073116

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I'm MS1, first exams will start on Monday (4 days left basically). I'm feeling ok, but I made some mistakes my first week that put me behind a bit.
My school has mandatory lectures so this is all for a setup that you are in school 8-5 (sad but true).

Mistakes I made:
1. I studied in a group - turns out it's not working for me, I learned material by myself a lot faster. Abandoned that idea.
2. I tried making study guides - they work (I memorized material good), but they take abysmally long time and energy to do - this is main thing that put me behind as lectures are coming fast everyday and study guide is just not for medical school. It was working when I was preparing for mcat, but at that time I had almost infinite time - not so much now. With exams every week or every other week - study guide is a bad idea.
3. Flashcards - they are good, but again, takes time making them and to be honest with exams every week - time toll making them over-weights benefits flashcards provide. Besides, I feel like flashcards are good when you have a LOT of info to memorize for exam - like for Board exam, but for 1 week worth of material - benefits of flashcard making are questionable. I feel like my tried solution (below) makes it easier to tackle this.


Tried solutions:
What I ended up doing yesterday and today - just plain old highlighting handouts and going over them several times. I'm almost back in game - as this method is as quick as it gets. Banal, but true story.

Additional info:
In my case, when lectures/labs go from 8 to 5 - TIME management and FAST effective study methods are really important as I don't have a lot of time after I come home (not to mention been tired from 6-7 hours lecture/labs or other things I need to do like eat, laundry, hygiene - this all takes time too).

I honestly tried different things, but I feel like good old highlighting and going over handouts several times (at least 2 or 3 times) works best in MY case only because it saves me a lot of time. I'm not saying flashcards, study guides or group study are bad methods, but they consume TIME that I don't have. I would imagine for someone in different school that provides all lectures video-recorded so they can watch them at home and skip lectures - many of above-mentioned methods would work just fine, but not in my case.

Anyone has same experience or any further advice how to improve studying methods in my circumstances?

P.S. I'm thinking adding a "tell it/explain it to a wall" method to some of handouts that are harder than others. This is the only thing (known to me so far) that also works and is FAST.

P.P.S Another thing I can try adding is pre-reading a handout in the morning before lectures - quickly, just to get an idea.

Thank you
 
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Azete

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8-5 is brutal. We have mandatory 8-3 (most days), and I feel like that leaves me with zero time -- almost impossible to go over the day's lecture and get to sleep by a reasonable time.

Things that helped me:

-Stop studying by 10, and use 10-11 to unwind (shower, watch TV, etc.) so you can get to sleep at a reasonable hour. It seems counterproductive to stop studying earlier when you're already short on time, but given that you have to be at lecture all day, you can't afford to be tired because you must be absorbing material during this time if you want to have any chance of success.

-You can't take an hour for dinner and another hour for exercise, you just can't. Other medical students can do this because they're able to me more productive in the morning/afternoon hours, but your evening hours are precious. That said, exercise and eating right are essential to maximizing your study efficiency. What I do is on Sundays I set up 3 crockpots of food (a very wise investment), and then alternate those 3 meals throughout the week for lunch/dinner. Saving time cooking and still eating well will you help you tremendously. For exercise I usually take a half hour immediately when I get home to get my cardio in and call it a day.

-Here's where you're going to tell me to **** off: Study your lectures a day in advance -- seriously. If you're seeing the material for the first time in lecture, you're wasting your lecture time. At first I was just reviewing for an hour the night before, but now I'm just full fledged studying the next day's topics the night before for roughly 2-3 hours. I won't learn everything, but I'll have a pretty good understanding and then lecture just fills in all the gaps.

-Review the previous day's topics during your lunch break (spaced repetition) and take an hour when you get home to review what you learned today (by this point you should basically already know it). Usually I just use this time to memorize minutiae, or explore external resources for still unclear topics. Just to keep tabs, you're reviewing once the night before, twice the day of (lecture and when you get home), and once the day after. That's 4 passes over 3 days.

-Use your weekends to review the whole week (now 5 passes), and memorize the stuff you didn't have time to during the week.


With this method I barely have to study for exams. In fact, my lightest days are the days before exams. I review all the material (now 6 passes), but by this point I already know the stuff. I can just do practice problems and fill in any remaining gaps. You'll have to find what works for you, but this helped me a lot.

Note: I would only do this schedule at a school with mandatory attendance. There are much more efficient methods of learning the material, but this is the best I've found given the circumstances.
 
