I got a reader request for a post on how I study, and writing it while procrastinating studying for my final this week seemed fitting.
The first thing to say is that if how you study is working, don’t change it! Rule #1, and advice I have heard multiple times, is not to get too caught up in or anxious about what other people are doing. Study the way that works for you.
BUT if your methods aren’t working very well, or if you’re looking for some additional review methods, here is what has been working for me. If you guys like it I’ll do another post after Anatomy, since studying for that class will likely look different.
1. I usually go to class (unless the I am not a fan of the lecturer’s style or the material doesn’t lend itself well to lecture) where I take notes on the powerpoint presentation.
2. Next I read through the lecture in our syllabus (aka text book in med school) highlight and take notes usually in a Word notebook doc to organize it. Could also just take notes in the syllabus/book.
3. My personal method: I take regular printer paper and go back through the lecture, writing and drawing out all the important information. I try to get each lecture onto one piece of printer paper if possible, though sometimes long ones take two. It helps to draw out the pathways and structures instead of just looking at them, plus I use these as my study guides to go through later. This is something I’ve never seen anyone else do, but it works for me! **Edited: apparently Andrea does this too! Twins! **(I think that this is my alternative to using a big white board, which is common for medical students.)
4. Relisten to the lectures on 1.5 speed with my study guides in hand, noting anything important or adding anything I missed.
5. Group study sesh the night before. I get together with four of my friends the night before the test and we talk through each lecture. Hearing someone else explain it helps a lot, plus it helps to see what other people find important. There is always some hilarious mnemonic we come up with that helps me remember something on the test.
6. SLEEP! I try to get at least 7 hours the night before because I can’t think if I’m exhausted.
7. Review for about 2 hours the morning of the test. This isn’t to really “learn” anything, but moreso to review little things I have to have memorized. I definitely learn by writing, so I’ll write down anything I am having trouble with.
8. KICK BUTT. JK, medical school tests are hard. Sometimes I kick butt, but sometimes I’m just passing. It’s hard to predict what 60 questions will be asked out of 20-30 lectures of material, but we’re all doing okay! Pass/ fail is a glorious thing.
- What are your best study tips and methods?