How To Learn Anatomy and Physiology Successfully

Best Way To Learn Anatomy Physiology


Have you ever pondered the best way to learn anatomy and physiology and ace it every time? Of course, it goes without saying if you have good memorizing power, you are bound to excel at it. But, in all honesty, not everyone will have solid memorization power.


So, what can you do in this scenario? Well, a little bit of planning and some study tactics can take you long and far. But, we have seen this strategy work even for the students who cannot even remember names on exam day.


This guide will address the best way to study anatomy and physiology. But, before we address some tips on how to study anatomy and physiology, let us understand what anatomy and physiology are.


In This Article:


What Is Anatomy & Physiology?

Physiology and anatomy are the two most elementary terms and fundamental areas of study in the life sciences.


The former (Physiology) refers to studying the functions of the external and internal body structures.


On the other hand, anatomy is the study of the external and internal body structures and their physical relationships. These two sciences are pivotal for biomedical engineering.


How Hard Is It To Learn Anatomy and Physiology?

Before addressing the best way to study anatomy and physiology, you need to understand why students typically find it hard to learn these subjects. Firstly, physiology and anatomy are two of the most complex subjects.


Hence, naturally, you are bound to experience multiple challenges when you study them. One of the most significant challenges is the giant volume of the study material, which a student is forced to internalize.


The next reason students seek tips on how to study anatomy and physiology is that both anatomy and physiology are built on Greek and Latin words. Consequently, every organ will need a different set of foreign-sounding vocabulary.


For instance, if a student is proficient in expressions and words of the cardiovascular system, they will have to develop an entirely new vocabulary to be well-acquainted with the digestive system, and likewise for the urinary system study.


This is not all. There is another dimension to the problem because of which students come to us seeking the best way to study anatomy and physiology.


So, the third big challenge associated with the problem is that the students should take classes for both these subjects in the same semester. Consequently, their learning load heightens.


This amplifies the urgency to seek the most suitable method to prepare for laboratory and lecture classes.


Methods on How To Study Anatomy and Physiology Effectively – Success Mantra!

So, how to learn anatomy and physiology? Here is a quick rundown of all the tips on how to study anatomy and physiology. Let us get started and address them one by one.


Break down the complex and lengthy chapter into bite-sized, manageable chunks

First, give a good read to the whole chapter, and then as you progress through it, break down the entire chapter into three or four (or as needed) chunks.


This will give you psychological relief, and the length of it will not bog you down. Now, as you move through the chunks, highlight, assimilate, and then move forward.


1. Utilize the assessment tools in the textbook and help books .

How to be 100% certain that you have completely understood what you have just read? The only way to do this is by taking questions about what you have studied. So, utilize the review and assessment exercises mentioned in Anatomy books. Try to answer them independently with honesty.


You can also take quizzes, use sample books, or past year questions to be doubly sure. This is truly the best way to study anatomy and physiology.


2. Seek additional help

Not every time will you understand what’s been taught in the class. You will sometimes have issues and still be hesitant to clarify your doubts. So, how to learn anatomy and physiology, in this case?


If you are finding it hard to do it all by yourself, you must seek additional help. But, before you go out looking for help, you need to understand and acknowledge the fact that help is everywhere around you. It is you who needs to decide which resource works best for you.


Study anatomy and physiology at home with these resources:


a. Enroll in an online course

There is no dearth of anatomy and physiology courses online. You can check our TangoLearn’s guides on the best anatomy and physiology courses on the internet and indeed find a course that works well for you.


b. Look for an excellent supplementary book

There are authors out there who simplify complicated texts in your textbook and make it easier for you to learn. So, look for a good self-study textbook. You can even consult your seniors to help you find the best guides for your anatomy and physiology learning.


c. Checkout online short video tutorials

On the internet, too, you can find some short video tutorials from professional experts, which teach you the best way to learn anatomy and physiology. You can view them and simplify your learning pathway.


d. Prepare flashcards and other memory accentuating tools

An essential fact around physiology and anatomy is that memorization will be needed in more than a few instances. For example, you will have to memorize the muscles’ names, attachments, bones and projections, blood vessels, cranial nerves, and spinal nerves.


To simplify this learning process, you can use charts or flashcards. You can also sit together with other students and quiz each other as you learn. Joining a student group can also prove helpful in this situation.


3. Prepare a schedule

People ask us, ‘how to learn anatomy and physiology to ace the exams?’ The short answer to this question is – There are no shortcuts. You have to study it every day before the exam (or every other day), and only then can you excel in it.


In all honesty, it is bound to feel stressful when you are forced to cram the whole material you studied through the semester in a week or a night before the exam. But, more so, it will prove to be highly ineffective.


