Developing New study Habits

Disenchanted 1

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    Hey Guys,

    I am heading to med school this year. I was going to get you guys' advice on developing new study habits. I guess this thread would be a big help for all of us current MS0 who will be starting med school. Any hints on how to improve or change our study habits from undergrad will help a bunch. One of the main problems that I personally need to work at is procrastination and studying last minute....I have sorta always gotten away with this in undergrad with fairly decent grades....well no need to tell me I will be screwed if I continue this.....

    Please if you could post any helpful ideas on improving study habits or managing time........

    Thanks a whole lot:)
     

    BiggMann79

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      Definitely work on your study habits. My study habits were sorely lacking when I started medical school and my grades suffered the first semester. Here are a few books I would recommend:

      How to excel in medical school, by Saks, Zingdale, and Stewart
      (ISBN #: 1888308044)

      Study Skills and Test-Taking Strategies for Medical Students, by Shain
      (ISBN #: 038794396x)

      Success Types for Medical Students, by Pelley and Dalley
      (ISBN #: 0966504909)
      This one may only be available at the authors website:
      http://www.ttuhsc.edu/success/

      Accelerated Learning for the 21st Century, by Rose and Nicholl
      (ISBN #: 0440507790)

      A few study tips that I've learned:
      1. Use practice questions to verify you really know the material. This is probably the most important study tip I've learned. Get as many practice questions as you can for each class. The best source is probably the old test book that the upperclassman will try to sell you during orientation. Other great sources are the questions in the BRS books, the PreTest series, and the Parthenon Review Questions series (this one really helped me because the majority of the books in the series were authored by faculty from my medical school). Go through each question and tell yourself WHY each answer is either right or wrong, and what words you would change to make the incorrect answers correct. Once you've done this enough you can almost predict what will be on the exam. There are only so many questions out there and most you will see will be some variation of the practice questions you have already worked.
      2. Read the textbook for clarification, but memorize the syllabus. Read it as many times as possible. Analyze the information and reformat it and reword into your own words so you understand it best. Some people even re-write it completely which can be very effective. Reread the syllabus as much as you can. Spaced repetition is the key.
      3. For memory intensive information use flash cards, but don't overdo them. If you really understand the information there is not as much material to rote memorize as it may seem at first. Either that or I just tend to memorize the material as I'm trying to understand it.

      As far as procrastination (my biggest problem) you just have to make small steps. Try to hit it hard from the beginning of the semester, and then ease up a bit once you get into your groove and find the amount of studying you need to do in order to reach your goals. Unless you absolutely have to make a 95+ on every test the amount of studying required in medical school is not as much as you would think.
       

      Disenchanted 1

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        Bigmann,

        Thank you so much for your wonderful, informative post. I will definitely look into buying at least one of the books you mentioned....(thanks for the ISBN...helped a whole bunch). Also I am definitely going to take your advice to heart. I guess it is just trying to determine what is the best strategy that works for each individual. I am just a bit worried as I guess everyone sort of makes med school seem a bit more challenging and difficult than it really is or would be. Of course, that is not to say that it isn't extremely difficult but just that most people make it seem somewhat impossible! Thanks again and any other advice is much appreciated.
         
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        Fumoffu

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          *Tag*

          I was one of the ***** pre-meds that waited till the day before to study...in fact I have an exam tomorrow and it's 9 PM...

          For some reason I don't think it's going to work in med school.
           

          hobs

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            thanks for posing the question, Disenchanted1, and answering with book references, BiggMan79. i'll be starting med school this fall, too, and this info is much appreciated!

            :)
             

            AntGod22

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              My Medical School GOLDEN RULES OF STUDYING !!!!


              1# Large French-Vanilla Iced Coffee with cream and sugar

              2# Study Notes only - texts are a waste

              3# Diverisfy your sources - such as online lectures, class
              notes, scribe notes

              4# Second Large French Vanilla Iced Coffee with extra cream
              and sugar

              5# Power Naps utilized in between study breaks

              6# Old exams are good sources of info and what to expect
               

              nutmegs

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                I never studied more than a day before in undergrad. That changes fast, though... Here would be some of my rules:

                1) Keep up (duh) this is the easiest and best way to do well.

                2) Start studying well in advance for an exam. Even if you fell behind & are panicking, putting it off more will only make the problem worse.

