I don't know how to study


This sounds like a silly question. I'm embarrassed to ask but if I don't then I'm hurting myself. I have my first exam for anatomy and physiology on Monday. Looking at the big pile of printed power points in front of me. I I realized don't know how to study. These are the materials I have access to if someone could suggest a method this weekend on how to study and master this unit:

1. Previous quizzes with answers

2. Powerpoints

3. Notes teacher wrote on board

there isn't a study guide which is how I've always studied up until now

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 8 years experience.

Actually, I quite suspect that you do know how to study, you just haven't learned a method for dealing with sciences yet or that you haven't learned how to efficiently study for the way you learn best.

Usually each Professor has some kind of learning outcome or objective or something that shows what you will have to know for each exam. If they don't, then assume it's what your assignments were and what you have learned/heard in class until now. Sometimes they'll have a calendar that shows what subjects or chapters you'll be covering during a specific lecture or lab day. It's the same thing. They won't test you on material that shows up after the exam because you haven't been exposed to it yet. Usually they also won't test you on material that you get in class that's right before the exam because they know you haven't had enough time to absorb the material.

What I normally do is read ahead whenever possible, stay about a week ahead, and review the material right before we have class on that subject. Then I'll review the material again before the exam. That's in addition to doing any assignments.

Right before an exam, I'll look over chapter summaries, the power points (and notes I made during lecture) and skim over the material to see if I can find anything that I don't understand well. Sometimes I'll pay closer attention to material that's "in a box" within a chapter because that's a great source of specific info and Professors can ask questions about those on exams. When studying, I sometimes try to teach the material to someone or something. My daughter's goldfish is probably one of the best educated goldfish I've ever met... unfortunately since it's a fish, it just hasn't retained the info. ;) The other benefit of teaching the material is that if you can't explain it easily, you don't know the material well enough. That's an additional check on your studying.

Remember, people learn primarily in 3 ways: visual, auditory, and tactile. See it. Hear it. Teach it. Engage all three while you're studying and you'll reach all 3 ways and even if you learn best in one way, the 2nd and 3rd ways back up the primary way you'll learn.

A & P exams are usually a lot of memorization and regurgitation. There shouldn't be anything on the exam that you haven't seen in the book or in lecture. After this exam, you'll also know how your Professor writes exams and you can adapt for the next exam.

Good luck!


671 Posts

Read your book, PowerPoint slides, and notebook notes. Do you own a voice recorder? I found it very helpful in filling in blanks that I was confused about during class time . Try to study daily for this course, it's so much to read you don't want I be cramming reading and studying before the actual exam. You must spend the time understanding concepts. The exam will be testing your knowledge applied to situations and etc. I liked using getbodysmart.com and innerbody.com , there's also an app in the App Store that has a great anatomy app for quizzing you on locations of various organs, bones, etc.


42 Posts

Record yourself saying your notes and listen to this recording while you're walking, exercising, sleeping, etc. Rewrite your notes. Writing things over and over really helps me solidify things into my memory. Buy a white board or chalk board and give mini lessons to friends or family members. Being able to teach concepts to someone else means that you know the material pretty well. I know that I'm set when I can go to a study group and answer every question or problem that my peers have. Which brings me to my next tip, which is forming a study group with some of your peers. This is a serious life saver for me. You can quiz each other and if anyone has a question, chances are, someone out of the group will know the answer to it. Make flashcards, so that way you can quiz yourself when you're not in a study group. You can also carry these flashcards around with you and use them whenever you have any free time or down time.

I didn't know how to study going into college either. It took me two semesters of C and B averages to finally get my technique down. But now that I use these tips that I listed above, I'm making perfect scores on all of my A&P, chemistry and math tests.


3,677 Posts

Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology. Has 2 years experience.

I haven't read through the other responses (sorry, long day at work, so I'm feeling lazy), but I do agree about taking a multi-sensory approach. I liked writing stuff out, then reading it aloud while recording myself, then reviewing my notes/note cards and listening to the recordings in the car. Be sure you're doing all of this in your own words- repeating verbatim what the teacher/author has said teaches you nothing. Putting it into your own words helps solidify it in your brain.

Draw the diagrams and the stuff you're learning. It helps you to pay attention to the details. I had colorful drawings of everything, including slides, bones, joints, etc. to help me learn.

Has 7 years experience.

I have the same kind of A&P professor. I'm in a fast pace A&P class ae professor provides no study guide or outline. Just 50 powerpoint slides that doesn't cover everything on the exam. My professor the type to teach/lecture the key concepts in class one way but rephrase and switch words up on the exams.

Specializes in ICU / Urgent Care. Has 7 years experience.

1) Rest your head on subject book

2) close eyes

3) *poof* magic

4) enjoy your As

P.S. no seriously just read your slides and rewrite your notes.

P.S.S. don't get used to study guides, more then likely your nursing program wont use them. Your class lecture and everything covered IS your study guide


54 Posts

Don't depend on study guides, it rarely covers everything on the tests anyways. You need to learn on your own. That's what I did. Record the lecture and listen to it. Also, read the chapter and make your own flashcards to review. I know that it's very time consuming, but it helps. Try to understand what you are reading. Good luck to you!