Working with anatomy and physiology can be hard. When choosing whether to start by learning how something works, what it looks like, or where it’s placed, you often end up with a chicken-or-egg type of situation, where you cannot decide which element to grapple with first. While this setup may not be for you, I thought I’d show you in what order I usually tackle my coursework. Here’s how I structured my work today for instance.
Since it’s Saturday I had a bit more time than usual, therefore I started by drawing three diagrams depicting and explaining the structure and placement of canine, equine and feline teeth. After drawing and familiarizing myself with the different vocabulary, I went over to my word document, where I’m currently following this setup for every organ/structure in the digestive system:
Placement: Where is the structure or organ located?
Function: What does the structure or organ do?
Histology: What tissues are the structures or organs made out of?
Embryology: When are the structures or organs formed, and which germ layer did it originate from?
Innervation: How is the structure or organ innervated, and what are the different nerves called?
Regulation: How are the structure or organs functions regulated?
For this part, this is usually how I set up shop, with my anatomy book on my book stand in front of me, my physiology book right next to my computer, and the dissection book on a chair next to me. I also keep the histology and embryology books on the table in case I need to look something up when I get to the histology and embryology sections.
That’s pretty much it! While it is a time-consuming process, I feel like I cover all the bases I need to in order to fully understand everything when using this method. I also think drawing BEFORE doing anything else is key to understanding what you’re doing. I feel like it gives me a better mental image of the structures, and makes me aware of why it needs to be shaped or placed in such a way in order to function optimally.