Ailleurs

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 8, 2007
314
38
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Hi There :)

I scoured the forum and found a few threads regarding study habits, but those just seemed to be generic.

I thought to make another thread since I'm more focused on how to handle a lot of science classes in a semester (like one would have to do in a 1 year post-bacc or SMP).

If those people who managed to do really well while doing a SMP or post-bacc that included upper level science classes, could state how they studied, it would be very helpful :)

I've noticed a lot of non-trads who happened to manage straight A's while taking 3-4 science classes a semester. Please provide your tips :)! How did you budget your time? Especially during high-stress weeks (lots of midterms/exams)? How did you interact with the professors? Like what questions did you ask them? What do you think annoy them?

Thanks in advance :D
 

halekulani

Member
10+ Year Member
Jul 2, 2006
1,200
4
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
write notes in class
record lectures

re-write them after class into a master form that you can review later


do all assigned hw reading/problems

if you're in an SMP, do your best to never ever fall behind. ever. slacking just a few days may take you weeks to catch up.
 

NewmansOwn

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Dec 21, 2007
805
38
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
In the first few weeks, carefully assess how your professors teach. Study more than you normally would until the first set of exams, then make some decisions. Based on the test, you should know whether or not your professors relies more heavily on the text or lecture and if the practice problems are worth doing. If you're smart, you shouldn't need to read the entirety of each textbook and do every practice problem. You'll become efficient at knowing which texts are a waste of time and which lectures are truly packed with useful information.

Also remember that no class is more important than another. So, if you have a comfortable grade in one class but are teetering in another, don't be afraid to slow down for a bit in your comfortable class to attend to your other one. The total GPA is all that matters.
 
About the Ads

Isoprop

Fascinating, tell me more
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Oct 16, 2007
4,197
35
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
write notes in class
record lectures

re-write them after class into a master form that you can review later


do all assigned hw reading/problems

if you're in an SMP, do your best to never ever fall behind. ever. slacking just a few days may take you weeks to catch up.

i'm going to disagree here.

rewriting notes, listening to lecture recordings, doing all the problems are inefficient ways in studying.

i'm going to borrow a few terms from this book (highly recommended, check it out from your library). attacking your science classes this way is "content-driven" which may work but is very inefficient for non-trads who may need to balance school, family, and work. and it especially won't cut it in med school. basically, in a "content-driven" model, your goal is to learn all the information that may be on an exam.

you should switch to a "time-driven" model in which your goal is to study what is more likely to be on an exam. in this system, you must differentiate what is important (i.e. high-yield) and what is not important (low yield), and you must feel comfortable to ignore low-yield information. you must also put-off or eliminate low yield tasks like rewriting notes or doing ALL the problems. instead, highlight/annotate notes and do only the difficult problems or problems that integrates multiple concepts.

also, repetition is key! if i had 1 hour to study 1 chapter before the exam (simplified example), it would be more efficient to try to quickly get through the material 3x than to try to understand everything the first time.

also, do your best to avoid those 1000 page textbooks. only use them for reference.
 

fireflygirl

The Ultimate Blindian
10+ Year Member
Jul 17, 2007
888
24
Philadelphia
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
Hi There :)

I scoured the forum and found a few threads regarding study habits, but those just seemed to be generic.

I thought to make another thread since I'm more focused on how to handle a lot of science classes in a semester (like one would have to do in a 1 year post-bacc or SMP).

If those people who managed to do really well while doing a SMP or post-bacc that included upper level science classes, could state how they studied, it would be very helpful :)

I've noticed a lot of non-trads who happened to manage straight A's while taking 3-4 science classes a semester. Please provide your tips :)! How did you budget your time? Especially during high-stress weeks (lots of midterms/exams)? How did you interact with the professors? Like what questions did you ask them? What do you think annoy them?

Thanks in advance :D

So for someone like me, who had no science background when I started the post-bac, repitition was key. I disagree with the poster that says don't do all the problems or don't rewrite notes. At least for me, this is what worked quite well, especially in the advanced chem courses such as Gen Chem, O-Chem, and Biochem. I found that this was the only way to integrate material and make sure that I knew it cold.

Also, I didn't take more than 2 lab classes at a time. You may have a different background but when you don't have that science background all your life, things take longer to assimilate and I learned the hard way that taking more than 2 lab classes at a time could be detrimental. You may want to start slow and master study skills that make you most successful before you take on an additional course. For example, I knew that I couldn't manage more than 2 lab courses at a time but that didn't mean I couldn't take an upper level Bio course in something that I was interested in at the same time. This way I could juggle 3-4 classes at a time while being able to spend a considerable amount of time in the lab classes that demanded most of my attention but also take side classes which were not only interesting but far easier to study for, because of various strengths I had, and still do well.