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073116

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Azete, thank you very much! I'll try to study materials before lecture, so lectures itself are not wasted or used more efficiently. Getting to sleep earlier will be much harder for me to do (as this cuts into already scarce study time), but I agree this is a proper way to increase efficiency during daytime. I'll start reviewing previous day material during lunch-breaks. This is best plan so far given my circumstances! The only issue I foresee - will be not enough time to do exactly like you say, since I'm done 2hr later than you are, but if you are saying this works for you - it should work for me in similar situation. Maybe I'll end up with only 4 goes over material, we'll see. I like my school, but this mandatory schedule is brutal. I wonder how other people study and survive in this kind of environment?
 

Azete

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Azete, thank you very much! I'll try to study materials before lecture, so lectures itself are not wasted or used more efficiently. Getting to sleep earlier will be much harder for me to do (as this cuts into already scarce study time), but I agree this is a proper way to increase efficiency during daytime. I'll start reviewing previous day material during lunch-breaks. This is best plan so far given my circumstances! The only issue I foresee - will be not enough time to do exactly like you say, since I'm done 2hr later than you are, but if you are saying this works for you - it should work for me in similar situation. Maybe I'll end up with only 4 goes over material, we'll see. I like my school, but this mandatory schedule is brutal. I wonder how other people study and survive in this kind of environment?
I think mandatory attendance is the worst thing a medical school can do. I don't mind waking up, or being there, but it ends up being a ton of wasted time for a large majority of students that don't learn well in lecture formats. All this ignoring the fact that watching on 2x is literally twice as efficient as real time; even more because there's no groom/travel time. It takes me an hour and a half every day to groom (we have a professional dress code) and travel to and from class -- what I would pay for those extra 90 minutes (7.5 hours every week!!).

And honestly, on a real note, online study materials teach medical school better than basically any faculty. Sad truth.

Now I need to add Step 1 studying on top of my already maxed out schedule, and I just don't know where I'm going to find the time to do it.
 
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Azete, thank you very much! I'll try to study materials before lecture, so lectures itself are not wasted or used more efficiently. Getting to sleep earlier will be much harder for me to do (as this cuts into already scarce study time), but I agree this is a proper way to increase efficiency during daytime. I'll start reviewing previous day material during lunch-breaks. This is best plan so far given my circumstances! The only issue I foresee - will be not enough time to do exactly like you say, since I'm done 2hr later than you are, but if you are saying this works for you - it should work for me in similar situation. Maybe I'll end up with only 4 goes over material, we'll see. I like my school, but this mandatory schedule is brutal. I wonder how other people study and survive in this kind of environment?
We have the same 8-5 schedule and mandatory attendance. Many of us dealt with it by putting in headphones and listening to the previous day's lectures on double speed while sitting in the lecture hall. That way you have time to make multiple passes through the material the same day. It can make your morning hours much more productive, which means you can sleep more and have a bit of free time in the evenings. Do you have that as an option?
 
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073116

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We have the same 8-5 schedule and mandatory attendance. Many of us dealt with it by putting in headphones and listening to the previous day's lectures on double speed while sitting in the lecture hall. That way you have time to make multiple passes through the material the same day. It can make your morning hours much more productive, which means you can sleep more and have a bit of free time in the evenings. Do you have that as an option?
I can try that, but there are several problems with that: I can't really listen to a lecture at 2x speed, I usually can go 1.25x or 1.5x max if lecturer is really slow talker. I tend to retain info really good, but not at 2x speeds. I wish I could do that at 2x. Also, most of our lectures involve clicker question participation and I don't want to waste that. In addition some instructors like to ask questions during lectures and they can easily see if you are doing something else.
To be honest, when I was interviewing I knew about this classical approach and I thought it would be good, but reality is more brutal. It's just exhausting and I feel like my time could be spent more effectively skipping lectures, but I can't. I don't like flipped classroom either. IMHO best way is when you have classical approach, but with option of recorded sessions of every lecture that you can watch them at your own pace anywhere. I know most of schools offer that. Anyway, I need to survive somehow and adapt. I'm not sure how will faculty deal with our exam grades (I suspect average may not be the best) - maybe they will adjust the curve or something else, I don't know. At this point I'm trying to score average for class, I just can't do my best in this kind of military schedule. :( They say tho, we can adapt to almost anything
 

shadowlightfox

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I go to bed at 10 and wake up at 5 every day. This way, I'm basically guaranteed at least few hours of free time no matter when school starts, even on 8-5 days. It's even better when my school has Monday mornings and Friday afternoons off (for the most part). Basically, for some classes, I pre-read, and for others, I post-study. Which classes I do which I haven't decided yet since it's only been the first week of med school for me, but I plan to use Fridays to Sundays to review the entire material like Azete said.
 
