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Study skills?

Discussion in 'Veterinary' started by Angie09, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. Angie09

    Angie09 Penn c/o 2012 5+ Year Member

    Aug 28, 2006
    This is kind of embarrassing, but I'm a really crappy studier -- I don't concentrate well, I have terrible retention, blah, blah, blah. I'm thinking I should really rectify this before I start school in August, and I was wondering if anyone can recommend books on study skills, or methods that have been successful, or anything like that? I'd like to start now so I can practice over the summer, and I searched all the forums and keep coming up with things like, "read everything five times". "Highlight all the important parts". I'm sure those techniques worked wonderfully for the people recommending them, but they don't for me.

    Does anyone have any ideas or recommendations? I'm particularly interested in books that teach study skills, but any advice is welcome.
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  3. Epidemivet

    Epidemivet Western U c/o 2012 2+ Year Member

    Mar 2, 2008
    This is a good one to check out: "Study is Hard Work: The Most Accessible and Lucid Text Available on Acquiring and Keeping Study Skills Through a Lifetime" by William H. Armstrong
  4. pressmom

    pressmom Third year! 2+ Year Member

    Apr 4, 2007
    What has worked for me is really backing up my studying for several nights before a test so then I don't feel overwhelmed the night or two before. (Besides, you can't really cram for vet school tests anyway.) I set goals everyday of what I'm going to study and for how long. I study with a friend, even if we're reading in the same room together, it helps me stay on track and not get distracted by TV, radio, facebook, etc. And then, if my friend and I are on tract, we spend the night before the test discussing what we've read and taking turns teaching each other.

    Hope this helps!

    And, BTW, I never studied in groups before vet school, but it really does help once you get there because there are going to be things you don't get the first time and it helps having someone to teach you/talk it out.
  5. critterfixer

    critterfixer Veterinarian 2+ Year Member

    Mar 31, 2007
    I home educated my kids for several years, and thus found a number of ways to help them learn and retain information. What seems to be the general rule is that you need to approach concepts in multiple ways in order to really retain them. For a really simple example, if I want to learn to spell a word, I would say the word, spell it out loud (auditory), trace the letters with my fingers (kinetic), close my eyes and "see" the word in my head (visual) and then spell it on the paper. For some reason, having to trace the word and see it in my head makes it "stick" and when I get stuck, I can "hear" myself speak it.

    So this is my long way of saying that you need to read, retype, discuss, and use the information in order to retain it. I also use a white board at home to draw everything, and I do mean everything. Even if you have the best visual or auditory memory out there, you aren't going to retain information you don't use in a number of ways.

    I find problem based learning easiest, because "using" the information and applying it to a relevant case makes it stick. I read a lot of the discussions on VIN in order to see how the information I am learning applies to actual cases. I also find that actually answering, in writing, the study questions in most texts forces me to integrate the information rather than just memorize it.
  6. alliecat44

    alliecat44 KSU CVM Class of '11 Moderator Emeritus Veterinarian 5+ Year Member

    Jan 23, 2007
    DC metro area
    I was one of those people who 1. didn't study too much in undergrad; 2. forget how I DID study in undergrad!, and 3. haven't had to study since I WAS in undergrad seven years before vet school. :) I was way worried.

    I agree with what all have said regarding drawing things, reading things, etc. Really conceptualizing a concept and--another benefit of group studying--seeing if I could explain it to someone else really, really helped.

    That said, for a ton of the rote memorization stuff, simply reading it over and over again is what works for me. Even when you don't think you're absorbing anything, the sheer repetition--preferably at least several times over at least several days--really made some stuff stick. The kind of thing where you're like, "I can't believe I just pulled that out of nowhere." :) I'm a big believer in doing the same stuff again and again over several days b/c sleeping on things really DOES help your brain to solidify stuff.

    That said, I was way too busy the summer before school to do anything to prepare for it. So don't worry--it's possible even if you aren't able to take advantage of some of the "early bird" suggestions. :) Good luck!
  7. Slothbear

    Slothbear 2+ Year Member

    Apr 26, 2007
    Washington DC
    If I really can't concentrate, I pick up my book, and walk around the room, reading aloud to myself. After each sentence, I try to picture it in my head. Seems to work for me.

    My favorite technique though is to do reading with someone. We'll each read a page silently, then discuss what we just read. Works like a charm!

    Good luck!
  8. Electrophile

    Electrophile Working Dog Doc 7+ Year Member

    Sep 1, 2007
    Columbia, Missouri
    Ermmm...actually you can. *raises a guilty hand* :rolleyes: That's the way I've done it for a very very long time and it is highly stressful, but I do get by. Then again, I'm in about 3/4 of the clubs and I've now got 2 jobs plus a husband and 4 dogs. So the 4 hours of studying every night just won't work for me. Now, don't get me wrong, I certainly do NOT have a 4.0 or anything close, but it is possible. I'm also a classroom learner and I can't learn strictly from books or notes without hearing it in class. Surprisingly, I have a sorta okay amount of retention of stuff. Go fig!

    I have a lot of weird mnemonic devices that help me. Well, sometimes. Something that was hard for me in anatomy was if I was in a group of more than 1-2 other people, I lose focus and start to get glassy eyed. I do much better in anatomy with just one other person (maybe two) and teaching each other. I mean, really teaching, not just memorizing. I finally figured out second half of second semester of anatomy that I do well by drawing stuff out. I bought a sketch patch and colored pencils and that sure coulda come in handy earlier! :laugh: For physiology, drawing out pathways multiple times on a dry erase board and discussing it with a partner or two is helpful too.
  9. sheep girl

    sheep girl LSU SVM c/o 2012 2+ Year Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    I just went and bought a bunch of color pencils. That is great suggestion!
  10. Kara31191

    Kara31191 5+ Year Member

    Jul 29, 2007
    North Eastern MA
    Would this work for a High School student to read? Yes? :)

    I'm not a great person with studying. I've been told a few things when working with teachers to study... which I do for like every test.

    I'm: -not a good test taker in general. I will know the info like 30 seconds after the test, but not during.

    -I can't memorize and retain the things I learn as well as I can apply what I know and try to figure it out. My teachers often say my strength is math.

    -I get distracted during the test and while studying. It's absolutely HORRIBLE.
  11. ylrebmik

    ylrebmik 2+ Year Member

    Jul 3, 2007
    I'm absolutely horrible at studying too.

    I'm one of those people that can't concentrate unless i'm in "that mood" and I'm trying sooo hard to break away from that becasue that is such a bad habit.
  12. eqvet


    Jun 4, 2008
    I hate to sound mean, but this is one of those things that you have to kick yourself in the butt to do. Nobody likes to study, but you either sink or swim. It does help to learn how your brain retains information. You can google "learning strategies" or something like that. You can actually take a test online that tells you how you learn best. I am a kinetic learner, I have to rewrite my notes 3-4 times to retain the info. I don't mean to sound harsh, but kick yourself in the butt and just do it! It will pay off and become easier and easier the more you do it.
  13. ylrebmik

    ylrebmik 2+ Year Member

    Jul 3, 2007
    I'm kinda odd when I study... I read/ skim the information getting the basic information out of it and then I go back and really read it while taking notes. Depending on the subject- flashcards help me a ton. I also study 100X better either later at night but especially right when I wake up. That's when I get most of my homework done now- mornings. One thing that makes studying super easier which I have to work on too is organization so when you decide to study... you don't have to spend forever looking for it. haha.

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