"How to study in med school" - anyone read it? What did u think?

crazyhands

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I am going to be starting MS1, so I decided to get a book on study methods used in med school. I came across this book, How to study in medical school, by Armin Kamyab.

While I read the book, I was kind of doubting his methods. They worked for him. But could they work for most people?

To summarize, he basically told students not to sleep until they finish writing the lecture notes for that days lecture. And by writing notes, he means to simplify and condense the infomation, making it make more sense (he talks about this in the book). Then on weekends and before exams, the students can relax, and review mainly the written notes and not the notes handed out in class.

Here are some of my thoughts: How do you know which notes to include? I've heard from some people that professors can ask very specific details on exams. How can you feel confident that your notes are complete when studying for an exam?

Has anyone read his book and used his methods? Did it work out?
 

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Hmm, never heard of this book, but I did have a friend who did exactly this (maybe he read it?) He would write down these condensed notes out of the sylabus and would not sleep until he had learned everything that was covered that day. He made almost all A's and matched Rads, so guess it works well. I never have that much motivation to do every day, so I would just read the sylabus a coupel of times and write some notes, and cram crap by studying 12 hours a day for the 7 days before the test. I didn't do as well though lol, so his system is probably much better.
 

Samus Aran

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I am going to be starting MS1, so I decided to get a book on study methods used in med school. I came across this book, How to study in medical school, by Armin Kamyab.

While I read the book, I was kind of doubting his methods. They worked for him. But could they work for most people?

To summarize, he basically told students not to sleep until they finish writing the lecture notes for that days lecture. And by writing notes, he means to simplify and condense the infomation, making it make more sense (he talks about this in the book). Then on weekends and before exams, the students can relax, and review mainly the written notes and not the notes handed out in class.

Here are some of my thoughts: How do you know which notes to include? I've heard from some people that professors can ask very specific details on exams. How can you feel confident that your notes are complete when studying for an exam?

Has anyone read his book and used his methods? Did it work out?
no two students study exactly alike. different methods work for different people and part of the challenge of med school is figuring out how to learn the massive amount of info they throw at you in an efficient period of time. the only advice i'd look for is from upperclassmen who have already taken the courses and know what you should expect and what specifically you need to focus on.
 

OPPforlife

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I have not read this book, but i have definitely seen people doing this stuff. One of my friends back in undergrad would rewrite his lecture notes, then for his exam prep he would condense all of his rewritten notes to no joke one page. This one page would be a summary of every thing that was going to be on a particular exam, all he did now was look at this page, and make sure he knew every single detail behind every point in the summary. He claimed that summary sheet was fixed in his memory i.e. by referring to the bullet points in the summary sheet he claimed he could easily test his memory while reviewing for the exam. I am pretty sure it worked out pretty decent for him since I recently heard he got NSF funding for his grad work.
 
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Kraazy

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I have not read this book, but i have definitely seen people doing this stuff. One of my friends back in undergrad would rewrite his lecture notes, then for his exam prep he would condense all of his rewritten notes to no joke one page. This one page would be a summary of every thing that was going to be on a particular exam, all he did now was look at this page, and make sure he knew every single detail behind every point in the summary. He claimed that summary sheet was fixed in his memory i.e. by referring to the bullet points in the summary sheet he claimed he could easily test his memory while reviewing for the exam. I am pretty sure it worked out pretty decent for him since I recently heard he got NSF funding for his grad work.
Did something similar for the MCAT. After I was done with all the prep I went through all the material again to prepare a set of super-condensed notes which was the only thing I touched in the final days before the test. I think it's really the repetition process that is key for memorizing stuff and that's just one way to do it.
 

unsung

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I am going to be starting MS1, so I decided to get a book on study methods used in med school. I came across this book, How to study in medical school, by Armin Kamyab.

While I read the book, I was kind of doubting his methods. They worked for him. But could they work for most people?

To summarize, he basically told students not to sleep until they finish writing the lecture notes for that days lecture. And by writing notes, he means to simplify and condense the infomation, making it make more sense (he talks about this in the book). Then on weekends and before exams, the students can relax, and review mainly the written notes and not the notes handed out in class.

Here are some of my thoughts: How do you know which notes to include? I've heard from some people that professors can ask very specific details on exams. How can you feel confident that your notes are complete when studying for an exam?

Has anyone read his book and used his methods? Did it work out?
Wow! That is spot on! I have just started med school recently and I'm beginning to realize that this is what I must do.

The material definitely builds up VERY quickly after even 1 day of not being fully caught up. It's not like in undergrad where it's possible to just procrastinate on something difficult (say... the Brachial Plexus) and push it off to the next day. Unlike in undergrad, there is no time to "digest" in med school.

Usually with something a bit challenging in undergrad, there's time in the schedule to allow for processing it over at least several days. In med school... no time.

That is not to say one must know each day's material cold before sleeping. But I do believe it to be VERY helpful to at least condense that day's material into one's own notes/words/whatever.

