Students who are successful as pre-nursing students break down the information in complex classes, such as Anatomy & Physiology, into bite-sized pieces.
This is a key to success that has taken me a few semesters to learn and adapt to!
My first A&P teacher would tell our class: “Know the whole 200 pages by the end of the week.” We’d ask, “What parts of the chapters do we need to know?” She’d answer, “All of them.” Because I didn’t know how to study (I was a simple A/B student up to that point)
Read my article titled What I Learned From Failing My Science Prerequisite Class to learn about the strategies I learned to prevent this misfortune from Ever. Occurring. Again.
That semester was a haze of random Anatomy & Physiology information that never really made sense –which is why I’m repeating the class, now. I didn’t know how to study for difficult nursing prereqs without teacher support in assimilating the material. I have since learned that it is easier to assimilate or learn new material when it is first divided into miniature sections that make sense to you.
My current Anatomy and Physiology teacher breaks down the material into small pieces for us. He says, “Know all 200 terms for the lab practical.” But, next he says, “This week, you only need to know the first part of the list, and next week, you’ll need the next section.” Even if your teacher doesn’t break up your material for you, break it up yourself.
Don’t try to teach yourself organelles, chemistry and tissue histology at the same time! Just focus on the organelles during one study session. The next time you study, whether it’s later that day or the next day, teach yourself the tissues. If you need to, break up the tissues into 2 different sections that make sense to you.
Once you have divided the Anatomy & Physiology work into bite sized pieces, follow the steps below.
1. Look at the first term or concept. Ask yourself, do I know where this is or what this is? (if your teacher asks you to know structure and function of everything and doesn’t divide the information you need to learn between lab and lecture, also ask yourself to describe the function.
2. If you don’t know where or what the concept it is, open up your book and find out where it is.
3. Visualize the part or touch the part on your body (or a skeleton) while saying it. Prenursing students are allowed to do this stuff, even in public. Trust me.
4. Go down to the next term. Ask yourself, do I know this? If you don’t, do as described in step 3. If you do already know the term, ask yourself to link that term to something else you know. For example, say to yourself, ‘I know what the atlas is, it sits on top of the axis and allows my head to shake “no” and the dens of the axis articulates with the atlas.” The joy of this method is that no pencil is required. If you don’t have your book, you can still use this method to review the terms you think you already know.
5. Continue reviewing and recalling the location, visual appearance (and function if needed) of each term.
I love this method because I can do it right before an Anatomy & Physiology test or quiz and it sticks the material firmly into my mind.
The only bad part is that this study technique works so well, I haven’t been using my usual hard core methods of studying (Click on this link to learn more about my usual pre-nursing student study methods in) BUT, I’m concerned that the material will become more difficult and I want to keep up my good study habits, so I plan to reinforce my quick crams with more traditional studying.
However, this cramming method has helped me to take 11 units, raise 3 kids and work, while maintaining an A in the first 6 weeks of Anatomy & Physiology. 1 practical, 1 exam and 5 quizzes thus far. I’m also using it to earn A’s in my Medical Terminology nursing prerequisite class, as outlined here.