Need A&P Study Tips - page 2

I begin school in two weeks and would like some suggestions for studying Anatomy & Physiology. I want to do well in this class but I am not a good studyer. Does anyone have any good ideas for... Read More

  1. by   Lisa1970
    I copied this from a site. I can't rmember which one, but I think that it will help.

    Study Skills
    It all starts with ATTITUDE.
    COMMITMENT. While some students really, really, really want to be
    a nurse, they are not prepared to give what it takes to succeed.
    Success requires sacrifice--not a "send us your virgins" kind of
    sacrifice, but a sacrifice of your time and the ways that you are
    accustomed to spending that time. Nursing school requires many many
    hours of studying, and a weekend of playing vs. studying will probably
    be the difference of passing or failing your next exam. Often, this
    means having to tell friends and family "NO" when they want to spend
    time with you, which may make some of them feel angry. But don't
    worry, your true friends will be patient. Your family doesn't really
    matter because 1) they'll get over it, and 2) they are
    couldn't get rid of them if you tried.
    RESPONSIBILITY. Ok...I am stepping up on my soapbox on this one. I
    don't know how many times I have heard students complaining about
    the instructors--their tests are too hard, they grade too harshly,
    they don't like me, they don't lecture well, etc.--and I've heard them
    make several excuses as to why they were late or missed class or
    clinicals. STOP WHINING ALREADY!!! The majority of the class is
    doing well enough to pass--follow their example. It is your
    responsibility to get to class on time, to get help if there is something
    you don't understand--and who cares if the instructor likes you or
    not--get over yourself. There are times when you may have to miss
    class or clinicals, but they are not excuses for you to not do well on
    your exams--you should work twice as hard to make up that
    time--getting notes from another student (or even a couple of them),
    listen to tapes made by another student, get together and discuss
    what was lectured about. OK--stepping down off my soapbox now...

    DETERMINATION. It's no secret that nursing school is difficult and
    stressful, and you have to be determined to get through it all. There
    will be bad days, bad exams, embarrassing moments, family stress,
    financial stress, you might get chewed out by your clinical instructor
    once or twice, etc. But don't give up, and don't sweat the small stuff.
    Put everything in perspective and take it day by day--each day brings
    you one step closer toward graduating.
    2. Getting the most out of lectures...
    Show up for class. Believe it or not, actually showing up is conducive to
    Outline the reading. Most instructors expect you to read the assigned
    chapters before you go into lectures. While this is a wonderful idea in
    theory, most of us never get past the previous chapters we are
    studying for the exam given before the new lecture begins. I have a
    shortened method that helps me out--I outline the chapters. To do
    this, I skim the main sections of the reading and write down the main
    points (skip over the details). This usually takes me about 10-20
    minutes to do, depending on how many chapters are assigned. It gives
    me an idea about what material we will be covering in lecture so that I
    don't feel completely lost.
    Bring a tape recorder. Most instructors do not mind you taping their
    lectures, but you should ask them before you do. You'd be surprised
    at some of the material you miss just taking written notes.
    Recopy your notes. This may not be helpful to some people, but it
    helps me immensely. Rewriting the material not only helps to organize
    my notes for more effective studying, it also helps me to retain the
    material better when I write it a second time.
    Take note of information the instructor emphasizes or repeats. There
    is a good chance you'll see this material on the exam. I often put
    stars along side my notes that I feel might be good test questions.
    This is partly intuition, but mostly it comes from careful listening.

