Tuesday, January 27, 2015
I've always thought that silly songs are great mnemonic devices in the human sciences. I've seen them work from kindergarten (remember the ABC song?) and up through medical school (even in pharmacology).
If you find them "catchy" then you'll find yourself repeating them in your head. Or maybe even out loud. And that's the kind of thing that helps your brain form long-term memories!
One I recently ran across is in a music video original produced to help 6th-graders learn about the heart. But it may help you as you begin your study of the heart in A&P!
Watch it here.
Another one is a classic favorite: Pump Your Blood
Want more silly songs? Check these out!
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Learning about blood types can be a bit confusing at first.
But the concept of blood types is important for several reasons:
- Blood typing is used frequently in clinical medicine because the use of blood transfusions is common, and therefore so is blood banking and related activities.
- Knowing one's own blood type is important for future medical procedures—perhaps even a life-threatening emergency.
- Concepts of blood typing carry over into other types of tissue typing—a concept useful in transplant medicine.
- Blood typing is a great introduction to basic concepts of immunology (something you'll be coming to soon in your A&P course) like antigens, antibodies, agglutination reactions, self vs. nonself, and more.
- It's just one of those things you have to learn in A&P. Trust us, we know this will be useful to you later on—even if you don't think so now.
Here's a great video that lays out the essential concepts very briefly—in an easy-to-understand way. Sometimes, an explanation that's a bit different than that in your textbook or class discussion helps a new concept "click" in your brain.
Watch the brief video What are Blood Types:
One brief note: the video states that antigens are proteins. That's often true. But in blood typing, the A and B antigens are actually sugars. The Rh antigens are proteins. Not a big deal—they were trying to keep it simple for you.
Here's a copy of the chart of ABO blood types used in the video. You may want to copy-and-paste it into your class notes to supplement your learning resources.
Monday, December 22, 2014
Ah, there's a break between semesters! You've survived A&P 1 and have temporarily put it—along with everything else related to school—out of your mind. You even wonder to yourself, "why am I reading THIS? School is out!"
The answer to that question is, "because I know that, somewhere deep inside, I realize that A&P 2 is looming in the near future for me."
Here are five tips for being ready for A&P 2:
- Relax and refresh. It's a break, after all! Academic calendars purposely have breaks in them to allow you to "take a breather" and get your head out of your books for a while. Sort of like dreaming, it gives your brain time to assimilate what you've learned and get ready for the next round. If you don't take some time for yourself to relax and refresh yourself, A&P 2 won't be so easy for you.
- Attend to "real" life. A&P 1 was more rigorous and time-consuming than you thought it was going to be. You found yourself putting friends and family "on hold" while you focused on keeping your head above water. Now's a good time to reconnect. And explain why you've had to be so focused. It might also be a good time to make sure they're all on board for another semester or two of not seeing you so much—making them true partners in this "training phase" of your life.
- Review what you've accomplished. Take a small amount of time to review what you learned in A&P 1—which was an awful lot! As I mentioned in #1, this is the time your brain is consolidating all those concepts into something useful. Something you can take forward with you into later courses—and into your career. So help your brain along a bit by taking a few minutes each day to skim over a chapter's worth of notes, the illustrations from the book, the chapter summary. This simple trick can have a huge impact on how much gets into—and stays in—your long-term memory.
- Plan your strategy. Besides the concepts you learned last term, you also learned—perhaps the hard way—that you can't succeed in A&P without a plan. Now, when the pressure's off, is a great time to figure out how you are going to schedule your life next term. Actually put it into your Google calendar (or on your whiteboard) now. Then, when your new course starts, you'll have it all mapped out. This trick gets you in the right frame of mind to start a new semester in a low-stress way!
- Preview your next course. You already have the textbook right? You know what's coming in A&P 2. Take just a few minutes each day to skim through the summary material of a chapter in the second half of your book. I suggest that you start with the new words. Read them out loud, so your brain is prepared for them next term (this is the best way to learn any new language). Say the trickier ones—like carbaminohemoglobin—several times, to get the rhythm of the word in your head. Then skim over a brief or detailed chapter outline. Then, if you have time and haven't zoned out yet, look over the chapter illustrations. This trick will give you the "lay of the land" of A&P 2—further reducing stress going forward.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
- Determine what will be on the exam. Your syllabus or other course resources usually map that out for you, If not, chat with your instructor. Ask about the format of the exam: will the questions be of similar style, range, and depth of prior tests? How many items? Has your instructor given you any hints about what to expect?
