10 Ways to Make Anatomy & Physiology Easier (and fun)
Would you like to train as a holistic therapist but find the thoughts of Anatomy & Physiology Course daunting to say the least?
Our 10 tips will make studying anatomy & physiology easier, less stressful and more enjoyable.
How do I know this? I have been teaching since 2008 and I use these techniques in class. All of my students, without exception, have passed their Anatomy & Physiology course exams.
Thoughts of Anatomy & Physiology can leave many holistic students in a cold sweat.
I’ve been there, done that, felt that I’d never take it all in, never mind pass the dreaded exam. But I got through it and even learned to like anatomy & physiology!! The study of us is so fascinating, the most sophisticated computer doesn’t come close to the human nervous system. Did you know that every hour we produce more cells than there are people in the USA??
While I was studying I had to find ways to learn to learn and retain the hugh amount of information. Reading and underlying just doesn’t do it for most people. So I developed techniques to study anatomy & physiology.
Having taught the subject for many years I have fine tuned how to help my students learn the topic. I am however, constantly looking for new ways to help the learning process.
Learning Anatomy & Physiology, 10 Top Tips
- Take it in bite sized pieces. Don’t attempt to learn all the muscles of the back in one go, it will be frustrating and probably not effective. Take 3 or 4, learn where they are and what they do. Then go over them mentally when when you’re waiting for a bus, stuck in traffic or have any other “dead time” on your hands.
- Use as many ways as possible to learn. Using the example of the muscles again you could read notes, look at diagrams, do the actions of the muscles and draw & colour pictures (no extra marks given for artistic ability, just as well in my own case as my students will attest) The more ways you use to learn, regardless of you preferred way, the more neural pathways are created in your brain.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. As they move through the comprehensive syllabus, most students find they’ve forgotten the earlier topics by the time they’re half way through the course. This creates feelings of panic as most students feel they are alone in this. Expect to forget, and remember when you learn anything a second (or even a third) time, it goes in much faster. And that most students feel exactly the same as you do.
- Revise, revise, revise. To bring information from short term to long term memory you should revise within an hour, a day, a week and a month of first learning it. In Essentials we recap at the end of a topic and do a quick revision the following week, and frequently have revision classes where no new material is studied.
- Use Poetry. (as I like to call it!!) If you study and have no way of organising the material in your mind it’s like throwing things in a room any old how. When you go to look for something you can’t find it. The same is true of information. If it’s classified it’s like putting items in clearly labelled drawers or shelves. For instance, the layers of the epidermis of the skin are Corneum, Lucidum, Granulosum, Spinosum and Germinativum. How to remember that??? Corney Lucey’s Granny Spins Germs. This has got lots of my students points in exams over the years. And because anatomy & physiology for holistic therapists is generally multiple choice you don’t need to remember the exact spelling.
- Walk away when you need to. We all find there are times when “it won’t go in” In this case take a break and come back to it later when you’re fresh and more calm.
- Have fun (really!!) In Essentials we use flash cards with questions on one side and answers on the other. We break into 2 groups and have a mini competition. Groups mean no one is in the “hot seat” and worried about looking foolish. It’s amazing how much fun that is and how much you learn. If you lost a point to your friends because you forgot where the thymus gland is you’ll definitely remember it after that!!
- Ensure you understand the topic. If you can’t understand it you can’t learn it. Begin by relating a topic to something you do understand. The digestive system is a case in point. If you learn about the GI tract, accessory organs, enzymes etc your head would spin. However if you compare the digestive system to a complex processing factory which takes material (food) in, breaks it down to make it usable (digestion which converts protein to amino acids, fats to glycerol etc), and passes it to the transport system (absorption of food which is then carried in the blood) this make the system much easier to understand
- Bring some blank paper into the exam. when the exam starts, before you look at the paper, write “poetry”, main points, and draw diagrams. Why?? Because often students may see a question and, because they feel stressed, forget what they know. (Corny’s Granny does what?? Aaaargh I KNOW this!!!) If you take the time to make some notes before you look at the paper and possibly go into panic mode this is less likely to be a problem.
- Use Bergamot essential oil. Put a drop or two on a hanky or even on your sleeve (it won’t stain) and smell as needed. Bergamot is the little oil of stress which is both uplifting and calming, perfect for when you want to be alert but calm.
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Hope that helps