Good post. 100% agree. Although my strategy was more in line with @TBV
Whenever I see, "X worked really well for me, should I try something else"? I worry. If X worked really well for you, that's probably where you should start
. At least until it stops working.
In general, I've noticed a lot of people highlight texts to oblivion, memorise slide after slide, nod off during boring lectures, and generally waste so much damn time passively
taking things in, and then review, review, review--hoping something will finally stick. Not good.
But learning medicine is like building a house. You have to lay a strong foundation and do it well. Otherwise, you'll spend years patching things up (or never at all). Make the material yours
. Own it. Try to put things in your own words (even in your head), recapitulate the main points, follow along with the lecture, and if things aren't working, try something else
. You got into medical school. You're 100% capable. If something isn't working, your strategy
sucks, not you
. (Lots of miserable medical students who miss this last point.) Also, the first month or two will probably be shock and awe. It will suck. It will seem overwhelming. Whatever. It gets better. Just keep experimenting
until you find what works for you
*For those who choose to stay at home like I did (again, this only works for some), here's what my notes look like. I'm embarrassed to share them, because I used coloured pens, exclamation points, and even whiteout. Not very "doctorly." (I actually don't care. My self-respect is out the window when it comes learning.) But I'm also proud to share them because I love coloured pens damnit
. And that's okay.
Sure, they took time to put together (still 9-5 M-F with review on Sunday). But in doing so, they integrated
all of the best resources that worked for me: (in this particular case) Dr Najeeb, Costanzo's Physiology, 2010 Kaplan Pharmacology, and Papa Robbins. At the same time, stuff really sticks
when you actively
have to put it together yourself
(as opposed to highlighting to oblivion, etc.) I'd flip through lecture notes afterwards
to make sure I didn't miss anything. My school was 100% systems-based, so this strategy worked great.
If you stay at home, you'll need a guide. A guide tells you what's important and what's not (like a good lecturer). My guides were FA (for what was important to learn in depth) and the texts themselves (for the bigger picture). Spend time at the library. There are a dozen different physiology books, a dozen different pharmacology books, etc.--flip through them. What seems most appealing to you
? That's the one to go with. (And double-check with your seniors.)
Even in a busy clinical rotation, if there were a concept I really wanted to nail, I'd attack it the same way. I've included some notes on ventilation as an example. Clearly I had less time to make them. But who cares? When clinicals came around, I had gotten better at learning
. Learning is a skill
, just like any other. You will get better with time. Unless you adopt bad habits to begin with.
: The stuff below was an effective way to take notes for me
. (I also think it's why Sketchy Pharm or whatever is getting so popular now--pictures work! writing works! colours work! Obviously I have strong feelings about this...)
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