- Practice the exam. Use previous tests from the course (if available) to practice the exam. One way to do this is to cut up copies of your tests and draw individual items randomly from an envelope. Sometimes professors will provide a practice exam or copies of some old exams. If not offered, it wouldn't hurt to ask. Go to my-ap.us/1rJxClB for more.
- Study with a group. Pooling your thoughts, and helping each other review and practice, work surprisingly well to solidify what you already know and to fill in any gaps. Go to my-ap.us/WIYzcd to find out how to find others for group study.
- Manage your time well. Don't cram at the last minute . . . do a little preparation each day for a week or more before the exam. Go to my-ap.us/rgNZ27 for more tips.
- Be healthy. Do NOT stay up nights studying . . . sleep deprivation will reduce your ability to perform well. Eat well in the days leading up to the exam. Try to reduce stress. Exercise (it'll help you think more clearly). Check out my-ap.us/1CD0x0z and my-ap.us/dIdsS9 and my-ap.us/XdoVes
- Get to the test in time. Duh-uh, of course you should be there in time. But for the exam, try to get there early. I've seen SO many students cut it close, then something comes up (bad traffic, for example) and they come in LATE. Not only does that cut down the time you have to take the exam . . . you'll be flustered and unable to think clearly.
- Skim over the exam before taking it. This will give you an idea of what's ahead and you can use your time wisely.
- Don't waste time on something you really don't know. Do all the parts you are confident about. Then use the remaining time to work on the real puzzlers. If you start with the puzzling parts, you won't have time for the parts you know well . . . and you might get flustered and bomb the whole thing.
- Double check your responses. Make sure you read the question accurately (a common mistake). Makes sure things are spelled correctly. If you use a scan sheet, make sure you answered on the correct line. If there are complex problems, and you have time, do them AGAIN--just to make sure you got the right answer.
- Don't skip anything. Well, if you absolutely run out of time, you have no choice. But if time gets away from you and realize that you have only a few minutes for the remaining items that you'd prefer to take more time with . . . then just "go with your gut" and fill in some fast answers. You'd be surprised how many may turn out to be right (especially if you've prepared yourself well).
- Study Tips & Tools page on Taking Tests
- Survival Guide for Anatomy & Physiology
- Exam Tips from The A&P Student
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Having trouble figuring out the shapes and locations of the various parts of the human brain?
Well, join the club! Even experienced neuroscientists sometimes have to take a moment to wrap their brain around the structures of the brain.
Here's a great tool for helping you see what's what in the brain:
Besides being a fun way to "dissect" the brain and highlight specific structures, this interactive visualizer also helps you learn and review the names of structures and regions of the brain.
I recommend you add a bookmark for the 3-D Brain to your growing library of A&P resources. This is one that you'll be using many times, even after you've finished your A&P course.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
As you find tools for learning anatomy and physiology on the internet, be sure to save them for future use!
If you "favorite" or bookmark the URLs of animations, videos, interactives, references, and other resources, then you'll always be able to find them again.
Not just find them tomorrow or next week, but also find those great helps in your next course when you have either review your A&P or delve deeper into it. And even later, when you are out there working in your profession and have to review or upgrade your knowledge.
When you bookmark your A&P resources, you don't want to just pile them all into the same folder. You want to create a master "A&P" folder and then put folders for each topic into that master folder. I suggest using the chapter topics of your A&P textbook as names for your folders.
If you keep your A&P bookmark library organized in folders or subgroups, then you'll find it easy to go back and find any particular URL that need.
As your library of bookmarks grows, then consider subdividing your existing folders or subgroups even further—making easier to navigate to the exact resource that you need.
There are many different ways to bookmark URLs, but the simplest is to use the bookmarking feature of your favorite browser. Be sure to back up your set of bookmarks, though, so you don't lose all those valuable bits of information!
Here are some bookmarks you'll want to make sure are in your bookmark library:
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Having trouble learning all those facts about the many bones and muscles of the body?
I recently ran across a great set of resources that help you quickly learn the bones and muscles of the body. A group called Humanatomy, led by teacher Paula Jaspar, has a YouTube channel loaded with short video clips that quickly help you through the parts of the human body's framework.
