Anatomy help

I feel like I am drowning in gross anatomy already and it is just the first week! Anyone have any suggestions on how to get a grip on it all? What type of study techniques have worked for those of you that have survived it? Thanks!

The feeling that you are drowning is absolutely normal.
First, don’t panic.
I don’t know what text you’re using but I found that the “little Moore” Essential Clinical Anatomy, Moore and Agur was helpful, and easier to wade through than the “big Moore”, and had most of the same helpful diagrams and pictures. I also used the Board Review Series “Gross Anatomy”.
These helped simplify things for me, and often once I understood ideas from these books I could then go back to my lecture notes and, frequently, they would made more sense.
The other thing that was helpful was lots of spreadsheets, with muscles, what innervated them, stuff like that. The reason I prefer the spreadsheets (many of which, I must admit, were constructed by my more organized classmates and distributed to the rest of us), is that you can sort them in a variety of ways-- sometimes learning something from a different approach helps, and being able to rearrange them was useful for me.
For the lab portion, I also went ahead and splurged on the Rohen “Color Atlas of Anatomy” along with my trusty Netter. The reason was, the pictures in Rohen allowed me to identify what things REALLY looked like, and by not looking at the labels, I could “study” for the practical.
Also, most of my classmates and I took our Netters to Kinko’s and had them de-bound and hole punched and put in three ring binders. Yeah, it’s painful to chop up a book like that, but it is SO much easier just to pull out the pages you need, and put them on a clipboard. I put mine inside plastic covers to protect them.
Also, believe it or not, the Color Book can be helpful- not as a primary means of studying, but as as a way to sort of study and relax the night before an exam.
Finally, it WILL get easier. As was pointed out several times to me, you’re learning a new language. As it becomes more natural and you can spend less time translating (i.e. okay, which is medial again? what side is dorsal? etc), you will be able to move faster, and things will come easier. Trust me on this smile.gif
Good luck.
Second Year

I second the suggestion to buy the Rohen atlas. I didn’t get mine until nearly the end of the year, and I wish I’d had it earlier. I was so disappointed that our cadaver’s nerves weren’t yellow and his arteries and veins weren’t red and blue! tongue.gif

I also found the coloring book very helpful. Wile coloring, I could “piece” the puzzle together. Also, I used the Netter flashcards while I commuted each morning and afternoon. They are the pictures out of the Netter atlas and they made sure that I had commited the material to memory. Lastly, each weekend I would go into the lab and walk through the dissection manual steps a second time. It’s amazing the relationships you see and put together once the disection is completed and you’ve had a chance to put the “pieces” together outside of lab.
Hops this helps. Good Luck!! Enjoy anatomy. It was hands down my favorite part of first year.

What is the name of the coloring book? I’ve heard of it before, and I think it would help me.
I have a commute too, but I’m afraid to pull out Rohen on the bus. Might freak someone out. smile.gif I’ve been going over my notes (or sleeping).
Thanks for the tips, I just finished first week too and I feel behind!

It’s “The Anatomy Coloring Book” by Winn Kapit. I loved it. If you think Rohen is too much for the bus, then try the Netter flash cards. Those pictures are much less graphic.

QUOTE (jblue @ Aug 8 2003, 09:09 PM)
I feel like I am drowning in gross anatomy already and it is just the first week! Anyone have any suggestions on how to get a grip on it all? What type of study techniques have worked for those of you that have survived it? Thanks!

Hi there,
I found the key to Gross Anatomy is preparation. I used Saunterland's Dissector which has all of the structures in bold print. I would make a list of the structures and check them off as I would find them. Before each anatomy lab session, I would take my dissector and atlas (used Netter's) and find where the structures were likely to be located. I would make my checklist according to layer from superficial to deep. When you prepare for lecture and lab, it all seems less daunting than going in cold and trying to glean stuff from lecture.
When I was looking at muscles, I would learn the origin and insertion so that I could picture in my mind's eye, the action of each muscle. I would do them by compartment and group including nerver and blood supply. I never went to lab or lecture unprepared. I used the skeleton and bones pretty extensively. I also spent plenty of time in the lab just looking at other bodies. My classsmates and I helped each other.
I would take the syllabus and preview what was likely to be covered in lecture. If the lecture was Abdominal Wall, I would look over the material in my text that applied to abdominal wall. I would make another list of structures to be discussed. I would read all of the blue boxes in Big Moore that concerned abdominal wall so that I could fit the lecture with clinical. When I got to lecture, it was easy to listen and get the big picture as well as the details. I would study in the evenings and review all structures on the weekends. By the time exams rolled around, I knew the material.
I didn't use the Rohen atlas that much. My dissections were no where near as nice but I did look through the library copy once or twice. I found that single study followed by group study was most helpful for me.
Finally, I would get a small group of classmates and we would spend an hour with one of the lab instructors. We would ask them to be brutal and quiz us on structures and questions. This worked well but you need to make sure that your group is no larger than six people.
Good luck because Gross is so much fun.

So, as I am studying today I have realized that one of the problems I am having is that we are working from the outside in when learning the upper limb as opposed to the inside out. I understand why we need to do this for the lab but it seems like if I knew the bones, muscles etc. then by the time I got to the nerves and veins which is where we are in lecture I would be able to pull all the pieces together, i.e. the radial nerve runs along the radius (right?) and just stuff like that. Anybody have any suggestions on how to work backwards from the class lectures? Or good ways to meld the two? Thanks for the suggestions so far! Natalie, you rock!

I loved anatomy. As I am a visual learner, it helped me to draw things out, i.e. brachial plexus, arterial groupings. I also drew out cross-sections of limbs. I also imagined peeling back layers on myself and then replacing them, visualizing how they would lie on each other. In the couple of days prior to each exam, I would sit down with my Gray's atlas and carefully read through all of the material pertinent to that exam. Unlike Netter's atlas, of which I am also fond, Gray's has text throughout that guides you to inspect important relationships of anatomy. I also spent a good bit of individual time in the lab going to each body and identifying everything I could and verifying with the atlases right then structures that I was uncertain about. A medical dictionary by your side while studying will be indispensible in learning this new language, especially in learning word roots which will aide you in extrapolating other word meanings as you go along. Have fun, anatomy can be really exciting!

First off - don’t worry about feeling a bit lost in gross anatomy - I think that is a pretty normal reaction. My personal strategy for studying gross was as follows:
I used the Netter’s atlas and my class notes. The night before we dissected, I would start to read my notes. As each nerve/muscle/bone was described I would locate it in the Netter and highlight it. I would go through the entire book and highligt every time I saw that “thing” labeled. After having looked through all the pictures - I would have a fairly good sense of what that “thing” looked like and where it was (from various angles). I would also jot down in the atlas any significant fact about the nerve/muscle/bone. I found that by thumbing through the pictures I got a pretty good idea of the general location. I didn’t worry about memorizing facts but I found that pre-reading was essential for gross anatomy. I should say that I didn’t pre-read for other classes. I also spent a lot of time on my own just running through the cadaver - I got much more out of spending time on my own than working with my group.
Hope that helps…