Do you want to know the best resource for anatomy?
There are 78 organs, 206 bones, 600 muscles, over 4,000 tendons, and countless numbers of arteries, veins, and nerves that you have to remember! How do you study for that?
One of the most unique and stressful classes that I had in med school was anatomy. And that’s just because it’s a new language. Most of us haven’t taken a class or learned about the topic enough.
So in this article, I’m going to break down some of the best resources that I used as a medical student, and some that came to my attention afterward that you really need to know about.
But wait! If you want this post in a video format, you can check out my YouTube video below! Make sure to subscribe for weekly content if you enjoy this one!
You may also be interested to watch my video that tells you exactly how to study for anatomy step by step, as well as my other video where I show you how to prepare for anatomy exams, which are my tips from when I was a teaching assistant (TA). Both of these videos are going to be super helpful.
To help you understand the best resource for you, I’m going to break them down into three criteria.
- The first one is going to be about the price because, let’s be real, money is important.
- The second is about how easy and effective it is to use a resource for busy med students.
- And the last criteria is probably the most important, which is how well you can remember information, not only for the short term for your quizzes and your tests, but also for the long term when you’re already a physician.
Now, the first resource, which I’m super excited to share with you, is Kenhub.
And this was actually a resource that I had no awareness of when I was a new medical student. It’s was brought to my attention by one of my subscribers. And for that, thank you!
And when I saw this resource, I knew I had to share it with you.
And if you were like me and you’re not familiar with it, it is an all-in-one resource for everything you need to learn anatomy.
And when I say everything, I mean everything.
It has a free version as well as a premium version. The premium version has over a hundred hours of videos, hundreds of practice questions, and so much more.
And to best give you an idea of everything Kenhub has to offer, we’re just going to take an inside look. So I’ve created my own account for TheMDJourney.
Text, Video, And Other Features
Now, imagine that you’re going into dissection the next day, you can look up any structure or topic you want to learn about.
For example, we can search for brachial plexus.
What makes Kenhub super unique is the learning units for the different topics. Not only do they have videos, but they also augment and supplement everything, so you can have that long-term retention, which is super important.
So in this example, we have the text as well as videos on the brachial plexus.
I’ve gone through a few of these videos and I found them to be very engaging as well as doing a really great job of breaking something that’s very complex, like the brachial plexus, in a step-by-step and easy-to-understand manner.
And they also have some of my favorite subtle features of videos, which include closed captions.
If you’re somebody who enjoys reading the text, or if you’re in a public place and just don’t have the luxury of putting the audio on or have your headphones, you can just read the text and follow along with the video and the closed captions.
This is a really cool feature and it’s nicely hidden so it’s not too bulky.
In addition to the closed captions, the videos themselves have some features that are pretty close to my heart, including the ability to speed up the video.
So you can watch it at two times the speed, which is something I’m a huge fan of doing. They also have these cool jump links below the video.
If you just want to learn about the divisions of the brachial plexus or other branches, then you can simply click the jump link to that part of the video.
But like what I mentioned earlier, what really makes Kenhub unique is not just the videos or the addition of texts and other resources, but they also have other supplementary ways for you to learn stuff depending on your learning style.
So for example, the video above is an additional video under the lesson on brachial plexus that is really designed to help you learn brachial plexus using interesting images.
This is a really short video. I’ts only 4 minutes. So if you’re struggling to learn about the brachial plexus, and you don’t have time to watch the 20-minute main video, you can go to this short video first, and then go into your dissection lab, and then come back to the main video when you have time.
My favorite part about the learning units is that every video and learning unit in Kenhub, that I found so far, has a quiz. And the nice thing about the quiz is that it doesn’t only have questions related to the topic, but you can also stratify based on how well you know the information.
So let’s say you’re going into a new dissection the next day, and you haven’t really seen the body part on an actual cadaver, or you haven’t seen it in lecture. You can simply watch the video on Kenhub, and go into the Basic Identification section.
This is super useful when you’re trying to create a mental model of what or where things are.
You can have very simple questions like “Which one is the brachial plexus?“. This is to make sure that you can go into lab the next day and know roughly where things should be and how they’re related.
And like I mentioned, what really makes the quizzes unique is that they do not only have the basic identification quizzes for those who are new to a topic, but also, they have advanced identification if you’re more familiar with the topic.
Or if you’re getting closer to a quiz or exam, you can use the questions banks that have multiple-choice types of questions, which is my favorite kind of question. So you can really prepare for your upcoming assessments.
Now, Kenhub could have stopped there and it would have already been a great resource, but there’s a little additional stuff, which I am a nerd about.
First, they have the atlas where you can see everything at one time. As a visual learner, it’s really nice to be able to parse things and also to see all of them in one place.
