How many times do you have to read notes before you "get it".

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How many times do you have to read through notes until you are ready for a test?

  • 1

    Votes: 10 7.1%
  • 2-3

    Votes: 64 45.7%
  • 4-5

    Votes: 48 34.3%
  • 6-7

    Votes: 8 5.7%
  • 8-9

    Votes: 1 0.7%
  • 10+

    Votes: 9 6.4%

  • Total voters
    140

Perforin

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I am currently getting frustrated because of the amount of times I have to read, and re-read, my notes before a test. I do pretty well on all of my tests (top third of the class, barely), but I have to read through all of my notes about 6 times to finally get everything crammed in my dumb little head.

I was just curious to see how many times it takes other SDN-ers to read through notes before they are ready for a test. There are a few people in my class with photographic memories that only have to read the stuff once. I hate them (just kidding).

The other annoying part of all this is that after the test, most of what I learned quickly leaves me. My long term memory is TERRIBLE, but my short term is pretty good. Not a good combo for step 1, I assume.

Regarding the poll, I know it is probably subject specific, as some subject are harder than others. Just wondering on average.

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I probably need an average of 3 times. Like milk I usually get and make sure i understand the big concepts after the first time, and then need a couple more times to get the more minutae.

Although some things are much more then others. Anatomy probably took me 5 or 6 times because it just didnt make that much logical sense and was hard to put in a big picture.

Definitely jealous of those photographic memory ppl..
 
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Once to understand it, probably 3-4 times to memorize details. I usually stop at 3 due to time constraints.

You know, that's why I'm frustrated, I just don't have the time. But, I really don't know how much better I do on tests after reading the material through 3 or 6 times. I usually feel somewhat comfortable at 3 or 4, but get paranoid and read it two more times. I wish I could take a test after reading through it 4 times, somehow rewind time, and then take the same test reading through the material 6 times. I bet it wouldn't help me that much, maybe a point of two.
 
OP, out of curiosity -- when you say "read through notes," are you talking about your own notes that you took from attended/recorded lectures, or are you talking about syllabi/handouts/whatnot?
 
You know, that's why I'm frustrated, I just don't have the time. But, I really don't know how much better I do on tests after reading the material through 3 or 6 times. I usually feel somewhat comfortable at 3 or 4, but get paranoid and read it two more times. I wish I could take a test after reading through it 4 times, somehow rewind time, and then take the same test reading through the material 6 times. I bet it wouldn't help me that much, maybe a point of two.
Well do you feel like you have alot of free time after going through it 4 times?

If so, whats the problem? You are top 1/3 in your class and with a life. As far as Step 1 is concerned, I bet you remember alot more then you think you do.
 
OP, out of curiosity -- when you say "read through notes," are you talking about your own notes that you took from attended/recorded lectures, or are you talking about syllabi/handouts/whatnot?

No, I mean the lecture notes the teacher hands out. At my school, we receive pretty detailed lecture notes handed out from the teacher. Sorry, I should have been more clear on that. I don't know how other schools do it.
 
Well do you feel like you have alot of free time after going through it 4 times?

If so, whats the problem? You are top 1/3 in your class and with a life. As far as Step 1 is concerned, I bet you remember alot more then you think you do.

Well, I have some free time after going through it four times. Going through it an extra two times just takes more time away from my family, which sucks (I'm married with a kid). Probably takes away from studying for boards as well, which I need to get on top of.

Thanks for the encouragement. I hope I remember more than I think I do. I swear #$@#! microbiology will be the end of me.
 
No, I mean the lecture notes the teacher hands out. At my school, we receive pretty detailed lecture notes handed out from the teacher. Sorry, I should have been more clear on that. I don't know how other schools do it.
Our school does it the exact same way

Well, I have some free time after going through it four times. Going through it an extra two times just takes more time away from my family, which sucks (I'm married with a kid). Probably takes away from studying for boards as well, which I need to get on top of.

Thanks for the encouragement. I hope I remember more than I think I do. I swear #$@#! microbiology will be the end of me.
CMMRS...do it! I guess its up to you to decide if all that extra time it would take to go through it twice more is worth the extra couple of points on the test.
 
Our school does it the exact same way

Right, ours too. I dunno, OP -- if you're making ~4 passes through and are in the top 33% while having time for your family, I'd say that's quite good. Also out of curiosity, since I still "tinker" with my way of studying, are you doing anything special or noteworthy when you're reading through these notes? Repeating pages, re-reading sentences, anything like that?
 
