Anatomy for Medical Students
Overview Textbooks and References Ten-year series, OSCEs, Tests
  • Introduction
  • Syllabus
  • Timetable
  • Examination
  • Tips
  • Textbooks
  • Booklist
  • Lifern's notes [1.2MB,MS Word]
  • Lifern's notes - Head & Neck [0.7MB]
          [Lifern's Notes from Ooi Pei Ling]

    Online references
  • NUS Anatomy Pots [No longer available]
  • NUS Histonet [Pics, 600+, labelled]
  • Larsen's Embryology [Animations]

  • Past Year Questions
  • MBBS TYS Essay Qns 88-97 (MS Word)
  • MBBS 2000 Pro
    Online Quizes
  • Texas Tech Gross Anat Spots
      [Spots, 1000+ pictures, Topical]

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    Category of subject: Preclinical
    Duration of posting: Entire Year 1
    Final examination: End of Year 1 (1st Professional MBBS)
      Anatomy is one of the 3 main topics in 1st year medical school (the other 2 being Biochemistry and Physiology), and yes, you do have to dissect a corpse. Of the 3 first year subjects, this is the one needing the most rote-memorization (in my opinion at least), but also the most structured. It tends to take up the most time of the 3 first year subjects, usually produces the most number of first year vivas and re-exams, but also the most number of distinctions.
      It is divided by body systems, and there is a test after each system. Neuroanatomy is now taught separately in Year 2 since about 1998, but will be covered here.
      It is especially relevant to those of you aspiring to become surgeons, though much of the fine print is less useful in the clinical years. Pay particular attention to the sections labelled "Applied" or "Clinical" anatomy.
      The tutors are a mixed-lot, from the eccentric to the amusing to the dedicated, but generally a nice bunch. I may have forgotten much of my anatomy, but I remember the Alpha-Romeos, the neuroanatomy models, and eating char-siew rice after dissection lesson.
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    Official syllabus available?: No
    1)Gross anatomy
    - Head & Neck (2 questions), Upper limb, Thorax, Abdomen, Back & Spine(No question), Pelvis & Perineum, Lower Limb
    - 1 essay question each (subject to change) in the final essay paper.
    - This "normal" microscopy forms the basis for pathology slide sessions, but honestly, by the time year 4 pathology exam comes around, nobody can remember anything. At least try to remember the basics such as the basic cell types, blood vessels and so on.
    - 2 essay questions.
    - This explains how the fetus develops: useful in studying anatomy, but not very useful for clinical years (except perhaps in some cancers and neonatal heart conditions).
    - 1 essay question.
    - Now taught in year 2 together with Neurophysiology.
    - And tested at the end of first semester Year 2.
    - Previously 2 essay question, but may have additional question "hijacked" from gross anatomy (eg Innervation of the bladder).
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    Teaching methods:
    Lecture - Gross Anatomy, Embryology
    Tutorial, Problem based learning
    Practical - Gross Anatomy(Dissection), Histology
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    Breakdown of marks
    - Official breakdown available?: No.
    - Continual assessment %:Unknown, probably 20-40%.
    Final exam
    - !!NB!!: Information pertaining to 1997(!) exam.
    - Timing: End of year 1 (Late April - Early May)
    - Papers:
      (1)MCQ (1 hour, 40x5 True/False) (26 April 1997)
      (2)Spots (50 Pots/Slides, 1 min each) (26 April 1997, after MCQ)
      (3)Essay paper (3 hours, 12 questions) (28 April 1997)
      (4)Viva (Pass/Fail or Distinction only) (5 May 1997)
    - Weightage: Weightage of various components above variable. Supposedly, they mark the papers, then increase the weightage of the paper most people "scored" in (usually spots). Still, essay weightage will be highest.
      Contributes only to First Professional MBBS.
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    Primary textbook(choose 1 from each section)
    Gross Anatomy:
     (1)Clinical Anatomy for Medical Students (Snell) - Structured, nice diagrams, good bit about applied anatomy.
     (2)Clinically Orientated Anatomy(Keith Moore) - Easier to read, if a bit longwinded. Nicer pictures and drawings.
     (3)Human Anatomy(Chaurasia) - Not recommended. Poor diagrams, contradictary info.
     (4)Lecture notes: Pre-dissection lectures notes are NOT enough for the exams.
     (1)Human Embrylogy (William Larsen) - Bigger, nicer pictures, more rambling.
     (2)Langman's Medical Embryology - More concise with some clear illustrations.
     (3)The developing human (Keith Moore) - Less popular, but good for understanding
     (1)Functional Histology(Wheater): My old version was good enough, I hear the new one has even nicer pictures and even a CD-ROM!
     (1)Neuroanatomy:An illustrated color text(Crossman & Neary) - Easy to read, but too basic.
     (2)S K Leong - By the ex-Head of Department himself. Hard to read, but chockfull of information.
     (3)Neurology:An illustrated color text(Fuller & Manford) - Good but also too basic.
     (4)Neuroanatomy: Basic and clinical(Fitzgerald) - Haven't read it myself.

