Are you taking Anatomy and Physiology I this semester, as I am? If you are, then you know that A+P is not for the faint hearted, so let me cut straight to the heart of the matter (puns intended)! A hot topic on campus, burning in the minds of concerned students, is who best to take for A+P or discussion on which professors make things easier on the student. Even if you haven’t taken A+P yet, your ears have no doubt heard the passing whispers of warning that “Professor so & so is too hard” or “Professor so & so should teach like this professor instead.”

  Well, as was coined in a Monty Python movie, I say “Always look on the bright side of life.” So, I thought I might share my comparison of Deep Anatomy (the style which is deemed very difficult by most and involves thorough study) and Superficial Anatomy (the style in which everything is mapped out for you to simplify testing and passing). As anyone who is already studying knows, there is something to be said about these words I have chosen; Deep vs. Superficial. This is not to say that the professors who teach the “superficial” sort are superficial, so please do not misunderstand me. What I means is, that the method of study for the student is outlined explicitly for tests by some professors and all you have to do is memorize the answers (from what I have heard). On the contrary, compared to the “deep” kind of study, where the student must study everything covered and anticipate what they may be tested on in a certain section, is much more of a challenge.

   Let’s see what can be the result of each, shall we? Let’s start with the superficial anatomy. The instructor will no doubt cover the exact same material, in likely the same amount of time but will expect much less of your effort. When he/she prepares you for a test, whether or not you have really been following along until this point, you will get an outline of the test material in which you will simply commit to memory. The result: You will only have as good a grasp on Anatomy as what you committed to memory simply to pass the tests. What happens when you arrive in the courses of your concentration, like nursing or radiography? Will you feel confident? Take that a step further and imagine a job interview and what may be asked about your basic knowledge? Will you feel well equipped to take it on?

Let’s examine the deep anatomy. The instructor will cover the required material in the allotted time, and he/she will let you know that the material on the tests and quizzes will come from everything that was covered in class. So, you must study all that information thoroughly because you do not know what questions will appear on the test from which portion of the information covered. Yes, it’s surely a challenge, but let’s see the result. If you have fully applied yourself to study in this way, you will not only know the questions on the test, but when asked you will have a pretty solid grasp on what you’re talking about if asked to explain. So basically, the scenario of additional medical classes or a job interview in the future would not be so scary. In fact, you will probably impress yourself with your ability.

  I’ll leave you with some final thoughts, as you consider the differences between these two methods on your own, and that is this: Are you taking (or going to take) Anatomy and Physiology as a foundation for a future medical career? A strong foundation will ensure that you are properly prepared to care for others. Just think, when you go to the hospital yourself…do you want the nurse or doctor who skimmed A+P or the nurse or doctor who knows A+P inside and out?