Right, ours too. I dunno, OP -- if you're making ~4 passes through and are in the top 33% while having time for your family, I'd say that's quite good. Also out of curiosity, since I still "tinker" with my way of studying, are you doing anything special or noteworthy when you're reading through these notes? Repeating pages, re-reading sentences, anything like that?

Well, the first time I usually just read it, and then the second time I start highlighting (probably more than I should), not so much because it helps me learn, but it keeps me on task and awake. The third time through it, I usually go through with a pen and circle things that I am still shaky on. Then I just read through those notes 1-3 more times, depending on how much time/attention span I have.

I do have to re-read a bunch of sentences, look a bunch of things up on google, etc... usually the first time through. What approach do you take?
 
I probably go through material 4-5 times before exams.. but each time I study I try to read more in-depth. Like the first time I'll just highlight the important points and not even really think about it.. then each time after I read in slightly more detail. At the beginning I'll read through a 20 page lecture in like 15 minutes, not really studying, just making associations and learning the new words. Then progressively as exams get closer and I get more stressed/interested in the material I read more and more in-depth. The last full time through the material I take ~an hour for a 20 page lecture and try to understand everything. I know this is odd b/c it seems like it'd be better to keep up and study hard as the lectures come, but I can't... way too busy doing happy things.. so I just skim and try to learn words until 1-2 weeks before exams, then I start studying all day every day. it works though; weeks of vacation, weeks of crazy productivity..
 
I can't even get away with reading the lecture notes they hand out multiple times to memorize things. I have to completely rewrite the notes to organize them in a way that makes sense to me (Disease, cause, pathophys, symptoms, diagnosis, treament) and is consistent from lecture to lecture (our notes are really variable). This takes me at least an hour per lecture.

From those notes have to go through at least 3-5x to start memorizing details. I will admit, though, that once I have the notes in my own format I can go through a lot faster.
 
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Once to get the jist and a second time to memorize. I take tons of notes and highlight a lot the first time then really concentrate on memorizing the details the second time.
 
Once I'm in "the zone" and take a second or two to put the details into context of the big picture (which is why it takes me so long to study, because I'm constantly visualizing), it only takes me 2-3 times.

If I'm not in the zone, I could re-read it over and over again and it won't matter. I'll forget it 5 minutes later.
 
Once to read and understand the stuff (after which I write down all the stuff I remember) and then twice to go over the stuff: the first time in detail, and the 2nd time - just skimming over the stuff written. Has worked well for me so far.
 
the more I read it, the better I do. 3 times or less gets me grades I'm not too pleased with but it will get me through tests. if I want to truly remember it and not just get through a test, I have to read it 6-7 times.

I do think that the way you study is more important than the number of times you read something. try to find some way of actively learning (draw out diagrams, make lists, type notes) to help solidify your knowledge. forcing yourself to come up with info instead of just reading helps a lot, I find
 
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What approach do you take?

forcing yourself to come up with info instead of just reading helps a lot, I find

Perforin (love the name, by the way) -- This is kind of what I do. I've never been much for flash cards (though I do resort to them from time to time), mostly because I like to see the relationship that one thing has to another. The problem is testing myself to ensure that I know as much as I think I do.

I prepped for the last exam I had by creating a just-the-facts-ma'am outline of the notes from class, tying things together where possible, AND using flash cards to try and force myself to memorize symptoms of certain diseases that I, for whatever reason, couldn't reason out. No grades yet, but I felt like it worked well. I just don't like flash cards.
 
i just try to read it as many times as possible. i don't take notes (except for a few words in the margins now and then) or make flashcards or do anything else. i always try to read something to understand it and see how it fits into the big picture or how it relates to other pieces of information. it has worked pretty well so far.
 
Sometimes I don't think I ever "get it". I just "give up" after 5X. Not usually a problem, being that I rarely have time to read through 3X.
 
I can't even get away with reading the lecture notes they hand out multiple times to memorize things. I have to completely rewrite the notes to organize them in a way that makes sense to me (Disease, cause, pathophys, symptoms, diagnosis, treament) and is consistent from lecture to lecture (our notes are really variable). This takes me at least an hour per lecture.

From those notes have to go through at least 3-5x to start memorizing details. I will admit, though, that once I have the notes in my own format I can go through a lot faster.


Yup, this is exactly what I do, and it's part of the reason I've honored every exam since day 1 of first year.

I have a classmate who was pulling C's on exams consistently. He just started this method, and his first exam after adopting it was a 91.
 
I am currently getting frustrated because of the amount of times I have to read, and re-read, my notes before a test. I do pretty well on all of my tests (top third of the class, barely), but I have to read through all of my notes about 6 times to finally get everything crammed in my dumb little head.