    3.Getting the most from your reading...
    Use highlighters effectively. I've known several students who like to
    highlight with a rainbow of colors, but the colors have no rhyme or
    reason. While this makes your pages look pretty, it is not effective
    for studying. When you do use different colors, make sure that each
    color has a meaning. For example, highlight main concepts in yellow,
    definitions in orange, statistics in green, etc. After a while, your eyes
    become trained to the colors, and you can pick up information more
    Take notes as you read. This is probably the most time consuming task
    for me, but it is well worth it come exam time. After I have
    highlighted the chapter, I take notes (in my own words) on what I
    highlighted. For those of you who are visual-tactile learners like me,
    this is a wonderful way to get material to stick in your brain.
    Compare notes. Compare your reading notes and your lecture notes,
    and write down any discrepancies between them or anything you do
    not understand, and then ask about it. If a classmate can't help you
    clear it up, go to the instructor. Most instructors welcome students to
    call or visit their office during assigned hours--take advantage of
    4. Start a study group
    Limit four per group. More than four in a group is way too busy for
    effective studying.
    A committed group. All members of the group should be committed to
    studying. This should not be a social event. It's really easy to want to
    use this time as a stress release and a time just to hang out with your
    friends, but this isn't productive.
    Be focused. Have a plan for the study group--then split up the
    material evenly among the group. You'd be surprised how differently
    people see and interpret things and even how one person catches
    something that another person totally missed. It is a great
    opportunity to discuss and get a better understanding of the material.
    5. Don't sweat the small stuff...
    Give up an emaculate house. This boils down to priorities. Would you
    rather do well on the test, or have clean baseboards. Though, this
    shouldn't be an excuse to live like a slob either. My best advice is to
    do a ten minute clean up each day... and then DELEGATE, DELEGATE,
    DELEGATE. (that is, if there is someone in your house to delegate
    Take a break from the books. You know that saying, "All work and no
    play makes Jack a dull boy." This may be true, but more than that, it
    can make Jack go crackers...excuse me, I should be more politically
    correct: It can make Jack mentally ill, or is it reality challenged?
    Anyway, give yourself a break.
    Bad day. If you have a bad day, brush yourself off and start anew the
    next day. Holding on to anger, frustration or embarrassment is really
    counter productive. It really is as easy as making a conscious decision
    to start over tomorrow.

    Test Anxiety Tips

    Test Anxiety
    Test anxiety is the name given to the uneasy feeling experienced by most people as the time
    for a test approaches. The extent to which people experience test anxiety varies greatly,
    and the symptoms experienced differ from person to person. Many people feel that mild
    test anxiety is beneficial because the mind is made more alert, and the attention is focused
    as the body gets ready to do "battle" with difficult material. However, severe test anxiety
    can be overwhelming, leaving the test taker with a racing heart, sweaty brow, nauseous
    stomach, and only fragmented thoughts. Test anxiety can occur before a student starts
    preparing for a test, while studying for a test, and while taking the test. Here are some ways
    to avoid or lessen anxiety:
    Don't come to the testing area too early
    While you need to assure that you will be on campus and at the test site before a test
    begins, you should arrange your time so that you will arrive at the testing site right before
    the test begins. Being excessively early, or arriving at the test site more than a few minutes
    before the test starts frequently causes anxiety. Talking with classmates and sharing their
    fears and problems about the up-coming test only add fuel to existing anxiety. Then, when
    the test actually begins, all of these negative emotions come rushing back into memory to
    haunt already nervous students. If this description fits you, avoid your nervous classmates
    by not arriving early and try to keep yourself busy thinking about other things.
    Use positive self-talk Anxiety frequently is accompanied by a little voice in our heads that
    tells us that we can't succeed--that we will fail. Counteract this negative voice by
    consciously telling yourself that you can succeed, that you've studied the material. In the
    few minutes before the test starts, set a positive framework. Repeat over and over to
    yourself, "I can do it! I will do it! I can do it! I will do it!" This will help build your
    confidence. Talk positively to yourself. It will help you be a winner.

    Test Taking Tips

    Use relaxation techniques For those who have tape recorders or CD players, it may be a
    good idea to take about five minutes before a test to play relaxing music. Find a quiet
    corner; play your relaxing tape. Empty your mind of conscious thought. As the music plays,
    let your mind flow with whatever images present themselves. This procedure not only will
    relax you, but it will stimulate the kind of brain waves needed to improve test performance.
    If anxiety occurs during the test, it usually will affect one of the major muscle systems of
    the body (stomach, back, arms, legs, etc.). Make a conscious effort to relax if you feel
    anxiety building up. Breathing deeply can help a person relax. It is hard for anxiety to build
    up if you are concentrating on breathing deeply because your mind is occupied with
    something other than the test.
    Use visualization
    Visualization, creating mental pictures, can remove anxiety and help students briefly focus
    their attention away from the cause of their anxiety. What to visualize may depend on the
    problem or situation, but every student should visualize success! Visualizing success takes
    positive self talk one step further. See the professor handing back the tests, and yours has
    a giant red A at the top. Visualize celebrating a good grade with friends and class mates.
    Remember that most people live up to their own expectations, good or bad. If you continually
    see yourself with shortcomings, you increase your chances for failure. To answer test
    questions efficiently, nursing students could visualize themselves working in a hospital as
    they answer procedure questions, or education students could visualize themselves teaching
    as they are taking the test. To relax and escape the stress of the test, students could
    visualize a warm Caribbean beach with the white sand and hear the relaxing sounds of the
    blue water.

