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How did you "fix things"?

DoctaSleepy

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Apr 12, 2012
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    The Pre-Med forum has a thread on "How to Study" - this is meant to be along the same lines. I think postbac folks would have a unique take on this, as many of us have had to undergo major, sometimes uncomfortable changes in how we approach studying. (Feel free to bump/shut this down if this isn't the appropriate place for this.)

    The conventional wisdom is "fix what you're doing wrong". Everyone says it, but rarely do they elaborate. Unless the problem is something glaring and specific, I think the solution eludes many people in this position. I feel that once someone hits their stride, it's a matter of investing time and money to continue putting out good results until schools take notice. The process of actually getting there, however, can be tremendously frustrating and even demoralizing.

    I guess I don't think this gets enough discussion. The stories I've heard from people in my personal life have varied widely. Most revolved around a change in mental frame, some sort of basic realization, or simple study strategies that turned out to be pure gold. Sometimes it was that they sought help for anxiety issues or a learning disability that they didn't know they had. Therefore, this is pretty open-ended. I figure a few diverse responses may help out a person or two.
     

    SixStringPsych

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    May 3, 2011
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      This is a great thread, great idea. I feel the same way, some people might be completely lost at how to go about fixing the way they study.

      Frankly, for me, all I had to do was literally study for a longer amount of time, with less distractions (internet, cellphone, etc). I feel like you just have to go back and realize what you were doing when you were getting bad grades. Some people may be bad test takers, or have trouble if tests are short-answer vs. multiple choice. There is definitely no one answer, but it's definitely good to share experiences.
       

      johnnyscans

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        For the Biology type classes - I found that drawing diagrams of the various pathways was the key. Memorizing names and functions still doesn't help you understand how everything plays into the grand scheme of things. Always ask what would happen if something were mutated; how would the rest of the system be affected? Do not limit your studying to just the textbook/lecture notes. Look up other sources of information e.g. Khan Academy.

        Chemistry/Physics - problems, problems, problems. There is no other trick other than working problems until you're blue in the face. Do every single practice problem that's provided to you, pick up a solutions manual for your textbook and do every problem in that, and do all past exam problems. Concepts will elucidate themselves through your mastery of the problems.

        I found that A's came easily when I was motivated. I simply cannot afford any grades besides A's. Armed with that fact, the motivation to study and work hard comes rather easily.
         
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        robflanker

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          The reason this isnt discussed much cos its almost impossible to "discuss" with it being a series of monologues.

          YOU have to diagnose what you are doing wrong, and YOU have to stop doing those things or modify things.

          What I am doing wrong isn't necessarily appropriate for you and vice-versa. Some need to study harder, some need to study at all, and some need to study smarter.
           

          chirodocjrd

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          May 3, 2009
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            I agree with what the others are saying, you need to understand what kind of learner you are and use those methods to study. Your school might be able to test you or point you to someone who can.

            I was out of school for about 10 years and had to relearn how to study. I'm a visual learner so lots of pics and vids helped me. 1st tri I got killed in biochem because didn't know this yet. I changed the way i studied and got A's the next tri. Check out Dr. najeeb's vids, he is an excellent teacher and it's pretty cheap for the help he gives us. I know some are free on YouTube.
             

            skr1054

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            Jul 23, 2009
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              The reason this isnt discussed much cos its almost impossible to "discuss" with it being a series of monologues.

              YOU have to diagnose what you are doing wrong, and YOU have to stop doing those things or modify things.

              What I am doing wrong isn't necessarily appropriate for you and vice-versa. Some need to study harder, some need to study at all, and some need to study smarter.


              True, "what worked for me may not work for you" is implied in these forums. That being said, there is value in learning from others' experiences and/or mistakes. To each his own.
               

              DoctaSleepy

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              Apr 12, 2012
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                A number of study strategies exist that are popular nowadays, such as the Pomodoro technique and 'stealth studying'. Neither of these were directly applicable for me, but experimenting with them did help me integrate some major changes into the way I worked. Any thoughts on these or other strategies that are out there?
                 

                johnnyscans

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                  A number of study strategies exist that are popular nowadays, such as the Pomodoro technique and 'stealth studying'. Neither of these were directly applicable for me, but experimenting with them did help me integrate some major changes into the way I worked. Any thoughts on these or other strategies that are out there?

                  We had a contractor at my old job who swore by the "Getting Things Done" technique. In essence, make a list of tasks that you need to do and check them off as you complete them. I find that this works well for me. I use an app called Wunderlist, and have a section for each of my classes. I make detailed tasks that relate to each section and set dates that I would like the task completed by. The key is breaking large events into smaller, meaningful tasks. Instead of writing "finish cell bio paper" I'll write "cell bio intro, cell bio conclusion, cell bio references, cell body discussion, etc."I find that setting goals and reaching them is incredibly addictive; checking items off my list feels good.
                   
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