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BIO 235 & 236 - Anatomy & Physiology I and II Study Tips

Reading + Notetaking

Reading and Using Your Textbook

Biology textbooks cover a great deal of information. Don't panic if you don't understand everything the first time you read it! Try the following:

  • Read the chapter(s) before class or the online video/lecture. 
  • Take brief notes from the textbook. This will help reinforce lecture/video notes. Note vocabulary, processes, concepts, and explanations.  Highlight the most important points/concepts.
  • Pay attention to terms that you are not familiar with. Check the glossary at the back of the book to find definitions for unfamiliar terms, or look them up elsewhere. 
  • If your book provides questions at the end of a section or chapter, use those questions to check your understanding before moving forward.

Watch the video below for more tips for reading your textbook effectively.

Taking Notes During Lectures

Taking notes on what you read, hear, and watch will help you engage with your course and learn the course material, whether you're taking a class online or in-person. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your note-taking:

  • Plan to take notes during in-person lectures and while watching online lectures, both live and recorded.
  • Rewrite your notes with the Cornell Method to help review the material and make it more clear for future use.
  • Studies have shown that students have a deeper understanding and greater recall of information when notes are taken by hand. Consider handwriting your notes instead of typing them on your laptop or phone, and keeping all notes together in one notebook or binder.
  • If your instructor provides PowerPoints or other materials before class, read and/or print before class. You can add your own notes alongside your instructor's presentation.

  • Write down key facts, definitions, and relationships to other concepts.
  • Write phrases, not full sentences, and use your own words so it makes sense to you later.
  • If you miss something, make a mark to remind yourself to follow-up later.
  • Review your notes as soon as you can after class while it is still fresh in your mind, and add any missing details or corrections. Make sure you can read and understand what you've written.
  • If you think missed something or don't understand a concept in your notes, contact your instructor for clarification. 
  • Highlight or add color to help find sections or terms more quickly later.
  • Circle, underline, or add a star next to items that you want to find easily. Be consistent. For example, always use stars next to the name of an anatomical structure, or underline a definition for a term.

Cornell Notes

The Cornell Method is a style of note-taking that helps you to easily review your notes and find key information. You can use the Cornell Method during lectures, or when reading your textbook or watching videos. You can use this method with a regular piece of paper or notebook. Watch the videos below to learn more about Cornell Notes and how to use them effectively.