Hey there! Anatomy is one tough nut to crack. It is highly volatile, it is vast and it is time-consuming.
For this reason, anatomy preparation can be over-whelming and can drain you mentally, while preparing for NEXT, NEET, USMLE or any other medical entrance exam. And, in my years as a medical educator, I have been asked this so many times. So here is what I am going to do.
In this article, I am going to jot down all study tips and preparation strategies I used to study and revise Anatomy in my internship year. I will also enlist the books that helped me the most. And nowadays, since we have several educators on different platforms teaching through online lectures, I will also pen down their details. Finally, I will also give you a good working Action Plan/Schedule to complete your Anatomy preparation in 10 days.
(This article is for Anatomy prep for PG entrances. If you are a newbie medico, just starting out with medical school, you might find this article more relevant – How to study Anatomy in First Year MBBS).
At the outset, Anatomy is a high-yield subject. Every year, more than 10+ MCQs are directly asked in medical entrance exams.
Anatomy is one of the “DIRECT” subjects for NEET-PG, meaning most questions are straight forward and direct. There are not many cryptic and twisted questions in Anatomy. The number of controversial questions in Anatomy are also very few. This makes Anatomy a HIGH SCORING subject for NEET-PG.
If you study a Anatomy review book well once, solve the Q-Bank of 1500+ questions and revise it all once, you have a realistic chance of scoring 100% in Anatomy MCQs in NEET-PG or NEXT.
10+ MCQs Anatomy MCQs will appear in NEET and you will be able to answer all of them with one “study and solve”. Those are great odds.
(Subjectwise distribution for NEET-PG is detailed in this article here)
And to complete the whole syllabus of anatomy for NEET-PG, 9-10 full days should be enough. This is the reason anatomy is considered a high-yield subject for NEET.
Read on to find out how to score a 100% in anatomy in NEET-PG.
Step 1 – Make a study plan
How many days should you devote to anatomy preparation?
10 days of Anatomy preparation is the ideal duration. By giving less than 10 days, you might not be able to read and solve all topics. By giving more than 10 days to anatomy, your output is not likely to increase tremendously. (Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule says that).
Study for 10 days using this action plan that we describe below and you will be better prepared in anatomy than a vast majority of your competition.
After these 10 days, even if you spend <5 mins daily practising 5-10 MCQs, you will be able to revise anatomy much faster and efficiently.
Even one or two days of revision in the last month before NEET-PG, will hold you in good stead!
10 days for 10 / 10 in Anatomy !!
Where to read anatomy from – Review books, Online videos and Question Banks?
The second part of your study plan : You need to decide whether you will be reading from a review book or from an app / online platform. Honestly, both options are equally good and it boils down to your personal preference and learning style. You can also have a hybrid approach where you read from the book, solve MCQs from the app and watch video lectures for some of the more difficult and volatile topics.
Also, you don’t have to stick with the same approach for all subjects. You may be strong in some subjects and you will realize that reading from a review book is faster and more efficient. On the other hand, you may be weak in some subjects and watching video lectures might help you with the concepts.
So this decision of where you want to study anatomy from, I will leave up to you. Just a word, whichever method you choose, is good. It doesn’t really make a difference. All that matters is that the important anatomy information goes in your head, and stays there till the end of the exam.
Step 2- Choose the Best Books
Which books to read for anatomy preparation for NEET-PG ?
I personally read from the books and I think books are more time-efficient as you can maintain the study speed that suits you.
With video lectures, you basically have to go with the educator’s speed and that can be a bit less efficient, at least it was for me.
(Do note that some of these links are affiliate links. As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases, at no extra cost to you.)
BRS Gross Anatomy 9/e (Amazon link)
BRS ANatomy is the first on the list because it is my absolute favourite review book for Anatomy. You know what, BRS series is my absolute favourite for infact all subjects.
