How to pass your Human Anatomy and Physiology courses

Science, the apocalypse, and teaching / Sunday, October 28th, 2018

As some of you may know, I have a small Youtube series of videos (here) that helps walk my students through anatomical models for class. Students think that information is super helpful and don’t realize that THEY’RE LEARNING! I know, learning.. don’t leave just yet…

Most college students struggle in science courses. I can understand why for three reasons: 1. They just don’t care, 2. They have trouble visualizing it, 3. They think it’s their bodies/life so they already know the information. #1 I can’t really do anything about. That’s their problem and they should maybe question why they’re in college in the first place.

Okay so now I’m going to share with you some tips and pointers to help you pass your anatomy courses!

*This isn’t my image:*

1. Study using your own body, or a friends.

When you’re learning the bones, muscles, or organs you don’t need models or photos of models to study. You ARE human anatomy and physiology. Your body has 99% of these organs (and if you don’t have it, it should be more interesting).

-While you’re sitting on the toilet, study anatomy on yourself. This will protect your phone and help you in class. Point to a place on your body and say what it is. I can point to my knee and say “patella” or “insertion of the quadriceps muscles” or “hinge joint” or “popliteal artery/vein.” You can practice directional terms, anatomical language, etc. The possibilities are endless.

-Now using a friend, please get consent…
My favorite form of advice is, you’re out at a party and your best friend passed out… now it’s time to practice your anatomy.
Label your friends. Use some sharpies or sticky notes to label anatomical areas, bones, muscles, directional terms, blah, blah. Doing this is going to be hilarious AND you’re learning.
My student actually did this to her mom and it was HILARIOUS! I can’t seem to find the picture anywhere.

2. Spend time with models or 3D files. 

We are three-dimensional, it’s hard to imagine what goes on in our body if we only see photos or sketches. If you want to learn how something works know what it looks like. How something works, like an order, affects its function. If a bone is round and goes into a concave surface, it probably makes a circular motion.
With models you can touch it and use your fingers to trace air through the lungs, blood through the body, food through the digestive tract. They’re great!

3D programs are amazing! You can move organs and bodies around in space and it’s FREE!
Here’s a list of the best anatomy apps for your Android smart phone and here’s one for your iPhone.

3. Study in a group.

You’ve heard this hundreds of times, if you haven’t your professors aren’t doing their jobs. Study with your classmates! They can explain things differently than your professor and it can help you learn the materials.

This can easily go south fast. You have to stay on topic! Don’t talk about pizza for 2 hours and only study for 15 minutes. You’ll need to go in ready to talk about the information or ask each other questions about the material.

4. Watch Youtube videos.

If you’re having trouble understanding materials, everyone learns differently. This is my self-promotion plug. šŸ˜‰
There are tons of people on Youtube and Khan Academy that put videos out there to help people learn. Check them out, there are some really good ones that use 3D imaging to trace a body system.


I hope these pointers help you. Let me know if you have any other ideas, tips, or pointers that helped you succeed in your science class.


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