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Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to get an A in Dr. Shively's Anatomy class at UVU

Hi there!

Okay, this has nothing to do with beauty....but for anyone who is reading this it's probably because you googled how to pass this class- if so, I'm happy to share my experience and maybe it will help you too.  If it does, let me know.  If you want to vent, let me know.  Either way, it's more doable than you think. 

I wrote this because when I was taking Dr. Shively's 2320 Anatomy in Fall 2011, there was literally nothing online to help me understand how I stacked up- and it was foggy there for a long while on whether I'd get the grade I was hoping for.  I honestly had no clue, even the day before the final if I'd be alright.  So, I hope this helps!

Let me say this:  Dr. Shively is not out to get you.  He's not out of touch and he's not ready to be put out to pasture.  He's an incredibly intelligent, well educated man and is very, very aware of human behavior.  Dr. Shively is hilarious, talented, and I'm honored to have learned from him and gotten to know him a bit.  You should be grateful UVU has one of the best professors in the USA for you to learn from.  He's a hoot and will help you and will have lunch with you if you ask him and doesn't bite.  I promise, he's not in this to watch people fail.  He doesn't cackle and rub his hands as the circles under your eyes get bigger and the D+'s roll in from the CTC.   Take heart, he grades more generously than you realize at the end and all he asks is that you earn it.

To clarify, the class is in two portions: lab and lecture. What you get as your grade is a mean of both scores. So if you get a total of 250 points in lab and 250 points in lecture, that 500 will be your gross score. That gross score will be adjusted by the curve (if offered) and any extra credit you do (if available), and then your final grade will be applied to both lab and lecture equally (even if you were stronger in one than another). Keep in mind, lab is often easier and if you kill it in lab, that might just save your can come finals.

Alright, so you're probably 3 weeks in, overwhelmed, getting 50% on tests and thinking the end of semester is going to destroy you and derail your plans of ever getting in to med school/CRNA/RN school...let's dish, k?

If you want an A, here are some suggestions:

1.  If you haven't worked ahead in lab, do it now.  By the time the mid-term hits, your workload is going to double.  Yes, double.  Instead of one lab a week, you'll have two.  No sense freaking out about it, because it's gonna happen.  By finals week, you'll have 5.  Yep- five in the home stretch.  There's a psychology behind this...the cream rises, right?  Be in the know and have all of your lab homework done, oral quizzes finished, and ready to be turned in 2 weeks before finals.  You'll be relieved you're not in the gross lab fighting over that one model on the vessels at crunch time.

2.  Know the muscles.  More importantly, know the actions/origins/insertions and have them down pat.  Don't rely on the familiar muscles either...that rhomboideus major that kinda slipped past the radar (or will, if you've not hit myology yet)...yeah, know all of them that are bold faced.  It will be well worth your time.  I suggest making it a point to learn the locations of the muscles first, especially on the cadavers (IMPORTANT as the models are never (or rarely) used for quizzes) and then learn the origins, and once you have those down, do the insertions.  You can reasonably deduce the actions (most flex a joint somewhere), but to be safe, know only 1 action of each muscle.  Don't waste your time knowing all 3 if they're listed.  Also, the obscure origins/insertions like "proximal border of the anterior aspect of the body of the radius" is difficult to test on, so don't stress on those, just focus on the clear cut ones like "greater tubercle of the humerus" and you'll be fine.  Again, know the muscles and the O/I/A...you won't regret it!

3.  Put the time in every single week and don't give up!  Please know that this isn't a study the night before and still pass sort of experience.  Yes, the lab is overwhelming and doesn't actually match the lecture until 2/3 of the way through.  Yes, you'll be literally failing most if not all of your lecture quizzes (unless you're a freak of nature academically- in which case, why are you reading this?).  Adjust to the fact that a 70% is an A and if you're at the average, you're at a C.  You're here to learn, not pump out numbers anyway, right?  If you think that putting in anything less than your best is going to get you anywhere, you're wrong.  I was in the library until midnight at least 3 days a week typing up outlines and notes on the lecture (which I'll get to shortly) and attended at least 3 open labs a week.  I was there every Saturday by 11 and stayed until 2 at the very least.  It was the hardest class I've ever enrolled in, but I worked very, very hard.  You will need to earn your grade, but you'll be surprised at how well you'll do in the end.  So hang in there, you will be ok!

