Studying anatomy may appear to be difficult to most medical students as it involves learning anatomical structures and their functions, in addition to studying for several other subjects. However, anatomy is one of the core subjects for every aspiring healthcare professional. Every MBBS student or medical intern needs to understand how important it is to study anatomy, and that too in an effective way. Hence, there need to be certain checkpoints that do not let anything hinder your learning process. Managing time to study anatomy can be highly stressful.
This article gives a crystal-clear idea of how anatomy can be studied more effectively. Get organized as soon as possible so as not to let anatomy bother your grades. Read below to find out tips to study anatomy more effectively!
Form a study routine
Whether you are a new student or an experienced one, it is necessary to create a timetable that can help ease your study of anatomy. Since it may take you some time to understand the subject better, creating a routine might help your studies become more organized. Learning anatomy well requires the medical interns to understand everything concisely. Anatomy is considered to be a volatile subject and without constant revision and recall, it is hard to remember it in the long run. To facilitate in-depth learning, long and dedicated hours are needed.
Divide your study time to accommodate various chapters or sections to study anatomy, according to your comfort levels. You could also consider keeping a journal or to-do list to schedule your anatomy schedule to study anatomy makes the subject easier to grasp. To create a timetable, first, find out the basic components of the syllabus of your chosen course. In some courses, a detailed understanding of the anatomy is a must, whereas other courses demand only basic concepts of the anatomy to be known by students. In either case, delving into the subject matter remains constant. Staying organized is one of the most important habits of a medical student. Organizational skills should be learned and brought into use from the very first day of medical school, whether you are an undergraduate, postgraduate, or practicing healthcare professional.
Be an early bird
Just like with any other subject, with anatomy as well, it is suggested that students don’t procrastinate their study plans. With multiple sections and subsections to the subject, it’s important to schedule your studying so you don’t miss out on any aspect. Start early since the subject contains topics like ‘anatomical terminologies’ and ‘bones’ that may require extra time to memorize information, study for practicals, and undergo revisions. These two topics require a lot of practical knowledge. Similarly, the muscular system and cardiovascular system include minute details that may need additional study hours.
Procrastinating until the last moment is never a good idea! While studying in the nick of time may produce results for your exam, it won’t be beneficial in the long run when you need to remember concepts. Staying up until late one or two nights before the exam won’t be very helpful. Hence, be consistent and punctual in studying anatomy. Understanding your responsibilities from the beginning might help in proper time management. Being a medical student, regularity in attending lectures and practical classes is beneficial.
For information regarding courses, visit Dr. Bhatia Medical Coaching Institute’s (DBMCI) official website https://www.dbmci.com/#. DBMCI is India’s leading institute for PG entrance exam preparation and has produced many toppers in recent years. Start early to avoid panicking, and you’ll be set for success!
Reading regularly is a critical aspect of studying anatomy. In this subject, medical students are given reading assignments with a purpose. Repeated reading exercises help students understand essential terminologies, and their meaning, used in the study of anatomy. Anatomy-related modules and textbooks comprise basics, fundamental concepts, and interesting facts along with figures. Line-by-line reading and glances at figures make the ideas even more robust and easier to remember. Each individual takes a different number of lessons to understand a concept clearly. Hence, regular reading should form an essential component of one’s routine when studying anatomy.
One of the biggest challenges most medical students face while absorbing knowledge is memorizing information. It may take several readings to memorize a topic. This is where memorization tactics step in. Memorization tactics like mnemonics are highly beneficial to medical students since they help them easily grasp and retain concepts. It is known that medical subjects involve difficult terminologies and a large number of medical students make use of such tactics to learn these terms. Medical students typically use mnemonics to retain information. Analogous to coding systems and the use of keywords, mnemonics make use of keywords that our brains associate with a particular message.
