YOU GUYS I woke up to 6+ inches of snow. I wore a tank top 3 days ago. I have never been so happy to have spring break next week!! I’ll be in Hilton Head where it will only be in the 60s, but at least it’s not SNOW. Just two more tests to get through and then I’m free:)
I’ve gotten a few request to do an updated post on how I study and share some study tips. Here’s the first one I wrote earlier this year.
I want to reiterate that I think the important thing is to trust your own methods. Don’t feel pressure to make changes if you are already doing pretty well. Trying to do what other people are doing is a surefire way to stress yourself out! However maybe you can pick up a new technique to try out if your methods aren’t working.
My studying changes slightly for each class just based on how things are taught and tested, but I’ve basically stuck to the same method with just a few refinements.
STEP ONE: Listen to lecture while underlining/highlighting along in the syllabus. Our “syllabus” is basically a mini textbook the professors put together for each class. I used to just take my own notes, but I’ve found that highlighting along with the text keeps me much more organized and less distracted by a computer.
STEP TWO: Read through syllabus/book again and write things down in a notebook or on a piece of paper. I write because I find that I absorb more — it makes me slow down and actually synthesize information into notes or sentences. This note taking isn’t super organized, it’s more just the action of writing that I find important. This is also where I google anything I don’t understand. I don’t understand how people got through medical school without google.
STEP THREE: On my third (and usually last) read through I prepare a well organized study guide on an piece of white printer paper. I use colored pencils to group information and underline key terms because I am a very visual learner. Having the colors for groups of information helps me recall it later on.
STEP FOUR: Go back and review the powerpoint presentations from lecture to look at he images and make sure I understand everything that was emphasized. If there are any additional study materials — practice questions, extra pictures etc — I review those again as well.
STEP FIVE: Sleep. I don’t always get a ton of sleep the night before tests, but I never ever try to stay up super late or pull an all-nighter. I am in the “go to bed when I get tired and wake up earlier to get more studying in” club because I can tell when my exhaustion prevents productivity. Sleep is key!!!
That’s about it! This method seems to work for me and I haven’t failed out yet:) I do word association or mnemonics for things that are pure memorization and recall, but so far that was mostly just anatomy and pharmacology. For most classes my written, colored study guides are what help me most.
- What are your best study tips? Any secrets to share?