking for beforehand. Going in blind will make your time very low yield. You'll be picking blindly through a mess of parts that don't mean much to you. Your time would be better spent doing something else. On the other hand, if you've done your reading and watched Acland's before lab, you'll be ready to go - ready to be a rockstar.

At most schools, anatomy class usually precedes lab time. I generally found lecture to be pretty ineffective for the way I learned. I think a better way to prepare for lab would be to use the hour or so before lab to watch the relevant Acland's videos at 2x speed. I think if you do this, your lab time will be very well spent and quite useful. I wish I had followed this advice last year. I would have learned a lot more.
 
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cynthiam

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Thanks for your helpful post achamess. I got a C in Anatomy this past semester so I'm trying to figure out how to improve my study approach. Your suggestions are simple, straightforward and doable. Kudos.
 

Mdard

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1. Sit through lecture, get overall picture, (pick up on voice inflection/in depth explanation for important things)

2. Watch Acland Videos for more overview

3. Make flashcards from lecture (Mentalcase + Skitch), sync with iPhone

4. Read Clinical Anatomy book with Netter's + Theimes open

5. BRS + UMich Qs + Qs from teachers. Make sure you can visualize the answer, if not, Netters/Theime's to the rescue.

6. (bonus) pay attention during dissection class. quiz each other if you aren't dissecting/helping.

One hour of lecture + one hour of studying after class + one hour on weekend + ~20-30mins/lecture of studying before test. (We do 4-5 weeks lecture, then block tests) That usually means finishing the Qs, owning the mentalcase flashcards (or anki, i like mentalcase but only for mac) and sitting around with others studying quietly. I hate group study, but I like to study in a group (that makes sense?) so if someone has a questions, we can all weigh in/discuss, then STFU.

95% in anatomy so far.
 

bsm

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1. Sit through lecture, get overall picture, (pick up on voice inflection/in depth explanation for important things)

2. Watch Acland Videos for more overview

3. Make flashcards from lecture (Mentalcase + Skitch), sync with iPhone

4. Read Clinical Anatomy book with Netter's + Theimes open

5. BRS + UMich Qs + Qs from teachers. Make sure you can visualize the answer, if not, Netters/Theime's to the rescue.

6. (bonus) pay attention during dissection class. quiz each other if you aren't dissecting/helping.

One hour of lecture + one hour of studying after class + one hour on weekend + ~20-30mins/lecture of studying before test. (We do 4-5 weeks lecture, then block tests) That usually means finishing the Qs, owning the mentalcase flashcards (or anki, i like mentalcase but only for mac) and sitting around with others studying quietly. I hate group study, but I like to study in a group (that makes sense?) so if someone has a questions, we can all weigh in/discuss, then STFU.

95% in anatomy so far.

All of the above. More emphasis on 6. Dissection is critical. Liken dissection class to visiting a destination. You can read all the maps in the world but you will not truly know the place unless you have visited. Anatomy class is visiting the structures and handling tissue, moving about, and appreciating the textures of those structures. This is the best way that I have found to appreciate anatomy. You can read all the maps, see all the photos, and watch all the movies but will never really know a place until you have been there.
 

W19

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I am reviving this thread because I don't want to create another similar thread...

I am getting my butt kick in Anatomy. For the record, I will be happy with a B. I don't know what is a good way to study for that class since the info is so much and a day after reading them, you seem to forget 90% of what you read... I am using BRS right now... Should I not spend so much time trying to memorize the materials and just do as many practice questions as I can? Help please! I have my first exam on Tuesday and it's on the first 3 chapter of BRS... @DermViser and other posters here...

I have the Frank Netter Atlas that I am using as well, but my problem is not as much with the lab, and the lab is only 25% of our grade...
 
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circulus vitios

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Don't have anything to contribute other than to say the biochem/histo/genetics block was heaven compared to this ****ing garbage. Shoot me now.
 
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Keladry

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I am reviving this thread because I don't want to create another similar thread...

I am getting my butt kick in Anatomy. For the record, I will be happy with a B. I don't know what is a good way to study for that class since the info is so much and a day after reading them, you seem to forget 90% of what you read... I am using BRS right now... Should I not spend so much time trying to memorize the materials and just do as many practice questions as I can? Help please! I have my first exam on Tuesday and it's on the first 3 chapter of BRS... @DermViser and other posters here...

