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listening to lecture recordings

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by milosavljevic, May 26, 2012.

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  1. milosavljevic

    milosavljevic 2+ Year Member

    Sep 22, 2009
    I have tried to improve my study habits by attempting to follow the advice on this thread:

    I feel like I'm doing better taking written notes during the actual lecture because I pre-review each lecture and read any assigned journal articles before lecture.

    However, I need some help on listening to lecture recordings. I'm taking a class right now where the professor speaks very fast. I've been dutifully listening to each recording immediately after class, since it's been suggested that retention is better with immediate review after the lecture.

    My problem is that it takes me at least 4-6 hours (pause-play-pause-play...) just to get through a 50 minute lecture...I'm not sure if this is normal or not but it feels like I'm always behind on listening to lectures. Since the professor tends to go on long tangents, I feel the need to type out everything the professor is saying, just so I can understand what he is trying to emphasize. Then I have to go back and organize everything so that it makes sense to ME.

    I don't think this can work in the long run, since this is the only class I'm taking at the moment and I still feel overwhelmed. When I start taking a full course load in the summer/fall, how should I approach lecture recordings? Summer classes will be worse with 2+ hours of lecture per day. I can't even imagine what DO school might someday be like.

    I can't possibly write everything down on paper during the actual lecture (and I have learned I shouldn't try to), so how can I make my notes complete while not spending so much time copying down everything the professor says on the recording? The recordings seem to be important because the powerpoint slides are mostly pictures/graphs, and the professor doesn't follow along with the book originally suggested for the class.
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  3. FrkyBgStok

    FrkyBgStok DMU c/o 2016 10+ Year Member

    Aug 7, 2005
    I have had professors do this. I drive a truck for a living so audio lectures were my prime source of studying. When I had a professor that sucked, I would take lecture notes and record, then I would listen to it again and fill in what I missed. After that, I would record myself reading my lecture notes, and then I would listen to myself talk. that way i knew exactly what I was pounding into my head each time.

    if the lecture didn't cover the material, I would skip it and use the book doing the same thing. If the lecture was based primarily on the book, I would bring the book, highlight what was said then go home and record myself reading the highlighted portions in the proper context.
  4. DavetheMD

    DavetheMD 5+ Year Member

    Aug 30, 2010
    iTunes usually let's you slow down a recording by half. I would go that route
  5. donkeykong1

    donkeykong1 7+ Year Member

    Jun 1, 2009
    most DO schools have powerpoints with words as well as pics to go along with lectures. this makes following the recordings kind of easier.
  6. BeanDip4All

    BeanDip4All emt-abcdefgh 7+ Year Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Palo Alto, CA
    Find some software that lets you play back the audio at 1.5x speed.

    How are you recording your lectures? OneNote and also MS Word in notebook view for macs lets you record while typing notes- so you can go back and see exactly what the prof was saying when you were typing a specific thing.

    I use this and when I go back to review the lecture I only really review parts where I got lost during the actual lecture (noted by "??????" in my notes). I'll hit all those parts 2x or as many as I need to to make sure I've got it, and then move on.
  7. milosavljevic

    milosavljevic 2+ Year Member

    Sep 22, 2009
    Thank you so much for the helpful replies.

    I hope so! =/

    I currently use the recording app on my iPhone, I don't even know what it's called but it has the big old-school microphone picture on it. I used to use my Mac and typed up notes using the notebook view and could pinpoint where I was in the recording. However, I found that typing my notes in class led me to not really listen, but more just take a bunch of notes that didn't make sense. Also, the class right now is comparative physiology so there are a lot of equations that are easier to write on paper than on my laptop. I've never looked into OneNote but I will now.

    I didn't know this was possible, but I will definitely find instructions! It's easy for me to upload my recording files to iTunes.

    That's a very interesting idea that I've never heard of! I would like to try this as well.
  8. ManBroDude

    ManBroDude Half man, half bearpig 5+ Year Member

    Mar 8, 2011
    VLC player (it's free) lets you fine-tune playback speed as well, and it's way more lightweight than iTunes.

    Recording audio while in Word or OneNote?! How cool is that!?
  9. CopToEM

    CopToEM Livin' the Dream 5+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 2009
    Southeast US
    One thing I'll point out is if you takes it 4+ hours to condense 50 minutes of audio into written notes then odds are you're not being concise enough. It should take you at a max two hours to do that. Listen to a block of audio, explain it out loud as if you were teaching it to a friend, and write down concisely what you just said. Repeat.

