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bansheeDO

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I'm aware that you must study all the time to succeed in medical school. My question is how are you studying during all those hours? Do you make flashcards? Do you simply reread the material over and over? Do you make outlines? How did your studying differ in medical school versus undergrad? Do you read ahead of the time? Do you attend and pay attention in class? What works for you?

One last note, this thread is really directed toward people of average to above-average intelligence. I'm aware there are geniuses who get by with very little study, and will reply that they study a few hours per day and get straight A's. To those people, I envy you, but your advice wouldn't help an "Average Jane" like me. I'm seeking advice from people who felt they had to struggle to earn top grades in medical school.

To all those who respond, thank you for insight as always. This is the single most helpful sight on the internet.



Susan:love:
 

DoctorInSpace

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Wow. You are kind of opening a can of worms. Everyone has their own study habits, and what works for me will not necessarily work for you. I have no idea where I rank in my class, but i know I do well. I don't use flashcards. I do re-write some notes when I feel i have to because the professors notes aren't the greatest. I attend most of the classes, but have a hard time concentrating sometimes. But for me, the repetition of hearing the stuff in class helps me. Read ahead? I tried doing that, but with exams every Monday, that only lasted the first two weeks of the semester. I re-read my notes, make other notes when I find commonalities that weren't pointed out, consolidate things, somtimes make drawing. If 20 people post responses, you will get 20 different study habits. The most important thing is to find out what works for you and how best to manage your time.

I don't know if that was helpful at all......

Best of luck
 

bansheeDO

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Originally posted by DoctorInSpace
Wow. You are kind of opening a can of worms. Everyone has their own study habits, and what works for me will not necessarily work for you. I have no idea where I rank in my class, but i know I do well. I don't use flashcards. I do re-write some notes when I feel i have to because the professors notes aren't the greatest. I attend most of the classes, but have a hard time concentrating sometimes. But for me, the repetition of hearing the stuff in class helps me. Read ahead? I tried doing that, but with exams every Monday, that only lasted the first two weeks of the semester. I re-read my notes, make other notes when I find commonalities that weren't pointed out, consolidate things, somtimes make drawing. If 20 people post responses, you will get 20 different study habits. The most important thing is to find out what works for you and how best to manage your time.

I don't know if that was helpful at all......

Best of luck

Thanks for your response. It was helpfull. Yes, I was looking for 20 different responses hence the reason why I asked "what works for you." I want to see if some students are doing something different. Or perhaps some of the best students share certain study habits. I don't see how this is opening a can of worms. I don't think it's asking a lot to inquire about study habits. If I can't ask that question here where can I ask this?
 
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Homunculus

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Originally posted by bansheeDO
Thanks for your response. It was helpfull. Yes, I was looking for 20 different responses hence the reason why I asked "what works for you." I want to see if some students are doing something different. Or perhaps some of the best students share certain study habits. I don't see how this is opening a can of worms. I don't think it's asking a lot to inquire about study habits. If I can't ask that question here where can I ask this?

i always tried to find keys. a single unifying concept for a group of facts. i would also try to think like the professors would when making a multiple choice exam-- ie, i would focus on what makes things different. if three or four or more disease processes are similar, what characteristics make them different? which drug in this class is different than the rest? why does this nerve have that others don't? what sets this xxx apart from yyy?

yeah, it sounds awfully sesame-street-ey, but it worked for me. :)

also, when using study questions or similar self evals, instead of knowing why the correct answer is correct, figure out why the wrong answers are wrong. it takes a lot longer to do, but you will learn more and have a much more productive study session.
 

VentdependenT

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If ya haven't figured it out by now then you wouldn't have gotten yourself into medical school.

The greatest thing that helped me was to not pay one bit of attention to what other people were saying. Steer clear of people who panic. I frequently banded with a few others who studied like myself. We would briefly exchange high yeild facts and delineate difficult concepts to one another. However we didn't study together.


By the way, your preclinical grades don't mean jack squat w/o solid board scores to back em up. Boards, letters, rotation sites>>>>>>>>>preclin grades. Not one program director said "wow, great class rank." They didn't care. Do not stress about your grades. Its a total waste of your precious life force.
 

DoctorInSpace

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I think I didn't quite explain myself well. I didn't think it was a bad idea to ask your question at all......just that there have been previous posts, and so much variety among students of all levels, that when I was wondering the same thing, I got very overwhelmed by all the info. So many people in med school have had it relatively easy in that they could pay attention in class in undergrad, then cram at the end and do very well. Med school for the most part is much different, and that won't work quite as well. So a lot of people have to adapt their study habits, especially in the first few months.