I was just curious to see how many times it takes other SDN-ers to read through notes before they are ready for a test. There are a few people in my class with photographic memories that only have to read the stuff once. I hate them (just kidding).

The other annoying part of all this is that after the test, most of what I learned quickly leaves me. My long term memory is TERRIBLE, but my short term is pretty good. Not a good combo for step 1, I assume.

Regarding the poll, I know it is probably subject specific, as some subject are harder than others. Just wondering on average.


Where do you people get the time to re-read something 3+ times???

I barely make it through all the material ONCE. I almost never "re-read" something, 'cuz it just doesn't do me much good to "re-read"... I zone out. And for some reason, I have trouble memorizing from notes given to me. So if I read it 3x it would still mean nothing. But once I make my own notes, I'm golden. I spend most of my study time either actually writing out notes, making charts, actively trying to memorize, etc.

I estimate for every hour of lecture, I probably spend 2-3 hrs (at least) going through the material... but yeah, none of that involves "re-reading".
 
Where do you people get the time to re-read something 3+ times???

I barely make it through all the material ONCE. I almost never "re-read" something, 'cuz it just doesn't do me much good to "re-read"... I zone out. And for some reason, I have trouble memorizing from notes given to me. So if I read it 3x it would still mean nothing. But once I make my own notes, I'm golden. I spend most of my study time either actually writing out notes, making charts, actively trying to memorize, etc.

I estimate for every hour of lecture, I probably spend 2-3 hrs (at least) going through the material... but yeah, none of that involves "re-reading".
Hmmm..i can get through every hour of lecture in 20 to 30 minutes. 4 hours of lecture each day would mean 2 hours studying that night....2 more hours on the weekend (10 total for the week)..and then 2 more hours the following weekend before our monday test.
 
Before I started school, a doc I shadowed throughout undergrad gave me a simple rule to study with: get through your notes/material 3x - you get an A, get through your notes 2x - you get a B, going through your material only 1x gets you a C or lower. Obviously this is a gross generalization, some people have a freakish capacity to learn and recall info with little repetition and there will be others who probably need a fourth or fifth run through the material.

For every test block, I literally make a 3 column checklist (1x, 2x, 3x reviewed) that includes each section/lecturer in each course. This helps me keep track of where I am in my test review, and I get the little satisfaction of checking off another lecture on my list. Now back to my list to fill up the second column...
 
I was one of the people who put down 1x in the poll, but now I'm thinking it might not be correct...

What I have experienced is that whatever I can cover in the 1-2 days before the test, I'll get almost 100% of that correct-- even if it's my first read-through. However, even if I've seen something 2-3 times I will get it wrong if I haven't reviewed it in the past 24-48 hours...
 
I was one of the people who put down 1x in the poll, but now I'm thinking it might not be correct...

What I have experienced is that whatever I can cover in the 1-2 days before the test, I'll get almost 100% of that correct-- even if it's my first read-through. However, even if I've seen something 2-3 times I will get it wrong if I haven't reviewed it in the past 24-48 hours...
the day before Step 1's going to be kinda crazy for you, eh?
 
the day before Step 1's going to be kinda crazy for you, eh?

Yeah I'll either have to cram everything into 48 hours, or I'll have to get like 10 passes through the material starting in January...

What I'll probably do is annotate FA, then read it 2-3x, then hit up all my problem areas in the 2 days before the test by pulling 12 hour study sessions. Similar strategy worked for the MCAT (read EK 1x, then skimmed it and noted everything that I hadn't learned on the first pass. crammed the hard stuff the day before the test. Total time = 3 weeks).
 
posted in the wrong subsection of the fourm
 
Hmmm..i can get through every hour of lecture in 20 to 30 minutes. 4 hours of lecture each day would mean 2 hours studying that night....2 more hours on the weekend (10 total for the week)..and then 2 more hours the following weekend before our monday test.

Wow, that's a great ratio. There's no way I could do that and remember anything. I envy you. :laugh:
 
Wow, that's a great ratio. There's no way I could do that and remember anything. I envy you. :laugh:
Yeah idk, after i get through the material once the second and third times are much quicker.
 
I probably need an average of 3 times. Like milk I usually get and make sure i understand the big concepts after the first time, and then need a couple more times to get the more minutae.

Although some things are much more then others. Anatomy probably took me 5 or 6 times because it just didnt make that much logical sense and was hard to put in a big picture.

Definitely jealous of those photographic memory ppl..

is anatomy just really all memorization? Just memory and nothing else.... :eek:... if it is, it sounds so boring....
 