    1.Plan ahead for your study time You should know the first week of classes when the
    instructors hand out the course syllabi the times all tests are scheduled. As soon as you find
    out this information, note test days on a calendar, and write the date one week ahead of
    each test. It is a good idea to use two different colors of ink in writing down this
    information so that there is no possibility of confusing the two different dates--the actual
    test date and the begin-studying date.
    Equally important, if students wait until the last minute for study, a serious problem exists
    if they find that they don't understand some of the material. Other students are studying
    for themselves and cannot be bothered by helping someone else. It is too late to reach the
    teacher or to get a tutor. There is not even much time to think through the material.
    However, by beginning study a week early, by going through text and notes once, students
    can see which items they know and can get together with other students, with the
    instructor, or with a tutor. They can have the time to think out the problem themselves.

    2.Decide what to study
    Another way to think about this next test taking preparation tip is THINK before you
    study. All course material is not equally important. Ask yourself: what material has been
    most important; what did we spend a week, two weeks, etc. working on; what did we spend a
    full day on; which text chapters seem more important; during lectures where did the
    instructor emphasize text material or differ from text material; what kind of material was
    on the last test? Instructors frequently ask the same types of questions again. For example,
    if an earlier test contained several researchers' names, later tests will do the same. If an
    earlier test contained many questions on theories, the later ones will too. Use your answers
    to previous test questions as guides for your study.

    3.Develop a study procedure
    Now you're ready to actually begin studying. Go through all of your material once. Don't
    stop on anything you don't know. Then, go back through the material studying only what you
    didn't know the first time. Study the third time only what you didn't know the second time.
    Continue going over your material until you know and understand it. As you study, divide your
    time into 30-40 minute periods. Long study periods without breaks are inefficient. Study for
    a half hour; take a short break (5 minutes); study again, then break again. Repeat this
    process until you feel confident about your material. On breaks, reward yourself for work
    well done. Do something short that you like to do (eat, listen to music, etc.). Following this
    pattern can enhance studying. Remember that there really is no short cut for studying, only
    more efficient methods!

    4.Have good health habits
    Be sure to eat right during your study times. Coffee or other caffeine or high sugar items
    only have short term benefits. At exam time, it is particularly important to maintain a
    balanced diet. While a piece of fruit may give a quick burst of energy before a test, the
    best aid to effective study is a balanced diet. Adequate sleep is also important. People who
    are well rested are better able to function during tests than those who are tired.

    What should I do when I first get the test?
    The most important element in determining whether or not you will do well in a testing
    situation is understanding test directions. Listen to and read all directions before answering
    any test questions. In each class there are people who will lose points--and sometimes lose a
    huge number of points--because they don't follow directions.
    Now, before actually writing down anything, read very quickly through the entire test. You
    want to know how many pages are on the test and what the point values for each section are.
    This information will help in planning test taking strategy. You will know which sections count
    most heavily so that you can plan your time to be sure to allow sufficient time for those

    What strategies should I use when I take the
    Sometimes tests have only one section for which specialized knowledge is needed. Do this
    section first. For example, some nursing tests have math calculation problems at the end.
    These problems are the only area of the test for which math formulas are needed. By
    finding this section, writing down the necessary formulas, and doing these problems right
    away, the student can dump this easy-to-forget knowledge and concentrate on subject
    specific items.
    Read through all of the test questions answering only those that you know. By doing this, you
    assure yourself of all of the points for these questions. If you don't follow this procedure,
    you might not get to questions near the end of the test--questions which you might know.
    Another reason for following this procedure is that, especially in objective tests, it is quite
    common that later questions may help to answer earlier ones.
    A final reason for doing questions we know first is the "light bulb phenomenon." Frequently, a
    person will read a question and have no idea of the answer. Then, maybe even 20 questions
    later, that person will suddenly know the answer to this earlier question. If this happens to
    you, write the answer down immediately. If you don't, the light may go off, and the answer
    may not return.
    In answering each question, read the entire question including all answer options carefully.
    Many mistakes occur because people read questions too quickly. They may read information
    that is not there or miss words that change the meaning of the question. Similarly, many
    people read answer choices until they find one that looks right, mark that answer, and quit
    reading. Frequently, these people do not read the choice that is the best answer. Careful
    reading will assure that this will not happen.
    As you are getting down to the end of the test, if you find there is an answer which you
    don't know--GUESS. Answers left blank are most frequently marked wrong. Even a wild
    guess gives a chance for points.
    Let's suppose that you have plenty of time to answer all questions. There is a great
    temptation to leave as soon as the test is finished. The best advice about leaving early
    is--DON'T. If time remains, re-check answers, especially those you really weren't too sure
    of. Remember that in a test situation, the mind and hand work very fast. And they don't
    always cooperate.