4.  For lecture, all I can say is READ THE BOOK and DO THE OBJECTIVES and really pay attention to the THOUGHT QUESTIONS and REVIEW QUESTIONS and CASE STUDIES.  Don't borrow someone else's notes, don't whine, don't think the final will save you- it might, but probably won't.  Read the lecture text and take your time understanding what he's asking.  If you don't understand saltatory conduction or the difference between SA and VA neurons, ask Dr. Shively.  He is happy to answer.  Make sure that  you listen in class and open your book and take notes.  What he says in class, he will ask you about on quizzes.  There are certain key concepts from each chapter (ahem, the intro people) and if you are pretty strong in answering the objectives, you won't do poorly.

5.  This isn't a do it alone kind of class.  Find someone who matches your work ethic and practice the lab items together and run through the objectives together.  If you can for lab, take it from Mr. Homan.  He won't be your bowling pal, but he's a smart man and his lab will prepare you better than other instructors for the mid term and final (I also recommend Mary Sargent if you want a gentler approach).  For supplemental lab images-  Netter's atlas is great and I also recommend another atlas that shows real cadavers, which you can get on Amazon HERE.  Utilize these books if visual aids help you as often times the lab text images aren't the easiest to interpret.  So work together with someone, don't share your notes, and just keep working.  I approached the lecture chapters by typing up each objective and bold faced terms and really focusing on the questions at the end of the chapter.  You'll see a pattern of key things Dr. Shively wants you to know.  Know those, you'll be fine.

6.  To keep track of your progress, you should be performing at about a 65-70% in lecture and about an 11 in lab quizzes, with mid to low 70's on mid-term in lecture and high 80's and up in lab mid-term to be okay and get an A.  DO ALL of the extra credit and try to get at least an 85 on every nomenclature quiz (if offered).  Frankly, if Dr. Shively offers extra credit, do it.  That means go to a game, donate blood, do the text review in Honors, whatever.  Speaking of, sign up for his Honors class.  Why?  It's smaller, you will enjoy the closer rapport, and he offers a perk for being in his Honors section (during my semester it was a half grade bump up)- great! 

Note:  Please do not think the finals will save you.  They are more challenging than you may think and if you do poorly, you can't fix your grades and your hail Mary pass will have  flopped.  Try to be consistently above average at every opportunity and don't be discouraged if once or twice, you're below or at average, that is ok.  I saw plenty of people get 40 %'s almost every lecture quiz, do well in lab and still come out okay- that is, get an A.

7.  Aim for a C (70%) and if there's a curve, that's an A.  I got an average of 67% on my quizzes (lame I realize, but I'm telling you, unless you're gifted or have no life other than school, the best possible is an 80- on a good day).  I scored 71% or a C on the mid-term and a 67% on the final and that was a top grade- above average on both.  With my scores I was at the top of the Honors class and as shocking as that may be, it's the nature of the beast.  I also did all of the extra credit and in lab was at a B, with an average of 11 on my lab quizzes and usually got a 9/10 on my homework and didn't miss anything on the oral quizzes except twice I missed one question.  I however didn't do as well as I'd wanted on the lab mid term and finals, but my performance over the semester kept me where I needed to be.  Disclaimer:  I would've done better in lab, but I'm not 20 years old,  living at home with Mom and Dad paying my bills while this was my only class- I was carrying a full-time credit load, working on make-up filming part way through the term, and have 3 kids.  So if I can do it, so can you!  (Hint:  I did it with the help of my husband, my kids being patient, staying late to study, and working hard with other hard working students).

8.  Take your lecture quizzes on the last day possible.  It's worth the time to study.  That 2% improvement you might earn from delaying taking the quiz does matter.  Save up your $4 installments and go the last day.  Also print out your results on Chi tester and don't be afraid to ask the Doc what you missed and why.

Why do I have any ground to say this?  When I took the class I performed at about a 70% mean on my lecture quizzes, an 11.5 overall on lab quizzes, got a high 80's score on my lab mid-term, low 70's on lecture mid-term and didn't do much better on finals.  I ended up getting the highest grades in Honors Anatomy that semester.  I had the highest cumulative lecture quiz grades and the highest score on the final and scored a high A in the class overall.  I took it with a 14 credit course load and 3 kids.  Yep- it can be done!  But I was also in the library late at nights and took diligent notes on the chapters.