I remember my senior AW reading it for USMLE, who first introduced me to the BRS series. And while it is actually a review book that people preparing for USMLE read, I think it is a great resource for Indian exams too. It just makes anatomy so easy. No fluff, no extra info, just the important facts you need to remember in a point-wise fashion. Oh buoy, i loved this book!
Do note that it doesn’t have MCQs though. It is simply a review book and you will need to get a MCQ book in addition.
(Also since it is not an Indian book, you will not easily find it in bookstores. If you can buy even an old edition, it’s good as anatomy isn’t gonna change).
Rajesh Kaushal’s Anatomy book is the best one for NEET, NEXT, INICET and Indian exams. The question bank is comprehensive and the explanations are also on point. The review before each section is also elaborate. Although personally I prefer the review of text from BRS Anatomy.
My strategy would be to read the text from BRS Anatomy and then solve the MCQs from this book. That way, you will also be able to get some new points and your revision will be better.
Handwritten Anatomy Notes By Dr. Ashwani Kumar (Amazon link)
If you are a visual learner, this is a great book. It has handwritten notes on Anatomy that are modelled on the video lectures by Dr Ashwani Kumar. It is not the most comprehensive review, but rather focusses on the most important and high yield topics. That makes it easy to memorize and revise.
A good approach would be to begin with this book, complete this in two-three days and then pick up BRS Anatomy and Dr Kaushal’s MCQ book, and add the extra info into this book.
That way, you will have a very good resource to revise anatomy in the last few days.
This is also a good review book in Anatomy with a comprehensive question bank with detailed explanation.
You can buy this in place of Dr Kaushal’s anatomy review. They are almost the same with respect to review and explanations.
ATLAS OF HUMAN ANATOMY 7ED (Buy it on Amazon)
The books that we have discussed so far are plain old dry text. And that can make reading anatomy very boring and monotonous.
I highly , highly recommend you keep an Anatomy atlas with you at all times while you are reading Anatomy. And Netter’s Atlas is by far the best Anatomy atlas out there.
If you are a medical student, then definitely recommend you to buy this. It’s gonna help you with all subjects, not just anatomy. It will help you in all surgical specialities too – Surgery, ENT, Ophthalmology, Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Orthopaedics. (I bought mine in first year and kept using it throughout MBBS, for each system i was reading).
If you are an intern, then I guess you can just borrow it from the library or from a friend. It is a bit expensive, but totally worth the investment.
Step 3 – Choose your Educators and Faculty
Best Educators for Anatomy for NEET/NEXT/INI-CET?
Now, with respect to online learning, you basically have several good options.
You can choose any one of these
- Egurukul by DBMCI
As you can see, there are a ton of options to choose from, and there are pros and cons of each platform. Each platform/app has highly qualified teachers and educators, and to choose the right one for you can be a bit overwhelming. Some platforms(eg PrepLadder) let you buy only the subjects that you want. So say you want to learn Anatomy from PrepLadder, you do not have to buy access to all 19 subjects. Basically, they have individual subject apps that can be purchased separately. On the other hand, platforms like Marrow require you to pay for all subjects upfront, so you are locked with them.
I personally think Unacademy + PrepLadder combination is a great option. Here, you can watch the pre-recorded video lectures from PrepLadder and at the same time, you have access to live lectures by Unacademy educators. Another benefit with Unacademy is that you have access to two or three educators for each subject. This is an amazing advantage as you can learn different topics from different educators. Every educator has a different speed and style and you will be able to find the one who is most in sync with your learning style. That can make a world of difference.
Step 4 – Choose a Question Bank / MCQs for Practice
Firstly, understand that MCQ practise is the most important aspect of your preparation. Whether you read a textbook or review book, or learn through videos, that is up to you, and won’t make a difference. But solving MCQs well is going to make a world of difference to your final result/outcome.
Again, with respect to MCQ practice, you have two options.
- Review books (as mentioned earlier)
- Question Bank apps / platforms like Marrow, Unacademy, PrepLadder, Unacademy, DocTutors, MedMiracle, etc
Overall, Marrow and PrepLadder have the most comprehensive question banks, and you will be good to go with either of the two.