You may be on to something----there may very well be a common factor in terms of study habits that I'm not aware of. I just know how my friends and I all study SO very differently. Some of us use interactive CD ROMs, some make not cards, some make elaborate drawings, some only read, some come to class, others never go to class, and they are all doing very well.

I hope that whatever everyone else posts on here, you try a little bit of everything, and see what works best. I think you will only find out once you try some of the various ways. I hope you find what works for you and succeed in it. Oh, also, some peole study alone, others in groups. I do most of my work alone, and then get together with a few friends to quiz each other or ask specific questions when necessary.

Best of luck to you, and I hope you didn't get the feeling that I thought you were wrong in any way to pose your question. I also hope you do get a variety of responses, and that you find what works. :D
 

Homunculus

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Originally posted by VentdependenT
If ya haven't figured it out by now then you wouldn't have gotten yourself into medical school.

The greatest thing that helped me was to not pay one bit of attention to what other people were saying. Steer clear of people who panic. I frequently banded with a few others who studied like myself. We would briefly exchange high yeild facts and delineate difficult concepts to one another. However we didn't study together.


By the way, your preclinical grades don't mean jack squat w/o solid board scores to back em up. Boards, letters, rotation sites>>>>>>>>>preclin grades. Not one program director said "wow, great class rank." They didn't care. Do not stress about your grades. Its a total waste of your precious life force.

amen. study groups can be lifesavers or your downfall, depending on how you study. my group functioned well, as we all had similar learning techniques.

as for the panicky people-- you *have* to stay away form them. it's like a virus they carry, and unless you've immunized yourself with some confidence, it will infect you as well. it's best just to steer clear of the "sky is falling" pre-test freak-out students and let their own cortisol melt them alive :)
 

bansheeDO

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These are all excellent suggestions. I agree that I'm going to not panic or allow myself to get pimped. The panickers always sit outside the room right before an exam. They annoy the heck out of me.

And I really appreciate the advice about looking for trends in studying. Believe it or not, I never have really looked for trends. I just memorized and understood.

The reason why I'm asking these questions is that I have heard medical school is a different ball game altogether. I'm not worried or intimidated by medical school. However, if I want to do well, I know I will have to some things differently than I did in undergrad. For example, how do you memorize the volume of information in medical school? I have been told my many medical students, that one can't resort to the memorization techniques associated with undergrad. According to them, there is just too much material to make note cards and other "cute" gimics. So how do you memorize material in medical school in an efficient manner?

Nonetheless, I didn't mean to offend anyone with the top 20% reference. I just felt that would catch people's attention and include enough people not to make me sound like a gunner.

Anyway, the responses have been great. Keep it coming friends. :)
 

joshua_msu

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i agree with the person taht said dont listen to others. many seem to stress way too much. well anyways, my method of studying is to not go to class, but rather go to the library. seems to work so far.
 

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While it is unlikely that I am in the top 20% of my class (but equally unlikely that I am in the bottom 50%)...I came from a strong liberal arts background and have had to re-teach myself how to study and learn science--then once I got to medical school, had to re-teach myself how to learn medical science. Here is what I have found works for me:

1. Active reading/reading for comprehension. Never just read something and go on. Read it, understand it, relate it to other things. Study diagrams until you understand them. Repeat. Ignore people who tell you not to buy textbooks or read.

2. Diagrams. Do your own. This is has really helped me in anatomy and physiology. Just boil it down to the simplest possible components, and again--look at relationships. Review.

3. Go to class. There are people who never come to class and ace tests, but they are in the minority at my school. We have about 70% attendance at lectures in my class for most lectures. Averages tend to be pretty high. Again, this varies a lot from school to school.

4. Pre-read if you can, but always review the day's lectures that same day or night. Just a quick read-through is usually enough. Review this way as often as you can--constant repetition is the absolute key to success.

5. Rest your brain. Stretch. Eat well. Sleep well. Play. I didn't believe these things were necessary at first, but the more I do them regularly between study sessions, the better I perform.

6. DON'T TAKE ANY ADVICE 100%!! You have to find what works for you. but you can get ideas from others, try them, and see if they work. Trial and error is what it's all about--while hopefully minimizing the error!

Good luck! You are asking all the right questions at the right time. You'll do well in school.
 

bansheeDO

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Originally posted by sophiejane
While it is unlikely that I am in the top 20% of my class (but equally unlikely that I am in the bottom 50%)...I came from a strong liberal arts background and have had to re-teach myself how to study and learn science--then once I got to medical school, had to re-teach myself how to learn medical science. Here is what I have found works for me:

1. Active reading/reading for comprehension. Never just read something and go on. Read it, understand it, relate it to other things. Study diagrams until you understand them. Repeat. Ignore people who tell you not to buy textbooks or read.