You may cram everything the night before, and when you see the question paper, it will all be Mumbo Jumbo. So, the key is to study as you go. When a concept is taught in the class, study it through and through, try to assimilate it thoroughly, and only then move forward.


If you think a particular concept of anatomy will take you four hours to master, sit straight for four hours without any distractions, grasp the concept thoroughly, and only then move on to another task. This will also cut the time spent on endless and meaningless procrastination.


4. Before attending the class, pre-prepare

If you are already finding it hard to keep pace with the lessons taught in the class, it is essential to be driven and pre-prepare yourself in advance. So, before your following lecture, read whatever was taught in the previous lecture.


In addition, you must also read what is supposed to be taught in the next one. Then, when you have already given it one reading, your thoughts are better concentrated, making it easier for you to understand what’s been taught in the class.


5. Make notes

As you sit through the lectures, you need to do three tasks simultaneously.

  •  Listen to what the teacher is teaching.
  • Understand what concepts are being taught.
  •  Make crisp and short notes while doing the above two tasks.


It goes without saying you cannot make detailed notes while in the class. So, keep them brief and concise. Then when you go back home, revise what’s been taught, and use your memory from the classroom and the notes to make detailed notes.


These notes will come in handy when you address the assignments and even during the exams.


6. Break down the terms to understand their meanings

As already discussed, the medical terms in Anatomy and Physiology are derived from Greek and Latin words. Now, the thing with these words is that each part will have a meaning. Hence, merely learning the meaning of the prefix and the suffix can simplify the whole word for you.


For instance, anywhere you see the suffix ‘angio,’ you should automatically relate it to blood vessels, and then you can easily recognize different words.


7. Record yourself

When you hear the physiology or the anatomy words aloud in your own voice, it is easier to recall them during the exam. So, as you learn them, record yourself. These audio clues work better than merely reading the words. Both recording and hearing them over and over again, memorization becomes easier.


8. Understand the learning style that works best for you

Not all students are alike. Each of them will have a specialized learning style, which works well for them. To make the most of your study time, you need to understand the learning style that ideally works for you. Once you have that figured out, you can alter your study habits around it.


Typically, there are four different learning styles. You can understand them as ‘VARK.’

  •  V – Visual – Learning by Seeing
  •  A – Aural – Learning by Hearing
  • R – Reading – Learning by Reading or Writing
  •  K – Kinesthetic – Learning by Feeling, Holding, or Touching


For instance, if you are a visual learner, you will get more from the subjects by actually seeing the things in the flesh. But, on the other hand, your classroom lectures will help you best if you learn better by hearing.


People who learn better by reading or writing should read and make notes to understand better. Lastly, kinesthetic works best if you wish to imprint something in your memory.


9. Create a mental picture for better memorization

This technique works well for visual learners. It is known as creating a memory palace. So, as part of this technique, you have to associate what you are learning with the physical elements in the environment that you are most familiar with.


Since you are well-acquainted with this environment, memorizing concepts around it will be more straightforward.


10. Use acronyms and mnemonics to the rescue

We all did this in our childhood, and it is one practice that is relevant and effective, regardless of your level of study. Remember how to memorize the colors of the Rainbow?


We used the acronym – VIBGYOR. This is exactly what you are supposed to do in your physiology and anatomy learning. So, make an acronym for anything you have to learn, but ensure that you do not forget what each word denotes.


You can also use a mnemonic device to find a database of all the terms related to the subject.


11. No cramming

What you cram is only transient in your memory. So, your objective should always be to understand what’s been taught, relate it to some aspect of your daily life, and then feed it into your brain.


12. Keep testing your knowledge & stay motivated

Lastly, keep improving and do not give up. Practice makes a man perfect. So, keep at it, and you are sure to excel in your anatomy and physiology study.


Related Reads: Online Pathophysiology Courses, Cell Biology Classes


Frequently Asked Questions


Ques 1. How can I memorize anatomy easily?

Ans. In our guide above, we have already discussed in detail the tips to help you learn & memorize anatomy easily, but we will breakdown a few tactics for you below:

  • Incorporate charts and flashcards
  • Use visualization
  • Make acronyms
  • Use mnemonic devices


Ques 2. What is the easiest way to learn human anatomy?

Ans. There is nothing that cannot be achieved with consistency and practice. So, incorporate our tips and techniques addressed above (online courses, books, flashcards, memorization techniques, etc.). If you stick to your plan, nothing can come in the way of your success in anatomy and physiology.


Ques 3. How many hours should I study for anatomy and physiology?

Ans. In our view, this is a subjective call. So, the time you dedicate to a subject depends on your prior understanding and grasping power.


However, there is no denying that anatomy and physiology are two of the most daunting subjects. Hence, an average student must dedicate a minimum of 10 to 11 hours every week, beyond their school lectures, to self-learning.


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