How can I revise anatomy?


Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
Course:BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science
Category: Allied and public health

11 January 2018

The prospect of revising for an anatomy exam is daunting, but I managed to adapt a way of thinking to aid me in learning anatomy in an effective way. Here are my tips.

The exam covers the whole body rather than a specific organ system (which is the case for two of the modules in Year 1 of Healthcare Science). Anatomy is such a vast subject – after all, there are doctors that specialise in each minute detail of it!

Flascards of anatomy studies

Make flashcards of the concepts that you struggle on

I’ve been using this technique since my sixth form exams and found that it works quite well. You can carry these cards around with you and read them on the bus, in the doctor’s waiting room or even display them on the wall! I find that making them look colourful helps too.

Collection of mnemonics of anatomy studies

Draw diagrams to help you visualise anatomy

I love drawing diagrams as I feel that it can help me visualise where certain parts of anatomy lie (such as the tonsils). I appreciate that not everyone is an artist, but you can also print plain diagrams from the internet and colour/fill them in as you require.

Head diagram of anatomy studies

Try out mnemonics

Mnemonics are amazing for summarising a larger concept that you struggle to remember clearly. My favourite is ‘LAB RAT’ for the valves of the heart as it’s a quick way to recall information (which I still use on placement). If you can create your own then it is great but you can come across great ones on internet sites.

Handwritten list of anatomical terms

Learn by association

Another technique that works particularly well with anatomical terms is associating a term with something that sounds similar (with the same meaning) such as ‘anterior’ (meaning in front) and ‘antenatal’ (the period before birth). If you have previous knowledge of Latin or even French you may be able to make your own connections too.

Handwritten anatomy test

Test yourself

Another way of testing details that you are struggling to grasp is making little quizzes that you can practice to embed the details into your memory.

Glossary of anatomy studies

Make a glossary

Anatomy teaching exposes you to new words that you may not have come across before in A-Level teaching. At the beginning of each folder make a glossary of new terms I have come across during revision so I can have them for quick reference in the future when it comes to revision.


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