Ace the Anatomy Lab Exam

Netter Flash CardsIt’s daunting now, but the anatomy lab exam will grow to become your favorite part of anatomy. Why? Because it is the most straight-forward assessment we will ever get. We are given the list of structures to know, and on test day, you will know if you know them.

Still, there are a few simple steps to minimize doubts on test day.

1. Orient yourself. Know exactly where the pin is and what angle you’re looking from.

2. Find familiar landmarks. If you can’t identify the tagged structure, start by identifying what’s around it.

3. Think through a list of possibilities based on context clues. This becomes more relevant when the material gets denser (e.g. musculature of the forearm).


1. Stay calm. At the beginning you might need the whole minute, but soon you will find your flow and have time to spare.

2. Veins always appear darker than arteries. You can’t touch the cadavers on exam day, so learn to distinguish vessels on sight.

3. Look for the direction that muscle fiber is running. Sometimes examiners reflect muscles, so look for the origin and insertion before jumping to conclusions.

4. It’s not a spelling bee, but do the graders a favor and at least sound it out 😉

*Bonus Study Tip: When learning the anatomical structures, remember that the names all have meanings. Knowing the etymology is helpful because it tells you something about the shape or function of the structure (e.g. left brachiocephalic vein–> brachio means arm and cephalic means head, so it returns the blood from the left arm and head).

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