Things to keep in mind:
1) The course requires you to learn a large amount of information at a pretty quick pace. The best thing you can do is keep up with it and continue to learn a little at a time. Always review what you worked on the day before.
2) You should try to use your lab experience to help you learn and understand the lecture material. Lab is your opportunity to actually see the structures discussed in lecture, and to observe their relative position to one another. If you can remember what you’ve seen in lab, you will be better able to answer questions about the structures of the body on a lecture exam.
3) My office hours are designed to help students with the lecture material. Many students find it helpful to come to my office hours to go over a section of the material they are having trouble understanding. Some students find it helpful to try to explain the material to me, to be sure they really understand it. The best use of office hours is to come to them with specific questions prepared for discussion. Do not wait until the end of the semester to use this resource!
Recommended Study Strategies: Remember everybody learns differently. Focus on the techniques that work best for you!
1) Read the text! The textbook is a great resource because in addition to providing new information, it can help to put together the material from lecture. It is also a good review of what you heard about in lecture. If you have the time to read the text before coming to class, it can remove some of the anxiety that can be caused by hearing a lot of new terminology. The summary paragraphs at the end of the chapters are a great way to review or preview the material.
2) Flashcards. This is a study tool that students can use in almost all of their classes. Flashcards are a convenient way to carry study materials around with you and a great way to make good use of any “free” time that may suddenly become available.
3) Study Groups: Studying with other students can be an excellent way to help you learn the material. It provides a great deal of repetition and discussion. It also gives you the opportunity to verbalize the information you are learning (a good sign that you really understand it). CAUTION: if your group tends to stray from the topics of study too often, the session can become unproductive and that wastes time. Try to choose your study partners wisely.
4) Exchange Practice Quizzes: I highly recommend this strategy. Many students do more memorizing than learning. It is important to be flexible with the material. That means that if you really know and understand the information, it doesn’t matter how the question is worded you will be able to provide a correct answer. While you are creating the quiz questions, you will be reviewing the material. When you answer the quiz questions created by another student, you are giving yourself the opportunity to demonstrate that you truly understand the material.
5) Diagrams: The textbook is filled with pictures, diagrams and tables that show you what structures look like, explain more difficult processes, and organize complicated information. You should take the time to look at these figures in the book and READ the captions that accompany them. Careful examination of the figures in the text often leads students to “Ah-ha” moments where some structure or concept finally becomes clear to them.
6) Draw It! Another great way to help you learn and test your understanding of anatomy is to draw it. You don’t have to be Picasso to use this strategy (just wait until I put my first drawing on the board!). For example, if you can create and label a simple, schematic drawing of the upper respiratory passages it demonstrates that you know: 1) The names of the structures, 2) The general shape of the structures, and 3) The orientation and relative position of the structures to one another. That’s a lot of important information!!
7) Outside Resources: There are many other resources available to assist your studying, especially of lab material. My syllabus refers to such on-line resources as Dr. Johnson’s website and WebCT account. There are also videos of dissections available in the library. These are great ways to continue your studying, while taking a break from the text or your notes. It is important to use multiple sources to learn the material. If you spend all of your time memorizing the power point presentations, you will never be flexible with the material and truly understand it.
8) Learning Objectives: Use the learning objectives provided on my web-site to remind yourself of what information you should be learning. If you can discuss all of the learning objectives for each chapter, that’s a great sign that you’re learning what you need to know.
Clearly these are just some studying strategies and techniques. As I said before, they may not all work for you and you may not have time to employ them all. You need to manage your time well and be organized.