Once I decided to work full time, I knew that I couldn't handle more than 2 classes at time. Knowing that, I would make some time after work (2-3 hours) to devote to that class so I wouldn't fall behind but yet wouldn't get burned out and then spend a few more hours on the weekends doing whatever work was necessary for the classes.

I hope this helps and good luck!
 

yadave

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Aug 15, 2008
105
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
if ur a visual learner, ive heard from many very good students that youtube is awesome. especially for biology. it has animations of different pathways, etc. virtual cell is really good too. it never hurts to use your resources to help you figure out what your best way of studying is :) good luck to everyone!
 

NewmansOwn

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Dec 21, 2007
805
38
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
if ur a visual learner, ive heard from many very good students that youtube is awesome. especially for biology. it has animations of different pathways, etc. virtual cell is really good too. it never hurts to use your resources to help you figure out what your best way of studying is :) good luck to everyone!

I second this. There are fantastic animations out there. Check out Harvard's "Life of the Cell" series and the animations on your respective textbook's website.
 

Orthodoc40

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Oct 21, 2005
3,039
24
Between Michigan & Massachusetts
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
I'm not going to discourage you from enrolling in a formal program of any kind, but this is a simple caution to any post bacc to avoid getting swept up in any or all of the pre-med myths, such as that that is the only way to look impressive on your application or something. It truly is not!

How to debunk the myths? Use common sense - most schools have real adult human beings looking at your application - not uptight, overly ambitious premeds! :laugh: Admissions staff generally have a lot of experience, are not usually that easy to fool, and understand realities of life.

Just sayin'.

Good luck!! :luck:
 

halekulani

Member
10+ Year Member
Jul 2, 2006
1,200
4
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
i'm going to disagree here.

rewriting notes, listening to lecture recordings, doing all the problems are inefficient ways in studying.

i'm going to borrow a few terms from this book (highly recommended, check it out from your library). attacking your science classes this way is "content-driven" which may work but is very inefficient for non-trads who may need to balance school, family, and work. and it especially won't cut it in med school. basically, in a "content-driven" model, your goal is to learn all the information that may be on an exam.

you should switch to a "time-driven" model in which your goal is to study what is more likely to be on an exam. in this system, you must differentiate what is important (i.e. high-yield) and what is not important (low yield), and you must feel comfortable to ignore low-yield information. you must also put-off or eliminate low yield tasks like rewriting notes or doing ALL the problems. instead, highlight/annotate notes and do only the difficult problems or problems that integrates multiple concepts.

also, repetition is key! if i had 1 hour to study 1 chapter before the exam (simplified example), it would be more efficient to try to quickly get through the material 3x than to try to understand everything the first time.

also, do your best to avoid those 1000 page textbooks. only use them for reference.

in an SMP you only have one year to prove yourself. you don't know what exactly will be on an exam. the objective of listening to lectures is to go over main points made by the professors in class, especially if you missed something he/she said. you re-write notes as an active form of learning. doing problems is the same thing (this really only applied to biochem). all the low yield info is probably stuff you don't write in your notes anyways.
 

Ailleurs

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 8, 2007
314
38
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
thanks for all of the tips! they are really helpful. and i will check out that medical studying book out, although it doesn't have too many good review son amazon! :(

i think writing down important concepts/typing them out solidifies things for me--not re-writing EVERYTHING. And then once I write them down, I try my best to recite the concepts and if I can, I'm good to go and go to the next step. If i'm still a little bit weak, I review what I wrote. This is so time-consuming though...so thus this thread on what other people have found to work for them :)

Thanks again guys, much appreciated :luck:
 

nick_carraway

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Mar 8, 2007
3,556
12
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
From a current informal post-bacc, here are my tips (some of which will rehash the advice from others):

1. Talk to your professors and find out what they think is important, how they would word things, and what they think are common mistakes that students make on certain material.

2. Read the text if your professor cares about it. You might find that the answers to exam questions are obvious if you read the book but are a crapshoot if you didn't.

3. Talk to your colleagues. Even the best student in the class might not know what another student does.

4. Don't miss a class.

5. Study your notes and pick out what's useful. Don't just passively read your notes. (I don't rewrite my notes, but I do annotate them while studying).

6. Don't just sit in lectures. LISTEN. While your professor is talking, highlight the points or comments that sound like they'll be on the exam. You can usually tell.

7. Realize that this is your one shot. Don't let a warm bed in the winter or an inconvenient office hour stop you from being first place (or at least within the 90th percentile).

8. If you moved to go to a post-bacc/SMP, explore. Find little eateries, sight-see, play tourist when you can. And then go home and kick butt.