And they are putting the finishing touches on an iPad game that helps you learn anatomy in a really fun, multisensory way. You can get the Humanatomy app when it's ready in a few weeks if you contribute to their Kickstarter campaign.
Learning experts tell us that we learn more efficiently (faster and deeper) if you use multiple senses, if you practice in many short spurts, and if you make a game of it. The Humanatomy approach incorporates all of these ideas in their resources!
To check out their library of FREE videos go to The Humanatomy Channel on YouTube.
To check out their fun app for learning anatomy, go to the Humanatomy Kickstarter page.
You can learn even more by following the Humanatomy blog, where you can also sign up for their free newsletter with learning tips and follow them on Twitter.
Here are a couple of their videos to get you started:
Bones: Elbow Complex
Muscles: Sternocleidomastoid Muscle
Monday, September 15, 2014
What?! Bird by bird?
Yep—that's the best way to begin learning how to distinguish the various tissue types of the body.
The bird-by-bird approach to learning anatomy is based on two major concepts, described here.
Chunk the List
The first was described by author Anne Lamott in her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life:
"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'"Wow—doesn't that sound just like the feeling you have when you are given a list of human tissues to learn in your A&P course? With crazy names like nonkeratinized stratified squamous epithelium, specimens that look like the abstract art exhibit at the art museum, and an insanely short time frame to master them all, of course it feels overwhelming.
Really, that's the best way to tackle the tissues. Just get started! And take them one by one, rather than thinking about the whole long list of them facing you. You'll find that by chunking the list this way, it's not so paralyzing. It sounds overly simple—perhaps even a bit silly—but it really works!
Focus on Unique Characteristics
A while back, I wrote a post called Trouble with Tissues? in which I briefly described a method for learning tissues based on how birders learn how to tell one bird from another when out birdwatching:
The introduction to my Field Guide to the Body at the Lion Den website compares studying tissues to what birders do when they identify wildlife in the field. Take a look at that brief analogy, including examples of how to apply it to histology, for helpful tips on making this topic easier. If you're using any of my lab manuals in your A&P course, you can apply this technique directly by looking at the Landmark Characteristics boxes scattered throughout the tissue exercises.
To summarize this method, you simply look at what makes each tissue different from other tissues just as you would when learning the many different types of sparrows live in the state park:
- Field marks—physical characteristics that distinguish one type from another. All sparrows are LBJs (little brown jobs), but each species has a unique characteristic such as a beak color or streak on the cheek that sets it apart from the others. Likewise, each tissue type has one or more physical characteristics—such as cell shape or fiber type or cell arrangement—that make it stand out from all other similar tissues.
- Range—if I look out my window and see a penguin, I know I need my eyes examined. Because I live in Missouri, where penguins live in only in zoos. So I can identify birds in part by which birds live in or visit my region. Bird guides list ranges for this reason—to help you figure out which bird the one in your yard could be. If you learn the locations of tissues, that helps you figure out where to look for them. For example, look for most epithelial tissues on surfaces, look for cardiac muscle in the heart. If you are looking at a tissue sample from the arm, then don't expect that muscle tissue to be cardiac muscle—it's instead likely to be skeletal muscle tissue,
- Habitat—Besides knowing which region a bird is likely to be found, it also helps to know what kind of habitat it prefers. Look for forest birds in the forest and look for shore birds, well, along the shore. With tissues, if you know that if you are looking for irregular fibrous tissue, look under epithelium—there's always some there.
- Behavior—Behavior is function. When identifying birds, it helps to know how they fly (do they soar like vultures or hover like hummingbirds?). When identifying tissues, it helps to know their functions. If you know that fibrous connective tissues are often supportive in function, that will help you find them. If you know that smooth muscle tissue compresses the hollow part of hollow organs, you know where to find them—within the walls of hollow organs such as digestive organs.
Not Just for Tissues
Want to know more?
- Kevin Patton. The A&P Student. 28 September 2010.
- Outlines tips for studying tissues in the A&P course.
Field Guide to the Human Body
- Kevin Patton. Lion Den. Accessed 7 September 2014.
- From my study tips website, this page introduces the "birding" analogy to studying human structures.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
- Anne Lamott. Anchor. First published 1 January 1994.