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Azete

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I go to bed at 10 and wake up at 5 every day. This way, I'm basically guaranteed at least few hours of free time no matter when school starts, even on 8-5 days. It's even better when my school has Monday mornings and Friday afternoons off (for the most part). Basically, for some classes, I pre-read, and for others, I post-study. Which classes I do which I haven't decided yet since it's only been the first week of med school for me, but I plan to use Fridays to Sundays to review the entire material like Azete said.
God bless your soul, man. I have some classmates that do this (one girl goes to bed at 10 and wakes up at 4(!) every day to study), but I just can't do it. I wish I had that type of discipline, but if I don't have to wake up, there's no chance of getting me out of bed. I wish it didn't take me so long to fall asleep at night, that's part of the problem -- no matter how tired I am, I need at least an hour to unwind before I can sleep.

I've also heard of some people coming home, taking a ~3 hour nap, eating dinner, and then studying from 7pm-2am or so. Seems efficient, but I'm not sure about the health effects of splitting up sleep like that.
 

shadowlightfox

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God bless your soul, man. I have some classmates that do this (one girl goes to bed at 10 and wakes up at 4(!) every day to study), but I just can't do it. I wish I had that type of discipline, but if I don't have to wake up, there's no chance of getting me out of bed. I wish it didn't take me so long to fall asleep at night, that's part of the problem -- no matter how tired I am, I need at least an hour to unwind before I can sleep.

I've also heard of some people coming home, taking a ~3 hour nap, eating dinner, and then studying from 7pm-2am or so. Seems efficient, but I'm not sure about the health effects of splitting up sleep like that.
Thank you. To be honest, though, I'm not a night person, but I am definitely a morning person. I realy do hope this new study method works. I'm still trying to find out whether I should pre-study, lecture, and then post study, or just lecture and post study for my classes. It's really tough finding out an efficient study method right now for me.
 
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Azete

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Thank you. To be honest, though, I'm not a night person, but I am definitely a morning person. I realy do hope this new study method works. I'm still trying to find out whether I should pre-study, lecture, and then post study, or just lecture and post study for my classes. It's really tough finding out an efficient study method right now for me.
If you don't have mandatory attendance, definitely just lecture and post study. If you do have mandatory attendance, I would highly recommend heavier pre-study with lighter post study if you can.
 
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073116

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Thanks guys, your thoughts and ideas are keeping me from going crazy :) It's interesting tho, that it's only 3-4 of us that have this conversation. I wonder if all others (and I'm sure there are tons of other MS1 students in same situation) already found their method or just don't care to share their thoughts? I mean we are not the first and last - there should be some consensus to at least main points (details may vary of course), so why upperclassmens (e.g. MS2) not sharing answers?
 

CoomassieBlue57

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Thanks guys, your thoughts and ideas are keeping me from going crazy :) It's interesting tho, that it's only 3-4 of us that have this conversation. I wonder if all others (and I'm sure there are tons of other MS1 students in same situation) already found their method or just don't care to share their thoughts? I mean we are not the first and last - there should be some consensus to at least main points (details may vary of course), so why upperclassmens (e.g. MS2) not sharing answers?
I condensed handwritten notes and drew structures/pathways in undergrad. I was doing that until yesterday, then I realized I'm about 7 lectures behind. It was taking me about 4 hours a lecture to write everything and net even study it yet. I think I'm just going to prestudy the outlines, watch/attend lecture, then go over the outline again once or twice. Hopefully that will save me more time.

I have been making anki cards too (about 400-500 cloze cards) so that has actually been useful since the initial batch.
 
