A&P is kicking my butt. Advice? Tips? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 10-12-2010, 03:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm a PT stay at home mama, a part-time student, and I recently took a PT job that I work around my school schedule. I have a great GPA from my bachelor's program, and a great GPA for my other nursing school prerequisites and have found out that I really like science, but I started my three term A&P adventure three weeks ago and I am freaking out. I can't believe the sheer volume of information and the pace we're going at. It's only a 4 credit class, but this week we "covered" THREE chapters. Integumentary system, bones, bone markings, joints, and movements. My lab is a joke- she hands us what amounts to a 3 page per chapter list of things to identify, define, and understand and then says "Go!" I told her I was having a hard time figuring out how to study for this class (I've never had this happen before) and she shrugged her shoulders. Thanks.

So, I feel like I understand the material, and I'd like to be able to really get into it, but the pace is so outta whack I just have to figure out how to keep my head above water and get the A I need to get into nursing school. Any tips from been-there-done-that mamas?

Used to be stay at home parent to our two lovely girls, survived nursing school with family intact, about to graduate and looking for a job! I low-supply nursed my bio daughter for 3 years. 

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#2 of 16 Old 10-12-2010, 03:50 AM
 
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I would say that the most important thing is to make sure you're studying every day. You CANNOT let the reading pile up (speaking from experience here!). Make sure you're doing at least some of the reading every day. I made the mistake of thinking I could just cram before the test like I had been able to do in the past, and ended up having to repeat the first class.

Find time to study in groups outside of class if you can, that was something else I found helpful. I made flashcards for memorizing things and practiced with my study group. I also had an A&P coloring book that I found helpful for muscles and bones etc, depending on your learning style you might find something like that useful.

I hope at least some of that helps. Good luck!

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#3 of 16 Old 10-12-2010, 04:33 AM
 
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First wanted to say that taking this course while a mom is TOUGH. Your relationships will suffer a bit. This class needs to be your priority until it's over. This may mean a lot of sleep deprivation on your part. A 4-credit class means that you should be studying a minimum of 12 hours each week (ie. 3 hrs for each credit hour). That's on top of actually attending classes and labs.

It's a weed-out course for a reason. Nursing school is very demanding, and they only want the best students. What you're encountering is typical for A&P classes. The pace is rapid even though the material is dense.

Like the prior poster stated, study every night, make flash cards, and purchase study guides from the university medical school bookstore (ie. better selection than Barnes and Noble). You will need to take the time to memorize anatomy & understand physiology in detail. If you have the kind of lab exams that require you to identify cat parts weeks after it has been dissected (ie. once the cat is shriveled up & barely recognizable), make sure you are practicing in lab, too. If there are TA's, talk to them about your difficulties and ask for advice in how to study. Take phenomenal notes, and learn everything that's discussed in class. If there are problems/homework, do it all & go to the TA if you don't understand something. I've known some students to tape-record lectures & then play them while driving or before bed. Another person I knew took her flashcards everywhere, and would use any free moment to go over them. Do what you've gotta do to keep up.
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#4 of 16 Old 10-12-2010, 04:34 AM
 
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Not sure if you have checked it out, by allnurses.com is a nice refuge for pre-nursing and nursing students. A&P is often discussed.

http://www.allnurses.com
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#5 of 16 Old 10-12-2010, 06:23 AM
 
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i'm not a nursing student (i'm in school to become a physical therapist assistant) but I had A&P *and* musculoskeletal anatomy last semester in addition to other classes so I feel your pain!

flash cards can be very helpful. also, check out www.getbodysmart.com - it's a great site.

for the lab stuff, the best thing to do is to get into the lab as much as possible to look at the models. often times a 2-D picture in a book just doesn't look the same. and some models just don't look exactly like the picture in the book and it can be confusing when it comes time for the lab practical. so get familiar with the actual models you'll be tested on so you're sure you know what you're looking at. at my school they had open lab periods every day where you could go in and there was a TA in there who could help answer questions, help identify things, etc. it was extremely helpful. and if your textbook comes with any additional resources like CD's, check them out. they can sometimes be really helpful.

and i agree that it's a weed-out course for a reason. a lot of people I knew last semester didn't get into the PTA program because they had B's in A&P or in musculoskeletal anatomy (something like 80 people applied for 16 positions, it's highly competitive, even though it's an associate's degree more than half of us already have a bachelor's, one girl has a master's). But anyway, the pace of those classes and the intensity of the material was pretty indicative of every single class in the program of study, and I'm sure nursing school is even more so - so you'll need to figure out good study habits now so you can carry them into nursing school.

good luck! i'm sure you'll do great!!
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#6 of 16 Old 10-12-2010, 07:01 AM
 
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I definitely agree on flash cards, coloring books, and study groups. I think my study group saved my sanity Spring term.
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#7 of 16 Old 10-12-2010, 09:50 AM
 
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Take pictures of the models in lab, print them, label them, and use them to quiz yourself. That was one of the most helpful tools I had while studying. Especially good for times that you cannot get to the lab for extra study time. What the PP said about IDing 3D models vs 2D models is true - things look really different. Heck, things look really different on different 3D models.

The coloring books are helpful, as is printing out black and white pictures of the bones, pasting them on flashcards, and coloring the different bone markings in colored pencil. Both left and right if you have to be able to left and right bones. It sounds like a lot of work, but the process of making the cards is what really helps you learn. Buying a set of cards is not the same.

With the skull, if they aren't provided, bring a coffee stirrer to the lab and poke it through the holes - it really helps to see where they go (especially since you most likely have to ID them from various angles.

