rhiannon777

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My studying method is woefully inefficient (it involves taking the lecture notes and making Q&As out of everything covered). It's worked really well for getting the material down, but it's becoming more and more cumbersome as things speed up. Like many people here, I never had to study much in undergrad, so I've never experimented with different method of studying (prior to this year, I just reread my notes the night before the test and was done with it). I'd like to get an idea of the different methods people use for studying so I can try some new things and find something more efficient. Thanks!
 

vtucci

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What are you trying to study? 1st year material? 2nd year? Is this studying for school exams or shelf exams?

General rule of med school studying the night before (or even the weekend before) is not an option for success. You need to spend at least a week- maybe more depending on your background prior to med school.

I usually found the key resource for each subject and used it for review before the test (ex. First Aid, BRS Physio, Golijan Path) or sometimes it is nice to review that chapter prior to the lecture as it might help you understand the concepts presented in class.

If your school provides review sheets or powerpoints, read through them. Questions will likely come from those in part if it is 1st year questions and they are written by the PhDs.

I recommend for shelf exams doing as many questions as possible. I liked USMLEWORLD- recommend getting the year contract (particularly once you start second year), Webpath, Robbins review of path.
 

ZagDoc

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For a given lecture, I re-read after the lecture and highlight/annotate either the day of or the day after. I then either outline or complete the "lecture objectives" since I'm a tactile learner and writing helps retention, and putting things into my own outline often helps me streamline information. I then re-read both of the above come time to study for the exam.

For the really, really mundane memorization stuff (drugs, etc) I make flashcards since staring at a page of names really doesn't do it for me.
 

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Pre-read the lecture, take notes during class, and re-read after the lecture.

Then review the whole week's info on the weekend. Note the patterns and use them to structure your concept/detail base for the class.

Writing Q&A's works well if you review those Q&A's every day and week until the exams. It works well if you have the time. I did that but I ran out of time and just re-read the powerpoints until they are committed to memory.
 

Blondbondgirl

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I'm in a European program here- it is a lot less structured, but we are similar in that I never had to really "study"-study in undergrad but I always went to lecture and read a lot.
I've found that lecture here is (usually) a waste of time for me- too superficial! so I read the topic from a review book, using a larger reference book (like Robbin's path, etc.) if I need clarification and then I summarize key points in a written form (helps me learn it). I try to review these notes every 2 weeks (we have exams at the end of the semester). I do practice Q on last week's topic every week to review as well. Towards the exam I review the powerpoint presentations on each topic to see if I need to spend more time on a certain topic (because profs often ask a lot about their own research field!).
Hope this helps! good luck!
:luck:
 

penguinophile

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My school does testing in blocks, so all of our tests happen on one day and it makes it easy to coordinate, but I do not know if this will help you out much. I typically try to go to class when I know for a fact that a lecture is worth going to. Then I read the transcript for that lecture from the previous year to solidify the concepts (if the lecturer was known to be horrible, I typically skipped it and just read the previous years transcript a little more in detail). My goal was to just stay caught up that way and then about 1.5 weeks before the test I would go through and read all of the current years transcripts and focus on things that were emphasized both years. The last 3 days before a test were then dedicated to doing back tests. I do not do well when I use only 1 source and re-read, so reading the different years transcripts helped me see things multiple times without mentally checking out and saying "I have already read this, so I know this". Best of luck finding a strategy that fits you! I am still trying to adjust my studying for boards!
 

kdburton

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We're tested on information in lecture and the lecture notes (powerpoints) at my school so I tend not to read books except to the extent that they sometimes do a better job of explaining things when I get to something I don't understand. After going to lecture and taking additional notes if is necessary I have lunch and then study all of that day's lectures immediately. It takes significantly less time to go over the lectures for that second time if it is immediate and it pounds it into my head just as good as reading it a week later and taking twice as long to get through it. Then later that day I can review lectures that I didn't get a chance to study or just go back and maybe condense some of the lectures down into my own set of notes that include only the very important things or things I may forget or need to memorize. On the weekends I play catch-up and maybe make some more condensed notes. I don't hit the books full-throttle until the week before a test when I try to get through everything one more time. So by that time I've seen/heard everything three times and I remember it for the most part. Sometimes this can seem really inefficient, but I've noticed that I'm able to retain the information a lot longer than some of my classmates who study differently (even if they do better than me on an exam). I would rather retain the information (i.e. so it comes back easier for Step I) than to memorize in a different fashion and lose it a week later.
 

