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How Much Time Do You Spend Studying

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Reverend Mayhem

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I can never tell if I am studying less than, more than, or the same amount as everyone else. I will spend like 3-4 hours a day studying outside of classes or labs but I never feel comfortable with that, even though my grades are decent. I always imagine that my classmates are studying 8 hours a night, every night and I am just doing the bare minimum.

How much time do you spend studying? Is 3-4 hours a day a lot or do I need to stop slacking and pick up the pace?
 

txprodigal

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I can never tell if I am studying less than, more than, or the same amount as everyone else. I will spend like 3-4 hours a day studying outside of classes or labs but I never feel comfortable with that, even though my grades are decent. I always imagine that my classmates are studying 8 hours a night, every night and I am just doing the bare minimum.

How much time do you spend studying? Is 3-4 hours a day a lot or do I need to stop slacking and pick up the pace?

if you're happy with your grades, you're studying enough. but if you're not happy, you need to study more! don't worry about your classmates. we all have different levels of abilities - some might have to study more than others to get the exact same grade
 

WashMe

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I can never tell if I am studying less than, more than, or the same amount as everyone else. I will spend like 3-4 hours a day studying outside of classes or labs but I never feel comfortable with that, even though my grades are decent. I always imagine that my classmates are studying 8 hours a night, every night and I am just doing the bare minimum.

How much time do you spend studying? Is 3-4 hours a day a lot or do I need to stop slacking and pick up the pace?

My input as an MS2:

I sit in class every day from 9am-4pm just to learn something through osmosis, then I don't touch anything at home. About 2 weeks out from a test week (which happens every 5-8 weeks or so), I spend 1 week skimming the material. Then, I spend ~ 1 week before the test studying 12-14 hours per day (while skipping class). I study throughout the exam week as well, always pounding out material for the next day's test.

I'd guess my technique has put me in the middle third of my class, and maybe even in the top third. It's all speculation, really, but I've "Honored" ~90% of my exams this year. I think my strategy works, and I'm not doing much time outside of class on average weeks.
 

Charles_Carmichael

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My input as an MS2:

I sit in class every day from 9am-4pm just to learn something through osmosis, then I don't touch anything at home. About 2 weeks out from a test week (which happens every 5-8 weeks or so), I spend 1 week skimming the material. Then, I spend ~ 1 week before the test studying 12-14 hours per day (while skipping class). I study throughout the exam week as well, always pounding out material for the next day's test.

I'd guess my technique has put me in the middle third of my class, and maybe even in the top third. It's all speculation, really, but I've "Honored" ~90% of my exams this year. I think my strategy works, and I'm not doing much time outside of class on average weeks.
How well do you retain the material? I'm just curious because nearly every med student I've talked to has recommended the multiple repetitions way of studying, which seems different compared to your "start studying 2 weeks before the exam" method.
 

WashMe

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How well do you retain the material? I'm just curious because nearly every med student I've talked to has recommended the multiple repetitions way of studying, which seems different compared to your "start studying 2 weeks before the exam" method.

hmm... I think I remember all of the concepts extremely well, while I tend to forget things like diseases that are named after people, which chromosome is involved in a specific genetic disorder, etc. I will say, however, that pretty much everyone in my class forgets that stuff. I've heard people say things like "how does that drug work again?" and I'm thinking "you've gotta be kidding me," but I ask dumb questions as well so it balances out lol.

I'll have to cram the detailed stuff in the 4-6 weeks prior to step I.
 

mvenus929

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During non-exam weeks, I go to class and then study for 4ish hours a day (so 8 hours total), but I tend to study in the afternoon which is a really low-yield study time for me, so I could cover much more material in that time if I was more motivated.

During exam weeks, I study much later into the night, but it's still pretty low yield. Then I'll spend Friday and Saturday of exam week studying really high yield stuff and generally take the exam on Saturday afternoon (all our exams are online and open from Friday til Sunday).
 

TobiasFunkeMDFACS

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Where do you go to school? So, you could take your exams any time you want to? That sounds really cool!

During non-exam weeks, I go to class and then study for 4ish hours a day (so 8 hours total), but I tend to study in the afternoon which is a really low-yield study time for me, so I could cover much more material in that time if I was more motivated.

During exam weeks, I study much later into the night, but it's still pretty low yield. Then I'll spend Friday and Saturday of exam week studying really high yield stuff and generally take the exam on Saturday afternoon (all our exams are online and open from Friday til Sunday).
 

mvenus929

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Where do you go to school? So, you could take your exams any time you want to? That sounds really cool!

UVA. All our exams are online and generally open Friday at noon and close Sunday at noon. We have, generally, four hours to take them once we start. The honor code is pretty big here (as in, if you violate it, you could get expelled), so it works out pretty well.

