The application of team-based learning (TBL) as a major component of a medical gross anatomy course was evaluated. TBL is a method of small group instruction that addresses some of the shortcomings of other small-group teaching approaches. The core components of TBL were instituted in 12 small group sessions in the course. Each session included objective-oriented assignments, an individual readiness assurance test, a group readiness assurance test and a group application problem. Peer evaluation was carried out on a regular basis. Scores from TBL session activities and course examinations were analyzed and compared to previous years' course performance. Student course evaluation data and faculty feedback were also collected. Student evaluation data and faculty response indicated strong support for the TBL method as it was implemented in the course. Faculty noted improvements in students' day-to-day preparedness and group problem solving skills. Students' mean scores on exams were not significantly different from those of previous years. There was, however, a significantly smaller variance in examination scores that was reflected in a lower course failure rate compared to previous years. Correlation analyses of TBL and examination performance suggested that individual readiness assurance test performance is a good predictor of examination performance. TBL proved to be a superior method for small group learning in our anatomy course. Student performance suggested that TBL may most benefit academically at-risk students who are forced to study more consistently, are provided regular feedback on their preparedness and given the opportunity to develop higher reasoning skills.