LeLu

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We're tested on information in lecture and the lecture notes (powerpoints) at my school so I tend not to read books except to the extent that they sometimes do a better job of explaining things when I get to something I don't understand. After going to lecture and taking additional notes if is necessary I have lunch and then study all of that day's lectures immediately. It takes significantly less time to go over the lectures for that second time if it is immediate and it pounds it into my head just as good as reading it a week later and taking twice as long to get through it. Then later that day I can review lectures that I didn't get a chance to study or just go back and maybe condense some of the lectures down into my own set of notes that include only the very important things or things I may forget or need to memorize. On the weekends I play catch-up and maybe make some more condensed notes. I don't hit the books full-throttle until the week before a test when I try to get through everything one more time. So by that time I've seen/heard everything three times and I remember it for the most part. Sometimes this can seem really inefficient, but I've noticed that I'm able to retain the information a lot longer than some of my classmates who study differently (even if they do better than me on an exam). I would rather retain the information (i.e. so it comes back easier for Step I) than to memorize in a different fashion and lose it a week later.
I think this is a good strategy, I will try it in August!!
 

Dedikated2liftn

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My studying method is woefully inefficient (it involves taking the lecture notes and making Q&As out of everything covered). It's worked really well for getting the material down, but it's becoming more and more cumbersome as things speed up. Like many people here, I never had to study much in undergrad, so I've never experimented with different method of studying (prior to this year, I just reread my notes the night before the test and was done with it). I'd like to get an idea of the different methods people use for studying so I can try some new things and find something more efficient. Thanks!
On the crapper; it's peaceful and enlightening.
 

OncoCaP

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My studying method is woefully inefficient (it involves taking the lecture notes and making Q&As out of everything covered). It's worked really well for getting the material down, but it's becoming more and more cumbersome as things speed up. Like many people here, I never had to study much in undergrad, so I've never experimented with different method of studying (prior to this year, I just reread my notes the night before the test and was done with it). I'd like to get an idea of the different methods people use for studying so I can try some new things and find something more efficient. Thanks!
I take my notes in a flashcard program (RecallPlus); a friend of mine takes her notes in little flashcard booklets, which I what I could see doing if I didn't want to use a computer. At the end of the day I focus on the most difficult material and review it using my flashcard program and other materials, such as copies of the presentation. I make sure I stay caught up and if I fall behind, I skip ahead to the current material and come back later to the stuff I had to skip (if I have time). For some classes or lectures I sometimes switch to Tablet mode and use OneNote to take notes that involve fast-paced lectures, lectures that involve filling out a document, or if there is a lot of sketching / drawing involved. In my flashcard program I can mark what I haven't studied yet or what I don't know, so I keep working through the material until I have mastered it or I have covered what I think is the higher yield material and have run out of time. I review the OneNote material in the more traditional way and make flashcards only if necessary.
 

mjl1717

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My studying method is woefully inefficient (it involves taking the lecture notes and making Q&As out of everything covered). It's worked really well for getting the material down, but it's becoming more and more cumbersome as things speed up. Like many people here, I never had to study much in undergrad, so I've never experimented with different method of studying (prior to this year, I just reread my notes the night before the test and was done with it). I'd like to get an idea of the different methods people use for studying so I can try some new things and find something more efficient. Thanks!
This is an important question !!!.. I wont say much since I cram and fight (study)for my bloody academic life...;)
 

tulane06

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I have a midget recite facts into my ears while I am asleep.
 

pressmom

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Maybe you could, instead of writing Q & As, discuss them with a classmate. Read through your notes and the text, so you're ready to discuss, then take some time before the exam to discuss it with a classmate. I find studying in small groups very useful. (Like 1 or 2 other people.) I never studied in groups in undergrad because I found that too many of the people were doing poorly/didn't care, but in professional school, everyone's in the same boat with the same goal, so it works a bit better.
 

DenaliView

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Haha..... I am pre-med so I have yet to experiece the joys of med school but I have to admitt hearing about so many people deciding which lectures are worth going to makes me a little nervous. If I ever land in the ED I really hope my doc decided to go to all of his/her lectures...:eek:
 

ZagDoc

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If I ever land in the ED I really hope my doc decided to go to all of his/her lectures...:eek:
Your abilities as a clinician have absolutely nothing to do with class attendance. Trust me.
 

McGillGrad

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Haha..... I am pre-med so I have yet to experiece the joys of med school but I have to admitt hearing about so many people deciding which lectures are worth going to makes me a little nervous. If I ever land in the ED I really hope my doc decided to go to all of his/her lectures...:eek:

Like you said, you have no idea what it is like to be a med student, so reserve your naive judgements until you have the experience.

