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how do you study?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by youngjock, Dec 8, 2001.

  1. youngjock

    youngjock Membership Revoked
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    I am in a post-bac program. sometimes I only have time to go over the material only once, because we need to memorize so many things. :oops: and I would get so sleepy before the exam night. oh. well.

    I know that I probably just have to go over the material over and over, etc, etc. however, I would like to hear something new?

    <img src="confused.gif" border="0">
     
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  3. Sonya

    Sonya Senior Member
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    try and put info into diagrams, or tables. organizing the info often makes it easier to retain it. try and find reasoning for stuff ("biology never makes sense, except in the light of natural selection" - charles darwin)

    writing stuff makes it stick better, sometimes.
     
  4. kris

    kris Senior Member
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    I'm with Sonya on this, and when it comes to rote memorization I use flashcards. What makes it work is what Sonya said--writing it down. So when I make flashcards, I don't do it mindlessly; rather, I work at understanding the lecture while I'm writing them. Often, by the time I'm done with my 'once-over' of the lecture, I have actually committed much of it to memory.

    Having the flashcards there provides a nice way to just sit and review material before the test without having to really work through it again.

    You'd be surprised at how many times I don't even have time to go back and review the stupid flashcards (sometimes we have 8-10 new lectures in the few days before the exam), but it still works if you work through the material while making the flashcards.

    --kris
     
  5. Slingblade the Surgeon

    Slingblade the Surgeon Senior Member
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    Don't study, just beg for extra credit. :D
     
  6. jwpelley

    jwpelley Member
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    You can increase your long term memory and spend less time when reviewing for exams if you use concept mapping to take notes while you are studying. My students tell me that while there is more time spent "up front," they remember more and review better. Cramming is minimized. Here are some simple directions.

    Constructing a concept map (See example below)
    1. Select the topic to be studied. Since it is going to be subdivided, the size of the topic is not critical. It can be part of a lecture or material that is covered in several lectures.
    2. Identify the major concepts by listing or highlighting them in the text, paying particular attention to material in lecture notes that was especially emphasized.
    3. Rank the concepts (and facts) from most general to most specific.
    4. Arrange the concept map with the most general, or inclusive, concept at the top level, enclosed in a circle of other shape. Link it to more specific concepts placed on the next level and enclose those as well. Label connecting lines with linking words that explain the relationship, if needed. Arrowheads can show direction, cause-and-effect, etc.
    5. Try to branch out at each level with more than one link.
    6. Identify and draw cross-links between related concepts. This is a powerful step in developing integrative thinking.
    7. The top down type of diagram shown in the illustration is far more useful for sensing types (preference for learning specifics) than a "cluster" pattern that spreads out from the center like a spider web. Intuitive types (preference for learning big picture) can use either pattern.



    [​IMG]

    More examples of the cluster type are on page 9 in a handout at <a href="http://www.ttuhsc.edu/success/training/studenthandout.pdf" target="_blank">student workshop handout</a>

    One other strategy that has produced very good results is at <a href="http://www.ttuhsc.edu/success/Survival.htm" target="_blank">Survival Strategy</a>

    Hope this helps.

    jwpelley
     
  7. BeckyG

    BeckyG Senior Member
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    Wow JW, that looks extraordinarily time consuming! I am sure it works well, but I would never have the discipline to do that. I usually do something similar to the other posters - I take notes on the material in an active manner (e.g., diagrams, tables, summarize the info in a manner I understand it) and then practice writing the pathways (if biochem) or "lists" (if its part of a differential diagnosis, the complications of a med/procedure/disease) several times on a whiteboard until I can write the information without referring to my notes. I then go back to the "list" again the next day and repeat the procedure. That's usually enough for me right before the exam. The key for me, though, is that it is cramming - in a systematic way. For me to okay on exams, all the info needs to be fresh in my mind and the only way I can do that is by active memorization (writing) a few days before the exam. Hope this helps.
     
  8. Atlas

    Atlas Senior Member
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    Wow! That's really cool, JW! Ya big GEEK! :)
     
  9. djmd

    djmd an Antediluvian
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  10. Mystique

    Mystique The Procrastinator
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    I'm not in med school yet, but this has worked really well for me since I've started it. I try my best to keep up with readings, and as I do, I paraphrase the key points. It is time consuming when you first do it, but you're able to put 2 and 2 together as you summarize. That way, when exams roll around, you don't spend as much trying to comprehend it. You have more time for "absorbing" it. It works for me, but I know everyone learns differently.
     
