Anatomy and Physiology 1 is a difficult class that causes anxiety and frustration in most students. Almost every Doctor, Nurse or Marine Biologist has stumbled at some point when learning and physiology but the good news is that most find a way to pass and to move on in their studies. As a former student and current instructor of anatomy I have become familiar with some techniques and tips that will help the student to learn anatomy and physiology and to make passing the class a little less painful.
1: Breath better, learn more. Our brains need adequate amounts of oxygen in order to function. Most of us tend to breath faster, shorter breaths when in stressful situations, like studying and taking tests. Trying to concentrate without a good supply of oxygen is like to swim in a poll with only three feet of water! Inhaling deeply and holding it for a count of eight and exhaling for three to four repetitions increases the pressure in the lungs thereby forcing more oxygen into the bloodstream. Injecting this fresh supply of oxygen into the overworked mind can help to kick start the learning process and reduce the associated anxiety.
2: Create comfort patterns. Try to think of ways to reduce distractions when you study and during test taking. Most likely when you are going to take your exam the room will be well lit and quiet so this is the environment in which you should study. By duplicating, as much as possible, the test day conditions while you study you can prepare your brain to tap into the information easier when it comes time to take the exam. Study in the same clothes you will wear on the test day, chew the same gum, wear the same perfume. Make the exam a natural and comfortable part of your everyday routine and your brain will react favorably.
3: Verbalize everything you learn. When you study talk out loud. Become familiar with the pronunciation of the terms used in anatomy by saying and listening to the words. Find a study partner who will listen to you and who will also speak. This helps both of you to tap into yet another sense that can anchor your thoughts.
4: Listen to what your instructor stresses. Most instructors will stress or repeat the information they deem important. Highlight these concepts in your notes and book. Find questions that target what he or she is firmly conveying. There are only so many ways to ask a question and a limited amount of time in which to test so most instructors want to keep students focused on what to study and you must keep an ear open to this direction.
5: Find old questions. Take as many practice tests as you can find. These can be found in the back of textbooks, in the library and online. Familiarize yourself not only with the correct answer but try to understand why it was right and why the others were incorrect. You will start to see common themes and similar questions that may very well be asked to you. You are not trying to memorize the answers, you are looking for repeating concepts.
I hope that you take advantage of these tips and that they help you pass Anatomy and Physiology 1.
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