Yes, it is. Anatomy is the worst class I have ever taken.

i am really excited to be accepted to several med schools. But now the more I think about it, the more I am not looking forward to M1 at all... :(
 
I think Pathology is the hardest course. It makes Anatomy sound like a piece of cake.
 
is anatomy just really all memorization? Just memory and nothing else.... :eek:... if it is, it sounds so boring....
Id say 90% memorization. What nerve innervates what, what that muscle does, what vessel supplies this area. Part of it is sort of applied memorization?? if tha tmakes any sense....such as oh he fell of his horse, landed this way, what is most likely to be hurt and why...

Yeah it sucked, alteast for me, (althougth the majority of my classmates found it as their most enjoyable block thus far).
 
i am really excited to be accepted to several med schools. But now the more I think about it, the more I am not looking forward to M1 at all... :(
nah i still love it....anatomy was rough, but im enjoying most every other aspect of my life in general.
 
Some things, like immuno/biochem (pure memorization of things that you'll seldom-- if ever-- actually see with your eyes), are pretty much impossible for me to learn no matter how many times I can cover the material.

In classes like physiology where one can actually use logic, I only look at the stuff once. Also, anatomy wasn't bad because it is actually THERE and you can orient yourself. Histology, on the other hand, sucks.
 
Try thinking of/looking up the etimology of certain words. You'd be surprised at how it can help things stick in your head and how it makes a lot of sense if it appears to just be a random latinesque sounding word.

Ex: Epinephrine. Epi-Nephrine. Epi means on top. Nephrous = kidney. Epinephrine is the hormone released from the adrenals on top of the kidney.
 
around 4 times for me.

First time just to get acquainted with new terms and figure out wtf is going on.

Second time try to memorize major things.

3rd make sure I know everything.

4th right before the test - once you are familiar with the material reviewing is fast.
 
around 4 times for me.

First time just to get acquainted with new terms and figure out wtf is going on.

Second time try to memorize major things.

3rd make sure I know everything.

4th right before the test - once you are familiar with the material reviewing is fast.

That's basically how I try to approach it although sometimes there is too much material to allow me to go through a lecture 4 times.
 
I think Pathology is the hardest course. It makes Anatomy sound like a piece of cake.

I agree with this and I think its because in anatomy you just have to learn names, i.e. terminology and what the things are. In pathology you have to learn new terminology in names plus new terminology in descriptions and many other various associations in different categories; there' s just a wealth of information. But with pathology I think it is a different skill in picking out whats important or at least going through everything but spending the proper amounts of mental attention towards respective topics.

Answering the question though is pretty difficult. Our school doesn't give us lecture notes; sometimes I wish they did. But i use textbooks, the internet, lectures we're given, videostreamed review sessions, other random resources and research group members generate for me. We don't have much lecture (8 hrs/wk) but even though they cover more I still don't really use them for study; not sure why but I get alot out of them when I attend them since they're easy to understand. Towards the end of some blocks I might make a guide of some of the small group cases we've gone through thats like 25-30 pages that covers everything and read through that once or twice but I think that's different. I think I probably go through things about 2-3 times though max in terms of how many times I end up having seen a given detail; as far as constraints I also think with time you just develop an instinct to know whats going on in these big long texts and so you don't need to spend as much time on it. If anything when I get stressed and about to take test I end up having used 5 or 6 sources for the same topic but only having gone through a given one once or twice unless one is particularly encompassing.
 
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i wish i had time to read things like 5-6 times but i usually only have time for 3-4 reads....
 
how often do you guys have exams?

Out here...usually at least once per week...quarter system at its best
 
Before I started school, a doc I shadowed throughout undergrad gave me a simple rule to study with: get through your notes/material 3x - you get an A, get through your notes 2x - you get a B, going through your material only 1x gets you a C or lower. Obviously this is a gross generalization, some people have a freakish capacity to learn and recall info with little repetition and there will be others who probably need a fourth or fifth run through the material.

For every test block, I literally make a 3 column checklist (1x, 2x, 3x reviewed) that includes each section/lecturer in each course. This helps me keep track of where I am in my test review, and I get the little satisfaction of checking off another lecture on my list. Now back to my list to fill up the second column...

This. I think this is a good general rule.

And thanks, I'm going to adopt your column method.
 
how often do you guys have exams?

Out here...usually at least once per week...quarter system at its best

Wow that's awful. We're on block system. There's 5 main blocks over the course of the preclinical years with an exam week at the end of each one. So we get tested 5 times over the course of 2 years I guess, but each time there's both an anatomy/histopath exam as well as a block material exam(we're systems based).
 
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