Aug 20, 2016
5
1
Status
Physical Therapy Student
Ok, I just completed my first week of PT school, and even though we've only had Anatomy lecture + lab so far, I can see that there is an INCREDIBLE amount of information to learn already.

I met with the learning specialist at my school, and he suggests I stick to my old-undergrad ways of studying for this first exam... but I just don't see how that'll work given the breadth of information I need to not only memorize, but to answer clinical-scenario based questions (eeek).

Do any current or recently graduated SDPTs out there have suggestions on efficient ways to study?
I'm particularly seeking methods that optimize your time, are engaging and REALLY make sure you know your stuff!
 

jblil

7+ Year Member
Dec 1, 2010
1,185
715
East Coast
Everybody has his/her own way of trying to absorb a large amount of information, so you'll have to experiment a bit to uncover what works best for you. For me, I found that studying the stuff by myself first, then meeting with a couple of classmates and quizzing each other mercilessly, yielded the best results. The first year is very heavy on memorization, so a good bang for the buck is to work on improving your memory techniques: get a copy of Moonwalking with Einstein, I guarantee that'll be the best $12 you'll spend in DPT school.

You may also want to skim this thread:
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/for-non-trads-things-i-wished-i-knew.990967/
It's a collection of tips and tricks from folks who were once in your shoes.
 
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starrsgirl

7+ Year Member
Oct 5, 2010
1,021
556
Status
Physical Therapist
I think "stick to the old way you studied" is pretty poor advice. Generally, in undergrad there is plenty of time to cover ALL the class material well. In undergrad, I always went into a test knowing I was prepared and had reviewed each lecture/lesson many times. In PT school, I never had time to review all the material in anatomy to that depth. Often, I went into anatomy tests knowing I only had enough time to glance through 1-2 lectures. I never had that sense of being prepared and feeling like I knew what I needed to know going into the test.

So...step 1) give up the idea of trying to learn everything to the depth you want to learn them. Instead, agree that you need to learn the important stuff well and then whatever else you have time for. 2) don't assume that your old ways of studying were efficient...be open to trying new ways. I had to completely redo my approach and now I spend a lot of time working with my classmates or classmates under me trying to help them do the same. 3) Learn to differentiate between "passive" and "active" studying. In my life, I don't have a spare second....so I don't do ANY passive studying. Some people may be able to get in some passive studying, but the large portion of your time should be active.

Passive studying: reading the book, reading lecture, looking a picture, re watching a lecture, listening to pod cast lecture
Active studying: demonstrating recall in different formats (verbal, written), quizzing with classmates, flow charts, flashcards

You have to force yourself to be efficient with time. For example, for every hour of lecture I had, I gave myself 2 hours MAX to consolidate/condense. And that's it. When the 2 hours are up, I had to be done and my lecture should be reduced to a much smaller and focused bite with only most important stuff in it. This forces you to quickly make decisions on what is the important material and what is tiny material and then you move on. My preferred method was to take a 1 hour block of lecture and spend 1-2 hours (usually just 1 hour) making a flashcard deck for the lecture. I really love the Anki program. Then I never went back to that lecture again. I would only use my flashcards from there out which puts you into recall mode. When using flashcard, make yourself say the answer out loud too....bringing in that verbal component takes it up another level.

Other classmates who did well would consolidate lectures into charts or pictures. I used whiteboard extensively and would force myself to reteach a segment of the lecture without reference and then check my work after.

I noticed that classmates who didn't do so well spent hours and hours reading the textbook or rematching lectures or watching videos or re reading lectures (all passive!). And sadly, they usually put in way more hours doing that.
 
OP
DPTjourney18
Aug 20, 2016
5
1
Status
Physical Therapy Student
Everybody has his/her own way of trying to absorb a large amount of information, so you'll have to experiment a bit to uncover what works best for you. For me, I found that studying the stuff by myself first, then meeting with a couple of classmates and quizzing each other mercilessly, yielded the best results. The first year is very heavy on memorization, so a good bang for the buck is to work on improving your memory techniques: get a copy of Moonwalking with Einstein, I guarantee that'll be the best $12 you'll spend in DPT school.