  11. guardian

    guardian Senior Member
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    I pretty much agree with everyone else. I learn best when I'm active in my studying, not just reading straight from the notes. Active studying whether writing key major points on the margins when reviewing, actively writing notes during lectures (really important), writing out pathways from scratch, adding additional not-so-relevant information that may help you remember or distinguish something within a pool of stuff.

    But I definitely understand. With the exception of my first two exams, I've been learning in a passive manner because of the volume of material. I learn better with active learning, however it can be very time consuming. Trade offs :mad: .
    But for some subjects like anatomy, there really is no active way of studying, or nothing I'm aware of. It would be nice if they taught anatomy and physiology together, but that may not be practical for med school level.
     
  12. .

    But I definitely understand. With the exception of my first two exams, I've been learning in a passive manner because of the volume of material. I learn better with active learning, however it can be very time consuming. Trade offs :mad: .
    But for some subjects like anatomy, there really is no active way of studying, or nothing I'm aware of. It would be nice if they taught anatomy and physiology together, but that may not be practical for med school level.[/QB][/QUOTE]

    Interesting point of view. I was dreading taking anatomy and physiology together next semester at my school, but now I think it might actually be beneficial, assuming the 2 courses are well- integrated.. we shall see..
     
  13. racergirl

    racergirl Senior Member
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    Oh no! Not that Dr Pelley the bubble guy again! Just kidding--I never bubble per se, but I do hook up concepts in much the same way. Works pretty well...
     
  14. Sheon

    Sheon Senior Member
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    For me anatomy was the easiest subject to activly learn. There was something physical/tangible that you could grasp on to. I found drawing artery/nerve maps very useful. Drawing and redrawing these maps was something you could do on time where you were doing other things (i.e., at meetings and/or talking with friends). I don't know how many times I drew brachial plexus/subclavian artery maps, but by about the 5th time I was very good at it, and could pretty much give an extreme level of detail for all major branches.

    Pendulum, I used to study like that. It was very effective in undergrad. In medical school testing of concepts is rare so it has proven less useful here. You need to understand concepts well, but there will seldom be questions that test your knowledge of them. By the time the test rolls around most people are intimately knowledgeable with concepts. The people that do well are those who become intimate with the details (which often are points that have very little or nebulous clinical relevence at this stage of the game).
     
  15. guardian

    guardian Senior Member
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  16. BeeGee

    BeeGee Member
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    Making NoteCards and FlashCards saved me during my 1st 2 years of med school. Making notecards on the IMPORTANT and HIGHLY TESTABLE material helped me to learn it in the process and were easy to carry around which led to less time wasted when I was standing around in places that I couldn't normally study from a huge packet of notes. Also FlashCards was a way of constantly quizzing yourself b4 tests. Last but not least, form a small group (no more than 3 people, including yourself) and quiz each other on everything. Make sure that this is done daily and for at least an hour. Then youll know all that they know and vice versa. Hope this helps.
    --BeeGee :D
     
  17. Medigirl

    Medigirl Member
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    I try to read the syllabus before lecture and then highlight what the prof. focuses on. Then I will condense my notes into tables, flow charts, or an outline. It has worked well so far, especially for biochem, where our syllabus was 700 pages. For anatomy, I spent mucho time in the lab going over structures and drawing the paths of arteries and nerves.
     
  18. BeckyG

    BeckyG Senior Member
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    Yeah, for anatomy I drew out the "pathways" of complex structures like the brachial plexus, etc. For all the rest, it was helpful for us to go into lab and quiz each other on the material. We would identify the structure, its innervation (if not a nerve), its blood supply, its function and the talk about any other clinical info they highlighted in the syllabus (e.g., Triangle of Hasselbach/epigastic artery and hernias). By going over it this way, both as the questioner and the answerer, you learn a lot. Doing this in conjunction with drawing out the nerve, artery and vein pathways (and anastamoses, as applicable) helped me get through anatomy. Hope this helps. Good luck!
     

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