Logically, the exam tests the material from the lectures, so what difference would it make if someone didn't go and still passes? BTW, I go to all classes where the prof. does more than just read the slides.
 

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I'm having a huge problem because I didn't attend any classes as attendance is compulsory. Now I'm so worried because my histology professor told me that I have to get a letter from the Vice-Dean saying that I can still write the credit test (final test for 2nd semester and a pre-requisite for final exam). I'm so scared that I don't know if the Vice-Dean will even say yes. The problem is that even if he says yes...I know that my histology prof. won't go easy on me (she loves to take revenge!!!)

All this was because I didn't attend 3 classes and I'm so mad at myself for doing such a foolish thing. Moral: If classes are a must...you can't really even afford to miss 1 (with an exception of medical reasons).
 

Its_MurDAH

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I'm having a huge problem because I didn't attend any classes as attendance is compulsory. Now I'm so worried because my histology professor told me that I have to get a letter from the Vice-Dean saying that I can still write the credit test (final test for 2nd semester and a pre-requisite for final exam). I'm so scared that I don't know if the Vice-Dean will even say yes. The problem is that even if he says yes...I know that my histology prof. won't go easy on me (she loves to take revenge!!!)

All this was because I didn't attend 3 classes and I'm so mad at myself for doing such a foolish thing. Moral: If classes are a must...you can't really even afford to miss 1 (with an exception of medical reasons).
It is so stupid to have mandatory class in medical school. Especially one as useless as HISTOLOGY. What is this, middle school? We are all adults and we know about the consequences that our actions may have. I, personally, haven't gone to a single class all year. I have studied from review books/robbins/whatever and never really felt that I was unprepared for the tests. Forcing medical students to go to class seems a bit extreme and downright patronizing.

Sounds like your histology professor has a case of 'MD-regret'itis. Let me guess, she is a PhD who loves to go on and on about some inane detail (probably out of her own research) that she will definitely test on because it is "so important". If you are doing fine in all your other classes, then use that in your argument and tell your vice dean that not everyone learns from class and that you are more of an independent studier. Mandatory attendance is something I have a really strong opinion against and I would have definitely tried to find out if the med school I was to attend had it or not. That would be a deal breaker for me.
 

imagined space

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Haha..... I am pre-med so I have yet to experiece the joys of med school but I have to admitt hearing about so many people deciding which lectures are worth going to makes me a little nervous. If I ever land in the ED I really hope my doc decided to go to all of his/her lectures...:eek:
Don't mean to flame or anything, but I think you'll find the first week of med school that some lectures have very little to do with what you'll need to know as a doctor. Additionally, some professors teaching styles just aren't going to jive with some students learning styles. Most students don't have time to do every conceivable studying technique (lecture, outlines, flashcards, Q&A, small group) so you have to pick the technique that works best for you (as the OP is trying to do).

I've found that the people who do better in my class in general go to more lecture, but even the most devout will admit that some lectures are worthless. Fortunately, most of our med school lectures are of much higher quality than undergrad.
 

DoctaJay

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My studying method is woefully inefficient (it involves taking the lecture notes and making Q&As out of everything covered). It's worked really well for getting the material down, but it's becoming more and more cumbersome as things speed up. Like many people here, I never had to study much in undergrad, so I've never experimented with different method of studying (prior to this year, I just reread my notes the night before the test and was done with it). I'd like to get an idea of the different methods people use for studying so I can try some new things and find something more efficient. Thanks!
I started the school year doing this using a program for Mac called iFlash. It worked great, but I felt like it took more time to type the quesitons out and study them than to just highlight my lecture notes and then read them over and over and over again. So I stopped doing questions and basically focused on my lecture notes. I don't go to class so I have time to wake up and really read through everything. I heard however that the gold standard is the preview the days lecture material before class starts, then go to class, and then review what you were taught. Repetition makes stuff stick more than anything else. When 2nd year starts and I have to memorize stuff like micro and pharm I may go back to using flash cards, but not for everything.
 

imagined space

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Oh, and to answer the OP's initial question. It took awhile to find a technique that (kinda) works for me. At first I tried to do everything (professor's notes, my notes, flashcards, textbook, review books, websites). After a while I got burnt out on doing all that and now just study the professor's notes. We get a nice handout with each lecture that encompasses everything we need to learn. So now I study only an above average amount to get mediocre marks, whereas before I was killing myself to get mediocre marks.

