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Most effective way to prepare for gross anatomy exam?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by barb, Sep 18, 2002.

  1. barb

    barb Senior Member
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    OK. Midterms are in less than 3 weeks. I recently took a practice midterm and scored a whopping 40% (written exam, not practical). Any suggestions on the best way to prepare for the exam (both written and practical)?
     
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  3. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    I don't know if there is much better advice than to study. Keep testing yourself as you go along. Use flash cards if they help. I use an excel spreadsheet to keep track of the multitude of facts that have to be memorized and it works as a flashcard system. Let me know if you want a copy of it. Depending on how your course is taught you probably don't want to bog yourself down with too much reading. If you are using Moore, just hit the blue boxes and use the case studies at the end of each chapter. The GAPP tests in Grant's Dissector can be helpful to get your spatial anatomy down pat.

    Go over the cadavers a lot. Use photograph atlases to test yourself outside of the lab. Memorize the major things, i.e., if you feel you can't learn everyything than choose your battles wisely. For example, you may not want to remember the exact insertion and origin for every flexor and extensor in the forearm...just learn the general pattern and try to pin down the few exceptions. As is the norm for anatomy courses, know the brachial plexus well and be sure that you can identify all of its cords and branches on any cadaver. (This of course assumes you're test involves the upper limbs). Best of luck...
     
  4. fourthyear

    fourthyear Senior Member
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    spend lots of time in lab. i'm a 4th year and I still think back to what the heart looked like inside to remember whether the tricuspid valve is left or right (for some reason this never stuck with me through all of premed till I actually saw the 3 cusps connected to those pappillary muscles in the ventricle)

    look at your atlases, especially a photo one like Rohen

    Draw things out over and over - works especially well with nerves (brachial plexus), arteries, and veins.
     
  5. What I found helpful was to think about all the connections, what's connected to what, and where. Get the general patterns, but with specificity. It's just a lot to learn, keep studying, and testing yourself different ways, you'll get it sooner or later. Hopefully sooner.
     
  6. drdaizy

    drdaizy Junior Member
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    Do you have old tests from previous years available? I found those to be very helpful, not to memorize questions from, but to get a general idea of the areas that the professors considered to be high-yield. This was very helpful for the written exam. As far as the practical is concerned, lab time is imperative. Get a good look at ALL of the cadavers and know them well, not just your own. Spend as much time in the lab as you can without overdoing it. The class above us also gave a practice practical a couple of nights before the real thing which was helpful as far as getting the feel of the exam and how we would be tested. If it makes you feel better, I got a "fantastic" score of about 50% on all of the practice stuff and then did very well on the real thing. Sleep well the night before. I can't stress that enough. Good luck! :cool:
     
  7. when you go to the lab to study, visit as many cadavers as possible to get a good idea of where structures are, not just your own cadaver or your best friend's cadaver. If there are tutors, 4th year students doing an anatomy TA rotation, or professors in the lab while you're there, ask them to help with any structures that are giving you trouble. And remember, the first exam is a learning experience, and if you can look at what you did wrong and make a good effort to correct it on the next exam, you will do much better. I am now a second year who did not do well at all on the first 2 exams last year but then decided to follow the advice I just gave and ended up passing the class. IMO, anatomy was the hardest class just because it required a huge learning style adjustment, but once you get through it, your free time will begin to come back cause the rest of the courses are not that bad if you have an OK or better science background. good luck!
     
  8. daveshnave

    daveshnave Senior Member
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    I have two words for your written exam....

    Chung BRS

    I don't know how I would have survived anatomy written exams without this text. For a BRS book, I would never use it for Step 1, because it's too detailed, but I thought it was perfect for the Anatomy course. This book and an atlas will carry you a long way for your written exams, and contrary to what anyone may say, I think this book has every piece of info you can imagine that may pop up on a written exam. Very detailed....

    As for surviving the rest of the course, other posters are correct. There is a style of learning that is unique to anatomy, and it just takes time to figure out. You will get through, so just stick it out....
     
  9. oldman

    oldman Senior Citizen
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    i drew out the structures, that helped stick them in my memory.
     
  10. indigoblue22

    indigoblue22 Member
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    These are great tips! I haven't had my first anatomy exam yet and am doing poorly on the practice exams...barb, my advice would be to avoid doing what I did - I tried making flashcards for everything from the notes! This worked in college, but now I have like hundreds of flashcards out-of-order and they're just a confusing mess... However, I guess as long as they are organized and contain pertainent info the flashcard system will work. Now (with very little time to spare) I'm trying to start learning innervations, orgins and insertions by studying Netters and looking for common themes...but who knows if that will work. :(
    mpp, would you be able to post some of your spreadsheet study system here? I might try that...Using a computer spreadsheet sounds helpful...

    Good luck everyone :) Thanks for the tips posted.
     
  11. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
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    1. Go to anatomy lab. (I know this sounds crazy, but anatomy lab is actually optional in some schools for certain parts of the curriculum).

