Biology Prerequisites


I'm in the process of registering for my classes for the next semester and I need some insight.

Unlike most other schools, our anatomy and physiology classes are separated into two different classes instead of being combined into one. Can these two classes be taken concurrently? Or should one of these classes be taken before the other? Are there any advantages/disadvantages of taking one before the other?

I know there are outside factors such as teachers and schools, and that each student has his/her own strengths and weaknesses and thus a valid consensus can't be met, but out of the three biology classes (anatomy, physiology, and microbiology), how would you rank them in difficulty of the subjects in terms of learning and understanding the concepts? Which did you find easiest? Hardest? Why?

Specializes in Infusion. Has 5 years experience.

My anatomy and physiology was a combined class, actually 3 combined classes. I did find anatomy much easier than physiology, requiring only a good memory. A&P included far more material than micro but the microbiology concepts were pretty difficult. I really enjoyed micro though so I am not complaining about any of it.

Hmmm. I took A&P together so I'm not sure this applies but I found A&P II most challenging (more physiology than anatomy) followed by A&P I and then micro. My micro experience probably wasn't the norm though (online & open book).

I don't get how you teach physiology without teaching anatomy. Structure and function go together. If I were in your situation I'd take anatomy first then physiology . . . if you get a choice.

Best wishes.

Has 10 years experience.

If you're up for the challenge, I would take both classes together. I think it would make more sense (if you desired to take only one class at a time) to take anatomy first. Understanding structure before function is more logical than the other way around.

In my opinion, anatomy was easiest and microbiology was the most difficult. The concepts were not necessarily difficult to understand, but the instructor I had was a complete idiot.


905 Posts

I asked this exact question of various profs, adviors and students who had taken the classes (my school also offer anatomy and physiology seperately). The answer was don't take physiology without anatomy but it doesn't matter whether the anatomy is finished first or whether the two are taken together (they are designed to be taken either way). It doesn't matter whether micro is taken before physiology or physiology before micro but don't take them together.

I dont know if that is just my school or not


905 Posts

Which is harder is more dependent on the prof than the class. Also on what kind of material is easier for you

Seth O Scope

54 Posts

Whatever you decide you need to take anatomy before physiology. As my prof. always like to point out a&p is all about structure-function. If you dont know the structure (anatomy), the function (physiology) will be very hard.

Thanks for the replies. It does seem that most people find anatomy the easiest since it is mostly memorization and microbiology the hardest. What exactly makes microbiology so much harder?

I don't understand why some schools separate anatomy and physiology. At my school, we have a 12 week summer session where they offer physiology for the first 6 weeks then anatomy for the last 6 weeks. You would think they would do it the other way around, but they don't.

For those that took anatomy and physiology as separate classes, but in the same semester, did the class coincide with each other so that you were learning the about the structures and their functions at the same time? It really does seem that a combined anatomy and physiology works best. But alas, there's nothing I can do about that.

@Sayfasa- Why do you not recommend taking physiology and microbiology together?

I was actually originally planning to take all three classes next semester of Fall 2011 (with no other classes), but I might be biting more off than I can chew. I could take the 12 week summer course plan, and leave microbiology for the fall, but a 6 week course on each seems way too fast paced for me. Not only that, I would have to pay $1,000+ of my own money after financial aid. If I take them all in the fall, I don't have to pay extra for those classes, and I have 3+ months to learn the subjects. Are there any thoughts on which plan is better-- the less of the two evils? It seems like I'm rushing to finish these classes, which I am to be honest, and I know it might bite me back in the end, but I honestly don't want to spend more than 1.5 years on prerequisites.

Okay, I will stop rambling now. I appreciate any advice/insight you guys can provide.

Specializes in Public Health. Has 4 years experience.

For me I don't even have to read the book for micro in order to get a B in it. I am not studying as much as I should so that should tell you how difficult micro is. Also I am taking 19 credits two of which are micro and AP2. I also work full time with a BF and a social life. SO it really depends on the person. Victory to the prepared. Make sure you stay organized regardless. I would recommend taking Anatomy first(maybe in the summer semester?) and then physiology with micro if you don't think you can handle all three at the same time. But it would be best to maybe take micro in the summer and anat and physio in the fall if you really don't want to take all three at the same time because physiology makes absolutely NO sense without the anatomy.


905 Posts

The hardest parts of physiology were reproduction and cell respiration... we got deep into the chemistry of each of these. Once these were understood, it was matter of applying the same principals to the chemistry of how other things, like nerves, muscels, kidneys work. The people who had had micro first already knew much of both of these and it was a review with some expansion for the repro for them and a truncated review for the cell respiration. But they had worked much harder on that than the people in their micro class that had taken physiology first. I think it would be unduly confusing to try to learn slightly different versions of each of those at the same time. You gotta do what you gotta do, though. I don't think it is impossible for a reasonably capable (knows how to study) and motivated person to do.

Our physiology prof spent enough time on cells that the anatomy class had plenty of time to get through each subsequent section well before the physiology got to that section. The physiology prof didn't teach the anatomy, he used the correct anatomical terminology while teaching the physiology which made the physio much more clear and concise.

I would make a point of taking anatomy and physiology seperately if I had it to do again (my school offers both ways) because I liked coming back to the anatomy a semester later. That info is now much more firmly and clearly placed into long term memory vs being fuzzy about the details.

In your shoes, I'd probably do the Micro in a 12 week summer and the Anatomy and Physiology as seperate classes in the fall. I wouldn't try any of them in 6 weeks and I would try all three at once in the fall only if I was very highly motivated and could afford to do nothing else (no job, no social life, no kids). But that is based on what I know about myself, how I learn, and how much $1000 means to me.


45 Posts

My school separated anatomy and physiology as well.

Personally, I would take anatomy first - it orients you with the structures and functions of the body, so it's more natural shift into physiology for the next semester.

I ended up taking anatomy and microbiology at the same time (plus 2 other general classes) and it worked out quite well.

@Sayfasa- I would take micro in the summer and leave A&P in the fall, but unfortunately my university doesn't offer it in the summer. I'm still torn at this point, but thanks for your input. There are so much factors to consider!