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mr.applesauce

I'm really disappointed by my poor memory compared to my peers. I study all day long except for eating or showering, but I'm still barely passing with mostly C's and some B's. I should have saw the signs by my mediocre Mcat score. I'm close to the GPA cut off of getting kicked out and I don't know what to do if I fail out. It's not like my GPA is bad because I'm lazy. I know some students who study even less than I do and still do better. I guess rant over.
 

Lannister

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When it comes to studying it's about quality, not quantity. How are you studying?
 

Hkhan

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Keep at it! Continue working hard, and try to refine your study strategy as that can generally pose a problem and can be a reason for low retention skills.
 
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johnnydrama

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Look into spaced repetition and Anki.

There are lots of materials available to download already or you can make your own.

There are also great resources assembled by other people that you can pay for, seems like more options for medical school every year.

If you're studying ineffectively, it doesn't matter how long you do it. You should also try to study with other people a bit to see how they're doing it.
 
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mr.applesauce

When it comes to studying it's about quality, not quantity. How are you studying?
Basically I read lecture slides as much as I can. There's only 24 hours in a day so I can only repeat them so many times. By exam time I maybe get through them three times. I'd want to do 4-5 times but there isn't enough time because we have so many classes and exams. Yet I know students who only need three pass throughs to get an A. I'm barely hanging in and I don't know if I want to pay another year's tuition to repeat a year.
 

dextor2003

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Basically I read lecture slides as much as I can.
Bingo. Just reading the material multiple times gives a false sense of confidence in knowledge and understanding of said material. If you haven't been, I'd recommend using active learning strategies (talking through concepts aloud, quizzing yourself, flash cards, drawing out pathways/mechanisms/anatomy, doing BRS and other practice questions). That should hopefully make a difference.

EDIT: Also, make sure you're getting enough quality sleep. I used to make the mistake of compromising sleep "so I could get more studying done." Don't do it. Get at least 6 hours of a sleep a night. Your brain needs to consolidate all the information you went over during that day, but it won't be able to if you're not sleeping enough or having poor quality sleep, like staying up all night with intermittent naps. I know it may make you feel better to give up sleep for more study time, but it will only end up hurting in the long wrong. Trust me. I speak from experience.
 
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Lannister

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Basically I read lecture slides as much as I can. There's only 24 hours in a day so I can only repeat them so many times. By exam time I maybe get through them three times. I'd want to do 4-5 times but there isn't enough time because we have so many classes and exams. Yet I know students who only need three pass throughs to get an A. I'm barely hanging in and I don't know if I want to pay another year's tuition to repeat a year.
Well, step 1 is to stop worrying about what everyone else is doing.
3 passes of a lecture should be fine, but they have to be effective passes. Do you annotate the slides thoroughly during lecture, or are you missing things that the instructors are saying out loud because you're too focused on what's on the PowerPoint?
Also, as someone else said, try Anki.
Ask your more successful classmates how they study.
And see an academic advisor if you are genuinely in danger of failing.
 

Perpetually Perplexed

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I feel like my memory is on the lower end of the spectrum as well, but I managed to squeeze out a good step score. A few things I would recommend:

- Consider changing the way you study. This might mean changing from reading to active recall, or watching video lectures, group study, or a combination of some of these. It might also mean incorporating different sources to study from other than lecture material. (Lectures are notoriously poor quality and bogged down with minutiae - look into some of the popular sources out there to supplement your class lecture - Pathoma, Kaplan videos, B&B, etc... If nothing else, these will give you a good starting foundation so that you can do a second or third pass using your detailed class lectures).

- Sleep. Poor sleep = poor memory.

- Exercise. Start a routine and stay with it.

- Eat healthy. I don't know how this affects memory, but I always felt better when I didn't eat fast food.

- Don't be afraid to ask other people how they study. Faculty OR students - reach out to your classmates or friends and see what other people are doing.
 
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Lannister

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mr.applesauce

Bingo. Just reading the material multiple times gives a false sense of confidence in knowledge and understanding of said material. If you haven't been, I'd recommend using active learning strategies (talking through concepts aloud, quizzing yourself, flash cards, drawing out pathways/mechanisms/anatomy, doing BRS and other practice questions). That should hopefully make a difference.

EDIT: Also, make sure you're getting enough quality sleep. I used to make the mistake of compromising sleep "so I could get more studying done." Don't do it. Get at least 6 hours of a sleep a night. Your brain needs to consolidate all the information you went over during that day, but it won't be able to if you're not sleeping enough or having poor quality sleep, like staying up all night with intermittent naps. I know it may make you feel better to give up sleep for more study time, but it will only end up hurting in the long wrong. Trust me. I speak from experience.
I aim for 7 hours of sleep a night... and another problem I have is that it takes me longer "to get things" compared to my other classmates. I don't like admitting this but I'm slower than average. I know I'm not giving much to work with here and I'm mostly ranting, but it's just frustrating. Some students dropped out of my class already because they couldn't keep up. Not all of them were lazy... some just didn't have the required intellect and it's just scary/unfair.
 

Lannister

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I aim for 7 hours of sleep a night... and another problem I have is that it takes me longer "to get things" compared to my other classmates. I don't like admitting this but I'm slower than average. I know I'm not giving much to work with here and I'm mostly ranting, but it's just frustrating. Some students dropped out of my class already because they couldn't keep up. Not all of them were lazy... some just didn't have the required intellect and it's just scary/unfair.
Sorry, I totally get why you're frustrated, but it's really not unfair at all. If you don't have the "required intellect" you shouldn't be in medical school.
Now, some tough love. I seriously struggled with biochem, which was our first block. I was at a disadvantage for many reasons: I had no science background, I'm not as naturally smart as many of my classmates, and I too take longer to understand things. But instead of complaining about those disadvantages, I used them as motivation to work my butt off, and ended up above average for that block. So that's what you need to do. Focus less energy on complaining and comparing yourself to others and more energy on figuring out what you're doing wrong.
 