    Are there clues for taking tests? Yes, but these clues should only be used to help answer
    questions if you have followed these first two principles that supersede all other clues:
    Obviously, study until you know and understand the material. If you know the right answer
    from your study, it doesn't matter if it violates all of the clues. It doesn't matter if it
    seems too easy to be right. If you know it's right, it probably is. The second principle is use
    common sense. We have all lived long enough to have stored up a fund of experience--our
    schema. If logic, based on our experience, tells you a thing is right, it may well be right.
    Trust yourself. Here are some techniques that are helpful to know when working with
    true-false questions.
    It is useful to begin with the assumption that the statement is true; your job is to
    find any reason why the statement might be false.

    Keep in mind that general statements, those which allow for no exception, are likely
    to be wrong answers. When you see words like "all," "no," "only," "always," "never,"
    often called absolute words, expect the statement will be false.

    Be sure that the entire statement is true. Sometimes the statements are written so
    that the first part is true, but the last part is not. This is one instance where
    careful reading is important. Read the entire statement to be sure that it is totally
    true. A variation of this same type of statement occurs when the true-false
    statement gives a reason. Part of the statement is true, but the reason given is
    false. When a true-false statement is only partly true, you must mark the answer

    A final clue about true-false questions is to be alert for negatives, such as the word
    "not" or a negative prefix, in the statement. Once again, careful reading is essential.
    If you don't pay attention to that negative word, you will answer the question
    incorrectly. For example, these statements look very similar:
    The other main type of objective test question is the multiple choice question. This type of
    question has two parts--the stem (the question or statement) and the options (the answer
    choices). An effective way to answer this type of question is to read it as a series of
    true-false questions. Read the stem with each option separately as you answer whether that
    particular choice is true or not. In this manner you are less likely to be confused by several
    slightly different choices because as soon as you find one answer that you can eliminate, you
    can cross that one out and only concentrate on the remaining possibilities. Deal with each
    option in the same way. The clues for true-false statements will equally apply to the
    individual options in multiple choice questions.
    There are some additional clues as you look at multiple-choice items:
    See if you can find two options that are opposites. If so, one of these is likely to be
    the answer.

    Watch for repetition of a word or idea. If material from the stem is repeated in one
    option or if two options use similar words, look for the answer among the ones
    repeating key words or ideas.

    "All of the above," "none of the above," "a + b only," etc. tend to be correct
    answers. In dealing with these options, it is important to remember some basic
    facts. First, remember that the words "all" and "none" allow for no exceptions. That
    means that when you are reading the options for the question, if you find even one
    option that doesn't fit, you have, in effect, eliminated two possibilities.

    Avoid choosing unknown words. If you don't know what a word means, it is likely to be a
    wrong answer. Instructors are usually not trying to trick you. If you think you have
    never seen a word before, you probably haven't (provided that you've taken good
    notes in class and have done your reading assignments). So, don't choose the unknown
    unless you know none of the other answers is correct.

    Choose middle numbers unless you know an extreme figure is right. In the number
    series: 225, 100, 150, your right answer is likely to be 150, the middle number.
    Obviously, if you have four numbers to choose from, two will be in the middle. This
    rule does not say which of these is correct, but one of them is likely to be.

