How to Get an A in Anatomy Class

By Lisa Walsh – Guest Contributor

I got an “A” in my Anatomy course. At my nursing school, it was one of the only three courses that counted the GPA calculation. The other two courses that counted were physiology and microbiology. Because the grade of this court counts so much for nursing school admissions purposes, I needed to make sure I got an “A.”

Although my professor was a nice guy, I thought that his advice of “study hard and you’ll do well” was not very helpful. I asked for advice from one of my friends who went through the same class and got an “A.” She’s now doing well in her nursing classes.  My friend helped me develop the following game plan.

Tape Record the Lecture

The professor is going to emphasize certain things. As long as my professor is fair, he’s going to create test questions on similar things during the midterms and final. Basically, any topic covered in lecture needs to have the highest priority in term of studying.

After recording the lecture, I would play it back in the car, on the bus, and at the gym. Whenever I had free time, I would take the opportunity to listen to the lecture again to help me memorize more of the material I needed to know.

Rewriting My Anatomy Notes

When I got home from lecture, I listened to the my recording of the professor’s lecture and added to my notes. If I really had a hard time, I rewrote my notes from scratch knowing that it would be easier and faster since I heard the lecture before. After that, I proceeded to my other study tools.

Memorization is the Key to a Good Grade in Anatomy

In this class, your ability to memorize is the biggest factor in what your grade is.  You don’t memorize just the 206 bones in the human body. You have to identify all of the many bumps and grooves during the exam.  Some of my friends used anatomy flash cards and have done very well with them. I used an anatomy coloring book and anatomy study guide. There’s nothing wrong with my anatomy book (I had the Marieb book), but sometimes it was faster and easier for me to absorb the material from a study guide that had easier-to-understand writing style.

Don’t Fall Behind in Anatomy Class

Memorization is a time consuming process. It’s not possible to cram one to three nights before the exam. There’s way much stuff that needs to be memorized in anatomy class. For me, I don’t memorize very well when I’m sleep deprived. That meant I had to do all of this memorization business on most days every week. This way, I didn’t have to cram too much right before the midterm.

Another thing I did to keep up with the class is to read the chapter before lecture. That made it easier and faster to absorb the material.

Take Pictures of the Models

I asked my lab instructor if it was OK to take pictures of the models. She said it was fine. What I proceed to do was to use my smartphone to take pictures every class. Then I would label the different parts of the body with OneNote. After that, I would print one with the labels, and make lots of copies of just the picture. Then I would practice identify all of the different parts. This was incredibly helpful with studying for the lab exam.