How to effectively learn anatomy?

Already in a month, all happy young people who get into the medical or medical-dental field, will start their adventure with studying. One of the first challenges will be Human Anatomy. I would like to include a few tips in this blog post – to get you started.
I remember when I started medical studies myself – I was experiencing excitement and fear of the unknown.

I will not write exactly about the methods of learning, because there are many people who are familiar with this much better than I do. You will definitely find such people on the Internet. I would rather emphasize some fundamental issues in learning anatomy that will allow you to get started with this field much easier:

  1. Regularity – I know it sounds like a truism, but you’ll definitely discover how important it is in acquiring knowledge. If you want to learn anatomy, then you need to learn it every day. If you can do it, it’s worth taking one day break, e.g. on Sunday, but I know it is difficult at the beginning. The time you spend during the day to study depends on many factors, which I write below.
  2. Concetration – in my opinion this is even more important than regularity. So what if you sit down to books every day, since your thoughts will be somewhere else? Everyone achieves concentration in a different way, some need silence, others classical music yet others the sounds of nature. Find now a place where you can easily focus.
  3. Repetition – again, something that seems obvious, but in reality it is not. Your success will depend largely on whether you repeat your knowledge. I suggest the easiest way – after reading and understanding a small batch of material, try to close the book and explain what you learned. You can do it out loud and test yourself, or it’s best to invite a friend and tell him/her what you have learned.
  4. The principle “top-down” (deductive method) – a very difficult aspect of science. I assure you at the beginning it will be hard for you to assess what is more and less important. However, in my opinion, you should practice it from the beginning. Basics you will learn now probably will be able to be in your mind for the next years of study. For example, it looks like this. Let’s suppose that you are obliged to learn the arterial system of the upper limbs. So, first you want to know where does this blood flow from, then what is the largest vessel and what are its individual sections, then which branches are the biggest and where do they go, and only at the end, when you are sure that you all this know and you can describe it, then you can get on with these smaller branches. You will often be tempted to start from the end, because your friend just recited in class everything that was the smallest print in the book yesterday, but in my opinion there is no point. Sometimes it’s better to be prepared for the basics, even if you bear the costs to pass at a later date.
  5. Organizing the material – I often hear from my students: “because I get it all mixed up”. It can’t mix! You need to be sure what lies on the right side and what is on the left, what is deep and superficial. I believe that this topic should be approached responsibly, because in the future human life may be at stake. Here it comes a brilliant tool that is a mind mapping program. As the name says, it allows you to organize information, i.e. put it in the appropriate drawers so that there is no doubt which artery is departing from or which muscle is innervated by which structure. There are many programs that can be downloaded for free. You will certainly find something for yourself.

Finally, I would like to add important information on the methods of knowledge acquisition. First of all you have to find your way of learning. You can search and inspire from others, but ultimately find what is most convenient and effective for you. Some have to take notes, others don’t. There are those who help listening to a lecture, others are served by individual conversation. I encourage you to try out which of your senses is best suited for learning anatomy 😉

Thank you so much for surviving to the end. Good luck in your studies, and in case of problems I can help.

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