Once I have new material in my own words, it's always just a matter of memorization at that point. The only "processing" comes in when I take in new info and try to understand it and rewrite it, etc. But once I process it, it's pretty "easy" (relatively speaking) to just take some more time and truly memorize it. The hard step is that initial processing which can really vary in terms of length, depending on the specific material being presented that day.
 
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turkeyjerky

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The whole rewriting of notes seems overly time-consuming and unwieldy for me. But I do think it's great advice to go through all the material (even if it's just a cursory read-through, not hardcore studying) the same day as you learn it in class. That way, the lecture is still fresh enough in your mind (hippocampus?) that reviewing the notes can help you consolidate the information that came gushing out of the lecturer's mouth during class--if you wait, even til the next day, that sh!t may be gone forever.
 

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This might be effective for some classes, such as physiology, biochemistry, embryology, etc... but I can't see it be useful for others which require an altogether unique learning approach, such as gross anatomy or maybe even histology.
 

WellWornLad

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It's fine to rewrite lecture notes if that helps you, but it's ridiculous to make fiats like "thou shalt not sleep until thy notes are written and understood." I've done quite well so far in school by just sticking to a couple of rules:

1) When studying, go balls out. No people, no electronics unless absolutely necessary (e.g., online radiology pics), no phone, no distractions. Just me, the syllabus/text, pen, paper, and a sturdy desk.

2) If there are distractions, don't ignore them; deal with them. If you're sleepy, go to bed or take a nap. If you're hungry, go eat. If you're bored to death, go watch TV or surf the web.

Bottom line, it's simply a waste of time to study with anything but complete concentration. That's especially true with sleep, which can actually hurt you if you ignore it.
 

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I have not read this book, but i have definitely seen people doing this stuff. One of my friends back in undergrad would rewrite his lecture notes, then for his exam prep he would condense all of his rewritten notes to no joke one page. This one page would be a summary of every thing that was going to be on a particular exam, all he did now was look at this page, and make sure he knew every single detail behind every point in the summary. He claimed that summary sheet was fixed in his memory i.e. by referring to the bullet points in the summary sheet he claimed he could easily test his memory while reviewing for the exam. I am pretty sure it worked out pretty decent for him since I recently heard he got NSF funding for his grad work.
I used to do this too for essay exams. I would write out a summary sheet of what I needed to know written in a way that I found made it easy to recall stuff. I would then just memorize the points and go through them in my head to find the ones that I wanted to use. I tried it once or twice in science classes, but I found it to be overkill. Usually just writing out the summary sheet was enough unless I needed to memorize lists and stuff.
 

whoisthedrizzle

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I'm always skeptical of re-writing anything. Time spent re-wording things could be spent memorizing or creating a mental picture that will serve you better during the exam. But if it works for you, go for it.
 
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You're not re-writing you are re-reading and comprehending what you read. Then in your own words you explain what you've just read.
Exactly, its "slower-re-writing." Theres a difference. :D
 
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I started off making study notes, but realized quickly that they weren't condensed enough. What worked well for me was making a very rough "skeleton" of what was covered (main topics/ideas) for each lecture, and using that along with the notes to memorize them. Before the exam I would make a very short study guide filling in key points or information I was having trouble memorizing into the previous skeleton study guide I had previously created.
 

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I am surprised at how few people practice RECALLING learned information. It's important to study but practice recalling it in a quiz-like setting. Have a friend quiz you on the material, also scramble the order of the material so you can recall it in a random manner, or make a practice test. Repeat for weak areas.
 

GoLakers310

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I think you should do this to retain and understand important concepts. If you already got it, don't waste your time re-writing. If you need to memorize go buy some review books with nice charts or tables. Most class notes usually have great charts that you can reference. Just memorize those after understanding and LEARNING important concepts!
 

mossyfiber12

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OP said the book recommends rewriting/condensing every lecture notes in your own words? I was curious how many of you actually have time to do that. I have tried to "rewrite" lecture notes before but ended up copying every point from the professor's powerpoint slides because I thought they were all important. Thus at the end, it didn't save me any time.
I usually just try to go through the syllabus as many times as possible. That seems to be work the best. Also, doing practice Qs is also a good idea and helps apply and integrate concepts.
 

ucsfstudents

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Some advice:
1) find out what study methods work best for you during the first year
2) master it so that you can use that method to study for the USMLE step 1
3) don't fall into the trap of trying to do what everyone else is doing, especially if it doesn't work for you
4) go online, search "VARK learning styles", determine your learning style (if you don't already know it) and use their recommended study strategies to your advantage
5) figure out your M-B personality type (humanmetrics.com or something like that) in order to understand why some study strategies will or will not work for you. for example, if you're an extrovert, reading at home for hours on end by yourself will not do the trick. talking it through with others would be more helpful.

Good luck.
 

psipsina

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As others have said you need to find what works best for you. For me I would work ahead of the lecture schedule and make my own consolidated notes in word with pictures. I worked of of last years notes (which we could buy or get from an upperclassman) and then updated if someone gave a new lecture (rare). I tried to get through them 3-4 times before an exam. This kept me from being crazy stressed the last week trying to take in all the new lecture info because I'd usually already hit it twice and gave me more time to spend reviewing earlier lectures as well.