You may also want to skim this thread:
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/for-non-trads-things-i-wished-i-knew.990967/
It's a collection of tips and tricks from folks who were once in your shoes.
Awesome, thanks for this! I will definitely check out Moonwalking with Einstein- this isn't the first time I've heard of it so it may just be worth the investment.
 
OP
DPTjourney18
Aug 20, 2016
5
1
Status
Physical Therapy Student
I think "stick to the old way you studied" is pretty poor advice. Generally, in undergrad there is plenty of time to cover ALL the class material well. In undergrad, I always went into a test knowing I was prepared and had reviewed each lecture/lesson many times. In PT school, I never had time to review all the material in anatomy to that depth. Often, I went into anatomy tests knowing I only had enough time to glance through 1-2 lectures. I never had that sense of being prepared and feeling like I knew what I needed to know going into the test.

So...step 1) give up the idea of trying to learn everything to the depth you want to learn them. Instead, agree that you need to learn the important stuff well and then whatever else you have time for. 2) don't assume that your old ways of studying were efficient...be open to trying new ways. I had to completely redo my approach and now I spend a lot of time working with my classmates or classmates under me trying to help them do the same. 3) Learn to differentiate between "passive" and "active" studying. In my life, I don't have a spare second....so I don't do ANY passive studying. Some people may be able to get in some passive studying, but the large portion of your time should be active.

Passive studying: reading the book, reading lecture, looking a picture, re watching a lecture, listening to pod cast lecture
Active studying: demonstrating recall in different formats (verbal, written), quizzing with classmates, flow charts, flashcards

You have to force yourself to be efficient with time. For example, for every hour of lecture I had, I gave myself 2 hours MAX to consolidate/condense. And that's it. When the 2 hours are up, I had to be done and my lecture should be reduced to a much smaller and focused bite with only most important stuff in it. This forces you to quickly make decisions on what is the important material and what is tiny material and then you move on. My preferred method was to take a 1 hour block of lecture and spend 1-2 hours (usually just 1 hour) making a flashcard deck for the lecture. I really love the Anki program. Then I never went back to that lecture again. I would only use my flashcards from there out which puts you into recall mode. When using flashcard, make yourself say the answer out loud too....bringing in that verbal component takes it up another level.

Other classmates who did well would consolidate lectures into charts or pictures. I used whiteboard extensively and would force myself to reteach a segment of the lecture without reference and then check my work after.

I noticed that classmates who didn't do so well spent hours and hours reading the textbook or rematching lectures or watching videos or re reading lectures (all passive!). And sadly, they usually put in way more hours doing that.
I love how you differentiated between the active and passive studying- super helpful. Thank you for sharing your study experiences with me!
 
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NewTestament

7+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2010
1,323
416
Itinerant
Status
DPT / OTD
Learn to differentiate between "passive" and "active" studying. In my life, I don't have a spare second....so I don't do ANY passive studying. Some people may be able to get in some passive studying, but the large portion of your time should be active.

Passive studying: reading the book, reading lecture, looking a picture, re watching a lecture, listening to pod cast lecture
Active studying: demonstrating recall in different formats (verbal, written), quizzing with classmates, flow charts, flashcards
You need to do some passive studying to become familiar with the material. If you don't do any passive studying, how are you going to practice with your classmates? You need to figure out what the important information is, review it 1-2 times and then practice with a study partner. Find a reliable study partner. If you can answer the questions out loud, you should have no problem passing the exams. I spent too much time in PT school watching videos and reviewing notes and not enough time with my classmates. Do more, read less, but you need to study passively at least a little. Passive studying prepares you for active studying, but passive studying by itself is inefficient.

When I prepared for anatomy (which I assume you are studying for), I would force myself to write down the information without looking at it. For example, what are the two structures that run through the quadrangular space? Axillary nerve and PCH artery.
 