And then if I wanted to practice the entire brachial plexus, I could see the different parts that are relevant to their videos and quizzes. For example, I can ask: Do I know if that’s the middle trunk or not? Can I tell where the musculocutaneous nerve is?
There is a list of the different parts below the image. So if you can’t remember where a certain part is, you can simply click it on the list and it will show on the image.
Kenhub provides learning units with a combination of videos, text, questions, quizzes, atlases, as well as the individual identification component. It’s a nice put-together resource that is very useful for studying anatomy, regardless of the type of learning style that you have.
And to show you other features of Kenhub, you can also go into the Custom Quiz section. So if you have an upcoming test or quiz coming around, you can filter by whatever blocks or dissection you are learning about.
So for example, if you are doing that for the upper limb, then you can click the bones, muscles, and arteries that you want to be included, and then click Quick Quiz.
And just like before, you can choose from the various quiz styles, like basic identification and advanced identification.
But because you are getting closer to an exam, I suggest you do the Exam Question (Question Bank) style questions.
In this example, we have a 55-year-old patient with shoulder pain. After reading through it, you can ask: Which kind of muscle is involved? This is a very relevant style of question for board exams, as well as for quizzes and tests.
Now, the features that we’ve already talked about already separate Kenhub from the rest of the pack when it comes to anatomy. But there are a few things that I’ve found that I got super nerdy about as I was going through the website.
One of those things is histology. I don’t know about you, but when I was a med student, this was the class I absolutely hated because I couldn’t find a good resource that I could learn from and it wasn’t that interesting. I couldn’t learn everything about histology in one place.
On Kenhub, just like the rest of the topics, they teach histology with learning images. I just thought it was super, super cool!
For example, we can go to the dense connective tissue learning unit. Like the brachial plexus unit, this includes the videos and all the other features.
But the part that makes learning histology super effective is if you go to the Atlas. They give you different types of examples of dense connective tissue. A lot of quizzes and tests for med school, specifically around histology, is identification.
So if you can get examples, you can understand the subtle nuances between the different types of connective tissues. And again, I didn’t have that when I was a med student. And if I did, that would be super clutch.
There are tons of different examples for simply knowing what a plasma cell looks like. This is bringing back both good and bad memories as I look at this. But if I knew about those before, game over for me and histology, when I was studying as a new med student.
And if learning histology wasn’t a good enough bonus by itself, they also have the radiology section.
Again, this is something that makes total sense. You should know radiology when you’re learning about anatomy. But to be quite honest, I didn’t learn radiology until I was in a full-time position.
I just had to look at enough x-rays just because my patients had them and I had to read them on my own.
But if you’re a new med student, this would be a super effective tool to know the various parts of the x-rays and identifying the different structures and where they are.
For example, you can use their learning unit for the PA x-ray, which is the most important style.
You can try to see if you can identify the rib, the cardiac silhouette or the heart, the trachea, and a lot more.
And if you are not really sure where a certain part would be, you can see it in just one click.
They also have practice questions and a custom quiz for individual x-rays.
You are starting to see my inner nerd come out just because resources like this make me geek out. I also feel a little bit of jealousy because I wish I was aware of Kenhub when I was studying for anatomy as a new med student.
If we talk about the price, Kenhub has a free version. But to really take advantage of all the features I shared with you, I do recommend the premium version that is $39 a month.
Though the package I would personally pick is the 3-month package for $75, because anatomy is typically a semester or a half-semester course.
And so if you ask me if I would take Kenhub for 75 bucks and have all the resources for anatomy in one place, I would take it without any doubt or hesitation.
So in terms of price and for all that you get from it, I consider it to be pretty fair and it gets a 9 out of 10 for me.
In terms of effectiveness to use, you can be any type of learner, whether you are somebody who likes to read, watch videos, or practice with questions. Kenhub has something made for you. And so it also gets a 9 out of 10.
And last but not the least, if we talk about effectiveness to remember information long-term, Kenhub has something for you, depending on where you are on your learning trajectory.
So if you’re learning about information for the first time, the basic identification style of questions is super effective. And if you’re getting closer to the exam, the multiple-choice style of questions is also very effective.
There’s really one thing that is missing, which is an area where we can just do flashcards, or your individual questions. You could argue that some of their question banks are for this. But for me, that would be the only thing that’s missing (and I’m being a little nitpicky).
But regardless of your learning style, Kenhub does a great job of helping you remember information for the long term. So there, it also gets 9 out of 10 for me.
Now, I was very excited and thankful for the subscriber who brought Kenhub to my attention because after I saw all the features they had to offer, I reached out to their team and they were gracious enough to offer an additional 10% off! If you are interested, you can check it out here.
