ABSTRACT: Study skills in anatomy and physiology: Is there a difference?
Many factors influence the way individual students study, including but not limited to: previous coursework, attitudes toward the class (motivation, intimidation, risk, etc.), metacognition, and work schedules. However, little of this research has involved medical students. The present article asks the question, “Do individual medical students study differently for different classes?” Study skills surveys were given to United States medical students at an allopathic medical school and an osteopathic medical school. Students were surveyed near the end of their first year gross anatomy course and again near the end of their first year physiology course. Survey items included Likert scale and open-ended questions about study habits and basic demographic information. The survey responses were correlated with each student’s final grade percentages in the courses. Analysis revealed that the four most common study habits were reviewing lecture notes, taking practice examinations, completing learning exercises, and making drawings and diagrams. The two surveys (anatomy and physiology) from each individual were also compared to see if students reported different study habits in anatomy versus physiology. A negative correlation was found between changing study habits between courses and final anatomy grade percentages. Additional analyses suggest that those students who do change their study habits between courses are increasing the number of study strategies that they attempt. This increase in the number of study strategies attempted may not allow the student to reach the same depth of understanding as their colleagues who utilize fewer strategies.