9. Study daily, if possible. Not for all your classes, but for some of them.

10. Never fall into the "oh, I know this" trap. Don't let a class fall through the cracks.
 

boggvir

Sunny California
10+ Year Member
Dec 24, 2008
675
3
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Guide to taking five science courses at a time:


  1. Don't take more than 2 lab courses. Seriously - don't. They are huge timesinks, and they take way more time than their 1 credit suggests. In many courses after your pre-requisites, you don't have to take the lab associated with a course - so don't do it. Don't kill yourself over a 1 credit lab that takes almost as much time as a 3 credit course (in terms of lab time, lab reports, recitation, etc).
  2. Make a schedule for yourself, and keep to it. If you have an hour after class until the next one, use it to just go over what you did, and maybe read a couple sections in the book. If you reinforce the material right after you learned it (later that day, or sooner), you will have to study less for exams.
  3. If you have five sciences, you can't put off your studying, or you're going to be screwed come finals. If you have a schedule, make sure every day, even if you feel like crap, that you do something.
  4. Attend every lecture. Seriously. And don't zone out. Do your best to try to pay attention.
  5. Read the chapter before every lecture. Ah, that's something everyone says and no one does. I know it, and you know it. Every teacher says you should do it, but no one ever does. I would suggest you try it once, they are not ****ting you. It's a huge help, you get so much more out of lecture. And more importantly, it'll save you time later on. You will actually study less if you read the chapter before hand, because things will start making sense in your head first.
  6. Try to develop an interest. I know its easier said than done. After a long day, you really don't want to know how a peptide bond forms between an amino group of aa-tRNA A site with the carbonyl group of of aa-tRNA in the P site. This is probably the hardest to do, and possibly the most important. If you read it because you're interested, you'll zone out less and remember more. Sometimes, when you feel you're getting swamped in details you don't give a crap about, step back, and draw a higher level diagram of transcription. Read a couple wikipedia pages about something related that you're interested in, and then come back to it. If you manage to do it, your job will be many times easier.
  7. Clear your schedule. You can keep your volunteering job and a hobby or two on the side, but if you want to pull straight As in five science courses, you really have to be focused. Use the weekends to read over all your notes and lectures from all your classes for that week.
  8. Don't spend an inordinate amoutn of time on a small part of something if you don't get it. Mark it, and move on. Use the office hours to go and clarify it. It's sick how few students use those, and using them and asking intelligent questions will be a better use of your time, plus the professors will like it too, if you ever need a recommendation.
  9. Notes: This is different for everyone. I'm an audio-visual learner. It's hard for me to learn simply by reading a text book. Highlighting doesn't work for me. I usually read the chapter while taking very good notes myself. This allows me to rephrase things the way I want, and when going back to study for the final exams, I don't really ever look at the book, except for clarification. When you have four-five science exams at a time, there is no way you'll be able to read 60 chapters of science material and absorb all of it. If you took good notes though, you can just do your notes, and then problems from the book.
None of this is probably anything new, but unfortunately, I don't know of any shortcuts.

I've been taking 4-5 science courses while volunteering 4-6 hours and wokring about 15 hours a week. This is what has been working for me - your mileage may vary :).
 

Isoprop

Fascinating, tell me more
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Oct 16, 2007
4,197
35
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
in an SMP you only have one year to prove yourself. you don't know what exactly will be on an exam. the objective of listening to lectures is to go over main points made by the professors in class, especially if you missed something he/she said. you re-write notes as an active form of learning. doing problems is the same thing (this really only applied to biochem). all the low yield info is probably stuff you don't write in your notes anyways.
you could probably review the information twice in the time it takes you to rewrite the notes. but if it works for you and you have the time...
 

Flushot

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Feb 25, 2008
1,642
10
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
I figured rewriting notes was useful if you need to go slower to really get it down. Sometimes, when I run over a lecture, I still can't get it until I re-write it and find myself not understanding what I wrote or paraphrased.

This probably won't cut it for every single lecture, but I see nothing wrong with picking and choosing the tough lectures over the easier ones to rewrite.
 

Superman78

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Dec 22, 2008
118
1
Status (Visible)
If I had done the following, my grades would be a lot better:

1. Read the assigned chapter(s) before class. Don't just skim it or look at it, actually read through it and get a basic understanding of it. --> The few times I've done this, I was fully fresh and awake in lecture and almost knew what the prof was going to say before he said it, and the material from those lectures became ingrained in my mind without any need for further study.

2. GO TO LECTURE. Take notes. --> I had a nightmare the other day about missing a lot of classes and then sitting for a test and not knowing anything. I've been guilty of skipping lecture or going to lecture and being half asleep and not getting anything out of it.

3. Study your notes on a daily basis in the LIBRARY, not at home. --> I've decided I can't study at home. Too many different temptations and distractions. Go to the library and find a place with other studious people nearby (i.e. the competition).

The thing that's hard to understand for most is that a rigid studying schedule like this actually gives you MORE free time, more time to hang out with friends and be social. You also end up getting more sleep and having less stress, meaning you'll be generally healthier and will age better and live longer (some people come out of med school with dark circles under their eyes, some come out still looking young and fresh).
 
Last edited:
About the Ads
This thread is more than 12 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.