Unacademy Plus for NEET has the benefit of Live interactive quizzes and discussions, which can help you be more accountable. I would personally choose the Unacademy + PrepLadder subscription as it can give you the best of both worlds (i.e. Question Bank + Live Quizzes).
The benefit of solving a MCQ book (as mentioned above) are that revisions can be so easy and effective. I used to mark the questions that I answer incorrectly with a red circle. So in my revision, I would only solve the ones with a red circle around them. That way I would be able to revise much faster. If again, I answered the red marked questions incorrectly, I would highlight the question, telling me that I need to revise it again in my next reading.
Well, you can use these online platforms the same way too, as you can bookmark the difficult questions for revision.
Anatomy overall has a Question bank of 1500 MCQs. Solving 200 MCQs a day is easily possible. (How many MCQs should I study for NEET-PG every day?). If you read ‘retrograde’, you can finish the whole question bank in 7 days.
Several students have asked me if only solving the MCQs is enough for anatomy? Well, it depends. Do you have time constraints , and you have not been able to touch anatomy at all? Then solving MCQs is the best solution for you in this time crunch. Better solve MCQs than ignore anatomy completely. Leaving a big subject like anatomy completely is very, very risky.
However, if you don not have a big time crunch, as I have outlined earlier, (antegrade vs retrograde-which is better) , you should add a day or two of antegrade preparation before you begin retrograde. Read the introductory text in the beginning of each chapter quickly in one day. This first day you are not trying to learn everything. Your goal is to acquaint yourself with the important topics in the subject and to familiarize yourself with the subject.
Here, in these first one-two days of preparation, you are not trying to learn or memorize. You are only trying to skim through the facts, focusing on bold and italicized points and oft repeated points.
So now that you have decided the resources that you are going to use, let us look at the actual action plan/schedule to complete anatomy preparation.
Step 5 : First Reading
Step 5A : Day 1 – Getting started – Introduction phase
Your first goal is to acquaint yourself to the syllabus, the chapters and sub-topics and the number of MCQs per chapter and sub-topic. Make a mental note of the most important and high yield chapters and topics. This should take around an hour.
If you want to save an hour of your time, read this list instead where I have broken down the anatomy syllabus into the most important topics and sub-topics for you. (You’re welcome )
Important Topics in Anatomy for NEXT and NEET
MUST‐DOs: o Cranial Nerves And Nuclei, esp. Optic nerve pathway‐ Most important for NIMHANS o Brachial Plexus: Branches and Palsies o Root Values And Dermatomes Of UL & LL o Arteries and branches: Subclavian artery, Axillary artery, Internal iliac o Nerve Supply Of ‐ Perineum, Ear, Eye o Relations of Lesser Sac, Parotid gland o Peritoneal anatomy Embryology: o Derivatives Of Different Germ Layers, particularly Neural Crest o Branchial Arch, Cleft Derivatives o Spermato/Oogenesis, Mitosis, Meiosis Osteology o Types Of Joints With Examples o Ossification Centers, particularly ones present at birth o Knee Joint‐ Ligaments; learn with orthopedics (injuries) Neuroanatomy o Cavernous Sinus‐ Boundaries/Structures Passing Through It, Tributaries o Blood Supply o Brainstem Sections o Ventricle Boundaries Perineum o Urethra (Study with Urethral trauma) o Rectum‐Anal Canal anatomy o Spermatic Cord contents o Reproductive System derivatives (with embryology) Histology o List Of Epithelium Lining Of Various Regions Thorax o Heart Arterial anatomy o Diaphragm with embryology o Bronchovascular Segments of lung o Lung hilum
|Embryology||Derivatives of germ layers is HIGH YIELD and very volatile. Remember using mnemonics|
-Development of face.
|Osteology||Pneumatic and Non/pneumatic bones of the skull.|
Deep cervical Facial:
Muscles origin and insertion is tough to rememeber.
Types of switchers.-
The base of the skull.
