In terms of learning aids there are many options, the most common being text books, lectures and online study notes. These are all good choices for getting a grip on the basics, but when it comes to learning human anatomy from head to toe, what’s the smartest way?
With human anatomy being quite a complicated subject, the smartest way to learn is through something called anatomy mnemonics (a system of memorization techniques, or memory aids). What you may not know is that there are three main stages in the storage and retrieval of information when it comes to human memory – encoding (receiving, processing and combining of received information), storage (creation of a permanent record of the encoded information) and retrieval (recall). So how can we best use this system to our advantage when learning anatomy?
One fantastic example of an anatomy mnemonic at work is as follows. To find the arrangement of nerve, artery and vein in the femoral triangle, all you need to do is learn and remember one easy word: VAN. Why? Because the arrangement, from medial to lateral, goes like this: Vein, Artery, Nerve. V-A-N. Say this to yourself out loud once or twice (it’s proven that your mind is more receptive to audio compared to reading) and quiz yourself tomorrow. That’s mnemonics at work!
Mnemonics are the smart way to learn human anatomy. By using the psychologically proven formula found in anatomy mnemonics, you will almost certainly be able to pass your next test at university, all without notes. Likewise, if you are a doctor wishing to brush up on your knowledge, or merely someone who wants to study independently, anatomy mnemonics are a great choice. Using the findings of scientists and psychologists, mnemonics help you to retrieve stored knowledge in seconds.