Needless to say, I'm still looking to find a system that enables me to excel with the same or less effort (as I'm sure we all are). I'm not trying to get into the most competitive residency or anything, but it would be nice to consistently score in the high 80s or 90s so I wouldn't have to worry about remediation
 
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rhiannon777

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Haha..... I am pre-med so I have yet to experiece the joys of med school but I have to admitt hearing about so many people deciding which lectures are worth going to makes me a little nervous. If I ever land in the ED I really hope my doc decided to go to all of his/her lectures...:eek:
I pretty much only go to lectures if we have patient demonstrations. All our lectures are recorded, so it takes up a lot less time just to roll out of bed and listen to them (rather than get up early and tired, get dressed and drive to the school). Plus, one of our main instructors talks like Six from Blossom, you know, reallyfastlikethiswithnopausesbetweenwords, so I HAVE to listen to his recordings anyway. Trust me, you'll stop going to class too.

Thanks for all the advice (and feel free to keep it coming)!
 

McGillGrad

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Repetition is the most important part of studying a high volume of information. That, almosg with building up patterns in your mind that link the subjects together and making them stick.

And the best advice I have received in medical school is quite simple.

When you read, read it to understand and to remember because you might not have time to go over it again. Time is precious, so don't waste it by skimming through material only to go over it again later to pick up what you missed the first time.
 

NRAI2001

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Like you said, you have no idea what it is like to be a med student, so reserve your naive judgements until you have the experience.

Logically, the exam tests the material from the lectures, so what difference would it make if someone didn't go and still passes? BTW, I go to all classes where the prof. does more than just read the slides.
I hate it when stupid premeds make stupid comments like "I hope my doctor went to all his lectures....ur not going to be a good doctor bc of ___... or ___."

I never really go to class and I get all As and Bs; though I will try to go next semester so I can actually feel like i m in school and hopefully participate more with school activities/classmates.

Like a few people have said I basically try to stay some what caught up untill about 2 to 1.5 weeks before exams where I start to review all the material covered and depending on how much time permits or how necessary I start to do practice problems. Those 2 weeks are pretty intense, but I dont see anyway around those even if you study all semester long during those last few weeks is when you actually go back and memorize the stuff you sorta put off so that you can focus on learning the larger picture.
 

Doctor J

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Repetition is the key to learning.

Repetition is the key to learning.

Repetition is the key to learning.

Just learn how to read faster. It has worked for me. There are numerous 'methods' for learning how to speed read but they all hinge on one thing, namely, forcing yourself to read at a pace that's not really comfortable and then when it gets comfortable reading even faster.
 

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My professor indeed, does seem to have MD regret-itis.....she's so hard on all the students that she asks such minor details. Sometimes she does this just to fail students (she's way too subjective; the students she likes, she just gives them 1 slide to identify and doesn't ask many questions; but the ones she doesn't like are the ones in misery...she gives them 8-10 slides and asks such horribly brutal questions)......I spoke to the dean, but he said this case is out of my hands as each department has its own rules. He told me to speak to the Head of the Department of Histology and I went and spoke to him. He said "we have certain regulations" and as much as we like to be fair, we trust our teachers as they have been through all of this"....he seemed friendly but he just told me that he'll find out why I can't take the test from my histo. prof.
 

RedVelvet1

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Wow. I can't believe the Histology Professor gives subjective tests and it sounds like the administration just defends it.
 

beethoven

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My studying is not very efficient. Perhaps I should try reading some of the books recommended in another thread...

*w00t! 1st post!*
 

mjl1717

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Repetition is the key to learning.

Repetition is the key to learning.

Repetition is the key to learning.

Just learn how to read faster. It has worked for me. There are numerous 'methods' for learning how to speed read but they all hinge on one thing, namely, forcing yourself to read at a pace that's not really comfortable and then when it gets comfortable reading even faster.
I agree.. Over and over, like a religon or church chant!!
Plus speed is power..
 

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I go to class (usually), then I relisten to lectures 2 times at 2 speed. Works out very well.
 

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I am a reader (although not a very fast one), so for the courses that have good texts (Neuro, Histo, for instance) I read and hi-lite the chapters, read the lecture notes, re-read the book focusing on the hi-lited portions, and then do BRS-style questions or old tests and review powerpoints, followed by a 3rd read of the text if there is time. Usually I can focus on 2 classes a semester with intense focus on texts (usually the classes I am most interested in). For the other classes I need to be more efficient and focus just on class notes and review questions. Its not very time efficient I know, but I enjoy reading books much more than the all-to-often disorganzied lecture notes. So whatever works right?

But you all are right, repetition is the key. Works best for me if I allow myself enough time to forget some of the details, and then go back and re-read/learn them.