Use mnemonics for memorizing if you can - like Stop Letting Those People Touch The Cadaver's Hand for the carpals. Or weird things like "The ischium bone is the one you sit on because your butt is ishy." This sort of ridiculous humor got me through a fair amount of anatomy.

Find people to study with and quiz each other. It really helps.

Quiz yourself. Just looking at pictures will not help as much as covering up the labels and seeing what you really know.

Do not skip class. Do not leave lab early. I skipped lecture only twice: Before a lab practical, the lab would get too full of students to get my hands on the models. The only time I could guarantee that it would be empty was when everyone else was in lecture. So I skipped lecture to get into the lab a couple of times.

Time is the most important thing. With A & P, you have to put in the time. I put in hours each week to get that A.

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#8 of 16 Old 10-12-2010, 03:20 PM
 
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I used these resources.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Ana...atomy+coloring

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Ana...product&pwb=1&


I always made my own flash cards, but why reinvent the wheel. Study Stack offers plenty of options.

+ + =
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#9 of 16 Old 10-12-2010, 08:10 PM
 
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oh, yeah, definitely make up sayings and things to help you remember different things. sometimes teachers will even share the ones they used as students. the one for the carpal bones that i use is Some Lovers Try Positions That They Can't Handle Whatever makes it stick in your head!!

you also might need to experiment a little and see what helps you the most. coloring for me was tedious and not helpful, for others it's crucial. i'm an auditory learner so catchy phrases and reading the information to myself helped. i also learn by doing/feeling, so i did (and do) a lot of body movement and palpating during tests. i look stupid but i don't care! it helps! especially when it comes to muscle actions, planes of movement, axes of rotation, muscular line of pull, agonist/antagonist/synergists etc.
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#10 of 16 Old 10-12-2010, 10:20 PM
 
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Make flashcards, and take them with you EVERYWHERE! Look at them when you are stopped at red lights, waiting in line anywhere, whatever and whenever you can.

Also, as others suggested, the coloring books work wonders, as do the models. Go to open labs whenever you can. And the advise someone gave that the process of making the study tools is, in itself good studying, is spot on!

I really have to be focused when I study for things like A&P and try to memorize things. It is hard to explain, but you have to kind of open your mind even MORE than usual so that the information will stick. Does that make sense? I just tell myself, _______ is something I know now, and totally understand. And usually if I tell myself that, it is true.

This course is all about the memorization, and trust me, you'll need to retain it (for the most part) for nursing school. Good luck!
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#11 of 16 Old 10-13-2010, 01:43 AM
 
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My six year-old was fascinated by my A/P materials. He helped me by cutting my flashcards, and doing matching exercises with me. It was particularly helpful, as it got me reading terms out loud, which I didn't realize was so valuable.
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#12 of 16 Old 10-13-2010, 02:53 PM
 
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It's been a bit but I second all of the advice above especially working every day, flashcards etc. My first quarter of A&P I did as an intensive. 3 hours lecure, 3 hours lab 3 days a week. Studying the rest of the time. Very crazy making. I lived and breathed A & P. My other quarters were less intense, but I think I learned some good strategies for me from that first quarter. I got to the point where my brain babbled A & P constantly. Lukily my family didn't stuff me into a closet. But here's the thing. Take any opportunity to explain and apply what you are learning. It doesn't really matter to who. To the dog. To your 2 year old. To a currious (or very tolerant friend). To a study partner. Whatever. Watch how your kids move and explain the muscles and bones to yourself. Let your brain work on in in non-studying contexts. Get a little silly about it. It really helps to get it to settle in.

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#13 of 16 Old 10-14-2010, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the advice, Mamas! The second week I spent so much time making flashcards I didn't have time to study them. Last week I used the "objectives" list as my guide and spent a total of 15 hours out of class studying. I got an A on my lab quiz, though! I'm going to take my camera into an open lab and try and get pictures of the models- this week we're onto the muscles, bones and markings of the head and neck. I'm all about the mnemonics and silly little memory tricks. I appreciate you taking the time to outline some ideas and for the useful web links! Thanks!

Used to be stay at home parent to our two lovely girls, survived nursing school with family intact, about to graduate and looking for a job! I low-supply nursed my bio daughter for 3 years. 

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#14 of 16 Old 10-15-2010, 09:04 AM
 
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A & P is hard! I took it last year and now I'm retaking it due to my credit not transfering even though I got a B. I totally agree that the flash cards a big help. Usually I make my own flash cards because actually making them is a big help for studying. I made my own for the physiology portion. But for the anatomy, I bought flash cards. I agree that you should take them with you everywhere. My dh knows the drill now. I just hand him the flash cards and he quizzes me.

The other thing that I do is play a game with my dd. She enjoys it and asks to play all the time. She points to a part of her body and I identify it in as much detail as possible. It is silly and not a huge help, but it keeps anatomy on the brain.

Good luck. FWIW, I am in nursing school now and find my nursing classes easier than A&P.
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#15 of 16 Old 10-15-2010, 06:00 PM
 
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#16 of 16 Old 10-17-2010, 07:45 PM
 
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I took my camera into lab and took pictures of all the models so I could study at home. I found that i could even take pictures of slides through the microscope! My A&P teacher saw how much it was helping and was fully supportive. I started loading the pictures online and we had a study group quiz each other on them. That's what helped with the lab part anyways. For the lecture part just good note taking was what got me through. Some taped the lectures and played them back while rereading their notes.

Mom to Joscelyne 14, Andrew 12, and Mackenzie 10 and wife to Nate.
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