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mr.applesauce

Sorry, I totally get why you're frustrated, but it's really not unfair at all. If you don't have the "required intellect" you shouldn't be in medical school.
Now, some tough love. I seriously struggled with biochem, which was our first block. I was at a disadvantage for many reasons: I had no science background, I'm not as naturally smart as many of my classmates, and I too take longer to understand things. But instead of complaining about those disadvantages, I used them as motivation to work my butt off, and ended up above average for that block. So that's what you need to do. Focus less energy on complaining and comparing yourself to others and more energy on figuring out what you're doing wrong.
Alright. Thanks for making the time to read and reply
 

mistafab

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Hey dude -

From what I read in your post, my best guess is that it isn't how long you study that is a problem. As me and my peers here have pointed out, how you study is likely the issue here.

I suggest you stop reading lectures. Seems like a waste of your time and it is not panning out. Maybe instead you should go to a lecture and take notes. Or take the lecture material, and put it into flash cards to get the facts in your head and test yourself. Or you could start to read the book sections your teachers base the lecture on, taking notes from the primary source.

These are just a few ideas. My suspicion is that you need to take your "passive" learning (reading), and make it "active" (note-taking, quizzing, etc.). Only you can decide if you want to take another go or not. It is your money and your time on the line, not ours.

Edit: Also - if your school has some sort of study strategy tutoring or help from their office, go do it because you need help. They will help you pass your school's coursesAs cliche' as it sounds, you have not learned how to learn yet.


I aim for 7 hours of sleep a night... and another problem I have is that it takes me longer "to get things" compared to my other classmates. I don't like admitting this but I'm slower than average. I know I'm not giving much to work with here and I'm mostly ranting, but it's just frustrating. Some students dropped out of my class already because they couldn't keep up. Not all of them were lazy... some just didn't have the required intellect and it's just scary/unfair.
 
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OP
M

mr.applesauce

Hey dude -

From what I read in your post, my best guess is that it isn't how long you study that is a problem. As me and my peers here have pointed out, how you study is likely the issue here.

I suggest you stop reading lectures. Seems like a waste of your time and it is not panning out. Maybe instead you should go to a lecture and take notes. Or take the lecture material, and put it into flash cards to get the facts in your head and test yourself. Or you could start to read the book sections your teachers base the lecture on, taking notes from the primary source.

These are just a few ideas. My suspicion is that you need to take your "passive" learning (reading), and make it "active" (note-taking, quizzing, etc.). Only you can decide if you want to take another go or not. It is your money and your time on the line, not ours.

Edit: Also - if your school has some sort of study strategy tutoring or help from their office, go do it because you need help. They will help you pass your school's coursesAs cliche' as it sounds, you have not learned how to learn yet.
I've tried the whole "active learning" thing while I was in undergrad and it didn't really make a difference. For me it all came down to how many times I repeated through the material! The problem about med school is that there's so much material and so many hours in the day that I'm not able to repeat through the material enough times before the exam even if I study all day. (Which is my problem).

Thanks for the advice though.
 

mistafab

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There is your issue right there.

You've probably heard the whole "what worked in undergrad isn't going to work in med school" thing probably a hundred times. I highly suggest that you stop pretending you know how to learn correctly and listen to people who are doing better than you. You will have to try new things in med school until you find what works. You've tried what you are doing and you are failing. It is time to switch it up.

I've tried the whole "active learning" thing while I was in undergrad and it didn't really make a difference. For me it all came down to how many times I repeated through the material! The problem about med school is that there's so much material and so many hours in the day that I'm not able to repeat through the material enough times before the exam even if I study all day. (Which is my problem).

Thanks for the advice though.
 

ncide

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My brother published some research a few years ago in Nature Neuroscience about the positive effect caffeine has on strengthening long term memory. Never go a day without a cup of joe.

Caffeine Has Positive Effect on Memory
 

57A

Sep 18, 2017
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I'm really disappointed by my poor memory compared to my peers. I study all day long except for eating or showering, but I'm still barely passing with mostly C's and some B's. I should have saw the signs by my mediocre Mcat score. I'm close to the GPA cut off of getting kicked out and I don't know what to do if I fail out. It's not like my GPA is bad because I'm lazy. I know some students who study even less than I do and still do better. I guess rant over.
I have to agree with the Anki suggestion. Spaced repetition really helps.
 

Giovanotto

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Look we don't need to get too fancy here, if you got to medical school by passively learning, congrats to ya, but no way is that going to fly anymore. It's okay to do a passive first pass, but your second and third pass better be you being able to regurgitate half to all of the slides on a lecture out loud from memory.

Also, I wouldn't suggest Anki, it completely removes the context for most topics, especially while you're learning. But, at the way end, it has its use, especially for pharm, which lets be honest, doesn't need all that much context.

I'm a coma-o-holic.
 

Giovanotto

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My brother published some research a few years ago in Nature Neuroscience about the positive effect caffeine has on strengthening long term memory. Never go a day without a cup of joe.

Caffeine Has Positive Effect on Memory
To piggy back off of this, but slightly disagree, try to play around with your caffeine tolerance. I.e. don't drink it everyday, and let tolerance rebuild. For example, I drink 2-3 days a week, and boy are those days productive. YMMV.
 
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