Advice & Study Tips
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Arrive for class on time, and never leave early.  Obviously none of us will cover every detail in your textbook.  Lecture time is when you find what you will be expected to know on test, and how your particular instructor views that material.  Lecture time is also when you will find out important details such as what topics are covered next time, how many questions will be on the next test, or what types of questions will be on the next test.

Review the material on a daily basis.  The volume of material that you need to learn is enormous.  You CAN'T cram it all in your head the night or even the 4 days before the exam.  Additionally, you keep building on the knowledge you learn early in the course.  In other words, you can't forget the information after the test because you have to use it on the next test, too!  Frequent review to make sure you understand and learn the material a little at a time will help you deal with the volume.

There is no substitute for time.  Anticipate spending 15-20 hours per week on the material.  Don't go more than 4 days without studying at least 2 hours.  Study time needs to be quiet without texts, tweets, phone calls, TV, music or interruptions.  It also has to happen when you are awake and alert.  Small, frequent bouts of studying work better than one long 3 or 4 hour session.

Use the learning style that works best for you and your lifestyle.  Some people learn best through hearing, some through pictures or figures.  Others pick things up fastest by reading or writing.  You can record your instructor's lecture, concentrate on figures in the book, the lab manual and Google image, or use YouTube.  You won't have time to all of the above for everything, however.  Make things fit into your life where you can.  For example, if you commute, record lectures and listen to them again while driving.

When you have questions, ask your lecture or lab instructor or post a question on a class bulletin board.  Don't wait till the day before the test to try to get something straightened out in your head.  Confusion can build as new topics may rely on your understanding of previous information.

Work in study groups after studying some on your own.  Quiz each other to make sure that you have things down.  When you and study partners disagree about what something is, ask your instructor.  We swear that they know the answers (or they can find them).

Try "teaching" the material to someone.  The process of teaching someone else forces you to figure out what confuses you and what you need to study more.  You gain a deeper understanding that make all the difference when test time comes.  You can combine this approach with study groups where each member of a study group picks one topic to "teach" the others.  It's a way to help you divide and conquer the large volume of material.

Use lots of different resources to help you understand the material.  Your lecture & lab texts cover a lot of the same material.  Sometimes the different viewpoints may help you understand something better.  If you can't figure out what something is from the pictures in the lab manual, try your textbook.  It is also important to note that every large book will have some mistakes.  Ask your instructor, or post a question on the bulletin board when you are confused by the different sources.  Additionally, the internet has some terrific aids to learning.  Search for things like "protein synthesis" or "action potential" on YouTube.  There are lots of videos to help you understand processes.  Don't forget Wikipedia as another source to find a differently worded explanation.

Try to become familiar with the different names for the same structures.  Anatomy has a long history which means a lot of things have changed over the years.  Some things were named by 2 or more different groups of scientists at the same time.  The bottom line is most anatomical structures have more than one name.  Ask your lab and lecture instructors which set of names that they want you to learn for test.  It's also important to realize that you may need to work with someone who learned a different set of names for the same things in the future.  Awareness of some of the other names can help in learning the material now and in communicating with colleagues in the future.

 

Comments, suggestions or questions should be emailed to the web novice at biolap@mtsu.edu 

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