Anatomy & Physiology: Tips to Study

Anatomy and physiology is a tough subject to tackle. I took anatomy and physiology, and even though it’s only a 100-level course and four credits, it was much more difficult than other courses I have taken previously. In fact, I’ve taken anatomy and physiology twice. The first time, I didn’t get a very good grade due to poor study habits and health issues, and the second time, I got an A. Studying anatomy and physiology can be tough, but there are ways to help yourself do better in this tougher-than-most course.

Give Yourself Enough Time

As a general rule, students should spend 2-3 hours of studying per credit they are taking. This means that for a four-credit anatomy and physiology course, I’d need to spend around 8-12 hours studying. This may seem like more than enough time, but during the semester I took anatomy, I easily spent much more time than this just on anatomy. If you plan to take an anatomy and physiology course, then make sure you’re not overloading yourself with too many classes. Anatomy takes a lot of time and memorization.

Read & Reread

Take your time reading through the chapters. Anatomy and physiology can be difficult to understand on your first try, so read the chapter, then reread it.

Answer Chapter Questions

Most textbooks have a section at the end of each chapter with questions to test your knowledge. Even if your instructor doesn’t require you to complete the questions, do it anyway. Try to do the questions without checking the chapter, and then go through the chapter to check your answers when you’re finished. Simply answering these questions will help you remember the information more easily.

Get A Dissection CD-ROM

Using a dissection CD-ROM, such as McGraw-Hill’s “Anatomy & Physiology: Revealed,” can be an invaluable tool in helping you understand and visualize the various structures and how they interact with one another to make the body work.

Check Your Body

When you read about different muscles, bones and organs, see if you can find them on your own body. For example, try to find the trapezius muscle. Flex your bicep. Supinate your forearm. Feel how the Achilles tendon changes when your foot is flat versus when it is extended. Finding the different structures on your own body and observing what they do can be very helpful in learning the structures and their functions.

Write It

If you’re having difficulty understanding a concept in the book or in your lectures, write a paper on the subject and use multiple references for your paper. By reading information on the same subject from multiple sources, you may find a source that explains it in a way you better understand. By writing your own version of the information, you’ll help yourself remember it later.


Flashcards might be boring, but they can be an invaluable way to help learn anatomy terms. Making flashcards or purchasing pre-made flashcards can help you memorize the information.