After my turn in the Anatomy gauntlet, I was one of Dr. Shively's student TA's (he had 2) for Spring 2012- something he hadn't done in years.  We gave input (but did not write/edit) some of the test questions that Dr. Shively presented for his quizzes and we each developed study materials for study classes Dr. Shively graciously allowed us to teach.  I taught Wednesdays and Saturdays my own study supplement class for Dr. Shively and wrote a mid-term study guide that one student used and scored 100% on the mid-term for lecture- I was really proud of that.  I received 150+ of reviews from students who said I helped tremendously.  During Fall 2011 (right before finals) I wrote a study guide for the course (meant to be used for the final) that I offered for download to students Spring 2012.  It was a lot of work, not 100% perfect, but it helped me get that wonderful "highest score" during my semester in Honors and gave a nice increase (about 3%) in overall student scores as over 125 students downloaded it and used it for their final studies.  Most of all, I made a lot of friends and felt like through my student teaching, I was able to prevent some tears, offer encouragement, and give a light at the end of the anatomic tunnel (no colon jokes, please).  I still get thank-you emails and it just makes me so grateful and happy.

Oh and since I've been approached with complaints and concerns by students that have come to me with this issue...I might as well give my two cents. Regarding Dr. Shively's former TA who taught with me and first took the class with me in Fall 2011 and is simply another student:

A word to the wise- if there is discussion of review or help from her (an older, aggressive woman), please know it is out of either ignorance to her bullying or enabling a known problem.  She is not of value and was a poor teacher with often incorrect information which led to litigation and removal of her position with threat of expulsion and widespread dislike by students.  While TA'ing with her, I received over 40 negative student reviews (emails, texts, calls, meetings) in one single semester.  Some items included several students who explained to me that they transferred to Homan's lecture because of her negative and demeaning approach, wanting to draft a petition for her removal and lab STA complaints.  Lastly, my own bleary experience working with her was testament enough.  Here's some itemized background to consider if you're debating on whether to giver her rhetoric any merit:

1.  She used profanity and obscene name calling towards students when in direct conversation and put down struggling students by questioning their ability to handle the course (when one of them ended up with an A anyway).
2.  She boasted (fibbed) about her "writing the exams/quizzes/final" when in truth, Dr. Shively wrote them, by memory I might add- smart guy.
3.  Called a certain female student a rather coarse curse word in the hall by the anatomy lab and then blamed me for her swearing at students when reprimanded.  I guess she didn't figure the lab STA would come let me know what happened. 
4.  Repeatedly gave wrong answers in lab/lecture when questioned by students, along with very incorrect mispronunciation of terms during study classes. 
5.  Used goofy timetables about time needed for class like you'll need 4 hours for the final, 60 hrs a week or you'll fail, etc. 
6.  Repeatedly overexaggerated her own academic performance and ability, when students were worried if they were doing enough.  To clarify, when I took the course with her during Fall 2011, her advised method didn't lead to success.  Her scores indicated she failed lab and her final grade wasn't a solid A.  So, if she says her average lecture quiz score was 80% or she got an A...well I've got a room in the Taj Mahal you can stay in.  Anyway, she told me she didn't get an A out of graciousness on Shively's part- I can tell you this, in his class you get an A if you earn it.  Sorry ma'am, you didn't.
6.  She stated she had power to "fail" students when that is Dr. Shively's jurisdiction and encouraged students to pay her privately $20 an hour (something TA's aren't allowed to do) to prevent "failing". 
7.  Often misrepresented her impact and the population of students attending her study classes to falsely boost her performance to Dr. Shively.  She'd state the room was full during her study classes, how students would hug and cry and thank her for 'saving them'.....when several of those exact students would relay that not only was the room pretty empty but they refused to attend her classes or work with her as she mistaught, was rude, didn't offer help, and generally felt her input was a waste of time.