So yes, I have classmates that will take exams at midnight on Friday night, and others who will take it at 11:59 on Sunday morning (you don't have to finish before it closes, just start it). My roommate and I generally take it on Saturday afternoons and spend Friday and Saturday morning studying. Our exams are also (generally) every four weeks, so we can't get too far behind.
 

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UVA. All our exams are online and generally open Friday at noon and close Sunday at noon. We have, generally, four hours to take them once we start. The honor code is pretty big here (as in, if you violate it, you could get expelled), so it works out pretty well.

So yes, I have classmates that will take exams at midnight on Friday night, and others who will take it at 11:59 on Sunday morning (you don't have to finish before it closes, just start it). My roommate and I generally take it on Saturday afternoons and spend Friday and Saturday morning studying. Our exams are also (generally) every four weeks, so we can't get too far behind.

Not trolling or trying to be condescending, but that is seriously pathetic. How can you get caught? It is a joke....4 hours? Wow. Most exams take 1h-2hr @ max unless its a final.

That's not to say that I would not welcome such testing standards, :D.
 

WashMe

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Not trolling or trying to be condescending, but that is seriously pathetic. How can you get caught? It is a joke....4 hours? Wow. Most exams take 1h-2hr @ max unless its a final.

That's not to say that I would not welcome such testing standards, :D.

I don't go a a school like mvenus describes, but I don't think it's pathetic in any way. I'll address your comments:

How can you get caught?
1. Someone could see you (student or staff) if you aren't careful enough. Maybe you take the exams on a computer but you have to be in the school library or computer lab... Hard to cheat.
2. You could score "too well" and be an obvious outlier. If you do this repeatedly and show no regression toward the mean, they'll probably keep a close eye on you.

4 hours?
1. This isn't unheard of. Many of the exams I have taken are 3 hours long, and I still struggle to provide satisfactory answers for each question. 4 hours is not absurd.
2. You don't know how long the tests are. There might be 150-200 multiple choice questions, all based off clinical vignettes.
 

mvenus929

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Not trolling or trying to be condescending, but that is seriously pathetic. How can you get caught? It is a joke....4 hours? Wow. Most exams take 1h-2hr @ max unless its a final.

That's not to say that I would not welcome such testing standards, :D.

Not sure what level of education you're at, but from what I've heard, 4 hours is a pretty standard amount of time given for a medical school exam. We are essentially taking a final every four weeks. We cover roughly 80 hours of information every exam. Compare that to the, what, 50 hours a standard undergrad final covers (if it's cumulative)?

Very few people take the whole four hours to take the exam, but that's how much time we're given before the test closes. Personally, I finish in 1 1/2 - 2 hours. I took three on one exam, but the class consensus was that it was a very difficult exam (we were given 5 hours to complete that particular one).

Exams have to be taken in the library. There are other people in the library with you. If you are sitting there looking at notes and very obviously have the exam open on your screen, someone's going to take notice.

But honestly? We're in medical school. Cheating now could mean more mistakes on the wards, and thus more adverse patient outcomes. We have a P/F system (none of this HP and Honors stuff), so if you get 70% on your exam, you pass. End of story. So really, there is no reason for anyone to cheat, because they're only hurting themselves in the long run.
 

secants

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For this block with Physio and Biochem, I'm averaging about 6 hours on normal days, granted I normally don't go to class unless it's a topic I'm really interested in or a guest lecturer. Come test week, I study as much as my mind permits.

Our exams are also about ~3hours with 80-90MQ. Just annoying that exams are given back to back.

Granted I took these in undegrad so I'm more comfortable with it, last block with anatomy was a nightmare - just trying to adjust while finding out what works, I went to class and still studied 5-6 hours and barely passed, irony.
 
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Lil Mick

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I usually don't study much (just watch lectures on-line and then cram the day before exams--except, I guess, when a topic is relevent to my research), but I'm usually around the class average grade-wise. It really depends on what sort of grades to which you aspire. If you're getting the grades you want with studying four hours a day, then keep doing what you're doing. If you want better grades, perhaps studying more would help (or studying by a different method).
 

dienekes88

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I can never tell if I am studying less than, more than, or the same amount as everyone else. I will spend like 3-4 hours a day studying outside of classes or labs but I never feel comfortable with that, even though my grades are decent. I always imagine that my classmates are studying 8 hours a night, every night and I am just doing the bare minimum.

How much time do you spend studying? Is 3-4 hours a day a lot or do I need to stop slacking and pick up the pace?

Try not to compare yourself to other people. Some people are just smarter than you are and can get the same grade (or better) with less studying. Seriously. It's unfortunate, but it's a fact of life. I found out pretty quickly that in terms of raw intelligence, i.e. ability to pick up information, I'm probably in the bottom 5-10% of my class, and for better or worse I think my rotation group might be the strongest of my year. My solution to this has been to work my butt off.