                3) SLEEP. Some people will disagree with me on this, but I do NOT cram much. In fact, I miss classes and hours of studying time (this is where #2 comes in) in order to get a good amount of sleep. It has helped me not get sick, have a clear head for exams, and be able to study for long periods of time without feeling drowsy. When it comes time for an exam, I'd rather miss 1 question that I didn't get to cover the material for than miss 5 for making stupid mistakes because I was taking the exam sleepy.

                4) Know yourself
                4a) Find out where you study best- your apartment, the library, a cafe in a local bookstore (my personal fav) with headphones, whatever. Pick something that works and stick to it.
                4b) Find out how you learn- I personally get nothing out of going to lectures, but drawing and making "quick-reference" sheets that summarize the material cement it in my brain forever.
                4c) Learn to identify your "zone". Somedays you're in it- study hard on those days. Somedays, you will just not feel it at ALL- don't waste your time trying to study on those days.
                 

                Disenchanted 1

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                  Thanks Antgod and nutmeg for your helpful posts,

                  Here is another question for you guys....I noticed antgod mentioning that texts aren't necessary to study from. Is that sort of a general trend for all med schools, meaning that do most med students prefer not to use the text? Also How much would you guys recommend us studying per day (3 hrs/day, 4 hrs/day ,etc) when we start out. I realize that this might be sort of an individual question but from your experience as a beginning med student how should we structure our study sessions. Of course, I know that we will get the hang of it but I just want to start off on the right track. Also do most of you guys study *most* of the weekend or try and set some day off or take the whole weekend off? Thanks a whole bunch and good luck!! :)
                   

                  nutmegs

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                    Originally posted by Disenchanted 1
                    Thanks Antgod and nutmeg for your helpful posts,

                    Here is another question for you guys....I noticed antgod mentioning that texts aren't necessary to study from. Is that sort of a general trend for all med schools, meaning that do most med students prefer not to use the text? Also How much would you guys recommend us studying per day (3 hrs/day, 4 hrs/day ,etc) when we start out. I realize that this might be sort of an individual question but from your experience as a beginning med student how should we structure our study sessions. Of course, I know that we will get the hang of it but I just want to start off on the right track. Also do most of you guys study *most* of the weekend or try and set some day off or take the whole weekend off? Thanks a whole bunch and good luck!! :)
                    The only books I've bought this year were Netter's anatomy atlas and some board review series books. Buying textbooks for me is a total waste of money because I never used them (didn't really in undergrad either). You will have plenty to keep you busy with notes. Some people in my class buy books and use them religiously. To each his own... As for studying, do whatever you need to do to keep up (go over the day's lectures). I would say 3 hours is average? Depends on what classes you're taking. Weekends- some weekends I do NOTHING all weekend, some weekends I study 10 hours each day. Depends how close you are to exams. Friday nights are usually pretty worthless for studying, so I don't plan on getting much work done then.
                     

                    Kev (UK)

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                      My advice echoes others:

                      1. Keep up with the coursework.
                      2. If you don't understand something get help asap- it may be the foundation on which more complex themes are based in the future. Don't leave it until just befor exams.
                      3. Know a moderate amount about everything rather a lot about a few things- breadth is more importnat than depth although both is even better!!!
                      4. Eat healthily and get some fresh air and exercise.
                      5. Sleep, never cram.
                      6. Use past papers and test sheets to practice exam technique.
                       

                      japhy

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                        you definitely do not need to buy any texts, although i do appreciate having robbins pathology around. besides that, most students will buy board review books (brs, high yield, 1st aid). they are much cheaper and incredibly succint. i would recommend using them throughout your first two years of med school. once you sit down to prepare for step 1, you will be comfortable with these books and at a huge advantage.

                        med school is difficult, but certainly not impossible. to be honest, the best advice we could give is don't listen to other people. by that i mean, you know how you study and what learning styles work for you. stick with it. i tried to group study when i started med school. it turned out to be a huge waste of time for me. of course, you will have to study a lot more in med school then undergrad, but i think for the most part stick to what you know works for you.
                         

                        divinemsm

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                          I highly reccommend the BRS review series , as its goal is USMLE preparation: can't really go wrong there. ( Supplement with the course syllabi for obscure points/fascinating new research findings that the professors might have a penchant for testing on ) The " High Yield " series Neuroanatomy book is saving my !# % right now.....too bad I only recently purchased it. Don't feel pressured to study a certain way just because your friends/classmates do. Find what works for you , and go with it. Good Luck !
                           
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