Ready to ace your next brain anatomy quiz? We've got you covered! Review our 17 practice questions to improve your understanding of the parts of the brain and the central nervous system. Plus, brush up on our tips for studying smarter, not harder.
Taking AP Biology? Have a brain anatomy quiz coming soon? We’ve got 17 questions to help you study for it, plus some clever tricks and tips for studying smarter, not harder!
Parts of the Brain
One of the first things you should have to ace a brain anatomy quiz is a thorough grasp of the parts of the brain and each part’s function. Here are some of the questions you might expect:
Where is the cerebellum located and what does it do?
The cerebellum is the part of the brain situated at the back of the head. It receives sensory information and regulates your motor movements. The cerebellum also controls balance and coordination, helping you to enjoy smooth movements.
Which part of the brain processes visual information?
The occipital lobe lies underneath the occipital bone. It is part of the forebrain (you have two, technically; one at the back of each cortex) and is responsible for processing visual information. Here’s a helpful memory device: the “o” in occipital can remind you of the “o” in optometrist or ophthalmologist.
If a person’s frontal lobe is injured, what functions might he or she lose?
The frontal lobe can be found in the front of the brain, in each cerebral hemisphere. A deep groove called the central sulcus separates it from the parietal lobe, and another groove called the lateral sulcus separates it from the temporal lobe. A part of the frontal lobe known as the precentral gyrus contains the primary motor cortex, which controls specific body parts’ voluntary movements.
The frontal lobe is responsible for reasoning, higher order thinking, and creativity, so if somebody’s frontal lobe is damaged, he or she could have difficulty making decisions and reasoning.
What are the gyrus and sulcus and how do they help the brain?
Gyrus are the ridges on the brain and sulcus are the grooves (also seen as furrows or depressions). Together, their up and down “motion” are responsible for the folded, “spaghetti” appearance of the brain.
They are, in fact, an extremely clever way of making the most of very limited space. The brain is limited to the area inside your cranium, but the folding of the brain tissue allows a much greater surface area for cortical tissue, allowing additional cognitive function even in a relatively small space.
The human brain begins as a smooth surface, but as the embryo develops, the brain begins to form the deep indentations and ridges we see in the adult brain.
What part of the brain controls the primitive parts of our body?
Pons is the Latin word for bridge, and that’s exactly what the pons appears to do in the brain, as its physically connected to the brainstem. Like any good bridge, the pons contains neural pathways to move signals to the medulla, cerebellum, and thalamus.
Many of the nuclei contained inside the pons are responsible for relaying signals, as we’ve already described, but other nuclei play roles in primitive functions that we don’t normally consider being within our control, such as respiration, sleep, bladder control, and others.
What is the corpus callosum?
The corpus callosum sits underneath the cerebral cortex. It’s about 10cm long and is a thick, tough bundle of fibers that connects the cerebral hemispheres (right and left), enabling them to communicate with each other.
It has over 200 million axonal projections, making it the largest white matter structure.
Which part of the brain is the newest from an evolutionary perspective?
The cerebrum is the part of the brain that is outermost. In it, the brain can store memories, call upon senses, and establish self-awareness. High order functioning can also take place here and its known for being larger in musicians and left-handed individuals. It is also considered to be the most recent brain development.
How many lobes is the brain comprised of, and what are their names and functions?
Inside the brain is found the occipital lobe (see question #2), the frontal lobe (see question #3), the parietal lobe, and the temporal lobe. The parietal lobe sits behind the frontal lobe and above the temporal lobe. It is where the body becomes self-aware and plays an important role in language processing.
The temporal lobe plays a role in the processing of sensory input, helping the brain to translate these inputs into meaning. If, for example, you smell apple pie and think of your grandmother, you have your temporal lobe to thank!
Which part of your brain acts like a supercomputer?
The thalamus is the small organ at the very center of your brain that acts as a supercomputer or switchboard, relaying signals throughout the brain. It is one of the most important parts of the brain and regulates motor signals, sleep, and consciousness.
Closely related to the thalamus is the hypothalamus, which sits just underneath the thalamus and regulates the pituitary gland and homeostasis.
Which part of the brain helps you sneeze?
The medulla oblongata (medulla is Latin for “middle”), and the medulla oblongata is located on the brainstem close to the cerebellum. It is responsible for involuntary or autonomic processes, which include vomiting and sneezing. It also helps with breathing, cardiac functions such as heart rate, and blood pressure.
The Central Nervous System
The central nervous system is another important subject likely to show up on a brain anatomy quiz. The questions below will help you better prepare.
What is the central nervous system (CNS) comprised of?
The brain and the spinal cord make up the CNS, which is protected by the skull and the spine’s vertebral canal. It is the command center of the entire body, regulating all activity and processing all sensory inputs.
What role does the midbrain play in the CNS?
The midbrain controls visual reflexes (including automatic eye movements, such as blinking and focusing). It also contains nuclei that link parts of the body’s motor system, including both cerebral hemispheres.
What is a neurotransmitter?
A neurotransmitter is a chemical that a nerve fiber releases when a nerve impulse arrives. It diffuses across the junction or synapse so that the impulse may pass to the next nerve fiber, muscle fiber, or other structure. Both neurotransmitters and inhibitory neurotransmitters are found in the brain.
What is the difference between dopamine and serotonin?
Dopamine and serotonin are both powerful neurotransmitters. Serotonin impacts your sleep, arousal, hunger, and mood, while dopamine impacts your brain’s pleasure and reward system, your learning and attention, and movement.
What is glutamate and why is it important?
Glutamate is the most abundant neurotransmitter found in the CNS; in fact, it accounts for more than 90% off all the synaptic connections in your brain! Some parts of the brain, including granule cells found in the cerebellum, rely on glutamate almost exclusively. Glutamate also plays a vital role in memory and learning.
Can you name the most common inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain?
GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) is the most common inhibitory neurotransmitter found in the brain. It is considered inhibitory because it helps to calm or reduce neuron excitability. This means it plays an important role in calming anxiety. It also is responsible for the regulation of muscle tone.
What is the neurotransmitter that triggers our fight or flight response?
The fight or flight response is also called the acute stress response or hyperarousal; it is a physiological reaction that occurs when the brain perceives an imminent threat. Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) is the neurotransmitter most responsible for this response. It can signal an increase in blood flow to muscles and greater blood flow through the heart, among other things (this is why your heart starts to beat quickly when you’re afraid).
The Quick Guide to Studying Smarter
If you’re reading this article, you’re already well on your way to preparing for your brain anatomy quiz, but here are a few more tips to help you get the most out of your time studying:
Get Lots of Rest
Sleeping instead of studying sounds counterintuitive, but without sleep, your brain will have a hard time committing what you’ve learned to memory. In fact, one of the best things you can do to prepare for a test or quiz is to get a good night’s sleep the night before!
Use Memory Devices
We’ve already hinted at a few tricks for helping your brain remember facts (did you notice them in the questions above?), but mnemonic devices and facts set to music help those boring facts stick much better than just rote memorization.
Setting the major parts of the brain to your favorite song, for example, can help pique your brain’s interest and increase emotional arousal, increasing your odds of remembering the information!
Finally, make it real. Drawing the brain, using models of the brain, or reading stories about people who have injured certain parts of the brain are all ways to make abstract concepts seem real--and make you more likely to remember them. Good luck!