They are also gracious enough to support my YouTube channel. So thank you so much, Kenhub, for the support.
And again, if you really want to check out all the various features Kenhub has to offer to help you dominate in anatomy, here is the link to the 10% discount.
Now, let’s get into resource number two, which is AnatomyZone.
AnatomyZone was the resource that probably saved me when I was in medical school because it allowed me as a visual learner to have everything that I needed both before lab as well as lecture.
AnatomyZone gives you this 3D atlas, breaking down the different aspects of it so you can get a mental model. I talk about this in my video: How To Study For Anatomy.
It is important for you to have a mental model before you go into dissection so you will know what you expect to see and the relationships between the various structures.
And so my personal strategy for AnatomyZone is to watch the relevant video the day before the lecture. Then, go to dissection with the understanding of where things roughly should be and then compare it to where they actually are. And then I come back to these videos and get a final refresher.
If you’re a visual learner like myself, these videos are amazing. But if you’re somebody who likes to read the texts, they also have video transcriptions.
And the other thing I really like about AnatomyZone is that not only do they have videos for everything, but they also break it down for the skeletal system, the muscular system, the arteries, and the nerves.
You can really understand the small details without having to learn everything at one time.
So for example, if you’re struggling with the various arteries and circulations of the upper extremity, you can just watch a video on that. Or if you’re struggling with the muscles, the arms, or the hands, there is also a video specifically for that.
So like I mentioned, AnatomyZone was definitely one of my go-to resources when I was a new medical student.
In terms of our three criteria, when we look into the price, we can’t get better than free, so 10 out of 10 there.
In terms of effectiveness, it is very easy to use and navigate around their website and find the relevant video that you need. So it gets a 9 out of 10 there.
And then finally, in terms of how effective it is for you to learn information long-term, it gets a 7 out of 10 for me, just because it’s missing the components where you can take quizzes, have flashcards, and other types of resources.
Granted that this is a free resource, I’m really very grateful.
But by simply watching the videos, you may not be able to remember information for the long-term. And having some kind of quiz, question bank, or flashcards would be what AnatomyZone is missing.
But for a free resource, I totally recommend it. You can definitely check it out here.
Premade Anki Decks
Resource number three, to really dominate anatomy are premade Anki decks.
Now the nice thing about anatomy is that the information doesn’t really change. So the best way for you to learn it is to use the efforts that other people have done to really study the information in an easier way.
And I am personally a huge fan of Anki.
For my own institution, we had our own dissection guides, so people made Anki cards from those in the past years. And I just use that.
But if you don’t have that, there are a few anatomy premade decks here:
If you want a full Anki deck collection of everything for medical school, check out the Med School Domination Bundle where it is included as an added bonus.
I want to show you the different types of anatomy decks I was able to find. I’m going to show you some of them.
For example, you will see various examples of real cadavers. Then it will ask a question like “What is being shown here at number 1?”. And then if you click, it will show the answer.
You can do this for the different parts. This is great for types of quizzes that involve both identification of things on cadavers, as well being able to identify things on radiology.
Here is another anatomy deck from the University of Michigan, which we will talk about later.
Here, we can just practice on things like bones and skeletons, to make sure you know the various parts.
And some of these Anki decks also focus on specific structures as well as their functions and where they’re connected to.
Out of these Anki decks, there’s not really one that I recommend over the other, because it depends on your learning style, as well as the way you’ll be quizzed on anatomy.
Again, here is the link to the Anki deck if you want to try them out.
So in terms of the price, since the Anki decks are all free, it gets a 10 out of 10.
In terms of ease to use, I would give most of them an 8 out of 10, because it can be hard to navigate if you didn’t make the cards. And so you’re just hoping that the information you need is there.
An additional pro tip is that you can always add your own personal Anki cards to these individual premade decks to make them full and complete.
And finally, for effectiveness, I honestly think Anki is probably one of the best tools to remember information long term, because it uses repetition.
You can check out our most popular video on how to use Anki like a pro! It’s super useful and super effective.
And again, if you are interested in all the different types of Anki decks that you should be aware of when going into medical school, then check out the bonus that’s added to the Med School Domination Bundle.
Tablet And iOS Atlas
Now, resource number four, which I knew I was going to be asked about, are atlases for your tablets and your mobile devices.
I don’t have one, in particular, that’s my favorite and nd I’ll tell you why.
There are going to be various free and paid versions on both Google and iOS.
But the nice thing about these atlases is that they give you a 3D mental model to identify individual things and their relationship with each other.
Now, the reason why they’re not my favorite is that a lot of times there are added bonuses, or you eventually have to pay for something, or the ones that are free are a bit buggy and gimmicky.
The most important part of the atlas is that it puts the information together. But it doesn’t really help you prepare for a quiz or create a good enough mental model until you see the structure and then compare it to what you see on the 3D model.