You have to figure out what level of knowledge makes YOU comfortable. For me, I'm never comfortable with my fund of knowledge, so I study constantly. I get in an hour of studying before I head into the hospital every morning. I come back and read textbooks and review books. I read journal articles and UpToDate articles while I workout at the gym. I'm running through lists and mechanisms of action while I'm out for a run or a bike ride.

Oh yeah. Don't be that guy who answers while your fellow student is being pimped. It's really obnoxious. Remember, this is a competition with yourself to acquire as much knowledge as possible.
 

EmersonAnne

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Not trolling or trying to be condescending, but that is seriously pathetic. How can you get caught? It is a joke....4 hours? Wow. Most exams take 1h-2hr @ max unless its a final.

That's not to say that I would not welcome such testing standards, :D.

All our midterms are 3 hours and all our finals are 4 hours, but they're certainly not online. That's just weird.
 

SteinUmStein

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All our midterms are 3 hours and all our finals are 4 hours, but they're certainly not online. That's just weird.

It's not that weird... Michigan's system is almost exactly the same, and it works fine. It's online, but you can only access exams in secure locations where there are always other students around. Cheating in a fully P/F setting and risking expulsion is unbelievably stupid.
 

ArcGurren

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You can't compare yourself to other people when it comes to how you study. Everyone has their own unique style and it requires them spending different amounts of time.

For example: Let's compare myself and Student A, a friend of mine.

Myself:

- We're taking a pathology/pharmacology course organized by organ systems right now (two systems per unit) and we have a unit exam every 2-3 weeks or so. For the sake of argument let's approximate all of them as being 2 weeks.
- The first thing I try to do is stay up to date with the lecture material. We only have lecture from 9 am - 1 pm usually, which allows me the afternoon to study the lectures from the morning, go to the gym every day, cook, etc. This gives me a good daily routine, except on the days where I have some sort of thing going on (student clinic, clinical skills class, etc). I usually make up this time on the weekend. I've also freed up even more time since I don't go to lecture anymore.
- First week - 3-4 hours/day studying, 4-5 hours/day on the weekend
- Then the second week rolls around. Usually we finish all of our lectures by Thursday or Friday, and it's usually only one or two hours of lecture topic, usually miscellaneous, relatively simple stuff. This is the week I spend really consolidating my info.
- I do a few main things: (1) I don't generally actually LISTEN to lecture since it's pointless and I don't learn material by listening unless it's in a clinical setting (2) I read scribe notes and lectures slides and I write the information per hour onto a sheet of paper summarized (but not leaving anything out). (3) group all of the pharm lectures and path lectures together (4) for Pharm, make lists of sheets with just ADRs, Rx, Mechanism - and condense/simplify it drastically.
- All of our exams are Monday exams so: Friday - Sunday or Thurs - Sunday I set up a specific schedule of topics to go through and I do systematic review.
- By Friday evening I'm usually done with the review - and I spend the rest of the evening doing UWorld questions on the topics and annotating into First Aid. It's good practice and helps me consolidate and connect the info as well as refreshing high yield points.
- Saturday morning I spend listening to Goljan Lectures at double speed and reading along with RR Path - unless it's a huge thing like hematology it usually takes somewhere between 1 and 3 hours. Once that's done I study the rest of the day from lecture notes, First Aid, and RR Path.
- I spend all of Sunday doing practice questions from old exams and I go to sleep EARLY, most importantly. Monday I wake up relatively refreshed, go and take the exam, and done by noon!!

This has worked out pretty well for me in general and I'm doing considerably better than I did first year.

Student A:

- lives off campus, doesn't come to class ever, works purely by listening to the lecture audio and taking notes
- He'll study 10+ hours a day at home during the week and generally only come in for required things. Otherwise he listens to each lecture at LEAST three or four times and takes notes on the slides.
- He transfers all the info into notebooks which he studies from
- Doesn't bother with UWorld but listens to Goljan along with RR Path. In general he learns better by listening to audio and by the end of it he can recite almost exactly what the lecture audio has said - sometimes verbatim.
- Has a similar regimen for the weekend before as me but spends most of it going through his notes and doing practice old exam questions - pulls all nighters the night before and then takes a quick nap before the exam
- Goes to the exam, takes it, goes home and passes out

Thing is he generally does within a point or so better than me on exams. For me however, I prefer my method because it gives me more free time, and I don't see how studying the extra 5 hours a day is worth the extra point. To each their own.
 

ArcGurren

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All our midterms are 3 hours and all our finals are 4 hours, but they're certainly not online. That's just weird.

