College Class Review: Pathophysiology

Hello, everyone! Happy Tuesday once again! Once again it has been quite some time since I posted on this blog. I spent the second half of the spring semester dealing with a heavy workload, burnout, and personal issues, so I didn’t have time for posts in the midst of all of that. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this past semester, it’s that blogging can be very difficult to manage at the same time as school responsibilities. But I’ve missed writing on here! So be sure I’ll be posting more regularly now and make plans to continue that schedule into the fall.

You may think you don’t care for a subject, but if you haven’t ever studied it before, you don’t really know.

One nice thing about the semester being over is that I can now share my full experiences in the classes I took! At the beginning of the year, I thought it wasn’t going to be the greatest semester of classes. But the one class I thought for sure was going to be awful was pathophysiology. At my school, Dietetics students have to take A&P I and II, and Microbiology before taking Patho. I did well in all those classes, yet still dreaded Patho. I heard stories from friends in our nursing program–as the makeup of the class is mostly Pre-Nursing majors–rant about the pages of notes to review for the tests, the level of detail required, and worst of all, the comprehensive final. Also, before taking this class, I’ll admit I didn’t think I was interested in the disease side of physiology.

My thoughts on the class were much different, however, after just the first session. The professor took her time explaining the material in an clear, uncomplicated manner. More surprising to me, I found the material interesting! You may think you don’t care for a subject, but if you haven’t ever studied it before, you don’t really know.

Pathophysiology Study Tips

Ultimately, the hardest part of Pathophysiology wasn’t the material we studied, but the sheer amount of it. The class met once a week (with no lab, thankfully!) and in order to keep up with the professor, I had to review before and after class. For me, this meant skimming the textbook and our note outlines. But for you this could be watching videos over what you cover in class, talking it out with a friend, or making simple notes of your own.

a piece of printer paper filled with tiny notes on important terms

Something I discovered while taking this class was that I had to adapt how I studied. For most classes, I could get away with making Quizlets and after reviewing those before the test, do fine. But because of the sheer volume of material that we covered in Patho each week, I barely had time to make a Quizlet, let alone review it. Instead, I found that reviewing my notes, making connections, and understanding processes helped so much more than a Quizlet. The diseases we covered in class often have stages or multiple cause/effect situations. When I took the time to walk myself through the material, I did much better seeing the big picture compared to the fragments I might gather from a Quizlet.

If you give Patho the time and attention it deserves, your hard work will pay off!

Something else I picked up from a friend who took the class the semester before is that if problems have too many overlapping manifestations (looking at you, electrolyte imbalances…), focus mainly on learning the key differences. Often, a disease might have one key cause or symptom that uniquely identifies it. Don’t make it the only thing you learn, but use it to recognize diseases on tests.

Finally, find a study friend! I had a friend who was taking Patho too, but we didn’t really start studying together until the next-to-last test. She helped me really understand what we learned! A study partner can give you insights on diseases and share mnemonics or other creative ideas. You can also divide and conquer the work if you’re making charts or teaching each other the material.


If I could summarize my advise for Pathophysiology in one sentence, it would be this: be flexible. You might find that you have to put more effort into studying or change how you study. But if you give Patho the time and attention it deserves, your hard work will pay off!

Have you taken Pathophysiology or are you about to? How do you feel about the class?

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