- Great book. Great author. That is all.
Survival Guide for Anatomy & Physiology
- Kevin Patton. Elsevier. Oct 18, 2013.
- Tips and techniques for studying A&P, including tissues, mentions the birding analogy.
Monday, September 8, 2014
One of the best ways to learn about the heart is to watch it work. But how can you do that, considering that if you open up the thoracic cavity, then slice open the heart, you'd break it?
But biomedical science has shown us another way to see the parts of the heart and how they work. It's called echocardiography.
It's a technique that uses the same technology as the sonograms you've seen of fetuses inside their mother's belly. Basically, it bounces sound waves through the body and makes an image of whatever bounces back (an echo). But echocardiography is adapted specifically to the heart and its function.
Want to see echocardiography in action and better visualize heart function? Try watching this video.
Monday, September 1, 2014
When trying to get a grasp DNA replication—the copying of DNA prior to cell division—it often helps to see what's going.
The static diagrams accompanied by written narrative of the story in most textbooks are good places to start figuring out DNA replication—but it really helps if you can watch it all unfold in 3-dimensional motion.
I've found a video that really helps you understand the process.
A bit of advice before you watch it:
- You ought to read through the DNA replication story in your textbook and look at the diagrams there. If you watch this cold, it may not help you as much.
- The details of how the DNA-replicating enzymes work and what they look like is not the important part of the story. The important part is just seeing how it all works as a biochemical "machine."
- I recommend watching the video more than once. You'll "get it" better that way, because it goes at a pretty fast clip.
- Eating popcorn while watching this movie is totally up to you!
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
For those entering the health professions, the human anatomy and physiology course is the arguably the most important—and most difficult—step in their schooling.
To get a good, solid start in A&P, I've pulled together some advice to share with you—things you need to know as you start, so you won't get into trouble you can't get yourself out of.
Learn how to read and raid your textbook
- You can't just sit down and read an A&P textbook. It's not meant to be read like a novel or magazine. There are steps you need to take to really comprehend the contents, and if you don't take those steps, then you'll be wasting your time.
- You also need to learn how to raid your A&P textbook. That means knowing how and where to find information in your book when you need it to solve a problem or clarify something from your class discussion or lab activity.
- You need to actually use your book. Many students just set it aside (it looks so big and scary, after all) and never use it to supplement and complement what's going on in other parts of the course. They often exclaim, "why did I have to buy that thing, when I didn't even use it!" Yet, by not using it on their own, they are making it much more difficult—and time-consuming—to succeed in their A&P course.
- To learn more about how to read and raid your textbook, check out Read and Raid Your Textbook.
Brush up on your study skills
- Prior to their A&P course, I've found that many students have been successful (or not so successful) in their high-school and college courses by just "winging it." Or by simply taking a few notes in class and reviewing them before a test or exam. That won't cut it in A&P—no matter how brilliant you are.
- You need to employ a set of study strategies to be successful. I've listed just a few of them here, so you have an idea of what I'm saying. Click on any of the links to find out more.
- You'll be learning a new language, the language of science and medicine, so learn some basic principles of how that language works.
- Use flash cards to help you learn new terms right away. This is a first step before you can master the deep meaning of science concepts.
- Use concept maps to sketch out the new sets of facts, theories, and principles that you are learning. By drawing it out, you learn what aspects you've already mastered—and you reveal your weak spots and get them corrected.
- Use concept lists to help you see connections between concepts you've learned and build a framework for seeing the "big picture" of human structure and function.
- Manage your time by scheduling several short study sessions every single day. Cramming at the end does not work—and certainly won't prepare you for your later courses, nor your career, both of which rely on a deep understanding of A&P.
- Study in a group. Regularly. Research shows that this is one of the most efficient (time-saving) and effective ways to study pretty much any subject.
- Take good notes. If your course involves lectures or online presentations, then take notes. In lab, take notes. Reading or raiding your textbook? Take notes. Take notes. Take notes.
- Practice. Practice. Practice.
- Spend a little time and effort learning effective study strategies. Here are some ways to get started:
- Ask past A&P students what worked for them.
- Explore the study tips I've mapped out over time in this blog.
- Sign up for the newsletter to keep new tips coming directly to you!
- Check out the Lion Den Study Tips & Tools resources.