    2. Do practice exams if any of your professor sets them up. One of our professors was great. He would spend his Friday nights setting up practice exams for us to do on the weekends! Now that's a dedicated professor!

    3. Get a copy of ADAM Anatomy and study it.

    4. The ADAM Anatomy Practice Practical is good.

    Good luck!
     
  12. Dodge This

    Dodge This Senior Member
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    I agree with everyone who said go down to the cadavers as often as possible. While it is possible to learn out of atlases, nothing substitutes for the real thing--not even Rohen and Yokoshi(sp?).

    Group studying can be a good review, if you've put in the time before hand to make it worthwhile. Go to the lab with about 4-5 people and pimp each other while working over the cadavers.

    BRS Gross Anatomy by Chung is far from essential for most people. It may even been too concise.

    University of Michigan has an awesome GA website. I don't have the URL, but you can just search for it.

    Good luck.
     
  13. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    E-mail me (use e-mail button below) and I'd be happy to send you the spreadsheet I've used.
     
  14. kutastha

    kutastha 2K Member
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    We just had our test today and here's what I did from the get-go that seemed to help me:

    The night before, I review what was done that day and look over what we'll do the next, using the dissector, Grant's and Rohen's to orient myself.

    Maximize time in lab by paying very close attention to what we're dissecting and relating it to what I learned the night before. Anytime you're in lab, actively learn.

    I use a small dry-erase board to draw out any structures that I can (e.g. subclavian artery and branches, brachial plexus, bronchi of lungs) and do it over and over til it's embedded.

    Use the Netter's Flash Cards constantly in my 'spare time' to keep old topics fresh in my head and to go over newer stuff.

    Piece it all together with the info in our textbook to get a 'bigger picture' of what we're learning.

    Talk about it constantly with classmates.

    Look over old tests and discuss those with classmates too. Verbalizing it will only help you and others.

    DO NOT overstudy. I know this sounds odd, but don't go for three to four hours striaght. Try a half-hour on one thing, take a 5-10 min break to let it settle and get back to it. You'll wear yourself out going nonstop.

    And for the love of gravy, don't procrastinate.

    Good luck.
     
  15. docuw

    docuw Senior Member
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    1. Practical: Go to lab. Connect two points and name it (either the names of the two points give you the answer, or at least remind you what should be there).

    2. Written: Chung BRS. You would be crazy to not look at this book. Go through the chapters and answer the questions. I would bet you could pass the written (70%) by just looking at this book. To do better, read blue boxes in Moore, as well as apply your practical knowledge.
     
  16. kd

    kd Senior Member
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    I made it through anatomy primarily using Rohen's and Netter's. I ended up missing most of the labs for medical reasons, but instead studied out of the atlases for several hours a day. Each day, I read the dissector, then did a "virtual" dissection, first with Netter, then with Rohen. Then I would make a list of all the structures, highlight them in each atlas, cover up the labels, and quiz myself on them. I also made extensive use of old tests. I did use BRS Chung as well for extra review- it can't hurt, but the style of question was quite different than our professors asked. Once I had a good grasp of the material, I would try to go into lab about a week before the exam and get a classmate to show me everything on 1 or 2 cadavers. I was usually only able to make it to lab for a total of 3-4 hours in the week before the exam. I had no trouble passing anatomy and I scored above the national mean on the shelf exam.
    Most people disagree with me when I say that it IS possible to learn anatomy without doing it hands-on, but that's not necessarily true for everyone. Granted, I'm sure I don't have as good a grasp of the spatial relationships as perhaps someone who spent hours and hours in lab, but I got through the course as well as I could given the circumstances (and since I don't plan to go into surgery, I'm not too concerned about it. Anything really all that important you'll learn again anyway, in path or in your clinical coursework.)
     
  17. Rhiana

    Rhiana Senior Member
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    As a fellow classmate i know that the practice test was an eye opener. I know that the BRS Gross Anatomy Book is very helpful. Let me know if you want to study sometime.
     
  18. CaliBoy

    CaliBoy Senior Member
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    Rhiana: Whasssup Blamgirl!!

    Barb: I'm another one of your fellow classmates. Who are you?? Well there is an SNMA practice practical this friday, I think it will be helpful. I also think drawing structures helps alot. Try to memorize relationships of structures rather than each structure individually. This will help you for both the practical and the written.

    Good luck and see you at school! (?)
     
  19. socrates2603

    socrates2603 Junior Member

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    Hello everybody!!!

    I know i'm a bit late with this reply, but i have the same problem that barb and everybody else has. I found it great when i draw a certain structure when i was studying and you have to read and read and read again your text. I'm from Europe and we have different type of exam. I found that anatomy atlas from Sobotta is great-it's precise and in bright colors lol and Moore is great.
    The main advice from me is- DO NOT PULL AN ALLNIGHTER!!! I can't stress this fact enough. I tried once and i was like a zombie.:( So, get enough sleep and try to work over the old exams, the questions usually don't change much. Good luck!!

    matt, university of ljubljana, sLOVEnia, europe
     

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