Cranial nerves quizzes and labeling exercises
If you’re anything like most students, the mere thought of the 12 cranial nerves is enough to make you audibly groan. It’s true that they are certainly one of the trickier topics to understand when it comes to learning anatomy. But, don’t fear - it can be done!
In this article, we’ll be walking you through what the 12 cranial nerves are, and how you can go about learning them step by step. Ready? Let’s jump in.
List of cranial nerves
So first of all, what are the cranial nerves? The cranial nerves comprise 12 nerves of the peripheral nervous system which originate from brain nuclei and exit from the foramina and fissures of the cranium. This location of exit, rostral to caudal, is what determines their numerical order (1-12). But what are their names and functions? Let’s look at that now.
- CN I: Olfactory Nerve. Sensory nerve which carries information about smell to the brain.
- CN II: Optic Nerve. Sensory nerve which brings visual information to the brain.
- CN III: Oculomotor Nerve. Motor nerve which enables eye movement, constriction of the pupil (miosis) and lens accommodation.
- CN IV: Trochlear Nerve. Motor nerve which plays a role in eye movement.
- CN V: Trigeminal Nerve. Mixed nerve which supplies sensation to the facial skin.
- CN VI: Abducens Nerve. Motor nerve which plays a role in eye movement
- CN VII: Facial Nerve. Mixed nerve involved in facial expression, secretion of glands and taste sensation.
- CN VIII: Vestibulocochlear Nerve. Sensory nerve responsible for hearing, balance and motion.
- CN IX: Glossopharyngeal Nerve. Mixed nerve which enables swallowing, salivation, taste sensation and general oral cavity sensations.
- CN X: Vagus Nerve. Mixed nerve involved in gland secretion, peristalsis, phonation, taste, visceral and general sensation of the head, thorax and abdomen.
- CN XI: Accessory Nerve. Motor nerve which enables phonation and movements of the head and shoulders.
- CN XII: Hypoglossal Nerve. Motor nerve which enables tongue movements.
Want to learn the cranial nerves in more detail? With our video tutorials, you can learn a topic in less than 30 minutes.
The best way to visualize the cranial nerves is with an overview diagram. Have a look at the one below.
Free labeling quiz
Try to understand and memorize what you can from the labeled diagram, then, try to label the cranial nerves yourself with our cranial nerves labeling quiz exercise available to download below.
This is a great way to start to get the cogs turning and warm up your memory before you take our other cranial nerve quizzes (but one thing at a time - more on those next!). If it’s helpful for you, you can also download the labeled cranial nerves diagram and use it to make notes.
Now let’s look at some different type of cranial nerve quizzes you can take.
There are several types of quizzes available at Kenhub, including basic and advanced identification, muscle facts, clinical question banks and even customizable quizzes. When it comes to the cranial nerve quizzes, basic and advanced identification are the perfect way to hone your recognition skills.
Thanks to our spaced repetition algorithm, you’ll find that learning and memorizing each nerve and its related anatomy and functions takes no time at all.
Which cranial nerve quiz will you take first? Here is a small selection:
If you enjoy learning with quizzes and labeled diagrams, be sure to check out our anatomy practice quizzes and diagrams on every anatomy topic!