- Check out the Survival Guide for A&P and the Handbook of A&P.
- Subscribe to my YouTube channel, which features study tips for A&P
- Talk to your A&P teacher during their office hours to get their advice.
Take A&P seriously
- Develop habits of professional ethics by acting with academic integrity.
- Realize that you've really got to learn it all, and learn it correctly. And yes, spelling is important.
- Exhibit professional responsibility by working regularly, attending class activities, and honoring deadlines.
- Get others in your life on board with your plan. A&P—then your later courses and clinical experiences—are going to temporarily take you away from some of the other responsibilities in your life. If your friends and family don't realize what you need from them, it'll cause a lot of problems. So have that discussion now and clarify things. Need help? Check out Help Significant Others Help You.
Friday, July 18, 2014
In A&P, many students have hard time wrapping their heads around the size of things.
For example, how many of us really have a good grasp of how small a cell really is, or a protein molecule within a cell, or an atom within the protein? Or the relative size of tissues compared to individual cells—or compared to an organ?
And we are continually "zooming our focus" in and out among levels of organization—atoms and ions, molecules and crystals, organelles, cells, tissues, and organs.
Add to that the fact that the units of measurement used to describe the size of things are in the metric system (SI), which is based on powers of ten. That is, we use a measuring system based on units that very by a factor of ten—units are multiplied or divided by ten, then another ten, then by ten again.
Add to that the frequency of discussion of pH units, which on the surface seem to go up or down by single units—but in reality a change from one pH unit to the next is a change in hydrogen ion concentration by a factor of ten.
This nifty little video can help us wrap our heads around the concept of powers of ten. It may help us in navigating the world of the human body. Click here to see the helpful material that accompanies the video.
Friday, June 13, 2014
The topic of correct spelling—and the consequences of incorrectly spelled terms—was brought to mind a while back with the news story about a student on the TV game show Jeopardy! whose answer was disqualified because it was misspelled. A lot of folks were angry, as though the boy was cheated, but the producers calmly pointed out that it’s not an acceptable answer if it’s not spelled correctly.
Just like Scrabble or Words with Friends, Jeopardy! is a game with rules, after all.
But the A&P course is not “just a game.” It is the foundation for many health professions. Professions where misspellings can be the basis for life-threatening medical errors.
Most A&P professors serve humanity by enforcing accuracy in our courses—including correct spelling of scientific and medical terms.
Here’s what I tell my own students:
“That's part of learning how to communicate accurately and professionally. For those of you going into patient care or managing patient records, accuracy can affect a person's life . . . so it's best to learn that lesson here and now—where no one's life is in danger.”There really IS a difference between perineum (area between the genitals and the anus) and peritoneum (membrane covering your intestines and lining the abdomen). Just two letters, and the whole meaning of a sentence or paragraph—or medical record—is changed. It may still make sense when you read it, even in context, but it is now wrong. Perhaps deadly wrong.
Some A&P students counter that current software platforms used in hospitals and clinics have safety features that autocorrect or call attention to potential errors. That’s true—to some extent. But just like the autocorrect features found in word processing software, they cannot be relied upon entirely. We really must know which term is which by its correct spelling.
Now’s a good time to think about how how serious you are in preparing for your profession. I want my healthcare providers to get it right. You should, too!
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
I’m here to tell you that it is NOT okay!
Here are some of the reasons that you should NEVER miss a deadline:
1. Missing deadlines is not professional behavior. You are on an academic path preparing you for a profession. Which means that you need to develop professional behavior now. Because it's not something you can simply "turn on" after you are in school and start your first day on the job in your profession.
2. You don't want to develop bad habits. Research shows that the more you engage in a behavior, the more likely that behavior will become ingrained as a habit. And we all know how hard habits are to break, eh? Is that the kind of student, or the kind of professional person, you want to become? Always late?
3. One thing often leads to another. Missing deadlines can have a "domino effect" by leading to other problems for you. For example, if you are missing an assignment, then you may not have the knowledge or expertise you need for the next assignment. So now the next assignment will be late. And you'll be unprepared for the test. Before long, your ability to succeed may really start to fall apart!