Edit Spring/Fall 2013:  Due to her offensive behavior, dishonesty, and bullying the TA was litigated by a student and dismissed.  She was reprimanded and faced with expulsion if bullying is further reported.  I'm grateful students spoke up and she was removed after nearly 2 years worth of complaints.  It was a shame that it took so long and was not addressed sooner and this reveals severe issues in the anatomy offerings at UVU.  Hopefully a new, positive, and useful TA will be instated that will be of merit to the students who work so hard.  Although she is no longer relevant, I feel it's important that in future if there are issues again with this person, there is a record of the debacle so I leave this as part of this post.

Anyway- Just hang in there and believe 100% you are capable of doing well, put the work in, and enjoy your success!

I wish you all the best and many A's in your anatomy future.

Take care,

P.S. To download my Final Study Guide that I developed as an anatomy student in 2011 and used in 2012 as the basis of my classes (as school progresses, it's hard to keep up with emailed requests) see the link below.

Feel free to edit for your course work as needed.  Please leave a comment if the study guide was helpful or if you made any changes so I can update it for the future.  Thank you and GOOD LUCK!

Mid-Term Study Guide (student scored 100% spring 2012 using this, hooray)

Link to Final Study Guide (120 pages, best if printed and then spiral bound)

P.P.S.  If you want to read about how I got in to UVU's Nursing Program and what it's like, go here:


Jewells said...

So... does this mean you got that A you were needing and really upset that you might not get last Sunday??? I was so upset for you reading your last post and while I won't read this post because it's not relevant to me this sounds like awesome news right?

Anonymous said...

Im in Into right now, but this helped a lot. Haha this needs to be posted somewhere on campus. :)

Baroque In Babylon said...

Tianne here- if you need help, email me! pierce (dot) tianne (at) hot mail (dot) com. I have a study guide that I wrote, like Cliffs Notes for the class and I'll gladly share. Also, ignore the creepy STA- a lot of the info she gives is wrong or meant to intimidate or bluff (truly, a lot of nonsense)- just talk to the Doc if you have a question. He'll set you straight.

Toni said...

I'm in shively's class now and I have hill for lab any study guides or tips I would love to know thanks collyn23@hotmail.com

Jessica said...

I'm not yet enrolled in Anatomy, but do you have any advice on what I could do to prepare for this class ahead of time? I've heard horror stories for the past 10+ years about this class so I'm quite intimidated! :)

Baroque In Babylon said...

@Toni and @Jessica- email me if you'd like the study guide to print. Hill is great for lab and the best advice I can give is KNOW the objectives and go slow on the tests. Don't be too scared Jessica, it's a very, very (VERY) hard class and if you can take it alone, I would, but if you'd like my study guide I can send it, email me. To prepare, see if you can meet with Dr. Shively and get the book and syllabus ahead of time. If you can, buy the lab book and memorize the muscles. Anything you can do to be ahead of the game, give it a go. Thanks for commenting!

Haileigh said...

Oh my goodness! this blog has just saved my mind! I have been FREAKING out about this class and the TA isn't helping! I would GREATLY appreciate any study guides or anything that would help! Thank you so much for posting your experiences! THIS BLOG SAVED ME! I got so down on myself after the last couple quizzes and this helped me realize that it's OK! Thank you again! Please email me @ haileighdawn44@yahoo.com

Baroque In Babylon said...

Hi Haileigh! I'm so happy you found some relief. That class is truly just as hard emotionally to get through as it is academically. I'll email you the study guides for the final and mid-term. I hope they are useful and relevant (it's been a year since I have TA'd)...but more than anything, put time in to read and read and ask Dr. Shively questions, avoid the TA if it is non-helpful and rely on your own smarts and hard work. Good luck to you! You CAN do it!

Anonymous said...

Please help. My fiancé has taken the class twice already. He is very discouraged. We would appreciate any help you can give us.

Baroque In Babylon said...

@Kelcflute I tried to email them to you tonight but it came back saying the email address wasn't deliverable. Let me know how I can get the info to you. Take care and thanks for leaving a comment. I'm sorry your fiance is struggling with this class- I know it's really hard and I send you both my best! -T

MeganWil said...