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JustPlainBill

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Thanks guys, your thoughts and ideas are keeping me from going crazy :) It's interesting tho, that it's only 3-4 of us that have this conversation. I wonder if all others (and I'm sure there are tons of other MS1 students in same situation) already found their method or just don't care to share their thoughts? I mean we are not the first and last - there should be some consensus to at least main points (details may vary of course), so why upperclassmens (e.g. MS2) not sharing answers?
Don't know that it's other MS1's/MS2's don't want to share their answers -- it's just that they're probably studying rather than reading osteopathic student forums on SDN ;->

Seriously -- you'll have to find what works for you -- quickly -- as I've said elsewhere, I thrashed around for quite some time during my first pass through MS1 -- did so well in MS1 that I got to do it again just so they could be sure I had it down using my method :-0 --- I learn by reading/thinking the concept through until I understand it -- but by the time I did that during MS1/2, I didn't have time to study the "minutiae that's vital to your education" memorization points so I suffered grade wise ---

You need to realize a few things ---

1) Medical school is not about your medical education, per se -- it's about you doing well enough on board exams so that the school can attract more students and continue to get paid -- i.e. administrators/Ph.D/MD/DO lecturers can stay employed and eat.
2) if you get a medical education along the way, good for you.
3) Having said 1 and 2 above, the education you receive in medical school is based upon the concept of layered learning --- you will see the important material over and over again during your first 2 years, applied in clinic your 3rd year -- 4th year is about finding a job (residency) after medical school so it really doesn't count; you'll see it in the depth you need to know it during residency and by the time you're an attending, you'll have forgotten most of it but developed a "gestalt database" in your head such that when you see it in clinic, you'll know what you're looking at without being able to pinpoint the exact disease name but you'll just KNOW.
4) So -- an approach that actually worked for me when I USED it --- as I've outlined before --- get a copy of the latest, greatest First Aid for USMLE Step 1, go to Kinkos and have them remove the cover and 3 hole punch that thing -- get 2 large (3 -4 inch binders). Go home and put the newly punched FA into those binders -- leave some space to add sheets.
5) Before you start a block of instruction (if you're systems, before each system) -- read/memorize/pimp each other over the material in FA -- you can do this in about 2 days so over the weekend before the block starts. FA has what's highly testable both in class and on boards. Your classes are going to highlight what's testable on boards -- that's what counts from a med school perspective in terms of bragging rights and recruitment material. You should know that stuff cold. -- also come up with ingenious ways to ask a question regarding the material -- you'll stumble a bit at first, but pretty soon, you'll figure out how the instructors ask the questions on exams and start being able to predict where the question will come from. My study buddy (figured out that worked for me way too late in 2nd year) and I would get together the weekend prior to an exam and go over each set of powerpoints making up pimp questions and after about the second exam, we started nailing questions and always wound up with 5 to 10 points extra just by doing that -- it's a letter grade.
6) As you go through the powerpoints, you'll know what to focus on by your FA reading -- if the prof emphasizes something, parks on a particular PPT, repeats a concept, etc., take good notes on the PPT -- when you get home, flesh those out, adding detailed notes that you will be able to understand 2 years later when you study for step 1 -- since your FA is 3 hold punched, you can add extra sheets of paper, PPTs, etc. into those binders -- annotate FA as much as needed along the way.
7) you have now created a personalized study guide without having to rewrite the book that you can use both for class study/exam prep and board prep. It may take some time to refine the method in a way that works for you but the key is not to focus on the method, but to focus on learning the testable material.
8) Learn what's testable now -- you'll get more exposure as you go along and as you gain experience, other aspects will become important -- I'll never forget the ICU fellow who sat me down one Saturday on rounds with a patient we had on a vent for a case of ARDS secondary to (2/2) lung fibrosis as a SE from a prostate cancer treatment -- he walked me through an examination of a CBC and other labs and diagnosed curling ulcers as a cause for a slow anemia and then had it confirmed with endoscopy and predicted the patient's demise as we were fighting a losing battle -- nowhere in my medical education had that been done but what I learned in MS1-MS4 and residency made me able to put the pieces together and follow the explanation. Again, layered learning, bit by bit.

Have fun and remember -- take this advice with a grain of salt -- I failed first year, repeated it, passed all my boards first try so take it FWIW -- your mileage may vary, no warranties expressed or implied, car driven by a professional driver on a closed track ---
 
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Moose A Moose

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If these answers are anything like your study methods, you're committing the fallacy of working hard and not smart.

OP, you want to do well? Always attend or watch a lecture at least once and then review the PowerPoint or handout. Write things down, or draw them out, multiple times, but don't create study guides. They're a waste of time and energy. Use flash cards sparingly and only for classes involving pharmacology or anatomy. Group study is a waste for the most part. That's for stroking egos- forget about it.

