Patho is difficult. With anatomy, it's all memorization, but with patho, you have to understand the process and why it happens. It's a totally different ball game. My advice is:
-Study every single day as much as you can.
-Once you have a section down, go to the next one, then go back. If I went back to a previous section and didn't understand it, I knew I still had work to do. It was constant repetition, over and over. Then, when I thought I knew the section, I would go about my day and try to recall it. I would be standing in line at the grocery store and try to recall all the normal ranges of electrolytes or all the steps of nerve conduction. If I couldn't recall a couple steps, I would go back and restudy the section.
-Always review your notes right after class, even if it's for 30 minutes. If you are taught something and then review it that day, you will retain more information b/c it's still fresh. That will go into your long-term memory. If you cram right before a test, you have to relearn it as if it's the first time. That will go into your short-term memory and there's a chance you won't be able to recall it as well as you think.
-(you might laugh at this) but when I had to review something that had multiple processes, I would draw it out and talk out loud to myself and pretend I was teaching someone sitting next to me. If I couldn't explain the pathway of blood through the heart, then I wouldn't be able to do it on an exam. If you can teach it, then you understand it.
- Learn the latin terminology (base) of the each word, not just the whole word itself. Most people basically know what meningitis is. Maybe a brain infection? Well, -itis means inflammation and mening- refers to the meninges of the central nervous system. So, meningitis is inflammation of the meninges....which is caused by an infection that can not only affect the brain, but the spinal cord as well. Encephalitis - enceph(al) means brain...encephalitis is brain inflammation, not necessarily infection. Thorax means chest, lung and pneumo means air, gas...pneumothorax means air in the thorax aka collapsed lung. Based on this, I bet you can guess what pneumocephalus is. So, if you try to learn that hydrocephalus (which is an over collection of fluid in the brain b/c hydro means water,fluid), it will be impossible to just memorize it (b/c there are hundreds of other terms you have to also learn. It becomes confusing). But if you know hydro.....and cephalus...then you can piece the two together and get the question right. If you see a new word, look at it in parts and then piece it together. Never try to just memorize it. For example, esophagogastroduodenoscopy is a word. Break it into 4 words and it makes sense.
-If you think you know a process, try and do it backwards or know the opposite of it. You may be able to follow a drop of blood through the heart from the vena cava to the aorta, but can you trace it from the aorta backwards to the vena cava? See if you can trace the formation of a scab back through to the laceration. If you know it backwards, then you know it forwards. The side effects of hypokalemia are usually opposite hyperkalemia (with exception to toxic states). If something stimulates a process, learn what blocks it.
-Study the pictures in the book. Reading the notes and power points may not turn on the light until you see a picture with with all the dissections, arrows, and labels. It's a difference between someone asking you to remember name vs. seeing a name with a face. Find out what is listed on one side of the table vs the other.
-Know the "why," the "how," and the "when;" not just "what."
-On top of normal studying, dedicate every Sunday to studying your notes (for the week) as if you are taking an exam on monday. Even though my next exam was 4 weeks away, I would have a mock cram section for the week. So, when I had to take the real exam, I had already engrained it in my head weeks ago. Then, I would constantly go back and review the same thing over and over until it was redundant. By the time the exam came around, there was nothing to really study and there was nothing to relearn. It was just quick reviewing.