I have the Frank Netter Atlas that I am using as well, but my problem is not as much with the lab, and the lab is only 25% of our grade...
I found the blue boxes in Moore to be really helpful for the written portion. Read it, take notes, figure it out, contort your body in weird ways to understand what they mean...
 
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DrEnderW

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Try and get a copy of Gray's Clinical Anatomy from someone and do the questions. Do the BRS questions. Hit the HY boxes in BRS and Moore's if you have that as well.

Get your innervations down and blood supply to organs, that's more important than origin and insertions. Learn all the exceptions (like the digastric has two innervations, etc).
 
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DermViser

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I am reviving this thread because I don't want to create another similar thread...

I am getting my butt kick in Anatomy. For the record, I will be happy with a B. I don't know what is a good way to study for that class since the info is so much and a day after reading them, you seem to forget 90% of what you read... I am using BRS right now... Should I not spend so much time trying to memorize the materials and just do as many practice questions as I can? Help please! I have my first exam on Tuesday and it's on the first 3 chapter of BRS... @DermViser and other posters here...

I have the Frank Netter Atlas that I am using as well, but my problem is not as much with the lab, and the lab is only 25% of our grade...
So what's the problem?
 

W19

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Don't have anything to contribute other than to say the biochem/histo/genetics block was heaven compared to this ******* garbage. Shoot me now.
I could not agree with you more. I never thought I would miss biochem and genetics...
 

W19

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So what's the problem?
I read BRS and try to correlate it with Essential Anatomy 4 (a software) and I still find myself forgetting almost everything after a couple of days..
 
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W19

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Try and get a copy of Gray's Clinical Anatomy from someone and do the questions. Do the BRS questions. Hit the HY boxes in BRS and Moore's if you have that as well.

Get your innervations down and blood supply to organs, that's more important than origin and insertions. Learn all the exceptions (like the digastric has two innervations, etc).
I don't think anyone in my class has Gray's C. Anatomy... I am going to try to order it even if I wont get it before my first exam...
 

WillburCobb

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Moore blue boxes, draw things out on a white board (e.g., arterial branches, nerve plexsuses and branches, etc.), U Mich, muscle tables with insertion, origin, inervation, blood supply if your profs want you to know them, and action, and plenty of time with prosections. Also, I find using Rohen's with Netter's helpful. And for those of you who are hatin' on anatomy over biochem/genetics :slap:
 
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W19

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Moore blue boxes, draw things out on a white board (e.g., arterial branches, nerve plexsuses and branches, etc.), U Mich, muscle tables with insertion, origin, inervation, blood supply if your profs want you to know them, and action, and plenty of time with prosections. Also, I find using Rohen's with Netter's helpful. And for those of you who are hatin' on anatomy over biochem/genetics :slap:
I have Moore and it is a PDF old version... I look at the blue boxes and I think that might be very helpful... Thanks.

Anatomy :(:thumbdown:
 

Robotman

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512K2aqiapL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

http://www.amazon.com/Grays-Anatomy-Review-Marios-Loukas-ebook/dp/B005S0C924

My teacher wrote this book. Literally will make you destroy all clinically oriented anatomy questions.

Supplement with your Notes+atlas +Moore's (OPTIONAL if you do your notes plus Gray's review book, you won't need Moore's because my teacher uses it as a reference to make questions).
 
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Robotman

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Thank you for the encouragement!

So I get the feeling that moores clinical anatomy is a great book?

Have you started med school yet? If not, I know everyone is scaring you with Anatomy, however, there are many many more things that will frighten you in medical school. I understand how you feel and anyone in your position would feel this way, but just relax, enjoy your break before school starts and then take first year one day at a time.
 
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WillburCobb

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Thank you for the encouragement!

So I get the feeling that moores clinical anatomy is a great book?

Yes Moore is good, but pretty much everyone in my class uses it solely for the blue boxes, which comprises about 1/8 of the text. Don't worry about texts until school starts and talk to as many MS2-4s as possibly about what they recommend for texts at your school before getting any.
 
