How to Survive Gross Anatomy

First off, sorry for the radio silence. It’s been kind of nuts with our recent exam schedule. Secondly, I mentioned on the Courses page that I’ll make a post regarding some gross anatomy tips. We’re in the middle of Spring Break now and I have a little bit more free time on my hands, so here it is. Keep in mind everyone learns differently and what works for one person may not work for someone else.

1.) Get some kind of atlas that you can use as a lab reference. Most people use Netter’s, but it doesn’t matter that much as long as you like it and it has good diagrams of what exactly you’re going to be looking at.

2.) Use multiple resources for lab and lecture. Anatomy is one of the few classes I would recommend studying with multiple sources at hand. Doing so really helps to piece together the complexity of the human body. For clinical correlations, Moore is a popular reference. Some of my classmates also used BRS Anatomy as a supplement to the course. For lab, I recommend Human Anatomy Atlas for your ipad/computer. It’s nice to be able to quickly see a 3D visual for a particular muscle, or how an artery courses through the body in relation to a nerve. For visual learners, and particularly for lab, I also highly recommend getting your hands on Acland’s anatomy videos. They’re old, but they’re the best. They use fresh cut dissections and explain everything so clearly. Using it in combination with your atlas and lab list works amazingly well.

3.) Understand relationships between different structures. Anatomy is a unique class in that you need to understand the spatial relationships of multiple structures and how they all fit together. Thinking about the relationship between  the muscles, nerves, and blood supply will help you understand the material on a deeper level (literally).

4.) Spend your time wisely in lab. There are two types of people in lab. The first type is the person who is actively trying to learn by asking questions and helping with dissections. The second type is the person who wants to get out of lab as fast as possible and basically just wastes their time. Don’t be the second type. You have to be in anatomy lab, so why not make the most out of it. Go in prepared, and spend time looking at the required structures. Also, feel free to look at other groups’ cadavers. It will help to see structures on different bodies. Don’t blow off lab because the lab practicals are worth 50% of your final grade.

5.) Review the material regularly. This goes for any class, but going over the material even a little every day or so helps. The easiest and best way to learn anatomy is repetition, repetition, repetition- anyone will tell you that. So be diligent and at least try to review the structures or lecture material on a regular basis. It will only help you for the exams.

Hope that helps,




  1. I always like reading your articles. Can you write a little about the OPP fellowship and how to become a good applicant for that during M1/M2?

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