4. Meeting deadlines is respectful to your peers and your teacher. Teachers often have limited time for grading and other course management tasks. If you are late, then they have find additional time when you finally get around to getting your work done to grade that work. That's not respectful of the teacher's time. Do you really want to be a disrespectful student? It's also discourteous to your peers because the teacher may have to hold off grading their work, or at least hold off releasing the grades or graded work.
5. You don't want the grumpy grading grinch evaluating your work. Having to take extra time and effort to grade work that was not submitted on time (for no good reason) makes even the most patient person frustrated. Do you really want a grumpy teacher evaluating your work and assigning a grade? Nah, me either.
6. You want to avoid bad things. Sometimes, really bad things. Of course, you could lose some or all of the grade points on a late assignment. But it could also lead to a bad (perhaps failing) grade in the course, especially if it becomes a habit (see #2) or leads to missing knowledge (#3). But remember #1 above? Missing deadlines in your profession could lead to disciplinary action, including firing. Perhaps even a loss of your professional license! In health care professions, missing some deadlines could constitute criminal negligence that could seriously harm patients (and lead to jail time).
Okay, life happens and true emergencies occur. We all know that. So if you must miss a deadline, or even think you might miss a deadline, here are my suggestions:
1. Exhaust all other options. Missing a deadline should be your last resort. Can you get someone else to shoulder that interfering responsibility so you can make the deadline? Can you skip or postpone that other thing? Can you hitch a ride or hire a cab to get you there? Remember, this course is the foundation for everything else and you don't want to mess it up!
3. Talk to your teacher. Really. Never, ever, ever, let a deadline go by without contacting your teacher. Failing to contact your teacher ahead of time, unless it is absolutely impossible, sends the message that you are blowing off the deadline. Availability of communication media these days means that there really are very few situations where a brief message cannot be gotten to your teacher.
4. Talk to your teacher. I mean it this time! For serious issues that impact your ability to engage fully in your course, bringing your teacher into the loop is the best thing. We have experience helping students and can often find ways to help you overcome your obstacles. At the very least, involving the teacher can make it clear that your missed deadlines are truly unavoidable.
5. Document your case. Even if it's not required, documentation will help clarify your position. Many, many students just make stuff up. Avoid that assumption by proving up front that you're not making up your situation. Be sure to follow up any verbal conversations with your teacher with a written confirmation of the conversation. For example, if you chat with your teacher and they extend your deadline, then follow up with an email to the teacher confirming the extended deadline. That way, it's in writing and in case your teacher forgets, you can remind them about the confirmation you sent. It also gives you both a chance to clear up any mistakes in communication that may have occurred, such as getting the new deadline date wrong.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Beginning the study of the skeleton can be intimidating, for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is that the names of the bones and bone features seem to be very odd—sometimes almost unpronounceable.
There's a reason the names are so odd. They're based on a foreign language! They're all based on Latin, with a lot of Greek word parts mixed in there. Once you realize that you're learning a new language along with learning new structures, the task ahead will be clearer to you. And hopefully, a bit less intimidating.
It turns out that if you actually focus on the fact that these are terms from a foreign language and try to translate them, then learning skeletal anatomy is far easier—and takes far less time and effort—than if you ignore the meanings of bone names.
To help you get started on this road, I've produced a couple of very brief videos that outline a proven method to quickly and easily learn your entire assigned list of bones and bone features. Watch them both to get the greatest benefit.
In the videos, I mention a couple of lists of translations (and pronunciations) that will help you engage the method I'm recommending. Links to those lists are found below.
List of bone marking types
- Translation of each term
- Pronunciation of each term
- Brief description of each term
List of bones and bone markings of the human skeleton
- Translation of each term
- Pronunciation of each term
- Use with your textbook or Survival Guide for A&P (below), which has a description of each structure
Field Guide to the Human Body: Bone Names
- Part of the Lion Den Study Tips & Tools series for A&P students
- Includes the videos and lists mentioned above
Survival Guide for Anatomy & Physiology
- Many time-saving, effort-saving, and frustration-saving tips and shortcuts
Learning A&P Terminology
- Brief introduction to the scientific terminology used in A&P
- You might want to look at this FIRST if you haven't seen it yet
- Includes short, helpful videos
More Tips on Learning the Human Skeleton
- Additional blog posts (including this one) focusing on bones
Monday, August 12, 2013
Apparently, light exercise--for example, riding a stationary bike at a gentle pace--during the process of creating new memories helps you remember things better. However, vigorous exercise seems to reduce recall in the short term and has no effect in the long term.