For example, a common mnemonic in anatomy is Live Frankly To See Absolutely No Insult. This stands for –
- Lacrimal nerve
- Frontal nerve
- Trochlear nerve
- Superior division of the oculomotor nerve
- Abducens nerve
- Nasociliary nerve
- Inferior division of an oculomotor nerve
Study for short intervals
Studying the core chapters in anatomies such as genetics, joints, bones and the nervous system may be tedious at times. All the chapters include medical terminologies that are sometimes hard to learn or even understand. Studying for long hours is required to complete the course well in time and with proper understanding. However, it can be tiring sometimes. It is better to divide your studying schedule into small segments that are followed by short breaks. This technique provides the brain some rest after a tiresome learning session. Taking a 10 minute break after an hour of constant learning can help retain the topics better in the memory. For example, once you have organized your studying schedule according to the anatomy topics, you can pick up the difficult ones first and try to break them into smaller subtopics. This will certainly ease the learning process and also will not be very tiring for the brain.
Use reference books
Reference sources are required by every student, whether a fresher or an experienced one. Although students have access to several sources for studying anatomy, reference modules and books remain the most widely used resources. Other than books that form part of a student’s primary study material, reference textbooks are also available for different topics. Also, some books contain content according to the different difficulty levels and patterns of the final exams.
For example, one of the most popular and reliable books in respect of anatomy is Atlas of Human Anatomy, written by Dr. Frank Netter. This book contains illustrations, tables, and figures to help students grasp concepts better. It contains updated information and is widely used for both academic as well as clinical settings. Another example is the Ross & Wilson Anatomy and Physiology in Health and Illness, a book that attracts both fresher students and young doctors. This book is clear, concise, and easy to read. Students can find several other reference books that help them understand supplementary topics on anatomy. This helps in grasping the subject matter better. ‘A Complete Book of Anatomy’ by Dr. Bhatia Publication is one of the best books for in-depth knowledge about anatomy. Several books for last-minute preparation during final exams are also available here. For more information, follow this link https://www.dbmci.com/books-store.
Some of the best books by DBMCI are:
- A Complete Book of Anatomy by Dr. Ashwani Kumar, Dr. Shilpi Agarwal
- To The Point previous year recall questions by Dr. Mukesh Bhatia & Dr. Rajat Jain
- Review of NEET PG by Dr. Mukesh Bhatia, Dr. Rajat Jain and Dr. Nachiket Bhatia
- Last Minute Revision Points by Dr. Mukesh Bhatia & Dr. Rajat Jain
Study in a group
Medical students with the same field of study can form groups to study and understand concepts more concretely. Group studies have slowly become an integral part of classroom teaching, and oftentimes, this has shown excellent results. Similarly, group studies are also effective in providing better insights into the course as students help each other improve learnings vis-a-vis their learning pattern. Anatomy is a vast subject which potentially leads to many doubts on the subject matter. Group studies help in clearing doubts and solving queries.
Students help each other solve queries and memorize information. Some students may have better organization and time management skills than others; being part of a study group of a mix of such students, helps each member of the group hone their personal skills and collaborate to improve learning abilities. Do not be afraid to ask your peers any doubts you may have. It is better to clear them at an early stage.
Take help from online resources
Books are a great medium to study, in addition to attending lectures. However, some concepts of anatomy might require more immersive methods to grasp concepts better, such as visualization. Students now have abundant options to access online material that explains practical concepts better, such as online learning modules, videos, educational games, and reference books, which help to clarify topics. One can find several online resources on different educational websites.
These include both free access and paid material. Online resources could be used as supplementary material to study in a blended model. Specific terminologies in anatomy may be difficult to pronounce. Online assistance, in this case, will surely make a difference. Some websites provide free access to games, quizzes, and problem-solving modules. Common ways to learn anatomy online include using online educational content found on sites like YouTube and multimedia learning platforms like Kenhub. YouTube has excellent channels such as The Noted Anatomist and KenHub are available for learning anatomy. This approach is helpful for students who do not enjoy the traditional textbook approach to learning. Hence, proper visualization will help retain the content memory for longer. Online charts are available for anatomical labeling.
Be consistent in taking notes
Memorizing anatomical topics can become more effective if proper notes are created. Note-taking has been known to help students remember study material more seamlessly. Whether one takes notes in class or while reading text, a combination of reading and writing increases a student’s ability to retain information. Be it an introductory course or a final-year course, note-taking or note-making is highly beneficial.