    Avoid value judgments. If an item contains words indicating something is good or bad,
    this statement is probably wrong. The only exception is if an expert said it. For
    example, the statement "Capitalism is evil," is probably false because it is a value
    judgement. There are occasions, however, in which judgments may be contained in a
    correct answer. This happens if we are asked whether a person or group believes in
    the stated judgement. The statement, "Karl Marx considered capitalism evil," may be
    true because here we are judging not capitalism but Marx's beliefs about it.

    Avoid joke answers. Yes, there are ridiculous options and joke items on tests. If an
    item sounds stupid, it probably is. For example, in a psychology test, one stem read,
    "The shape of a trapezoidal window...." One option read "C. Depends on what you had
    in your morning coffee." Clearly, this is a joke and should not be taken seriously.
    Another rule for answering test items is that longer, more complete items tend to
    be correct answers.

    Watch for double negatives. Sometimes an option or a stem contains two negatives.
    Sometimes these are negative words ("no," "not," etc.). Sometimes they are suffixes
    ("-less) or prefixes ("non," "in-," "ab," etc.). Combinations of these possibilities can
    allow for four or more negatives in a statement. To effectively deal with multiple
    negatives, cross out negative words and prefixes in pairs.
  2. by   Lisa1970
    Wow, sorry the last post was so long.

    - Lisa
  3. by   studentdeb
    Wow! t hat is what I said also. but I am printing it because it has alot of good info. Thanks Lisa.
  4. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Oh no it wasn't too Loooooooooong. The original poster has graduated by now, but no that wasn't to looooooooong.:chuckle

    Study bones:
    Highlight objectives.

    The study guide should have a list of bones that are objectives. 1. Highlight them.................2. Identify them in the atlas or textbook. 3. The first day of lab start learning what they look like in the 3 dimensional world of the lab practical. You will not "know" them until you can identify the bones by themselves without the landmarks you will use in the book. It doesn't look the same and you will have done all that work for nothing if you don't memorize the way the models look.

    I don't know of a program that doesn't start out with the skeletal system in the first practical.

    I didn't incorporate a video camera until APII, but it was an indispensible tool for the practical...........if I had only had it for the cat muscles....*sigh* ...........I used a digital video camera for APII and it was very helpful in identifying my lab practical specimens. I even used it on histology slides, but thought I might scratch the lens without the proper equipment.

    My lab instructor was resistant to it and I never got her to do a video, but my lecture instructor was very sweet and scheduled a time.................I then got her the finest box of choclates that I could buy..............she showed up on time. I still have the video and am waiting for the department to get the website running so I can donate them.

    My advice is to make your own flashcards. You'll take in the material if you have to process it onto a flashcard.

    I had a paticular method that worked very well.

    I made test questions out of the studyguide material, and wrote them in short-answer form.

    Example: 1. The Thyroid gland is in the _________ system.

    Flip the card over

    1 Write the question again but include......Endocrine.........and underline it, and highlight it.

    You'll find that by putting the text and studyguide into questions that focus on main points you will be exploring, and reasoning the material..........which is the whole idea.

    Now if you're still awake after my loooooooong bones!!!
  5. by   studentdeb
    Thanks Peeps, that wasn't too long. I hope I can retain everything. I feel like my brain doesn't work too well these days. It's scary.
  6. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    You are very welcome StudentDeb. You may PM or email me anytime.

    As well as anyone else in the Allnurses family.

  7. by   suzielee
    Anatomy and physiology coloring books made a world of difference for me-as did flash cards. Constantly review course content-that way you dont have to cram-give yourself a minimum of 1 week to study daily before your exams-draw diagrams and if possible review any audiovisual materials.
  8. by   JillyT
    Lisa ~ I printed your post (from a while ago) and pasted it to my wall (except I changed Jack to Jill) Thanks!
  9. by   Motivated, SN
    Very long, but very helpful. Thank you for taking the time to share this.
  10. by   hcnursesoon
    I re-drew every diagram I could in my notes, wrote down just about everything, and re-read my notes (from that day) every night as a review. Our book also came with a cd-rom that was really helpful.

    Oh, and our instructors tell us all the time that if there is one thing that they wish students would retain from A&P it is the renin-angiotensin pathway... I did and it helps a lot with renal to be up on that from way back.
  11. by   KC CHICK
    I've got a fun way to study does, however, involve a good looking man.:kiss
  12. by   needdynurse


  13. by   SCmomof3
    Great thread! THanks for the tips. A&P1 starts in 9 days!