Exam and Cookie Details!

Two big things to talk about! Let’s save the best for last 🙂

Here are the details for tomorrow’s exam. The exam will be open all day tomorrow (from 12:01 am to 11:59 pm). You’ll have two hours to take it once you start.

Here’s the breakdown by organ system:

  • Gastrointestinal System – 10 questions
  • Liver/Gallbladder/Pancreas – 5 questions
  • Respiratory System – 7 questions
  • Renal System – 7 questions
  • Female Reproductive System – 5 questions
  • Male Reproductive System – 5 questions

I aim for about 5 questions per lecture hour – and Respiratory and Renal were both about 90 minutes, so they got 7 questions each.

No pictures, nothing weird, same type of questions you’re used to from me by now.

The password for the exam is CookiesIn2690.

Which brings us to the fun part…I’m super excited about getting together tomorrow at 1 pm in our classroom (2-690) for the Great British Baking Show! Wait, no, I mean the Great Histology Baking Show! Shout out to Charlie for coming up with this great idea, and Hootie for organizing the details. We’ll meet at 1, and sort of see how long it goes. You guys have other stuff to do – but this will be a nice break, I think! I’m bringing stuff that I hope will give a little GBBS vibe: gingham, tablecloths, and a various assortment of milks. I’ll also bring little bags in case you want to share cookies with each other. YUM!!

Oh, and you’ll get 5 extra credit points for participating!

Finally: check out all the amazing student study guides that were turned in as part of our little extra credit project! I got a bunch more this afternoon and I’ll be posting them on our website, so take a look.

You guys are just the best.

Check out this drawing I made!

It can be hard to understand the whole process of female germ cell and follicle development. It’s complicated, and it’s difficult to convey in words. This is one of those times when a picture can be so much more helpful than text.

So I took a stab at making a drawing of what happens to all the germ cells (and their cute little surrounding follicles) over the course of a woman’s lifetime.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

You guys have great ideas for how to put information into a visually appealing and memorable form, as evidenced by all the drawings and tables I’ve been getting for our little extra credit study guide project. I’m learning so much from you!

Exam 2 results

Exam 2 results are now posted on Canvas (and released to your Examsoft student portal)! The mean was 91% in case you’re wondering. I hesitate to post the mean because I don’t curve grades, and I don’t want to encourage you to compare yourself to each other. But I know you like to see it so there you go.

I’ve gone through all the questions, and I found two that didn’t perform well. Here they are:

32. The foramen ovale allows blood to flow from:
A. This answer got cut off 😦
B. The right ventricle to the left ventricle
C. The left ventricle to the right ventricle
D. The right atrium to the left atrium
E. The left atrium to the right atrium

The correct answer was D. Here are slides 52 and 53 from the Cardiovascular System lecture, which describe the location and purpose of the foramen ovale:

One problem with this question is that the first distractor didn’t show up properly. But more importantly, only 39% of the class answered the question correctly. The last learning objective was about the foramen ovale (“Explain the function of the foramen ovale and describe what happens to it after birth.”) – and I thought that it would be a fairly straightforward question – but when less than half of the class gets a question right, it indicates to me that I probably didn’t describe this well enough in class, or stress the importance of it. So I’ve added a point to everyone’s score for this question.

18. The lymphoid system gets rid of all of the following EXCEPT:
A. Microorganisms
B. Cancer cells
C. Waste products
D. Dead cells
E. Foreign materials (like pollen)

The correct answer was D. Here’s slide 5 from the Lymphoid System lecture, which describes what the lymphoid system gets rid of:

The first learning objective was about the functions of the lymphoid system (“Briefly describe the functions of the lymphoid system.”). However, only 40% of the class got this question right (24% of the class chose A, microorganisms). One student mentioned that dead cells seemed like something the lymphoid system got rid of, because the red pulp of the spleen gets rid of old red cells – and I bet there were other students that thought the same thing. Technically, the red cells the spleen gets rid of aren’t dead…but they’re almost dead! So I can see why that would be confusing. I gave everyone an extra point for this question too.

Let me know if you have any questions about this exam, or if you want to go through it with me!

Extra credit opportunity!

I mentioned in class that I’d love to see how you summarize our lectures, if that is something that you do when you study. Everyone studies differently, of course, and you have to just find what works with your brain.

Here are some examples of study methods I’ve seen students use.

  • Condensing the material and then putting it into a form that makes sense to you (this is what worked best for me)
  • Making traditional paper flashcards
  • Using Anki
  • Studying in groups, asking each other questions
  • Doing multiple choice questions (like our Kahoots, or maybe just searching online for question banks)
  • Writing your own multiple choice questions.
  • Making or solving crosswords
  • Making a jeopardy game
  • Making an infographic (Canva works really well for this)
  • Mind/concept mapping
  • Drawing your own pictures/cartoons and labeling them with key concepts

Here’s one method that does NOT work well.

Reading and rereading the PowerPoint slides, trying to memorize each one. I’ve seen students try this unsuccessfully, and there’s also good research showing that this doesn’t work. Part of the reason this method doesn’t work is because it’s so passive. You think you understand the material, but it’s really just superficial, rote memorization.

Here’s the extra credit opportunity.

After class one day, one of you was kind enough to share your gorgeous summary diagram of hematopoiesis with me. As we were talking, the idea came up: wouldn’t it be cool to see how other students put together information?

So, after that long introduction, here’s the extra credit opportunity. You send me a study guide/drawing/summary that you’ve created for one organ system (say, the GI tract, or the respiratory tract), and I’ll give you two extra credit points. I’ll also (with your permission, and without your name) post your study guide/drawings/summary on our website so others can benefit!

Obviously, some of the methods I listed above won’t work for this (group studying and answering multiple choice questions, for example). But otherwise, anything goes – it just needs to be something you have created and find useful.

I’m really excited to see what you guys do! YAY!!!

Quick video on stomach vs. small intestine

I got a student question a couple years ago about how to tell the difference between stomach and small intestine on histology. I love this question because I remember having the exact same issue when I was a wee medical student learning histology, and I’m not sure I ever really figured it out until I started actually teaching it!

Stomach and small intestine can be confusing when you’re first learning this stuff because they both have glands at the bottom and other structures (pits in the stomach, villi in the small intestine) on top, and it can be hard to visualize all of that in 3D.

So I made a short video explaining the difference. I think it’s easier to understand if you can see someone drawing on the pictures. I hope if some of you had the same problem that this will solve it!


The exam is posted, but it took a lot of anguish and threats. Sorry for the delay. The password is YoFall2022. Please let me know if you have any issues. I’ll watch for a while for those of you who are starting right now. Thanks for your patience.

Exam question breakdown

Here’s the number of questions per lecture for Exam 2:

  • Skin: 10 questions
  • Blood: 5 questions
  • Hematopoietic system: 10 questions
  • Lymphoid system: 10 questions
  • Endocrine system: 10 questions
  • Cardiovascular system: 10 questions

You can expect the same type of questions that we had on our first exam – multiple choice, one correct answer, no trickery, no pictures, hopefully very clearly stated questions.

If you have any questions, please let me know!