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Study Methods in Med School

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by sng33, Jul 29, 2002.

  1. sng33

    sng33 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Jun 17, 2001
    I am a visual learner and through college and the MCAT's my main method of learning the material has been reading the chapters and taking my own notes while I read. I do get a thorough understanding of the subject matter, but it also takes a little more time. I was curious if there were any people out there that successfully used this method in college, could you carry it over into medical school? Did you have to modify the technique? Any other suggestions you may have would be appreciated, I just really want to figure out the most effecient studying technique for my learning style that I can use for the great deal of information in medical school..
     
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  3. MustafaMond

    MustafaMond K-Diddy M.D. 7+ Year Member

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    Jul 14, 2002
    didmt we just have this thread?
     
  4. sng33

    sng33 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Jun 17, 2001
    I realize there is a current thread on amount of time spent studying. My question is more focused on people who studied in college by taking notes in chapters (being a visual learner) and how they changed or modified thier study habits in med school if at all.
     
  5. doepug

    doepug Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Baltimore, MD
    It sounds stupid, but I read my notes/textbooks out loud... seems to work reasonably well.

    I remember what I hear.
     
  6. hellokitty

    hellokitty Member 7+ Year Member

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    Mar 9, 2002
    This style is similar to the way I studied in college. Since it worked the best for me, I will continue to do it in med school also.

    I take notes as I am reading the textbooks, then I go back and reorganize my notes in an outline/chart/diagram format. I then use these reorganized notes to study for the exam. The writing process helps me memorize the material.
     
  7. shag

    shag Supreme Procrastinator 7+ Year Member

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    Jul 27, 2002
    FWIW, I studied in a manner similar to what you are describing. I organized lecture transcripts and, using review/tests to fill in holes, typed/wrote my notes. I added charts and high yield handouts to the notes to make "cram packets", which I used almost exclusively to study for exams. The excersise of organizing the material forces you to think and understand. Writing it out gives you a bit of "ownership" over it.

    This method works especially well in courses that require lots of memorization, and is helpful in memorizing conceptual stuff once you've grasped it the first time.

    Anyway, everone learns differently and you must develop you own unique study strategy. I'm sure you've only heard this about a thousand times :)

    Good luck in medical school
     
  8. SimulD

    SimulD Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 22, 2001
    Alexandria, VA
    Hey,

    I think that is an excellent way to study for first year, though a little labor intensive. I did that for certain blocks, and it made end of block studying a lot easier, b/c everything I NEEDED to know was organized into 'cram packets' (as someone called them). I think it is most effective for Physiology (while diagrams are best for biochem and neuro) and Embryo.

    Eventually, I stopped doing it, and I realized it was taking me longer to learn things (about the same time as the extra work needed to write things out) and I wasn't as sharp on learning it, so I think this year I will start doing it again.

    Most schools will have some sort of 'study skills' thing, and they'll figure out what your best style of learning is (be it audio, visual, whatever) and that can be effective, too.

    You'll figure it out soon enoug ...

    Good luck,

    Simul
     
  9. CANES2006

    CANES2006 Miami chica 10+ Year Member

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    Jan 11, 2002
    Miramar, FL
    I thought I was a visual learner, but after reading some of these posts now I'm not so sure. I have never taken my own notes for each chapter because I think it just takes too much time. I just read the text and my notes (if I take some in class). I thought I was visual because I learn by "looking" at pathways, text, chemical reactions, etc for a little while and then I can picture them on exams. I cannot study with other people because I learn best by myself and I get distracted by others. Do you guys think I'll be screwed in medical school? Alot of people have said that if you don't study in groups you'll do bad in medical school. But, I've always studied on my own in college, and I was able to ace everything. I know college is way different from medical school, but what do you guys think? Can you ditch group studying and still do great?
     
  10. 8744

    8744 Guest

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    Dec 7, 2001
    You know what works for me? I Read through all the notes many, many times right up to the day of the test. I read them thoroughly with no distractions but at the same time I don't get bogged down on one particular page.

    This is easy to do at our medical school because almost all of our professors post their lecture notes to the web. Unlike many of my peers, I don't print out anything or write any notes of my own except in the most dire of circumstances. Instead, I sit with my laptop and study off of it.

    I also skim the relevant sections of the textbook if neccessary, concentrating on the big concepts.

    By the test, I have gone through all of my notes at least six times. You'll be suprised at what sticks, especially since almost all our tests are multiple choice.

    Oh, and you might want to try "blowing off" certain material. For example, during biochemistry we had a lecture on the Krebb Cycle. The professor wanted us to memorize the entire pathway along with the intermediates. Since every lecture was represented by two questions on the test, I decided that the amount of time I would potentially spend memorizing 50 chemical structures was not worth two questions on a 180 question test. As it turned out, I only missed one of his questions on the Krebb cycle...and I didn't spend eight hours of valuble time for one point on an exam.