    I found in undergrad that many students were really verbose in their book/lecture notes. If you condense 90 pages of book text into 45 pages of written notes... you've not really done yourself a favor.

    Your notes should simply be a mechanism to allow you to recall information from stored memory.

    Notes read: "Extracellular proteins move through golgi."
    Mind recalls: "Oh, right, they need to get to the cell surface... that's made out of a phospholipid bilayer... so they need to be contained in vesicles. They're translated on the surface of the rough ER, fed into the ER, bud off and travel to the Golgi, etc. etc. etc. etc." You should remember the details and write only the cues to recall that memory.

    Pre-reading works better than any method I've ever seen for the most amount of people so keep with that!
    DocTAP87 likes this.
  10. milosavljevic

    milosavljevic 2+ Year Member

    Sep 22, 2009
    I agree that I have a huge problem being concise. My lecture notes feel like novels =\ I'm just worried I will miss an important detail if I try to oversimplify a topic. It seems like a lot of people are suggesting putting the notes into my own words from the start. Though it will probably take me a while to get the hang of it, this sounds like a better place to begin than what I'm doing now.
  11. CopToEM

    CopToEM Livin' the Dream 5+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 2009
    Southeast US
    Something we commonly heard at our undergrad was, "Keep It Simple Stupid." I.E. students could commonly tell you the name of every constituent of the citric acid cycle but they could not tell you the ATP payoff along the way or anything about regulation, etc. Memorizing minute details really will not pay off in the long run. Nothing, including the MCAT, truly tests minutiae and you need to focus in on high yield topics. For undergrad, this means you need to largely grasp the big picture, be able to explain processes, tie topics together, and focus less on the minute details. Granted, some professors do screw you over by asking only minutiae type questions, so you just have to make due.

    One easy way to help you avoid condensing lecture notes is just to start reading MCAT review books concurrently with your class. It's already condensed for you and it will aid you tremendously in learning/mastering the material and taking the MCAT when the time comes. This method also carries over into medical school and many successful students cite reading First Aid, etc. alongside their material as a major success.

    Additionally, this condensing method will largely not cut it in med school so you need to work now on being able to hear information, understand it, re-listen if you need to, but not spend 4 hours trying to simplify it in your own words. People do make study guides but they're nothing like what you're probably doing now. There's just not enough hours in the day to do that at such a high level.

    I was in your same shoes early on in undergrad. I'd read a page in the book, hand write it out in my own words, and continue. It takes forever. Best to work on breaking that habit now instead of getting into the habit of depending on it!
  12. milosavljevic

    milosavljevic 2+ Year Member

    Sep 22, 2009
    I'm really concerned that I haven't figured out the correct way to study yet. Many of my friends have called me out on not knowing general concepts or being able to connect/compare/contrast different topics. I can't seem to let go of trying to learn all the details. Your suggestions have provided me with a lot of important things to start doing NOW instead of later, especially because I will be entering a post-bacc program this fall. It's essentially my last chance to show I can do well, and I'm trying to get my act together before then =\
  13. Iliketoytles

    Iliketoytles 5+ Year Member

    Aug 23, 2011
    Great advice. So many people try to memorize every detail without understanding the concept behind what's happening. They want to memorize that osmosis is water following a solute, but not why it happens. Understanding the concept of why osmosis occurs chemically allows you to apply it to help make sense of so many things (kidney filtration, tons of biological cycles, etc.)

    Of course, since it's science there is a great deal to memorize. It's difficult to conceptualize the names of muscles/bones/nerves (although, there are tons of tricks to help). But it's kind of like diagnosis... you want to diagnose, or figure out, why something works the way it does. That's what science is all about.

    And I just realized my entire post is just a meaningless rant about science. But science is awesome. So deal with it.
  14. NightGod

    NightGod 2+ Year Member

    Jun 10, 2011
    Another vote here for learning the "big picture" vs the minutiae. I believe I have a bit of an advantage of having a couple decades of experience in troubleshooting computers, but I realized early on that knowing the tiny details of things was rarely important past the next test-after that, knowing WHY things worked became far more important than exactly HOW they worked. Being able to comprehend the overall picture of why certain things happen they way they do is going to serve you far better in the long run than memorizing a hundred (or even a dozen) specific formulae.

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