Human Anatomy Final Exam Tips and Example Problem


Anatomy can be a difficult topic to study for- especially when you have a whole semester’s worth of memorization and re-learning to cover and don’t know where to begin! Trust me, I’ve been there. However, there are some strategies that you can use to memorize the material and approach questions that will help you get a good score on the final if you stick to them. Let’s dive into it…

General Tips for Studying Anatomy:

  • Draw out pictures and diagrams- probably the most helpful way to learn especially if you are a visual learner like me. If you’re not great at drawing: go online, print out an unlabeled diagram, and try to label it without looking at your notes. Hint: this is very useful for the cardiovascular unit with the pulmonary and systemic circuits. Color coding makes it more fun.

  • Categorize. The different types of epithelium you need to know… Split them into sections: by structure, by function, by location in the body. The connective tissues? By fibers: by collagen, reticular, elastic. Make a table, a flow chart, or a “web.”

  • Use learning goals and pick out topics/details you struggle with to make a condensed study guide- do not make it too long. Pretend it is a “cheat sheet” you can use on the exam.

  • Flash cards- make your own, make a quizlet, or use Anki (online spaced repetition flashcards).

  • Study new material first if it is worth a higher percentage on the exam than the old material.

  • Spaced repetition. Bring your diagrams and flashcards wherever you go and study them a little bit everyday- on the bus, on the way to dinner, waiting for your next class, etc.

  • Quiz yourself! Cover your notes, print out an unlabeled diagram, study with a friend!

Now that you have studied a bit, take a look at some practice questions. We will walk through how to approach them.

First, read the question carefully and make sure you understand what it is asking. This question is asking what antibodies type O- blood will make when given A+ blood. Do not worry about type A+ antibodies because only receivers make antibodies. Donors will not give antibodies. Thus, A+ blood will agglutinate with O- antibodies, not the other way around.

Then, decide what you know. Make a list either in your head or on paper and draw out anything that may be helpful:

  • Only concerned about O- blood antibodies, not A+

  • O- blood can only receive O- blood, makes antibodies to everything else

  • Negative blood indicates no Rh antigen, positive indicates the Rh antigen is present

  • Antibodies are made to attack foreign antigens

  • Type A blood has type A antigens

Now, eliminate answers. We know it cannot be “none” because O- blood types make antibodies to everything except type O- blood. We know it cannot be “anti-B” because it was not exposed to B antigens, only A antigens.

This leaves answer choices B and D. From what we know, A+ blood has A antigens and Rh protein present. O- does not have either of these, so it will recognize both A antigens and Rh protein as foreign substances to attack, not just Rh. Thus, the best and correct answer is D, “anti-A and anti-Rh antibodies.”

To recap: First, find a way that works for you to effectively study and memorize the bulk of the information. Then, read the question carefully and decide what it is asking. Write down and draw what you know. Eliminate answers that can’t be true. Pick the best possible answer out of the remaining based on what you know. Finally, eat a healthy breakfast and get quality sleep before exam day because recalling what you memorized depends on it. Good luck!