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AlteredScale

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Have you started med school yet? If not, I know everyone is scaring you with Anatomy, however, there are many many more things that will frighten you in medical school. I understand how you feel and anyone in your position would feel this way, but just relax, enjoy your break before school starts and then take first year one day at a time.

Thanks! Luckily my final classes are keeping me occupied!
 

AlteredScale

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Yes Moore is good, but pretty much everyone in my class uses it solely for the blue boxes, which comprises about 1/8 of the text. Don't worry about texts until school starts and talk to as many MS2-4s as possibly about what they recommend for texts at your school before getting any.

Great, thank you!
 

DermViser

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I read BRS and try to correlate it with Essential Anatomy 4 (a software) and I still find myself forgetting almost everything after a couple of days..
Why are you using software? Does your professor use it? At leas tfor the first exam, use what your professor goes out of.
 

theprince911

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I feel like I am a very visual learner. I wish there was some sort of a software program or 3d simulation where you can 'navigate' through the different layers, levels, and areas of the human body. Does such a thing exist?

If so, what's the best one?

Any other options to really help and solidify my anatomy learning?

Thanks
Everyone else has given great advice in this thread.
I'm a visual learner myself. The best advice that I can give about studying anatomy (which made way more sense to me compared to biochem, etc) is to take your time and truly understand it. I used grays a little bit, but found that the material didn't stick as well. Then I started using Moore, took my time on it, and really let the material sink in. Look up the Latin words so you know what everything means and it'll make your job much easier. Try to visualize everything you read about in your mind. The way I think about it, anatomy is basically a very detailed map of the human body. As you read, try to build that map step by step, as the book narrates to you, in your mind. Look at atlases if something doesn't make sense.
I studied this way, and it made my life much easier. I still remember anatomy I learned in first year with this method, and I'm a final year student. When you get to rotations like surgery and neuro, everything will make sense.. you'll have the map, and these rotations will just be different ways to navigate it.
 
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W19

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Why are you using software? Does your professor use it? At leas tfor the first exam, use what your professor goes out of.
My prof doesn't use that software... It's just a convenient atlas.
 
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FistLength

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If you are not used netters flash cards, your doing yourself a disservice. Has info on back of cards as well

I would also recommend netters coloring book, the fact that they have some clinical info+ innervations on adjacent page makes it very helpful. When you feel like you can't study anymore, this is good to whip out and start coloring. You won't get nitty gritty with this book but it will give you the big picture. Fill in with netters flashcards + lecture

Most of the time moore's will go into detail you don't need for anatomy, except the blue boxes which has clinical correlation. The most high yield is from your professor.
 
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MilMD01

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Best way to learn anatomy:
Use anki
Find netter images on google to make cards using every single assigned structure.
Then find cadaver images and make cards off of that.

Having the cadaver images helps a ton. I used Rohan's for that.
 
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MedWonk

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Flashcards+the associated Atlas/text. I use Thieme because our course director is one of the editors/authors. I think it's really important to familiarize yourself with the relevant anatomy before dissection, otherwise you'll be lost when you're cutting and you won't know what to look for. Learn to be able think of structures in different orientations, not just in anatomical position. In our practical (and I assume other schools do the same thing), they love to flip things around and be like "What is the orientation of the marked structure? How do you know?"
 

alpinism

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I'd recommend gray's anatomy for students.

When I used to TA anatomy almost every student's grades went up after switching to the above.

You also have to sit down for at least 2-3 hours every day and memorize the material cold.

Draw pictures, make diagrams, and label structures.
 

wjs010

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Watch acland first. Go to class. Then, read class notes while looking at an atlas for each new sentence. :) I think this is a great way. And do BRS/ pretest/ umich questions.

Also, draw arteries if you need to on white board. And anything else that won't "stick" . Don't erase until you can say it out loud.
 

moisne

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Don't have anything to contribute other than to say the biochem/histo/genetics block was heaven compared to this ******* garbage. Shoot me now.
I don't see how people survive biochem... So fast and everything over my head. Could be that I last took bio 10 years ago...
I miss anatomy.

I found cadavers helpful,... And netters or grants atlas.
 

libertyyne

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you guys bought access to the acland videos??
This thread is 3 years old. These people have probably already taken step by now.

To answer your question, our school had access to the acland videos. However they are also floating around on youtube.
 
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