With only so many hours in a day to study, it’s no wonder students are always losing sleep. For those studying to become medical practitioners, the biggest obstacle is coming to terms with all there is to learn about human anatomy. There are thousands of things to learn, many of them with long and unusual names -that’s a lot of long nights.
What many people don’t realize is that there’s a tried and true method to help you learn human anatomy fast. Mnemonics (derived from the Ancient Greek mnemonikos (“of memory”) are memory aids that can help you to learn and remember every detail of human anatomy on the spot, and all you need to do is listen.
With mnemonics you can learn and memorize everything from the external carotid artery branches to the cubital fossa contents in minutes without any reading. Need to memorize the superior medastinum contents? Just remember this simple memnomic: “BATS & TENT”. Perhaps picture a camping holiday, and playing baseball in the park:
Arch of aorta
Superior vena cava
Nerves (vagus & phrenic)
Because these two easy to remember words have been applied to the knowledge, forgetting the associated words is close to impossible. The key to mnemonics is using memorable, symbolic cues that evoke an emotional response, and thus encode a distinct memory. Repeat this memnomic to yourself out loud several times, and hey presto, you’ll probably find you’ve made a breakthrough in your study!
While anatomy memnomics can be learnt from a book, controlled studies have shown that audio mnemonics are the fastest way to unlock the full potential of your memory. It is said that you can learn many times faster by listening, as the human body is biologically programmed to remain alert to sounds. When you read, you are prone to nearby distractions, whereas by listening to audio with earphones on your attention is fixed and always processing the information at hand.