Tianne- I am so grateful for your input! I am not in this class yet, but I will be soon. I have a couple questions for you if you could email me at: mmw1992@yahoo.com that would be perfect!
I want to take this class during the summer session at UVU, is this a bad idea?
And, if I decide to go to school during the summer, I will be taking physiology first, anatomy second. Is this a bad idea too?
I want to apply to the nursing program as soon as I can but I don't want to make any oober mistakes!
Help me!
Thanks again, Megan

Baroque In Babylon said...

Hi Megan, I emailed you! Hope it's helpful!

megan d said...

I will be taking this class in fall '13, and I am petrified... I have only heard horror stories about UVU's anatomy classes. So I'm taking a few classes this summer so Anatomy is my ONLY class in the fall.
I'm also a non-traditional student, so I will totally be using you as inspiration for this class. If you can do it with 3 kids... well I should be able to do just fine with 1 kid.. ::fingers crossed::
Anyway, I was wondering if you would be able to send me the study guides as well.. I'd really love to get as much of a head start as possible.
Megan #2 (since another Megan beat me to the punch)

Baroque In Babylon said...

Hi Megan #2 :) Lol! Thanks for leaving me a comment. It is a rather defeating and horribly time consuming class but it can be done! Usually those who stress the most and work the hardest and stay a bit above average get the A's. I'll email over the study guides. If you can get the book now and do the objectives over the summer and MEMORIZE the lab guide muscles. That will pretty much give you a HUGE head start. I wish you the best of luck!

megan d said...

Thank you so much! I think I may have passed out for a minute or two when I saw how much material is covered on the final. But you are seriously amazing for sending me these!!! Thanks again!

mwalker said...

This post is absolutely amazing! Thanks for taking the time in helping so many students from your experience. Could I get the study guide as well? I am taking Shively for the 2nd block during the summer. I don't know how in the world it is going to work out but a head start would certainly help! marshallwalker20@gmail.com

mpatterson said...

I'm also taking this the second block of summer and I'm terrified! Thanks for the tips. Could I get your study guides as well? mpa1193@gmail.com

Mari said...

Your post is amazing. Thank you for the positive insight on taking this class. I am taking it in the fall, could I possible get your notes?
I am sooooo glad I found your blog, I am freaking out about having to take this class! (I have 3 kids too)
Thank you so much!!!

Baroque In Babylon said...

As of May 2013, I'm all caught up on study guide emails and hope that it was useful! If you take the class and it was helpful- please let me know! Good luck and do your best- you'll be successful! -T

Elizabeth Hackley said...

Hi! I am taking Anatomy in the fall and I was wondering if you could send me the study guides and anything else you have that would help. I'm kind of freaking out, but I'm so glad I came across your blog! Thanks for the much needed insight and positivity.
Thank you so so much!

Anna baasan said...

Your post is amazing. I am taking it in the fall, could I possible get your notes?
I am so glad I found your blog, I am freaking out about having to take this class! Especially I divorced and two children
Thank you so much!!!


Anna baasan said...

Your post is amazing. I am taking it in the fall, could I possible get your notes?
I am so glad I found your blog, I am freaking out about having to take this class! Especially I divorced and two children
Thank you so much!!!


Megastar said...

Great blog! I am taking Homan's anatomy at UVU in the fall. Do you have any advice for me about his class? Thank you in advance for the help, and, once again, such an great and helpful post!

megan d said...

Hey Megastar I'm taking Homans class too. Let's be friends and enjoy the misery of having no life for the next 4 months together. ( : Send me an email and perhaps we can study together sometime!

Baroque In Babylon said...

Hi Elizabeth, Anna, and Megastar- I uploaded a link at the bottom of this post for online downloading. I was getting so many requests, I couldn't keep up with emails. I hope all of you did well. Let me know if the guide is helpful and how you did! Best of luck to you!

Kathy said...

Tianne, Do you have a study guide for Intro? If so I would LOVE to have a copy!

kacorner (at) Comcast (dot) net


Baroque In Babylon said...

Hi Kathy! The study guide is meant for 2420 and 2420Honors. BUT it's very, very similar content. Feel free to download at the link on the post! :)

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Anonymous said...

So i just got a 70 percent on my midterm and feel like a failure! I only want a dang b in this horrid class... Too.make matters worse avg on lec quizzes has been about 69 percent so that translates to no curve! Ive been getting avg on lec quizzes so around 70 percentish so im freaking out! I need advice :) allenamanda2010@gmail.com

Baroque In Babylon said...

