myosinhead

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Throughout the semester, I'm very relaxed, unfocused and dumb. When I study, I get very little out of it and waste so much time on other school-unrelated things.
But when it comes time for exams, I all of a sudden become very smart and efficient and put in my effort readily. I make use of every minute so well and my concentration is vastly improved. This is a good thing, but what's bad is that it's really painful, because I need to do a huge amount of work all at once that was piled up like mountains in previous weeks.
The question is, how can I maintain this same kind of efficiency and spirit/mindset throughout the semester, not just 1-2 weeks before exam periods?
I just find it really difficult to stay in this "smart student" mode during nonexam periods and I frequently procrastinate.
How do you guys find the motivation to stay on top of things even if you hate them?
 

airplanes

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Throughout the semester, I'm very relaxed, unfocused and dumb. When I study, I get very little out of it and waste so much time on other school-unrelated things.
But when it comes time for exams, I all of a sudden become very smart and efficient and put in my effort readily. I make use of every minute so well and my concentration is vastly improved. This is a good thing, but what's bad is that it's really painful, because I need to do a huge amount of work all at once that was piled up like mountains in previous weeks.
The question is, how can I maintain this same kind of efficiency and spirit/mindset throughout the semester, not just 1-2 weeks before exam periods?
I just find it really difficult to stay in this "smart student" mode during nonexam periods and I frequently procrastinate.
How do you guys find the motivation to stay on top of things even if you hate them?

The solution is to start more threads on SDN. :rolleyes:
I was addicted to procrastinating my freshman year in college. Once I decided I wanted to get into med school though, a switch flipped and I knew I needed to put in the time, effort and dedication to get my ish together. Figure out what motivates you (it may or may not be the medical field), that light at the end of the tunnel, and use that to get yourself together.
 

Greonis

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My first suggestion would be to strengthen your grasp of "the big picture." Realize that, at every point in your education (and not just immediately prior to exams), your performance will determine how your medical school applications play out. Treat your passion for entering medicine as "that next big exam" and think of it during idle times when it seems that focusing is unnecessary. And while I am not one to encourage competition, you could also begin to think about your peers and assume that all of them are working hard while you are procrastinating, increasing the likelihood that they will steal away medical school spots from you(which may very well be true, depending on your actual performance and your undergraduate institution).

It may also help to recognize that each piece graded work is important, no matter how small a percentage of the overall grade it may take up. If you treat that seemingly minor piece of homework as being equivalent to a midterm exam, you'll be just as encouraged and want nothing more than to work hard to make sure that it is done correctly.

In a nutshell, your future goal of becoming a physician should be your ongoing driving force.
 
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apgar

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I don't know about you, but it seems like you are much more efficient when you are more pressed for time (right around exam time), which helps you work faster and more effectively. Other times, when you have lots of time, you find yourself goofing off more. This seems kind of paradoxical, but it's exactly the way I am. If I know that I know lots of time to finish something easy, I will spend my time doing other things until before I realize, it's already midnight and I haven't even started the "easy" assignment. There are many things that I do to help me avoid this problem. First, I try to get involved more so I have less unstructured time. This breaks down free time into smaller chunks of time in which I can be more efficient. Also, if you set out a schedule for yourself (e.g., finish this paper by 10pm), you may find yourself more efficient since you self-impose deadlines for yourself.
 

Isoprop

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here's what i did. there was this one brutal weekend where i crammed for 3 exams on the following monday. during the final hours before my first exam, i took my study guide and wrote: "REMEMBER HOW THIS FEELS." i use it as a reminder of how painful those cramming sessions were.

some other advice: i think pushing yourself to be efficient all the time will lead to burnout. putting an hour or two everyday except weekends is pretty good for the average undergrad load. then rev it up when exams come near.
 

biophysicianai

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putting an hour or two everyday except weekends is pretty good for the average undergrad load. then rev it up when exams come near.

totally disagree, at least in my situation. I'm envious of you if you have the cognitive capacity to pull this off. I'm in the library until 1 on weekends...

Isoprop, share your secret
 

Isoprop

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totally disagree, at least in my situation. I'm envious of you if you have the cognitive capacity to pull this off. I'm in the library until 1 on weekends...

Isoprop, share your secret

haha. depends on your workload. but assuming OP can successfully cram half a semester's worth of exam material in a week, he or she can safely study 1-2 hours per day and increase it to 4-5 a few days before exams.

edit: out of curiosity, what classes are you taking that demands so much time?
 

magikdoc

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I got this advice from my MCAT teacher:

One of his students was a construction worker by day and at night, he used the few precious hours he had to study for the MCAT. He was always so exhausted when coming home, that he had trouble even staying awake let alone study for the MCAT. What he did to keep himself motivated was write the target grade on both the tops of his hands. For him, it was a "36", so he wrote a 3 on the left hand and a 6 on the right. Everyday when he came home from work, he would see those numbers and remind himself what his goals were and what he needed to do to secure that score.

Not saying this would work for everybody, but it worked for me too, if you are that kind of visually stimulated person.
 
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