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Best way to study for Anatomy

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by LauraDO, Jun 14, 2008.

  1. LauraDO

    LauraDO 2+ Year Member

    Aug 5, 2007
    Ok, so I just finished up all of my post bacc work (whew) and now I have a little over a month before school starts. I want to start studying/preparing for anatomy since I have ZERO, I repeat ZERO anatomy background (other than the fact that I have been in sports my whole life so I have bruised, sprained, broken or torn several anatomical landmarks)

    How would my time best be spend in studying for anatomy. What is the best strategy to prepare myself broadly, just through using books, websites, ect.

    Don't tell me not to study and to relax, because I won't, so I either waste my time studying fruitlessly or I follow your wise, experience-obtained suggestions and accomplish something.

    I have Netter's flashcards, Trail guide to the body, ect. right now I am not sure where to start


    ps- I am offically changing my status to Medical Student now, woo hoo
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  3. Kubed

    Kubed Mostly Harmless 7+ Year Member

    The problem with studying anatomy before school starts, IMHO, is that until you've had an anatomy professor scare you, you won't have an appreciation for the detail that you need to study. It's not enough to simply recognize which bone is which, you'll have to also know every bump, groove, and plane on it.

    However, if you are going to burn the month, you'd probably be better served leaving the head and neck alone, and focusing on muscle actions, blood supply, and innervation. Try to find the book you'll be using in school and study from that. If all else fails, I like Drake's
  4. KateGia

    KateGia OMS-III 5+ Year Member

    Jan 8, 2006
    There is another thread about this. Scroll down. Read advice. Take it. If you aren't going to take it, don't bother posting, because you're just gonna sit there and argue with people about why you are different, and you really will get something out of it.

    Sorry if this is a little harsh, boards in 4 days, but it's the truth anyway.
  5. scpod

    scpod Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Oct 13, 2005
    For most people I'd say just don't do it....but I know you too well and know that you won't listen. So, if you want to get an early head start on the material I'll tell you what you are likely to have in the first two weeks. You'll probably have your first Anatomy/Histology test on Monday, two weeks after orientation begins.

    Read the first chapter of your Anatomy text and know everything in it. If there's a table or chart on a page, memorize it.

    If they keep the same structure, other topics for the first test will probably be:

    Vertebral Column
    Superficial Back
    Deep Back, Suboccipital Triangle
    Upper Limb
    Organization of Nervous System

    Know all of the bones, the crevices, protuberances and any other parts of them that have names. Know all of the muscles, blood supply, their attachments proximally and distally, their innervations and their functions. Find a copy of "Learning the Brachial Plexus in Five minutes" on the internet and draw it over and over until you see it in your sleep. Take your atlas and learn where things are in relation to each other. Learn where everything is in relation to the vertebral levels. In other words, know what muscles you would hit if a gunshot wound enetered a patients back 10cm left lateral to T4, what artery or vein it would likely hit, what nerve it might hit, and what the expected loss of function would be. Know that for every part of the back and shoulder. Again, if there's a table or chart on any page, memorize it.

    Connective Tissue
    Cartilage and Bone
    Nervous Tissue
    Lymphoid System

    Know every bold word in the chapters, the general functions as explained by the chapters and be able to recognize any slide pictured in the book. Read on staining and learn what parts of a cell turn what colors with different stains. Particularly pay attention to H&E stains because you'll see an awful lot of them.

    That's pretty much the first two weeks. Of course, you'll also have to study for OMM and Clinical Exam class as well, but they don't take up nearly as much time. You can probably blow them off until after the first exam. The first exam is by far the easiest one you'll take. My class also had 5 or 6 Embryo chapters on the first test but they didn't do that last year-- they added it into PBL instead. I'm assuming they'll keep it like last year for you guys. Good Luck!!!:luck::luck::luck:
  6. LauraDO

    LauraDO 2+ Year Member

    Aug 5, 2007
    Thank you Kubed and scpod, both of your posts are extremely helpful and exactly what I was looking for

    Good luck with boards KateGia:D

    I do apologize because now I see the similar thread, I try not to do that but for some reason I totally missed it earlier
  7. silas2642

    silas2642 silas2642 10+ Year Member

    Jul 24, 2005
    I guess one of the things to do this month is to figure out what method is going to work best for you... I used Netter's Atlas (invaluable... the flashcards don't have all the structures that you're most likely going to need to know), Moore's Clinical Anatomy for the blue boxes, and Rohen's atlas for when I didn't feel like going to lab. What worked for me was memorizing the Netter's plates so that I had a visual memory of them that I could use.

    To be honest, what everyone tells you about studying before anatomy starts is pretty accurate-- it's completely useless. Good luck!
  8. spicedmanna

    spicedmanna Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Good post and great suggestions. I think that your suggestions are a lot to do before medical school, however. I'm not sure I could have done it as you have outlined, prior to medical school, but I guess everyone has different challenges and strengths.

    I'd probably focus on priming the pump, or getting your feet wet, rather than really trying to learn anatomy--a general overview, if you will. I'd recommend getting a board-review anatomy book and trying to follow it a bit, along with using an atlas. I wouldn't focus too much on hardcore memorizing at this point, since you can do that better with a cadaver or bone-box right in front of you, but it wouldn't hurt to familiarize yourself with the actions, O/I, blood supply, and innervation of the muscles of the back, shoulder, chest, and upper and lower limbs. It can help to view the anatomy in terms of compartments. I agree about becoming especially familiar with the fundamentals of anatomy. Perhaps if you are a bit bolder, you can try getting a sense for the anatomical relationships (which is pretty hard to do without guidance; that's why I recommend using a board-review book, or something, which can help your organize your learning and group structures more logically), maybe tie in some basic embryology or histology (learn the fundamentals), and learning some clinical correlates.

    If you absolutely must study (Why are you interested in studying anatomy at this time?), then good luck. I personally don't think it's the best use of time, but that's just my opinion. You know yourself better than any of us. Do what makes you happy. :thumbup: :)
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2008
  9. LauraDO

    LauraDO 2+ Year Member

    Aug 5, 2007
    Thanks spice, good post. to answer your question I am specifically interested in anatomy because that is the focus of the first 11 weeks of school and I have this nagging fear that I am going to get the boot in those first few weeks unless I ace it....So basically I want to try to soften the blow of the truck that is about to hit me as much as possible :)
  10. MJB

    MJB Senior Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Apr 12, 2005

    That pretty much covers it.

    However, take a break Laura. Trust me on this one.

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