Hi there allen/amanda! Those grades are pretty good. I know it's not normal to feel good about a 70 but in Shively, add about 20% and that's what you would get in any other class. Did you download my final study guide? Do that and it will help! What is his current curve policy? I'll send you an email. Hang in there. You're doing really well and if there is any extra credit, do it! You'll be a-ok. Have faith!

Cortney Woolsey said...

Could you email me please!?:) I have shivley right now for lecture.. and have a few questions.. thanks!! cwoolsey09@Gmail.com

Cortney Woolsey said...

Hello;) could you email me please!!:) I have a few questions I have shively right now...cwoolsey09@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I'm planning on taking this class this summer,and my academic advisor recommended buying the text book now so that I could start reading it. Any other ideas on how I can get ahead? Also, any ideas on where the least expensive place is to get the textbook?

Natalie Sorensen said...

I'm planning on taking this class this summer, and my academic advisor recommended that I buy the textbook now and start reading it. Any other ideas on how to get ahead? Also, do you where were the cheapest place to get this textbook is? If you could email me that'd be great! natalie.sorensen@gmail.com

Natalie Sorensen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kaley jo said...

My advisor has somewhat "pep talked" me into taking physiology and anatomy as block classes over the summer? I have NO background in anatomy... Is this do able? Do you know of any who who has taken the summer semester? I am just worried that if students are having a hard time with the class over a regular semester, how am I to do it successfully in half the time? Thank you in advance. These are the last classes I need for pre req's and I am really not sure what to think.

Robert McKell said...

So even though this is all over and done with for this Spring 2014 semester, I'm still freaking out about it. I got a 95% on my lab final grade (no curve), an average of 63% on my lecture quizzes, did all the extra credit, but got a 54% on the lecture final. The averages for the lecture test scores this semester were always around 45-55%. Based on what you saw as a TA, you think I have the shot at an A? Grades are released tomorrow and freaked out when I saw how that I did way worse than I thought on the lecture final.

Baroque In Babylon said...

Hi Robert- glad you found me! I think (if everything is the same as it has been) that with your being above average, you have a good shot. Let's say it's still 1000 points possible and you have 490 for lab and around 300 or so for lecture, that is 790ish overall...usually the curve is around 150, so that would bring you to 940 or so, that is a solid A. I would say chances are definite for a B and an A is quite possible! Let me know!

Baroque In Babylon said...

Kaley- taking phys and anatomy over the summer is seriously not a good idea. Maybe just one of those, but definitely not together. Was your advisor Denise or Shane? It seems rather daunting advice.

Baroque In Babylon said...

Hi Natalie- look at half.com for a cheaper alternative to the text or ask around for people who have taken it already. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hello! Sincerely thank you SO much for taking the time to post this VERY useful information!I am a future student planning on taking the honors course this Spring 2015, do you happen to know the current textbook(s) he will be using for the class?? (name, author,edition) Also, are lab times flexible?

Dayna said...

Hello i was wondering if i could get your full study guide? I took it last semester and need to retake it. ahhh got a C and i need a A. I took it summer semester.. Bad idea
my email is dayna713@yahoo.com thanks so much

Mike S said...

I am about to take the honors section with Shively, if it is possible I would love to have your study guides to reference where I need to study.
Thank you!


Mike S said...

I'm about to take the honors section with Shively, is it still possible to get your study guides so that I can reference where I need to study the most?

Baroque In Babylon said...

Hi Mike! I got your emails. Let me know if the links in the blog post don't work. I'm happy to email the guides to you. Good luck in the class!!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I am not yet in this class, but have heard the horror stories... :) Would you be able to email me the study guides and what not so I can get a head start? sharee_0711@ymail.com

Thank you a million!!

Samantha May said...

I am taking this class right now and would love some tips on the lab portion! ANy advice? My e-mail is samay2544@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

this is so great! we have our final soon and this just made me feel so much better for reviewing! thanks!

Anonymous said...

You are a hero in my eyes! Thank you so much for doing this.-
a desperate student who has literally put everything in this class and this just might have saved me