An atlas like this is very effective if you’re going to an upcoming test section and you just want to memorize the different muscles or different kinds of bones that are there in the structure. That’s fine. It just wouldn’t be my preferred form of learning for quizzing myself.
So in terms of price, some of these are paid and some are free but buggy. So I give it a 7 out of 10.
In terms of ease of use, a lot of them are intuitive, but each of them has its individual bugs. I also give it a 7 out of 10.
And in terms of effectiveness for long-term use, they’re really not designed to quiz you or ask you about individual things. So there, it gets a 6 out of 10.
So if you’re somebody who’s going to be relying on an atlas, whether it be app based or an actual text version, I would definitely recommend that this would not be your first go-to. Instead, try some of the resources that we talked about earlier in this video to hone in on your anatomy knowledge.
BlueLink By The University Of Michigan Medical School
Finally, resource number five, which is a golden gem that I found as I was doing research for this article is the BlueLink by the University of Michigan Medical School.
Let me show you all the features it has and you will understand why it is a golden gem.
BlueLink is a free website that was initially designed for their medical students, and then it was made public.
The nice thing is that you can go through any structure that you’re about to learn.
Let’s say we’re going into the brachial plexus section and you can see the various images of some of the bones and skeletons. But as we go further down, you’ll see things that are relevant to the brachial plexus or near the brachial plexus.
Here is a great example of how to create a mental model.
If I was going to a cadaver lab and I wanted to know how everything is related, it would be amazing to be able to see the different parts of the brachial plexus in a perfect dissection.
Let’s be honest, we never do a perfect dissection as a new medical student. You are always tearing nerves, arteries, and veins.
Going into lab is so much easier if you see the various parts in their perfect forms using this type of resource.
The nice thing about the images is that they’re labeled. As we talked about earlier, if you use the University of Michigan premade Anki deck, you can actually get premium Anki decks from this website to be able to quiz yourself after you’ve gone through the respective modules.
And some of the additional features that I also found to be helpful are the practice questions and practice practicals.
So if you’re about to have a practical tomorrow, let’s say you’re going to study the anterior neck, then you may be able to identify its different parts.
For example, you can be asked to identify the foramen, what bones there are, or what part of the neck it is pointing at.
These are super effective because if you can identify it on a cadaver, this is probably the way it will be presented for your identification, whether it be virtual or in-person.
And on a similar boat, they also have practice questions for the various parts of the human body.
So let’s say we’re going to go back to the anterior neck. If you want to practice your knowledge through the multiple-choice style questions, they have it. They also have in-depth explanations so you can feel comfortable as you answer these questions. You probably will also do well on your actual exam.
BlueLink is absolutely free, so I give it a 10 out of 10 in terms of pricing.
In terms of how easy it is to use, it just has so much to offer, regardless if you’re learning new material or if you’re trying to review old material. So there, it gets a 9 out of 10.
And then finally, in terms of effectiveness for long-term learning, it has so many resources like practice questions and Anki cards, so it gets an 8 out of 10. The website is a little bit clunky and you just hope that what you need is there.
But for the most part, for a free resource, it just does a lot. So if you are interested, you can check it out here.
Those are all the resources that I definitely recommend that you know about and definitely check out.
I know we got into a lot and that’s just because anatomy is such an important class.
It is something that you master long-term, and if you master it, then your grades will be better. And you develop confidence going forward as a new medical student. So definitely check out some of these resources.
And again, thank you to Kenhub for their support and for being our sponsor.
And to be honest, even if they hadn’t been today’s sponsor, given all the resources we talked about, Kenhub is the resource that I highly recommend that you check out.
So if you do want to take advantage of that additional 10% discount that they’re offering, just go ahead and click here.
And regardless of what resource you end up with, if you did enjoy this article and want to really perfect your approach in learning anatomy, you can read my other article that shows the step-by-step guide on how to learn anatomy.
If you want more, watch this video on how to study anatomy. When I was a TA, I basically broke down how you should study for anatomy as a test gets closer.
And if you want access to our full library of guides and free courses for med students, check out the Med Vault!
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With that being said, thank you so much for making it to the very end of the article.
Hopefully, I was just a little help to you guys on your journey. Thanks for always being a part of mine.
If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll definitely enjoy the related articles here:
- How To Study For Anatomy Like A Pro [Step-By-Step]
- 20 Best Anatomy And Physiology Books For Medical Students
- 3 Ways To Better Study For Anatomy In Medical School
- How To Use Anki In Medical School
- Keys To Studying With Anki [Med School Tips]
- How To Read A Chest X-Ray [Step-By-Step]
- The Life Of A Radiologist
Until the next time my friend…