We take Shelf Exams at the end of each course but those are the only exams which are 3-4 hours. Most of our exams are max 2-2.5 hours, usually with 85-100 MCQs
 

21CentSouldier

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Retention of info is a large problem for a lot us. Consistency in not only keeping up with the material, but going back and remembering what you learned yesterday is a pain in the ass. A study out of UCSD said that 2nd year med students remember only about 50-60% of the information from their 1st year. It was also suggested that reinforcement doesn't have to happen everyday. You just need to study the material back-to-back for a certain period of time and then ween yourself away from that by looking at the material at various times in the future to help reinforcement. All seems like common sense right? Well, common sense evades a lot of us sometimes.

Theories of learning are slowly expanding with new ideas and suggestions. The Dana Foundation has some cool articles/links on the subject and would probably be worth checking out if you're interested in approaching the learning method from other angles and maximizing your learning potential.

GL :)
 
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JJMrK

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I tend to study ~2 hours/day if I've got class till noonish, and 0 if I have class until 4 or 5. ~2 hours/day on non-test weekends, 4-5 on weekends if I have an upcoming exam.
 

Lizzie Bartlet

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We take Shelf Exams at the end of each course but those are the only exams which are 3-4 hours. Most of our exams are max 2-2.5 hours, usually with 85-100 MCQs

Our exams are usually 215-250 questions and we're given four hours. We're tested every 4-5 weeks depending on the block.
 

MedIsInMyBlood

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You can't compare yourself to other people when it comes to how you study. Everyone has their own unique style and it requires them spending different amounts of time.

For example: Let's compare myself and Student A, a friend of mine.

Myself:

- We're taking a pathology/pharmacology course organized by organ systems right now (two systems per unit) and we have a unit exam every 2-3 weeks or so. For the sake of argument let's approximate all of them as being 2 weeks.
- The first thing I try to do is stay up to date with the lecture material. We only have lecture from 9 am - 1 pm usually, which allows me the afternoon to study the lectures from the morning, go to the gym every day, cook, etc. This gives me a good daily routine, except on the days where I have some sort of thing going on (student clinic, clinical skills class, etc). I usually make up this time on the weekend. I've also freed up even more time since I don't go to lecture anymore.
- First week - 3-4 hours/day studying, 4-5 hours/day on the weekend
- Then the second week rolls around. Usually we finish all of our lectures by Thursday or Friday, and it's usually only one or two hours of lecture topic, usually miscellaneous, relatively simple stuff. This is the week I spend really consolidating my info.
- I do a few main things: (1) I don't generally actually LISTEN to lecture since it's pointless and I don't learn material by listening unless it's in a clinical setting (2) I read scribe notes and lectures slides and I write the information per hour onto a sheet of paper summarized (but not leaving anything out). (3) group all of the pharm lectures and path lectures together (4) for Pharm, make lists of sheets with just ADRs, Rx, Mechanism - and condense/simplify it drastically.
- All of our exams are Monday exams so: Friday - Sunday or Thurs - Sunday I set up a specific schedule of topics to go through and I do systematic review.
- By Friday evening I'm usually done with the review - and I spend the rest of the evening doing UWorld questions on the topics and annotating into First Aid. It's good practice and helps me consolidate and connect the info as well as refreshing high yield points.
- Saturday morning I spend listening to Goljan Lectures at double speed and reading along with RR Path - unless it's a huge thing like hematology it usually takes somewhere between 1 and 3 hours. Once that's done I study the rest of the day from lecture notes, First Aid, and RR Path.
- I spend all of Sunday doing practice questions from old exams and I go to sleep EARLY, most importantly. Monday I wake up relatively refreshed, go and take the exam, and done by noon!!

This has worked out pretty well for me in general and I'm doing considerably better than I did first year.

Student A:

- lives off campus, doesn't come to class ever, works purely by listening to the lecture audio and taking notes
- He'll study 10+ hours a day at home during the week and generally only come in for required things. Otherwise he listens to each lecture at LEAST three or four times and takes notes on the slides.
- He transfers all the info into notebooks which he studies from
- Doesn't bother with UWorld but listens to Goljan along with RR Path. In general he learns better by listening to audio and by the end of it he can recite almost exactly what the lecture audio has said - sometimes verbatim.
- Has a similar regimen for the weekend before as me but spends most of it going through his notes and doing practice old exam questions - pulls all nighters the night before and then takes a quick nap before the exam
- Goes to the exam, takes it, goes home and passes out

Thing is he generally does within a point or so better than me on exams. For me however, I prefer my method because it gives me more free time, and I don't see how studying the extra 5 hours a day is worth the extra point. To each their own.

Yeah, but if you include the lecture time ( 4 hours, 9 AM to 1 PM as you say) that you go to and he misses, then he studies 10 hours a day and you do 7-8 hours a day right?
 
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