Ten Hacks to ace Physiology

Hello there!  I, Vanni, am here again to bore you with another LAQ on how to ace our all time favorite PHYSIOLOGY!
This subject, though seems like a cake walk, is relatively harder to score in!  Why so?  Because no matter how much you know, you can never present it in such a way, so as to fulfill the demand of the examiner (God knows what they want!?).  This might not be a case for all people but again, for those like me, here I come with some ideas for you to study and master this beauty!

My basic criteria for choosing a career option was, it should be devoid of PHYSICS (because I hate Physics from the bottom of my heart not because it’s bad or anything but my brain physics barrier is foolproof), so after saying goodbye to this horrendous subject in std. 12th when I stumbled across it AGAIN… I was in shock! Haemodynamics came flying at me… Charles and Boyle’s law snapped at me… And it was a total chaos but it’s minimal (unless you are a BPTh student), so I could bear it!

One of my friends suggested me to start reading Guyton well in advance but after reading the very first chapter in August, I snapped it shut and didn’t touch it again for a month. DO NOT DO THIS! So basically what should you do? Always remember-

#1 GUYTON IS GOD Do not go over the size of the book or the pages because they’ll sure make you faint! You have one whole year and even if you read like 5-8 sides per day (based on a hypothetical book called ‘Ideal Studying’) you’ll be able to complete reading this book.  On a serious note, this book has answers to all your doubts that ever occur regarding the functioning of the body! It explains all concepts in a lucid and sequential way. Do whatever but NEVER give up on Guyton!

#2 3P’s OF MEDICINE – Physiology, Pathology & Pharmacology make up the crux of Medicine, so if you want to become HOUSE MD, grab onto the basics.  Physiology deals with the normal functions of the body.  How will you know what’s abnormal unless you know what normal is?  The concept of how every single cell, no matter how tiny, contributes towards homeostasis is the basic thing you have to know!  Entire physiology is built up on the bricks of such basic concepts which if not perfect will weaken your foundation.

#3 NOTES- Note down important points during lectures because it’s faster than reading the textbook and then making notes.  Also your teachers might give you shortcuts to learn and understand concepts.  It will help you to write answers in an effective manner without skipping any points.  You can watch videos of Najeeb.  They are the best for topics like CNS, RS, CVS, if you have that much time to spare.

#4 IMPORTANT TOPICS – As you all know, physiology is divided into many units (to torture you) to make it easier for you to understand.  Of these, 1st three are basics and that’ll be applicable in other units as well.  Do Blood very precisely because it is essentially important for your clinical practice.  CVS & RS are one of the most important topics from the exam point of view and even life point of view.  Make sure you read each and every topic of this unit and it will help you score maximum! Certain topics like heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac output can also be done from AK Jain as it is very well given.

#5 CNS is really really vast & difficult. What you can do is probably do it side by side with Neuroanatomy (asking you for too much?… trust me it’s fun) which aids by helping you understand the anatomy of the structure you are learning since you can’t really visualise it easily just by reading.  You can refer BJ notes for some answers to get it simplified but try writing and drawing diagrams from Guyton only.  This is one place where Youtube comes in handy, especially for topics like basal ganglia which shakes your basics.  Please don’t start Youtubing and watching AIB in place of CNS, even though the former is more interesting.

#6 RENAL physiology is the most beautifully explained topic amongst all, according to me.  You read it once and everything clicks like magic!  It’s the easiest to write as well because it’s very logical.  Always try to attempt questions from this section.  Reproductive physiology is a versatile section.  We didn’t have a single question from this part in 2016 but you never know where it can pop up.

#7 GIT & Endocrine are the easiest to understand and the most difficult to write because all chapters are so huge, it’s never ending!  The simplest way to write it is via points.  It’s important to understand what exactly is asked in the question otherwise you’ll end up writing the entire chapter, which is unnecessary.  Draw charts and flowcharts for this one and you’ll be through.  Also make your own notes for Endocrine so as to not mess up functions of different hormones since some coincide and it’s a big time confusion during exams.

#8 REFERENCE – Books like V.D. Joshi are amazing last minute revision material! Entire Guyton in a non repetitive manner is presented in this book.  Once you get your concepts cleared from “Guyton”, you can do a quick revision for some answers from V.D. Joshi.  Do not rely on it entirely as it does not clear concepts but is just an aid for exams.  Also A.K. Jain is useful for some topics but always remember Guyton is your lifeline, do not ditch!  Also, BJ Notes come in handy for some topics like Blood, General Physiology which you can “revise” in minutes, prior to exams. Do not depend entirely on it though because it is only meant for pre-exam use.  If you have clear concepts, it will be helpful for your practical exams.

#9 Refer Bhalani and make your Question set unless provided by your college.  Most questions are repeated which makes the question paper predictable.  It’s all about presenting the paper in a lucid and concise format since there is a lot to write in physiology and no one has the time to read the Mahabharata you have written.  The biggest misconception that one has for physiology is that the longer the answer the better the marks ❌- get rid of this idea!  Since they want to test your knowledge and not your essay writing abilities!

#10 Draw diagrams and flowcharts to enhance your answer because it’s faster to read, saves time and increases your scoring chance.  What’s attractive to the sight is adored by the mind.  Just plain lengthy answers which go on for ages are so dull!  Draw flowcharts to increase the length of your answer without making it boring.  It will definitely seem impressive and get you those brownie points you have been hunting after.  Time management is the biggest problem in all three papers.  Make sure you write the answers you know very well in the beginning so as to better your impression.  Allot time for answers according to your speed and finish it on time.  With speed comes presentation and that matters along with the concise nature of your answer.  Make it elegant and relevant and you will ace it like a pro.

Physiology is easy if you give it your heart and soul and study it regularly.  It’s also the easiest to score if you know what to write and how to write!
Since it’s the most logical of all three subjects you will get an instant liking for this one and then life’s sorted, right?
All the best!  All comments and suggestions are welcome.
Since you had the guts to read this article too… you can read more.
Till then… Toodles!


Vanni Jhawar
Outwardly nice person, unless you press the bitch button!
Will fight for the person I love but if I don’t,
Avada Kedavra! ✴

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