    Now, I have to say that I am not at the top of my class. In fact, I am probably in the bottom third. But I have never failed a test, never been stressed out, and have never studied past 6PM in my entire medical school career. (I am a second year. We are usually done with lectures at one or two PM) Pass=MD.

    I probably average three hours per day of studying if you count the weekends.

    The tradeoff for my method is that I will probably not be going into dermatology or any of the highly competative residencies. But since I have a wife and three children, I am not willing to sacrifice my family life for good grades.
     
  11. 8744

    8744 Guest

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    Dec 7, 2001

    Canes2006, some people study in groups but not everybody. I don't for the same reasons you mentioned. That is, that there is too much grab-assing in study groups. Plus I don't like being around people who are stressing over the upcoming exam.

    You will do fine. The important thing is to be consistent and not study in a haphazard manner. And avoid the procrastination/cramming style. It works for some people, I'm sure, but not for most people.

    Relax. You got in. That was the biggest hurdle. You have to really work hard to get kicked out of medical school. That is, you have to conscientiously not study, not attend classes, not attend clinics, and make a huge effort to offend everyone.

    If you study a few hours everyday, consistently, it will be like being on autopilot.
     
  12. SimulD

    SimulD Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 22, 2001
    Alexandria, VA
    Oh, that advice about blowing certain things off is a gem ... I think one of the best hints that anyone could give to save great amounts of time, especially since schools do a lot of that "4 questions from each lecture" system.

    Here's I do it, and it works beautifully. Say you have 20 lectures to study for a given test. Pick your one or two least favorite/heavily detailed/side info (not related or not a continuation of another lecture). Then, the morning of the exam during coffee/breakfast, give yourself about 10-15 minutes per lecture and just scan through and try to pick up key words and clinical correlates. Almost without fail, you'll get 2 out of 4. It is a great method.

    Good luck,

    Simul
     
  13. KKay999

    KKay999 Member 10+ Year Member

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    May 11, 2002
    North Carolina
    CANES2006. I've learned that I can't study with large groups of people either. More than likely everybody is not going to be at the same stage in their studying and you just have to work with keeping certain people up. However it has helped me to study with one or at the most two people right before a test. Days up to a test I study on my own and make sure that I can work on the areas that I am not strong in. Before a test, it really helps to "talk" information out with someone else. That way you will remember it more and you can correct each other if either person is missing something. That's something that you may be able to consider.
     
  14. yaoming

    yaoming Banned Banned

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    I heard that at some schools where students take reading notes for themselves, students are actually generous enough to post their notes on the internet. the school said this to emphasize how their med school is so non-competitive and friendly. they say so many students post their own notes for each other that no one ever has enough time to go through everyone's notes. is that true at all at any school, or in med school in general?
     
  15. CANES2006

    CANES2006 Miami chica 10+ Year Member

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    Jan 11, 2002
    Miramar, FL
    Yaoming,
    That occurs alot in my medical school (at least that's what the second years tell me ;) ). Most people at my school are non-competitive and SUPER helpful. On a side note, in terms of studying methods, the upperclassmen have told me to ditch the books and concentrate on syllabi and lecture notes posted by the professors. Today, I received my first batch of notes/syllabi and I couldn't agree more. These syllabi are VERY thorough. I can tell that they will be taking a MAJOR chunk of my time to cover.:)
     
  16. anamarylee

    anamarylee A la grande le puse Cuca 10+ Year Member

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    Aug 2, 2002
    Treasure Coast, FL
    So far what I've been doing is sitting down with the textbook and the professor's notes, scan the chapter with the notes in hand and make notes on the margins on the points that I'm not too clear on. Also, when something gets confusing, I just look it up in the BRS and/or the High Yield book. They basically cut through the fat and get you to the meat of the concept.
    I don't know if it's the same way in other schools, but is anyone else unable to finish all the histology lab assignments? It's been two days in a row where the professor starts talking about a particular slide, gives a great explination, and then... time's up. I know we are not expected to finish the lab assignment during the assigned period, specially during the gross anatomy lab, but this is gonna take time away from the lecture study. Not to mention we already have to read a chapter from Bates by next Tuesday for ICS.
    So much stuff.
     
  17. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Jun 4, 2001
    At my school, we have syllabi that give condensed written prose that summarizes the key material we need to know. This often suffices, but if necessary we also use textbooks as references.

    There is no one way to study. I've seen classmates make outlines, flashcards, summaries, illustrations, diagrams, and other notes. Some people like to study in groups, others solo. Basically, you'll find what works for you by trying different techniques. :D
     

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