Foramen in skulll with structures passing through them
|Arteries||-Branches to Individual Parts.|
-Vascular supply to bones.
|Head and Neck||-Important and vast.|
-Nerve supply of head and heck.
-cavernous sinus, remember its boundaries, structures passing through cavernous sinus, tributaries and drain channels.
actions of upper limbs.
-Very important topic from examination.
|Abdomen||-Give utmost attention to Perineum while preparing abdomen.-|
Most common questions asked under this topic are from Urethra, Ureter and Pudendal canal.
|Cranium||Cranila nerves – study in details|
Learn structures passing through Foramen
|Thorax||-Blood supply of the heart.|
-Structures passing through the diaphragm.
-Do not miss Arteries, Veins and Nerves.
|Upper and Lower Limbs||-Focus in death about the region of shoulder joint, especially the muscles(insertion, action, nerve supply).|
-Dermatomes of upper and lower limb is also a very important topic to prepare.
-knee joint, sciatic and obturator nerve
arches of foot,
muscles of the sole of foot.
Step 5B : Day 1 and 2 – Skimming Phase
You now are aware of the areas in anatomy that are often repeated in NEET-PG, NEXT-PG, INI-CET or FMGE. These topics are high-yield and need more attention.
For the next 3-4 hours, your goal is to skim through the pages of the review book.
You are not trying to memorize anything now. You are simply turning the pages and highlighting the “keywords”.
What are keywords ? These are bits of information that are asked as direct one-liners. Basically, keywords are facts and factoids that you absolutely need to know.
NEET-PG one-liners are often direct or indirect sentences that test your knowledge of these keywords.
Your goal in the skimming phase is to highlight these keywords.
This is possibly the easiest thing to do and yet it is the most important and high-yield task in your preparation.
You should highlight the important keywords, the ones that have been asked in the past as these are Direct repeats. However, look out for the potential new ones that have not been asked yet, but could be tested.
Do not try to understand concepts at this stage. Do not even read paragarphs. In the first day, we are only identifying keywords.
In your final revision, you will ideally be revising these keywords again in the last one month before NEET-PG. So your goal is to highlight only the most important keywords.
Remember : This is a review book you are reading, it is not a coloring book !!
This is only a one day plan. No more, no less.
However, this one day will speed up your preparation for the next 7 days, where you actually have to consolidate concepts, understand pathophysiology and disease mechanisms.
Step 3C : Days 3 to 8 – Study and Solve
So after your first day of High yield preparation, you have a solid idea about important topics and you are aware of the keywords in each topic.
Now is the time to build up on your knowledge by reading the complete text in the review book, followed by solving those MCQs and finally reading through the explanations. How many MCQs in a day ? 200 MCQs should be your goal so you will be able to revise the complete question bank in 7 days.
Let me repeat it for you – first, read the text (or watch the video lectures), secondly, solve the MCQs and finally, read the explanations.
NOTE : when solving MCQs, mark the questions that you answer correctly with a different marker. These incorrect questions will need to be studied again; I will come to it in a while.
This way when you solve the MCQs, you will be able to test the knowledge you just acquired and then, when you read the explanations you will be able to revise the knowledge you have acquired.
The idea is that your first reading is immediately followed by a Test and a quick revision.
Every NEET-PG topper will vouch for the importance of revisions for success in NEET-PG. The best part of this strategy is the fact that you are able to revise once, immediately after you have acquired new knowledge.
Alternatingly, if you have joined a class (like DAMS) or an online coaching platform (like Marrow or Prepladder), your schedule will be slightly different. If you are using video lectures instead, the strategy is similar. Watch all the videos in one section, take notes while you are watching the videos and then once you have watched one section, attempt the MCQs from that section. Bookmark the questions that you answered incorrectly or you couldn’t answer confidently. Also read the MCQ explanation rapidly. Speed reading is the key. No point of reading it in all details when you already have read that topic.
