Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Study Blue

As stated recently, the best way to learn anything is . . .

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.
Check out Study Blue at

For more advice on making and using flash cards effectively for A&P check out the collection of articles at

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

READ and RAID your textbook

Most students don't know how to read their A&P textbook.

Oh yeah, they give it a try.  They sit down with the book and try to make it through a couple of chapters.  Maybe three or four chapters . . . because, well, er, they've put off reading the book as long as they can.  Look at that thing!  It's huge!  And all the complex terminology!

It's not that they can't read . . . the problem is that they don't have the needed skills to use an A&P textbook effectively.

So how can you get more out of that huge, expensive book?  Following are some tips:

1. Look over the organization of the chapter first. 

If there's a brief outline in the chapter opener, don't skip it. If there isn't one, then quickly skip the chapter and read each heading and subheading.  This gives you the gist of the story and provides a framework in your head upon which you can build your understanding as you read.

2. Read all the key terms out loud before reading. 

It sounds crazy, I know.  But it works.  By saying each word before you read, your brain becomes familiar with the term more quickly.  Then, as you read, you won't stumble over the word or simply skip over it—either of which won't help you learn what you need to learn.  If there isn't a word list in the chapter, then simply skim the chapter saying each boldface term out loud.

3. Chunk the chapter.

Some textbook chapters go on and on . . . and on.  Well, don't let them!  Just read one or two sections at a time.  By breaking it up, you can comprehend more of what you read.  And it spreads the work of reading out over several days, making it less likely that you'll avoid a painfully long reading session.

4. Actively review what you read. 

Most textbooks have review questions built into chapter sections and at the end of the chapter.  Don't ignore them.  Better yet, write out the answers.  By using multiple senses, your understanding (and memory) will be strengthened.  Always double check that your answers are correct, perhaps asking your study partners or professor for help.

5. Raid your book later.

After you've read a chapter in your textbook, you're not done with the book.  As you study the material, or build on it in later parts of the course, you'll want to come back to particular topics and "raid" it for specific bits of information to review again.  As you pay attention to the organization of each chapter (see item #1 above), you'll be able to easily find the treasures you need within each chapter.

For more on these tips--plus some additional tips to make your reading easier and more effective—check out the video.

For even more ideas to help you with your textbook, try these: