Essential Tips for Studying Anatomy

As a science major, you are likely to enroll in a course on anatomy and physiology. An introductory anatomy course will cover a great deal of material pertaining to the cells and tissues and bodily systems. Students will learn to recognize key concepts in organ systems and body function. It can be challenging to retain all of this information. There are a few smart studying strategies you can use to give your brain a boost.

Use Anatomy Mnemonic Devices

Mnemonic devices are memory tricks that can help your brain remember complex information. There are at least nine basic types of mnemonics, including musical jingles (ever wonder why so many TV commercials are set to music?) and expression mnemonics. Expression mnemonics are the most commonly used. You might remember Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally from your high school math classes. It helps students remember the order of operations, from parentheses to subtraction. One helpful device for anatomy is PEST OF, which can help you remember the cranial bones:

  • Parietal
  • Ethmoid
  • Sphenoid
  • Temporal
  • Occipital
  • Frontal

Use the device, Come, Let’s Get Sun Burned, to remember the layers of the epidermis.

  • Corneum
  • Lucidum
  • Granulosum
  • Spinosum
  • Basale

Use Visualization Techniques

If you have an active imagination, you can create visual imprints in your mind for the concepts that you’re struggling with. Do this by considering words that might sound similar to the medical terminology. Then, form a picture of those words in your head. The sillier the picture is, the easier it will be to remember. For example, the ginglymoid  joints, which are the hinge joints, sound similar to “jingle mud.” Picture a golfer using those impressive elbow joints to swing a string of jingle bells back and forth through a patch of mud.

Learn the Latin and Greek Roots

If medical terminology sounds like a foreign language, it’s because much of it is! A lot of terms you’ll encounter in anatomy class have Latin or Greek roots. Learn the common prefixes, which are the groups of letters at the beginning of the word and suffixes, which are the letter groupings at the end. The root word is the base. As an example, take a look at “pericarditis.” The root is card, which means “heart.” The suffix is itis, which means “inflammation.” And the prefix is peri, which means “around.” Even if you’d never seen this word before, you could safely assume, based on its basic components, that pericarditis refers to inflammation around the heart. And if you’re familiar with the pericardium, which is the sac-like tissue that surrounds the heart, you can infer that pericarditis is specifically referring to the inflammation of the pericardium. Knowing the components of the words you’re studying can help you decipher other terms as well.

Anatomy is one of the courses you’ll take while you work to earn your Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science . This rigorous degree program will enable you to pursue a rewarding career as a forensic analysis professional. Click on the Request More Information button at the top of your screen to learn how you can become a student at Grand Canyon University.

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