In semester ONE for APU, the main focus should be slides and case studies.

For semester TWO, focus on slides, concept maps (556), objectives (582B), class presentations, and literally anything the professor says. LITERALLY WRITE DOWN WHATEVER THEY EMPHASIZE! ESPECIALLY IF THEY CONSTANTLY BRING UP THE TOPIC/POINT/WHATEVER IT IS!

MED/SURG (556) & PATHO (582B)

I really recommend trying to review the slides before you attend class. At the very least do this for med/surg 2 (556). I will confess I was not able to do this every single week for 556, BUT when I did it gave me an advantage.

  1. I was already familiar with the material so the lecture was like review for me (REPEATED EXPOSURE IS KEY*)
  2. I could just highlight/bold in my notes whatever the professor emphasized without having to frantically type everything down and risk missing something
    If she didn’t go as in depth as some of the slides did or skipped a topic completely,
  3. I could ask her about that topic and what she wanted us to know for the exam. This ultimately saves me time and brain space that would be ineffectively spent on studying material not pertinent to the exam.

*A study (which I wish I had saved the link to) found that medical students had improved recall with increased exposure to material. As soon as I read this article, I applied it to my studying. Exposure 1: I would review slides and form my own notes from those slides. Exposure 2: Review notes from slides in class during lecture. Exposure 3: Study edited notes after lecture/before exam.

I prioritized med surg first then patho. For my program/location, med/surg was more difficult. Generally, if you did well if med/surg you would do well in patho. APU also tries to align body systems for patho and med/surg. For example, week 1 was oncology for both med/surg and patho. I decided to combine/condense my notes weekly for the two classes since there was so much overlapping. This required more time investment for me each week, but ultimately worked out well for my understanding (and test scores) in the end.

Next, I would focus on pharm, mental health, and nutrition. This is not because any of them are less important than the others. It was simply based on my background knowledge and ability to retain the information. I have a strong mental health and nutrition background. I would just focus on exam review and important info from slides for these two.


For those at APU-SD, keep all the handouts the professor gives! Everything you need to know will be on these handouts! Write down/highlight everything she says on these handouts and just study these! I am not sure if this is the same at the other campuses… if it is focus on the handouts!

My study plan for pharm was:

  • Study Week 1 drugs during Week 1 Weekend (and so on until week 6).
  • Study week 1-6 drugs during Week 6 Weekend.
  • Study week 7 drugs during week 7 weekend (and so on until week 12).
  • After week 12, everyday I would go over 2 weeks of drugs with a friend until the day before the exam we went over all the drugs in one day. At this point, it should just be review.

*Also figure out silly tricks to remember drugs, the weirder they are the more likely you are to remember it!