Do all of the above, donate at least five hours a day to study (more on exam weeks), eat right, hit the gym, get at least 7 hours of sleep a night and set aside one night a week for socializing, and you'll have the grades you seek. It may take a little bit of time for your brain to catch up to "how" you have to study now, but you'll get there before you know it.
 
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073116

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JustPlainBill thank you! Your advice noted and taken into consideration. I like the FA implementation! Will try that! Strategical advice and direction where to look!

Moose A Moose thank you! I agree with you that flashcards in my situation are only good for subjects like Anatomy or Pharmacology. Most importantly it's lectures and reviewing handouts/ppt couple of times after lecture to memorize details. I'll try to set a goal to reach 5hr a day study time (besides lectures). I can split it up 2hr in the morning before lectures and 3hr evening study after lectures. I think that should do the trick for now!

Now we are getting somewhere! :)
 

shadowlightfox

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If these answers are anything like your study methods, you're committing the fallacy of working hard and not smart.

OP, you want to do well? Always attend or watch a lecture at least once and then review the PowerPoint or handout. Write things down, or draw them out, multiple times, but don't create study guides. They're a waste of time and energy. Use flash cards sparingly and only for classes involving pharmacology or anatomy. Group study is a waste for the most part. That's for stroking egos- forget about it.

Do all of the above, donate at least five hours a day to study (more on exam weeks), eat right, hit the gym, get at least 7 hours of sleep a night and set aside one night a week for socializing, and you'll have the grades you seek. It may take a little bit of time for your brain to catch up to "how" you have to study now, but you'll get there before you know it.
I beg to differ on some of your points. You may find study guides useless, but that doesn't mean others do. For instance, I just finished making a study guide for biochem right now, not because I plan on studying it, but by being in the middle of making a study guide, I was able to reinforce the material and even get a stronger grasp of the material. I guess that's the same as writing things down, but still.

As for group studying stroking egos. While that may certainly be possible, that mainly depends on who you're studying with. I haven't been in a study group yet, but I prefer to use it study group as an opportunity to ask my fellow students any qeustions or weaknesses I'm having and how they fixed it if they had the same weakness.

That's just me, though. Like you said. Everyone's different.
 

starri

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As for group studying stroking egos. While that may certainly be possible, that mainly depends on who you're studying with. I haven't been in a study group yet, but I prefer to use it study group as an opportunity to ask my fellow students any qeustions or weaknesses I'm having and how they fixed it if they had the same weakness.
Some of the best studying I did for Step 1 and Step 2 was pimping one of my friends. YMMV.
 
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darknecrosforte

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OMS1 here Anki'ing damn near every major diagram in Thiebe or Netters (depending how pretty the picture is) using image occlusion for the first anatomy exam at the end of week 3 (Back, entire Upper Extremity, Pectoral) . My spacing settings have slightly decreased time between reviews and I will probably have a thousand cards -_-. I AM an exercise science guy though, so this is the third time I'm learning these bones, muscles, and tendons in the last 2 years though... I'll let you all know how it goes...
 
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shadowlightfox

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OMS1 here Anki'ing damn near every major diagram in Thiebe or Netters (depending how pretty the picture is) using image occlusion for the first anatomy exam at the end of week 3 (Back, entire Upper Extremity, Pectoral) . My spacing settings have slightly decreased time between reviews and I will probably have a thousand cards -_-. I AM an exercise science guy though, so this is the third time I'm learning these bones, muscles, and tendons in the last 2 years though... I'll let you all know how it goes...
Before I put them into anki, I created a 10 to 5 rule for memorizing things that basically alternates between minor and major memorization.

The way it works is as follows: I take one thing I need to memorize, I repeat it ten times to myself without looking at the material. I call this "minor memorization." After that, I look at the second thing, I memorize that by repeating it ten times. Thus, another "minor memorization" completed. THEN, I do a "major memorization," where I repeat all the things I memorize from the beginning five times before I go on to the next "minor memorization". After each "minor memorization" I always do a "major memorization." It may be time consuming depending on what you're memorizing, but it helped me.

After all that, I then put them all in Anki.
 
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ortnakas

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Some of the best studying I did for Step 1 and Step 2 was pimping one of my friends. YMMV.
Same. I hated group studying for the most part, but a month or so before boards a friend and I started working together to go through high yield topics, and it definitely helped.

Don't keep studying with a group that doesn't work for you. But at the same time, don't let one bad group sour you on the possibility for any future groups.
 
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