How I Study Anatomy



Anatomy hands down in one of the most difficult parts of every healthcare degree. Memorizing anatomical structures is very challenging, but it is do- able!! It takes a serious amount of determination and dedication to understand the human anatomy. Memorizing anatomical structures is very difficult and requires a lot of time.

Since the academic year will be beginning soon, I have compiled my top two tips to successfully study anatomy …

  1. Create a clear Schedule – having a schedule in life will always make life easier, specifically academically. I do this using Notion! Notion is one of the best Apps on the market, which I’ve been using extensively since March. Cramming in anatomy a couple of days before your exams will make revision ineffective, and with that it will be extremely stressful! Most of the time cramming in information nearer to an exam will only be beneficial short-term, but in the long run you will most likely forget it. So, my advice would be when studying anatomy make sure your consistently reviewing it every couple of days, if not then at least every week. It’s important to continuously make time to review materials, as this will help reinforce retention. My main tip would be start early; start revising a couple of weeks before your exam, this will leave you with enough time to attempt practise questions and you won’t be panicking nearer to the exam time. You need to have the motivation to schedule in time for anatomy and to review your notes.
  2. Understand what works best for YOU – there are countless methods of understanding anatomy, its vital that we as students understand what learning style works for us as individuals.

Are you a visual learner? Are you a verbal learner? Majority of students like myself will have a combination of both learning styles, so finding out what techniques best for you, will help enable your revision to be effective and will maximize your understanding to a greater level.

Understanding anatomy could be done through different methods such as … Flashcards, attempting Quizzes, rewriting notes, using mnemonics tec.  Figure out what works for you!!

Once you realize the study technique that works best for you, make sure to repeat content. Consistent repetition of anatomical structures will help you remember everything better. The best way to memorizing anatomy is through – Thorough Repetition.

How I Make My Anatomy Notes

  • Digital Notes: I do prefer to type my notes specifically for anatomy. I do this by using university lecture notes and then adding additional information. Sometimes I use the ‘Cornell Note-taking System’ – which generally works.
  • Research: If there is something I don’t understand then I research about it, and then based on what I’ve read. I add anything relevant to my current notes so that when I refer back to them, my notes are fully complete to my understanding
  • Take Advantage of Dissection Sessions & Tutorials: For example if you are studying the heart, recap the different chambers, valves and vessels; preparing for each session will allow you to gain the most out of the anatomy class
  • Use All Available Resources:  Use all the time available, don’t leave early! Utilize your lab periods to expand &test your knowledge. By taking good notes and asking useful questions you will be able to solve all issues hopefully long before the exam. If your university has anatomical models in the classroom or lab make sure to take advantage of those resources to help you master the material, 90% of what you remember is based on what you do!!
How I Study Anatomy

How I Revise Anatomy

  • Reading My Notes: I always start my revision by reading through my notes, trying to understand concepts and memorize specific terms.
  • Application of Knowledge: I like to formulate questions based on the lecture materials & my notes this will improve retention of the material and which also provide study questions for upcoming exams. Once I’ve completed this process, nearer to the exam season I spend 10 minutes every week reviewing my notes to improve retention and this will then prepare you for exams
  • Memorization:  Trying to memorize anatomical structures at times can be tough!! So, I try to utilize different memorization techniques throughout the year and see what works best e.g. Use of flashcards, rewriting notes or using mnemonics – active study tips can helps increase retention.

*Top Tip* Stick to what works best for you!! If flashcards don’t work for you, then don’t use them – if rewriting notes helps you, then do that

  • Switch Up Your Methods: Using different methods will help strengthen your technique of memorization !! if you read the revision guide, write notes, use flashcards and study diagrams, you will be more likely to remember and understand the material than if you only used flashcards.

E.g. I like to draw out the anatomical structures of the heart, which will help reinforce anatomy, without it becoming overwhelming.

E.g. Some visual learners might like to use an ‘Anatomy colouring book’ to recap specific structures!

Resources I use for Anatomy

There are hundreds of resources out of the internet, and you can end up spending hours and hours online searching for the best resources and to be honest at times you will feel overwhelmed. Understanding anatomy is difficult as it is, and finding the correct resources can be stressful.

Here I’ve assembled some resources, which are commonly used amongst healthcare student e.g. Medical students, student Nurses, physiologists etc. I hope this can make it easier for you guys and see what fits your needs best.

  • Online Videos: Sometimes constantly referencing back to a textbook or revision guide can make revising boring. Whilst revising anatomy specifically you should want to feel excited. Watching interactive videos are a fantastic way of staying engaged with a specific matter.

Below I have listed a couple of websites that provide excellent videos to teach anatomy…

  • Thorough Notes: Anatomy can be understood through various methods. One of the first resources we reach for are University lectures and Seminars. On many occasions we as students realise, that university lectures alone aren’t sufficient enough to understand the various structures of human anatomy. In many cases we are left alone to learn topics in our own spare time, which can be daunting. There will definitely be times where you may not understand anything and will seek help from elsewhere.

A good way to make thorough and understandable notes on anatomy could be done through – research and using a combination of materials e.g. websites and revision guides. Taking clear and concise notes in your own words will be beneficial.

Below I’ve listed a few Websites and Textbooks that will be useful to take additional notes from…



Atlas of Human Anatomy (Frank H. Netter, MD) 7th Edition

Theime Atlas of Anatomy

Moore’s Clinically Oriented Anatomy

Atlas of Anatomy 3rd Edition

How Do You Study Anatomy?

Feel free to comment below on how you go about studying Anatomy. Would love to hear from you.

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