Everything You Wanted to Know About Taking Human Anatomy Exams*

*But were afraid to ask.

All questions on the laboratory component of each comprehensive exam will be objective-style, multiple choice questions. All questions will be related to material covered in the course objectives. In making up the exam, each instructor submits questions which are then reviewed by the other instructors to ensure that they relate to at least one course objective. Questions that do not relate to course objectives are not included on the exam.

The laboratory components of each comprehensive exam will be machine graded as soon as possible after completion of the exam. This means that all of your answers will have to be marked in pencil on machine grading forms (where you blacken a, b, c, d, or e). We provide answer sheets for all exams.

The exam schedule: Human Anatomy will be assigned a two-hour and fourty minute lab exam period for each exam. Because of the limited amount of space in the lab, the laboratory portions of the exam are taken in shifts. Here's how it works: You will be assigned to one of four groups.  You will rotate through the laboratory exams according to this schedule.
Absences: Generally the only acceptable reason for not taking an exam at the scheduled time will be a death - your own. Seriously, it takes an enormous amount of time on the part of the faculty to set up the laboratory part of the exam. It is almost impossible to create a fair make-up test for a student who misses the regularly scheduled exam. You will not be excused from the exam except for reasons of serious (verifiable) illness, and this must be cleared with both the Dr. Stone's office and the Course Director (Dr. English).

Students should assemble in the 3rd floor hall outside the elevator (in the Anatomy building) prior to the beginning of their assigned exam period.

You must wear a lab coat. Gloves are not necessary as you will not be touching any cadaver materials.

An instructor will meet you in the hall, remind you of the rules and strategies for taking the exam and tell you when you can go down to the labs.

When you go down to the labs, you should spread out among the 28 or 29 stations that have been set up (this includes rest stops). The attached map will show you where the stations will be. Pick up an answer sheet and a pencil at your first station. You will carry these with you throughout the exam. (Instructors will provide you with replacement pencils as needed.) Mark your name, the course name, etc. on the answer sheet. We also suggest that you place a small mark on the answer sheet next to the question you are starting at, so you will not lose track of where you are. (Remember to erase this at the end of the exam so the machine will not read it.)

When everyone has gotten to their first station and had time to fill in their name on their answer sheet, the instructor will start timing the exam. You will have 55 seconds at each station. This is the maximum amount of time we can give you and still get the whole group of students through in the allotted time.

You will have to answer only one question at each station (except of course at rest stops). This question will be printed on a file card placed on a tray or counter next to the station. The instructors will endeavor in every case to make sure that the structures tagged are clear, classic examples, that they are displayed (as much as is practical) from beginning to end, and that there are as many relevant cues as possible to orient you to the dissection. You will be given practice laboratory type questions during the in-class review sessions (Sept. 15, Oct. 20, and Dec. 1) so that you will know what to expect. Here are examples of typical questions that might appear at one station:

The tagged structure is the left phrenic nerve. It is clearly displayed on its course through the thorax and you can follow it all the way to the diaphragm.

Q1. The cell bodies of origin of this nerve are located:


Q2. The axons in this nerve are mainly

Answers: Rationale: Notice we did not ask you what the structure is. (Although some questions will be more straightforward identification questions.) We assume that you know this is the phrenic nerve and now we want to know what you know about this nerve. Both questions probably relate best to objective 8 on Heart and Mediastinum, but knowledge of objective 5 on Thoracic Wall, Pleura and Lungs and objective 5 on Heart and Mediastinum would also help you to eliminate some of the incorrect answers.

For Q1 OR 2, if you knew that the tagged structure was the phrenic nerve and you know that the phrenic nerve originates from C3, C4 and C5 and supplies motor innervation to the diaphragm you probably found the answers relatively straightforward.

You might have thought that this was the vagus nerve - if so, you could have chosen answer e for Q1 or a or b for Q2. However, course objective 5 requires that you know the course of the vagus nerve in the posterior mediastinum, and if you know that, you will realize that the vagus nerves pass through a hiatus in the diaphragm entwined around the esophagus. The tagged nerve seems to run right to the middle of the diaphragm. Therefore, it cannot be the vagus.

Since we will have made every effort to clearly tag structures, there will be no need to touch or move anything. Indeed, it is an ironclad rule that in taking the laboratory exam YOU MAY NOT TOUCH OR MOVE TAGS, TAGGED STRUCTURES, OR ANY PART OF THE CADAVER OR SKELETAL MATERIAL. This ensures that all students taking the exam will have the same opportunity to see the same material displayed in the same way and eliminates the possibility of tags being moved or structures being torn.

Types of questions: If you look at the attached map you will see that there are going to be 19 stations at dissected cadavers. These may be 19 questions relating to structures tagged on your cadavers, but it is likely that some cadaver stations may have skeletal structures tagged or structures tagged on isolated organs (e.g. the heart). There are six stations in front of x-ray viewing boxes. Therefore, 6 questions will relate to interpretation of radiographs. Summary:

At the end of the exam: After you have answered your last question you will be given an additional 55 seconds to look over your answer sheet, review your answers, and erase any extraneous marks you have made on your answer sheet. (Remember, a machine is going to grade this.) There is no penalty for guessing, so you may want to take this opportunity to fill in any questions you have left blank.

At the conclusion of this period, please turn in your answer sheet to an instructor.

REASSURANCE: In case you're worried about the machine grading, please be assured that in cases where a large number of students get a question wrong, we recheck the answer to that question and if necessary regrade the question by hand and make appropriate adjustments in scores.

Also, if you are afraid you can not remember all this, do not worry. Almost everything will be repeated to you at the time of the exam. All you have to do is make sure you get yourself to the right place at the right time.

Review of exams: Although we do not return your answer sheets to you, you may review your exam (if you so desire) in Dr. English's office or in the office of one of the other instructors by prior arrangement.

A key to the correct answers on the exam will be posted (with the designated objective of each question) as soon as possible after the exam. A copy of the key to each exam will also be available in the emoryCLASS section of the World Wide Web. The Human Anatomy faculty likes to review all of the answers to each exam before posting the key. This is to be sure that we have been as fair as possible to the students taking the exam, but it also slows the process of posting by about a day. Please be patient with us.