    Reference text
    Gross Anatomy:
    - Anatomy: Regional and Applied (R J Last): Never used it, too thick.
    - Gray's Anatomy: Granddaddy of them all, even thicker than Last's.

    Other must-have stuff
    Gross Anatomy:
    - An Atlas: Netter's (Good diagrams, superb annotation) or Mcminn's (Great photos, good for spots).
    - Senior's notes: Lifern's notes - Snell's summarized in a table form.
    - Histology photos: Get these from your senior, hopefully a set with good annotations.
    - Electron micrograph photocopies: Get from senior, occasionally come out exactly for exam.
    - Lab coat(make at medic fair)

    Nice-to-have stuff
    Gross Anatomy:
    - Skeleton: Useful but not essential. $600 for a plastic one
       Real ones (half-skeleton + skull) costs $1000, but only way to get them now is from a senior.
    - Dissection kit is optional

    Revision guides & MCQs
    Gross Anatomy:
    - Crash Course Anatomy: Didn't have it in my time, but looks good.
    - Lifern's notes: After failing almost every class test, managed to memorize this from start to end and pass. :P
    - Can't remember any off-hand. Just grab a few from the library and practice.

    Book review sites

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    Study tips
    Gross Anat lectures are not comprehensive - read up before you got for dissections, and again after.
    - Study once through, then do your tutorials from memory, referring back as little as possible. Donít cheat yourself by just bringing Lifernís to tutorial and reading from it!
    - Visualisation is important - use the dissection, atlas, and museum specimens.
    - When answering a question such as ďGross Anatomy of organ/nerve/vessel/etc.), follow the fixed format (eg : For organs : Intro+Location, Shapes & Surfaces, Borders, Parts, Cross-section, Structures to and from the organ, blood supply, lymphatics, nerves, relations, and clinical correlations). This makes it more orderly, and you wonít miss stuff out.
    Histology notes are mostly enough, sometimes even in excess of what is required.
    - For each organ, memorise its distinctive/identifying feature(s). This is especially important for slide identification.
    Embryology takes up only one question in the final paper, and itís easy to neglect since it doesnít have tutorials or practicals. Try not to do so, however, as it is a relatively easy subject.
    - Donít go beyond what the lecturer covers - Langman and Larsen both have much more than enough material.
    - Embryology involves a time dimension as well, so picture the development of the organ as you study it. Exact times are not required, however, knowing which period development takes place in is useful.
    Exam tips
    MCQs mean True/False questions. Remember : Correct = +1, Wrong = -1, Blank = 0
    - Though you might think guessing is a 50-50 chance, somehow you guess the wrong answer more often. ; - ) But seriously, if you have half a clue, just guess.
    Essay questions are usually general and concentrate on the main points/organs, as compared to biochem/physio which can ask smaller/more obscure points.
    - This is especially true for gross anat, where more than 50% of the questions usually come direct from Lifernís.
    - Answers in point form are allowed (though continuous prose will gain you more marks).
    - Even writing down the headings (eg. ďThe organ has a blood supplyĒ) will give you marks.
    Spots questions come in 2 parts - if you donít know the 1st, the 2nd is automatically wrong. So make sure you know how to identify the specimens(part 1), so you can make a theoretical statement about it (part 2)
    - Therefore, remember identifying features to help you.
    - If you donít know, just guess - no marks deducted for spots.
    - Be specific as possible - eg : is it Left or Right?
    - Try not to panic when the bell rings and you donít know. Write something down and move on.
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