Here are a few simple strategies that can – in just 30 days – radically reduce your study time, and get you an A in physiology!

Dr. Margaret Reece’s new course “30-Day Challenge: Craft Your Plan for Learning Physiology” helps students develop a plan for learning physiology that eliminates the need for massive memorization and replaces it with an understanding of the underlying structure of medical science.

The reason physiology is so hard to learn as part of an anatomy and physiology course is that physiology is taught as an adjunct to each anatomic system rather than as a whole process. The physiologic process is in reality an ongoing interaction of multiple body systems simultaneously. Once the major controllers of all this activity, it is much easier to study one organ system at a time and fit its activity into the overall design.

This course is taught twice a year in January and August. For information about enrolling in Dr. Reece’s 30-Day Challenge: Craft Your Plan for Learning Physiology click here. Read more about Dr. Reece at

30-Day Challenge: Craft Your Plan For Learning Physiology

Learn the secret for understanding and remembering human physiology. At the end of this course students have a viable plan for managing the massive details of medical science. As we are all aware, details of physiologic function morph over time, but those details hang on a framework that is well-established and easy to learn.

Module #1 – Essential Ideas In Physiology

The course starts by identifying the set of ideas that researchers use repeatedly to explain the functions of each body organ. These ideas can be thought of as a tool kit.

  • How scientists divide physiology into compartments, some of which are without physical boundaries
  • Why water’s particular chemistry supports communication between widely separated body parts
  • How 3 master controllers make physiology predictable rather than a mass of detail
  • Why the precise composition of Earth’s atmosphere supports human physiology


Module #2 – Design of the Nervous System

Too often the nervous system is taught late in anatomy and physiology courses. Yet, it is the system that all the body’s organs and the other two master controllers depend upon for support.

  • How the brain gets its information about what is happening within the body and outside in the environment
  • The brain’s patterns of response to the information it receives
  • Particulars of the conscious and subconscious motor output systems of the brain
  • How the nervous system partners with cardiovascular and endocrine systems in exercise and flight from danger


Module #3 – Cardiovascular System Basics

The cardiovascular system, the body’s liquid recirculating system, provides a superb opportunity to examine collaboration among the 3 master controllers.

  • Similarity between cardiac muscle and neurons, and cardiac muscle and skeletal muscle
  • Brain’s role in maintaining blood pressure and differential perfusion of organs under stress
  • The endocrine system’s role in maintaining blood volume
  • How water’s chemistry supports a primary function of the cardiovascular system, nutrient exchange


Module #4 – Endocrine System Organization

By classical definition, hormones of the endocrine system are chemicals produced in glands and carried in blood to their target tissue. However, scientists are now discovering organs that secrete hormones and do not fit the classical definition of a gland.

  • Why each hormone influences only certain tissues
  • The parts of the brain that secrete and respond to endocrine hormones
  • Negative and positive feedback loops representative of endocrine control
  • Bone, as a case study of how organ physiology is regulated by the master controller partnership


Module #5: Physiology by Anatomic System: Creating Your Personal Plan

  • How to design a life-long strategy for learning and staying current with medical science
  • Tried and successful checklists to help design a personal plan
  • A video toolkit describing important current thinking about human physiology


Where My Approach to Physiology Originated

The ideas presented in this course came from a time when I either had to figure out how human physiology fit together, or I would have had to leave my graduate training program without a PhD. The oral qualifying exam for the PhD in physiology at the University of California was a grilling by 5 professors who asked questions that largely had no obvious answer.

Here is an example of the kind of questions I mean.

“What do you think the physiologic changes would be in a normal person changing into a werewolf? Which physiologic systems could be involved? What are your hypotheses of how this can happen and how would you test your hypotheses?”

No joke! That was the last set of questions my qualifying exam committee asked. As you can guess, I did have an answer. It must have been sufficient because I passed. But, I would not have passed if I had not figured out what am trying to teach students in this course.

You may also want to read: 3  Simple Secrets to Learning Physiology, also on this website.


Margaret Thompson Reece PhD, physiologist, former Senior Scientist and Laboratory Director at academic medical centers in California, New York and Massachusetts and CSO at Serometrix LLC is now CEO at Reece Biomedical Consulting LLC.

Dr. Reece is passionate about helping students, online and in person, pursue careers in life sciences. Her books “Physiology: Custom-Designed Chemistry” (2012), “Inside the Closed World of the Brain” (2015) and upcoming “30-Day Challenge: Craft Your Plan for Learning Physiology, Course Manual” (2017) are written for those new to life science.

Dr. Reece offers a free 30 minute “how-to-get-started” phone conference to students struggling with human anatomy and physiology. Schedule an appointment by email at