2. Diagrams. Do your own. This is has really helped me in anatomy and physiology. Just boil it down to the simplest possible components, and again--look at relationships. Review.

3. Go to class. There are people who never come to class and ace tests, but they are in the minority at my school. We have about 70% attendance at lectures in my class for most lectures. Averages tend to be pretty high. Again, this varies a lot from school to school.

4. Pre-read if you can, but always review the day's lectures that same day or night. Just a quick read-through is usually enough. Review this way as often as you can--constant repetition is the absolute key to success.

5. Rest your brain. Stretch. Eat well. Sleep well. Play. I didn't believe these things were necessary at first, but the more I do them regularly between study sessions, the better I perform.

6. DON'T TAKE ANY ADVICE 100%!! You have to find what works for you. but you can get ideas from others, try them, and see if they work. Trial and error is what it's all about--while hopefully minimizing the error!

Good luck! You are asking all the right questions at the right time. You'll do well in school.

Thanks Sophie for the excellent and thorough response. It seems like everyone suggests doing his or her own diagrams. I never thought of that. I guess that makes sense. And I like the idea about reading for comprehension.

I tend to be one that can't memorize something until I understand it so reading for comprehension will be a must for me. I guess that was my biggest worry.
 

sophiejane

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I am exactly the same as you, Susan--I can't memorize things I don't understand. You may be frustrated at some of your classmates who do this with ease, but while it will take you a little longer and you may study more, I promise you that understanding the material will serve you well in the long run, especially if you have a permanent "mental picture" to refer to.
 

Old brain

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A couple things I thought I'd mention from my own observations .

One is when your in class pay attention to the prof not only to what he is saying but the way he is saying it. The prof should know what material is the most important to understand and will allways stress the important parts. they might use the word note when they do its usually on the exam or they might tap their pointer twice, that means its good to know about. Pay attention to the prof's body language when speaking.

The second thing is kind of a sneak, and that is last minute cramming or reviewing with the least amount of time between the review and the exam. The theory behind this is that you are going to forget some details of what you study and every moment of time that goes by you will forget more, so you limit the minutes between studying and testing. If you study the night before you will forget more because of the elapsed time. I say its a sneak because your mark will be better than what you are able to retain, in compared to what your mark might be studying only the night before.

Multiple points of view are often useful for a better perspective sometimes a different explanation of the same concept makes sense.
 

DrQuinn

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I graduated with a 3.5 in undergrad with a 28 on the MCAT, went to a DO program and was 18%ile with 93% and 99% on Step I and II respectively.

For some reason, medical school was so much easier for me than undergrad. I partied a lot my second year (but studied pretty aggressively for step 1). The big thing for me was figuring out "the game." This "game" is just how and what the professors usually tested on (in re: to 1st and 2nd year), and boards I just did lots of practice questions. I think that's how I did well.

Q, DO
 

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I was perusing the board and I noticed this thread. These threads are the most helpfull to future students so I will respond.

In my experience, the key to doing well is
1. Staying on top of the material
2. Pre-reading before lecture
3. Attend lecture, and be an active notetaker. Don't slouch otherwise you will fall asleep. Sit up straight and get those pencils moving.
4. Read your notes later that evening and revise/paraphrase them.
5. Spend one to two hours each day memorizing tedious facts that you will need to know. This is extremely helpfull for anatomy.
6. Skim the notes and lecture you had today one more time.
7. Pre-read for tomorrows lecture
8. Try to run or workout for at least 20 minutes. Eat healthy: high protein, low carb.
9. Sleep at leat 6 hours per night.
10. Get up early every day and preread the lecture again before class starts. This helps enormously

This schedule may seem rather anal. Obviously, many individual can succeed with less preparation. But if you aren't a genius and you want to be in the top 20% of your class, you have to do extra things to succeed.
 

sandiegodo

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Does anyone record their lectures and listen to them later, or is this a total waist of time?

In undergrad I use to transcribe my lectures and I felt that helped a lot. It sounds like I will not have that amount of time to listen to lectures over once I'm in med-school.
 

r90t

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Use your time wisely.

I used flash cards for brute memorization.
Reread my notes multiple times.
Did not study with others, they tended to slow me down.
Get plenty of rest the night before the test. Well rested, well rested. Even if you bomb it, at least you had a good night's sleep.
I did not record lectures, but did attend them.

Oh, GPA did matter in my case. In a competitive field, everything is used to break out the leaders of the pack. If you don't look good on paper, you won't get an interview in the high demand fields.
 
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