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OP
DPTjourney18
Aug 20, 2016
5
1
Status
Physical Therapy Student
You need to do some passive studying to become familiar with the material. If you don't do any passive studying, how are you going to practice with your classmates? You need to figure out what the important information is, review it 1-2 times and then practice with a study partner. Find a reliable study partner. If you can answer the questions out loud, you should have no problem passing the exams. I spent too much time in PT school watching videos and reviewing notes and not enough time with my classmates. Do more, read less, but you need to study passively at least a little. Passive studying prepares you for active studying, but passive studying by itself is inefficient.

When I prepared for anatomy (which I assume you are studying for), I would force myself to write down the information without looking at it. For example, what are the two structures that run through the quadrangular space? Axillary nerve and PCH artery.
Very good point. Thanks for the suggestions!
 

astarblaze

2+ Year Member
Dec 11, 2014
204
106
Status
Physical Therapy Student
I've found Anki flashcards to be super effective and efficient for raw memorization: http://ankisrs.net/

Basically they're different than traditional flashcards in that they have a nice spaced repetition algorithm so that you see cards again at an interval that is most efficient for actually remembering.

There's a bit of a learning curve involved, but the program also has lots of really cool features (you can put in images, create all different types of flashcards, etc).

As others have mentioned, regardless of your study methods, make sure you're doing active recall testing as much as possible (asking yourself a question and trying to recall the answer vs. more passive reading/watching/reviewing without trying to quiz yourself). Research has shown that this type of active studying is far more effective for remembering information.
 
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Aug 29, 2016
50
5
Status
Psychologist
Usually when I have to learn a huge amount of information I divide it into little parts, and associate all the information with some weird things, it could be everything you want. It helps quite all the time. The second thing that you can do is to try to learn everything by repeating the same thing for at least 3 days. Remember that the things you want to learn are better to do during the evening! My mother always said that during the night your brain assimilates it better! :)
 
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Mar 3, 2015
31
35
Do you know how you are tested on anatomy yet? That should guide you're studying in my opinion once you pass what's been termed "passive studying". Once you have the information as it was presented locked in, I agree with previous posters in the benefit of verbally quizzing and testing yourself with classmates.

My anatomy course was very clinically based - we were asked questions such as "patient has injury at X spinal level, is X muscle contraction absent, weak, or present". Or for head and neck sections, "X cranial foramen is blocked by a small tumor, what deficits would you see?" Ask your second years or your professors if you're not sure how you will be tested on the information. Prioritize your studying - I do like the differentiation of passive vs active studying. Too much passive studying and you're down the rabbit hole for one lecture and totally lacking an understanding of the next because of lack of time!

Also, just to add to my long trail of thought here, I do agree with sticking to undergrad studying techniques for your first exam. No one knows what works best for you except you - you had to have done a good job of studying in undergrad to get into a DPT program! With that said, if you don't think that strategy worked, meet with your learning specialist again AFTER YOUR FIRST EXAM. You will have a much better understanding of what worked and what didn't after you get your grade back.

Best of luck in your first year!
 
Aug 29, 2016
50
5
Status
Psychologist
Do you know how you are tested on anatomy yet? That should guide you're studying in my opinion once you pass what's been termed "passive studying". Once you have the information as it was presented locked in, I agree with previous posters in the benefit of verbally quizzing and testing yourself with classmates.

My anatomy course was very clinically based - we were asked questions such as "patient has injury at X spinal level, is X muscle contraction absent, weak, or present". Or for head and neck sections, "X cranial foramen is blocked by a small tumor, what deficits would you see?" Ask your second years or your professors if you're not sure how you will be tested on the information. Prioritize your studying - I do like the differentiation of passive vs active studying. Too much passive studying and you're down the rabbit hole for one lecture and totally lacking an understanding of the next because of lack of time!

Also, just to add to my long trail of thought here, I do agree with sticking to undergrad studying techniques for your first exam. No one knows what works best for you except you - you had to have done a good job of studying in undergrad to get into a DPT program! With that said, if you don't think that strategy worked, meet with your learning specialist again AFTER YOUR FIRST EXAM. You will have a much better understanding of what worked and what didn't after you get your grade back.

Best of luck in your first year!
I really think it might be a good idea. thank you for sharing.