Sep 23, 2017
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Medical Student
Hello.

I'm a new first year and I am having a tough time figuring out how to study material.

So do you guys ever take notes? And if so:

  • Do you do it electrically (e.g. on a Surface Pro with OneNote) or do you do it physically on paper?
  • How do you know what things you should write down?
  • Do you take notes while studying from a book at home (or wherever you study), or do you do it during the lecture?
  • How much do you rely on them for studying?
  • Any other recommendations?

Thanks so much in advance. I really am having a tough time figuring this out, especially that I never used to take notes in high school.

Thanks again.
 

YayPudding

2+ Year Member
Jul 21, 2016
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Most of my material is ingested via Anki flashcards that I make. I find note taking/drawing/outlining/highlighting to be more or less useless in terms of getting material stuck into your brain.

Filtering is key to school. Learnt to filter out the ~60% noise and focus on the 40% high yield material. Stuff you should make into a flashcard: things listed/highlighted on powerpoint and if the professor says it. Also if it's their research or clinical field.
 

AnatomyGrey12

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Sep 8, 2015
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Nope. I'm a visual/auditory learner so I just make sure I see the material at least 3X and I'll listen to the lectures at least twice. Has worked very nicely so far
 
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Lannister

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May 21, 2013
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I very lightly annotate the PowerPoint slides on my iPad. Other than that, note taking is too time consuming.
 

AnatomyGrey12

2+ Year Member
Sep 8, 2015
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I very lightly annotate the PowerPoint slides on my iPad. Other than that, note taking is too time consuming.
Some of my classmates print off power points.... every... single....one....
 
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WhiteCoatWonder

doin' it for the culture
10+ Year Member
Mar 15, 2009
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Some of my classmates print off power points.... every... single....one....
CHRIST, THE TREES!!!

OP, in hindsight, i realize that i did M1 M2 so crooked. thank God im here now, but (those 5 times i went to class) i used to try to get down every single thing that flowed out of the instructors mouth, and the only thing being tested was already on the slides...............

i saw some of my classmates who sat in class and typed nothing (on the downloaded PPTs) or even *close their laptops*. i thought it was sacrilege, but i realized that a good system could definitely be:

0. figure out how you learn best before anything
1. skim the material to frame the lesson (super skim like 0.5% milk skim, not pre-read).
2. legit listen in class/to recordings to understand, not to remember, as you can always go back to the lecture
3. like someone smart up there said, make anki cards or outlines or drawings soon after lecture to re-highlight the key points for yourself
4. review those janks until you get it good enough to pick out the wrong answers

there is too much stuff for us to learn to be getting all cramped up typing everything or to be super tight when you missed one morsel out of the mouth of the instructor because your friend wanted to go for coffee. chill, figure out how you learn, open your mind to study, review the highlights, get a constellation of connectable dots and youll beast.
 

Osteoth

Fake it till ya' make it
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Feb 12, 2012
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Most of my material is ingested via Anki flashcards that I make. I find note taking/drawing/outlining/highlighting to be more or less useless in terms of getting material stuck into your brain.

Filtering is key to school. Learnt to filter out the ~60% noise and focus on the 40% high yield material. Stuff you should make into a flashcard: things listed/highlighted on powerpoint and if the professor says it. Also if it's their research or clinical field.
Literally the most important, yet most difficult thing to do in medical school...
 
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YayPudding

2+ Year Member
Jul 21, 2016
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Literally the most important, yet most difficult thing to do in medical school...
At our institution each lecture hour amounts to about 4 questions on the written test. Look for HY stuff, guys!
 
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mistafab

2+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2015
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I take notes on paper in class on the HY important topics and the side info that is just cool to know. Did you know that aboriginal populations run around with 90/60 bp? Our western diet and habituation to salt makes our standard 120/70. It is truly crazy how much we adapt to our environment

Anyway, that was just a peice of side info that is just cool to know. More to come.
 
Sep 9, 2017
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good question. good on you for figuring it out before getting in.

I think the biggest thing is to take good lecture notes. With that, you have the basic layout. To this you add some info from the book or whatever other source and with that, you have everything you need to study for the test. use this! do not go back to the books! once you have your study guide use that and review it a whole lot. The review is fundamental!

as for filtering info, I always relied on what was emphasized in the lecture notes. Also, i rarely used reference textbooks but rather videos and/or review books which made it very clear what is important and what isn't.

Another thing which i always liked a lot is getting a general idea of the topic of a lecture before going to it. you can do this by reading a concise ppt or video or whatever and this helps the information be retained.

As for paper or comp, i use comp simply because of how slowly i write and that i type very quickly. Personally, i think writing helps things stick more but i can't overcome that difficulty. You have to be dynamic in this process.
 
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