Taking down notes regularly helps improve the learning process. Self-written notes contain information that seems relevant to the writer. Hence, it may become easier to learn self-penned notes. Not only anatomy lecture notes but related essential facts along with doubts can also be written down. This makes doubt-solving easier. Aspiring medical students who jot down points during lectures instead of underlining them in the book retain the concept for longer. Also, a little creativity might aid in better memorization. For example, drawing human-body diagrams on your own can also help to maintain ideas. Pasting these diagrams on your room walls gives you a chance to look at them regularly and hence, memorize them better.
Recall by writing down what you have learnt
Now that we know that jotting down essential points is crucial in studying anatomy, let us also know that writing what you have memorized proves to be better. Even if you are not confident whether you will remember the specific functioning of a body part or not, writing it once or twice after learning will surely decrease the probability of you forgetting the same. It is easier to recall self-written notes one week before the exams than topics from the book. This saves time for revision and relaxation before the exam. Remember, human anatomy can not be crammed as a whole. Understanding plays an important role here and recalling and writing the definitions and functions certainly improves it. Confidence will start to develop once note-making becomes a habit. Make a glossary for chapters like skin and fascia, cells and tissues, and the lymphatic system, that helps you remember the complex terms. This glossary will be helpful during revision.
Maintain a balance between different topics
Time management is critical for medical students. While it may be difficult initially, scheduling studying from the beginning of one’s medical course eventually makes it easier to handle work pressure. Since anatomy is a study that combines different topics and subtopics, many medical students find it easier to divide the course load into different sections and divide time accordingly to study each aspect. As the syllabus is vast, it is necessary to create a balance between topics so that no particular topic is left out.
Participate actively in classes
Just as group studies help medical students improve their knowledge retention, class participation is also highly helpful. Class activities are known to help students improve their interpersonal interactions. Participating actively in a classroom environment helps clear doubts and offers a smooth flow of knowledge and ideas. Some medical students find that classroom competition improves their learning process and helps them imbibe subject matter better. Anatomy quizzes and test paper solving are also crucial components of learning anatomy. Solving anatomy mock test papers may help identify the weak areas in the subject. Class participation for students in the medical field also involves practical sessions which help students grasp the subject matter better. Don’t shy away from taking help from your professors during a class if you ever feel confused.
Revision: A must
Once a student has been able to analyze their weak and strong areas in anatomy, they must focus on creating a study plan and including revision as part of it. Once a student is confident about their syllabus and course, it becomes imperative to revise.
For any exam or test, revision is one of the essential parts. As mentioned earlier, writing down can be a good method to recall concepts. Also, teaching the topic to someone can help them remember the concepts for longer. Teaching a particular subject to your peers can help build a concrete base in that subject. Explaining the entire concept to your partner and then listening to what the other person has understood makes it even more apparent in your mind. Supplementary material can be used for revisions. Certain books and websites provide free access to quizzes, tests, and mock test papers to help grasp the concepts better.
Quizzes are a great way to test your knowledge. Online quizzes contain questions that range from essential to advanced. Test yourself to know about your weak concepts. This might prove to be helpful! DBMCI provides both regular courses and special programs to help medical aspirants and interns prepare well. Check out DBMCI’s website for practice test series https://www.dbmci.com/practice-test-series
By now, it may have become apparent that a few study tips can help ease the process of studying anatomy. Time management is of the essence here. Anatomy is taught to most people at school and is crucial in medicine and sports, and is also an inspiration for art and literature worldwide. For students studying medical sciences, it is crucial to know how our bodies function. The subject of anatomy is not only related to the theoretical aspects but also includes practical learning. Making use of both offline and online resources can help us master this subject. These tips will surely help ease the process of learning and understanding anatomy. All that is needed is a little hustle to find the best material. Regularity in classes, as well as for self-studying, helps get a command over the subject. Have faith in your hard work and loyalty towards the subject. However difficult studying anatomy may seem, the results are surely rewarding.
With early preparation and decision-making, the study of anatomy is bound to become easier to grasp. We hope these 13 study tips prove useful in your study of anatomy. To kickstart your journey of studying anatomy more effectively, check out the following link https://www.dbmci.com/.