This is a section-wise or topic-wise approach. Another efficient approach is that you watch all video lectures in 2-3 days, take notes and then solve MCQs. SO, you will have to devote 2 full days initially, to either attend the offline class or watch all the online videos through the apps. The goal should be to finish watching all the videos as soon as possible.
The rest of the plan is the same as outlined earlier, where you should attempt to solve 200 MCQs and read those explanations.
Some tips to remember when you are reading subjetwise :
1 ) Focus on Images and Image-Based Questions – While Theory is important, Anatomy without images and diagrams is difficult to process. Supplement your study with the picture-based approach for easy comprehension. It also helps to retain the topic more effectively. Always keep Netter’s Atlas around you. Can’t recommend this one book enough. Netter’s Atlas will really drastically enhance your comprehension, retention and recall.
2) Focus on CLINICAL VIGNETTES and Questions – With the changing pattern of NEET, NEXT, INICET and FMGE, the focus is now on Clinical vignettes and Clinical case based scenarios. So you need to focus on the clinical presentation and management of the conditions. Follow an integrative appproach.
Step 6 : First Revision : Revising your newly acquired knowledge
At this stage, you have devoted 8 days for Anatomy preparation – DAY 1-2 for getting acquainted to the syllabus by skimming through and DAYS 3 to 8 for solving the MCQs and reading the explanations.
I highly recommend that before you jump to the next subject, you must spend one more day with Anatomy. This is for two reasons :
- Consolidate your knowledge – the ideal time for first revision is as soon as you complete your first reading.
- Eliminate your weaknesses – When you were solving MCQs, I advised you to mark your incorrect questions with a separate marker, and to read those explanations in details. Now is the time to test these questions again. Now is the time to eliminate those weaknesses forever.
This one day will be worth the time and effort, especially when you are revising the whole syllabus before the exam. You will see that your retention and recall is highly efficient.
Step 7 : Review and Revision : Retaining your knowledge
Now that you have revised once, you will feel confident that you have completed Anatomy well.
When you are giving grand tests, you will be happy to notice that you are answering most of the questions correctly based on your retention.
It is possible that you are not able to recall some facts and are getting those questions wrong.
Now your goal must be to mainatin the knowledge you have acquired. DO NOT neglect this subject for 5-6 months because it will simpy evaporate. I highly recommend that you join one of the Telegram channels/groups (there are so many of them). They keep posting MCQS and high yield content regularly. Just by giving 5 minutes every day to these groups, between your study sessions and during your breaks, you will be able to revise your knowledge.
This is exactly why I created my telegram group (Why Telegram and not whatsapp?) (Best medical Telegram groups to follow for NEET-PG). I am an ophthalmologist and focus on ophthalmology only on my group but similar to mine, there are several other subjectwise groups you can join.
To summarize, Anatomy has 10+ MCQs in NEET-PG.
I recommend a similar approach for all subjects.
Ok, that’s it. I hope you found those tips and strategies valuable. In my experience, those strategies and tricks have worked for everyone who has stuck with them, and have yielded positive results for them. Everyone studies differently, so you may see that some tips are more useful to you than others. Also, you may realize that some topics are your strengths while some may not be so. So you will have to spend more time on some subjects, and that is perfectly alright. The time frame and schedule is just an optimum guideline to keep you on track. It is good to have a mechanism of feedback , to know whether you doing well or you need to speed things up. All said and done, try to follow this to your best ability. If something isn’t working, just go ahead, surely tweak and modify the plan, according to your needs and preferences. Do let me know if you have any queries in the comments below.
At the end of the day, all that matters is that you keep marching ahead, one step at a time, towards that coveted medical post-graduate seat of your dreams! 🙂
Happy dreaming, Happy Studying!
Hello there! I am Dr PKJ (Pankaj Kamal Jeswani).
I am an ophthalmologist by profession and medical educator by passion. I teach Ophthalmology to medical students, preparing for NEXT, INI-CET and other medical entrance exams. I love mentoring young medical minds and helping them in their medical journeys.
Do check my Ophthalmology preparation group on Telegram.