The great Dr. Frederick once gave me the best recipe to master Anatomy and Physiology. She didn't provide me with an easy route, but with a guaranteed success route...one that was very difficult and required a great deal of self discipline. Recently Dr. Frederick made a perfect combination of all the techniques that were once told by word of mouth from student to student. Now she shares with college students, HOW to Study for Anatomy & Physiology. (click on 'Read More" below)
How to Study for Anatomy & Physiology
1. Quit your job
2. Give up sleep
3. Say good-bye to your social life
Kidding! Ok, not really. When you start learning A&P you realize there are way more than 2,001 body parts, not to mention where those parts are, how they relate to the other parts and what features/markings are on those parts and oh yeah, their function! Is that all?!
It is an overwhelming amount of material in a very short amount of time. You can complain and whine about that or you can take action and start learning. Keep in mind the amount of time spend studying does not directly correlate to your grade! “I can’t believe I failed, I studied like 20 hours!” Quality matters, not quantity. You need to become an efficient studier.
The biggest mistake I see my students make is that they spend all of their time reading and not learning the material. READING IS NOT LEARNING! Technically it is a form of learning- passive learning. Passive learning is like reading a book about how to drive a car, it makes sense but you can’t drive the car until you get behind the wheel and practice, right?!
So how do you start driving in A&P? Active learning- writing, speaking, drawing. You must engage your brain more than reading words to get the material to stick.
1. Read the chapter. You have to comprehend the material before you can begin memorizing it. Do not highlight, it’s a waste of time. The words you need to know are already bolded for you.
2. Make an outline. Do not rewrite the chapter; that takes too long. Focus on key concepts and relationships for the physiology. Group ideas together and find connections- organize the material, use colors and shapes (i.e. certain info in boxes, other in circles, etc.).
3. Flashcards for definitions. Word on the front, definition on the back and then RECALL the information. Try drawing a picture if you can. If you simply read the cards you are not in the driver seat! Practice recalling the information. That is great if you understand the definition, but is it in your brain or not?
4. Teach it to someone else. Your dog, your significant other, your stuffed animals, the wall, your imaginary students. You get the idea! Explain it, OUTLOUD, to your “students” in your own words, without looking at your notes.
6. MyAandP.com This is website some of you may have gotten access to with your book. It is from the publisher. There is a whole study area on there with quizzes/flashcards and a section called PAL 2.0. That section is awesome practice for the anatomy. You point and click on pictures- RECALLING the info. Perfect! It’s copyrighted so I cannot give you access to that if you don’t already have it, BUT if a student is willing to share their login information with the class on the discussion board then I didn’t see a thing… I believe you can also purchase access for around $35.
7. Practice, practice, practice. Do the questions at the end of the chapters, listed throughout the chapters, reformat your quiz questions and practice with those. Make up your own questions. Find a website to practice on, there are hundreds!
8. Martini’s Atlas of the Human Body. Buy an old version of this on Amazon and use it to recall the anatomy.
9. How do you memorize anatomy? Use word roots (back inside cover), write the words 7 times at least, use mnemonics, associate a picture with the word, repetition is key! Make connections to what you already know, use your own experiences to link the information.
10. Use every minute you have. 5 minutes is a lot longer than you think. Keep your notes with you all the time, don’t just READ them! Recall the info. RECALL, RECALL, RECALL! Memorizing and reviewing a little bit each day makes it so much easier than cramming in a whole chapter 5 hrs in a row. This is how nature works- it doesn’t take glucose and break the whole molecule apart and take the energy; it works step by step, a little bit at a time. That is effective and efficient. Thanks for the tip mother nature!
11. iPOD A&P Application. I think its $1.99 for this app.
12. Get up and move. Do not sit at the table for 4 straight hours trying to get this down. No one’s brain works that way. The most you should ever do in one sitting- 1 hr. Then get up and take a 5-10 minute break. 10 push-ups, 30 sit ups, unload the dishwasher, walk the dog- something physical. Get the blood flowing. Give your brain a rest for a few minutes. Then start again. (By the way you will be amazed at the results if you do push ups & sit ups a few times a day when taking breaks- a little bit every day, produces results for everything!).
The goal is to try to activate as many areas in your brain as possible to create a long term memory. This does not happen in one day so repetition is key. Review, review, review. There is no easy, fast way to do this. No pill you can take. No program you can buy. There is one way- hard work and effort! Doing a little bit each day will save you from trying to cram 8-10 hrs the night before the exam, which does not work in this course. Also keep in mind:
1. You need to know this information- FOREVER!
2. This information is relevant and important.
3. Have faith in yourself! You can do this.
4. Release preconceived notions that you are not smart enough or just can’t do it, you can do it; you need to learn how.
You won’t use all of these techniques; you need to determine what works for you. Make sure you have a quiet place where you can focus, uninterrupted. Lastly, answer this question, not for me, but for YOU. Why are you doing this? Why did you sign up for this class? Why do you want to be a nurse or PT or whatever it is you are striving to be? That is what you need to focus on when you are exhausted and need to study. Find your “why” and use it to your advantage to push you to the next level. The minute you slow down, someone else will be there to take your spot b/c they want it more than you do.
How bad do you really want it?! GO AFTER IT!
"Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man's training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly." Thomas H. Huxley
“Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.” Oprah