Tips for Studying Anatomy

Anatomy is a beast of a class, especially for undergraduates. I am currently enrolled in an anatomy lecture and lab that utilizes human donors so I thought I’d share some of my own personal tips for learning all of the material.

Relate everything to you

As you study, point to where that muscle, nerve, or bone is on your own body. Kinesthetic learning is super helpful in anatomy.

Don’t solely rely on color coded study sheets

Color coded diagrams are great (as is the Gray’s Anatomy Coloring Book!) but chances are, your human donors and test models won’t be colored so you should get used to recognizing body parts without those useful diagrams. Try to practice using images of the real muscles rather than cartoon images too.

Practice writing out the words

Some of these words are spelled oddly or are super similar to other body parts so make sure you are comfortable spelling out all of the terms without a word bank.

Mnemonics are a student’s best friend

Make your mnemonics weird, creative, and memorable to help you keep track of all this information! I highly recommend not using other people’s mnemonics but rather making up your own because then they’ll be easier to remember.


I love this cartoon as a fun way to remember the cranial nerves 1-12. Another great way to remember is the mnemonic Oh, Oh, Oh, To Touch And Feel Very Green Vegetables AH which is olfactory, optic, oculomotor, trochlear, trigeminal, abducent, facial, vestibucochlear, glossopharyngeal, vagus, accessory, and hypoglossal.

A little every day goes a long way

Probably a bit cliche of a tip, but super important. Trying to memorize all of the back muscles the night before an exam is exhausting, stressful, and honestly just not efficient. Instead, study at least twenty minutes every day normally so that you’re starting to learn all the information way ahead of test days.


Please share your own tips and tricks as I am always looking for new ways to study!



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