There's certainly more that scientists have to figure out about this phenomenon. But in the mean time, it may be worth trying these strategies:
- Walk slowly on a treadmill while reviewing your flashcards.
- Ride gently on an exercise bike while reading your textbook.
- Listen to an audio summary of your textbook chapters or a recorded lecture while doing light gardening or household chores.
- Quiz your study partners while taking a leisurely stroll through the park or across campus. But NOT across the parking lot!
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Most A&P students face the challenge of quickly getting their memory skills up to speed. It may have been a while since you were faced with having to memorize so many facts and concepts in a short period of time. If you’re taking a summer course, it may be even more daunting because of a shortened term to get it all done.
Need some help improving your memorization skills? I know, I know, you don’t have time to take more lessons! That’s OK. Here’s a really quick—but really useful—review of 75 tips and resources that can put your memory skills into high gear now:
This sounds like a lot—75 tips—but it only takes a few minutes to go through them all. Really. And I’ll bet you’ll find a few good tricks in there that you hadn’t thought of. Which would be well worth an investment of a few minutes, eh?
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Wait . . . think carefully before you answer.
If you said the long limb below your waist (or equivalent), you'd be wrong! Well, okay, it would be correct in everyday conversation. But it is not anatomically correct.
In anatomical terms, the lower limb (lower extremity) is made of up of the thigh, leg, and foot. Anatomically, the leg is only that section of the lower limb just below the knee.
The same sort of thing happens with the arm. In anatomy, the entire upper limb (upper extremity) is not the arm. Only the section above the elbow is the arm. The section just below the elbow is the forearm.
One way to help you remember this is think of pieces of chicken. I realize that not everyone is a meat eater. But those who eat chicken know that it's often served in pieces. A chicken leg is not the entire lower limb--there's another piece just proximal to the leg: the thigh. Remember that, and it may be easier to keep the distinction straight in human anatomy.
Likewise, one can think of the two types of pieces often served in an order of chicken wings. The "drumette," which looks like a mini drumstick, is the arm. The "flat" or "wingette" is the forearm.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Don't they know that this is an intentional statement of what will be on the test?
Professors do this because we know that it's important and that we will be testing you on it. And we're giving you this obvious hint so that you know that you will encounter it again.
I think it takes some training and practice to listen for those hints and respond to them in a way that helps you in the long run. So what's a good way to do that?
Leo Malone, one of my chemistry professors, required us to put a star in our notes next to any concept or fact that he introduced with any statement hinting that we'd see it again on a test. He even stopped class occassionally when he made such a statement to see if we’d put a star in our notes! This habit has stuck with me for decades. I still put a star on notes that I take in workshops, courses, meetings, and my other work. When I review my notes, I start with the stars. I know that these are things that I really need to know or to act on.
In the classes that I teach, I put a star on the whiteboard when I want to emphasize that a point I’m making really is worth remembering.
Why don't you start practicing star power? I'll bet that by listening for verbal cues and making note of them, you'll find better success in your performance.
It works for me and my students—I’m sure it will work for you!
This pencast shows you what I mean.
Want more hints about note taking?
- Survival Guide For Anatomy And Physiology: Tips, Techniques And Shortcuts
- Previous hints in The A&P Student on note-taking at NOTES.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
And one of the easiest and fastest ways to practice learning the basic facts and terminology of A&P is to use flash cards.
One great way of using flash cards is to use an online platform for making, studying, and sharing flash cards.
Study Blue is one of the more popular online flashcard tools.
Here's a brief video introducing the philosophy behind Study Blue
With Study Blue you can can create flash cards on your device based on your course needs, then use their automated system to review them. You can also create custom study guides and quizzes based on those flash cards.
This brief video Tap. Snap. Speak, shows how simple it is to make a flash card with Study Blue.
Now imagine yourself in A&P lab with a skull. Or a model of the torso. Point to a structure, snap a photo and say, "mastoid process." and you've got a great flash card for studying!
Teachers can assemble sets of flashcards with Study Blue then share them with students. Of course, students can share with their classmates in study groups. For example, in your study group you may assign each person a set of flashcards to make based on your course material. By sharing each of these with the whole study group, everyone now has a whole library of flash cards based on the week's study topics.