Feb 8, 2020
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Hi guys,

Im two months into medical school and struggling hard to figure out how to study. In undergrad I had a routine/plan for each exam which included writing everything out and reading textbooks, etc. but I obviously cannot do that in med school because of the immense amount of info and time restraints. I've been trying to get into anki, but it is taking too long to make cards. (EDIT: I also do not know if I should watch lecture and then make anki cards, or make anki cards during lecture, or watch lecture at 2x then make anki cards. I do not really have much time for experimenting and I just wanna know how yall approach it.) Taking hand written notes per lecture takes me about 2 hours per lecture, which idk if it is too long or just right. What I mainly need from you guys is your hour by hour study schedule or what you do in a day, so that I can replicate it. Or atleast attempt to replicate it and see if it works out for me.

I do not know how to set up my study plan and/or what to do. I am barely afloat right now in school.
 
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TakotsuboOkazaki

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Don't make your own cards, unless there is a topic you really can't nail down.

Use a pre-made deck, like ZANKI, Lightyear, etc. Parse that out so you go system by system. If you don't do systems-based, good luck...

For class, don't waste your time condensing it. Everything that you leave out in your condensation could be a missed question. Instructors love to pick out the smallest detail.

I would pre-read a lecture (PPT or notes, your call), go to the lecture and annotate, then review the PPT 1-2 times before exam week. Go through it once more in exam week. That makes a total of 4-5 passes through each note set by exam time.

The less you have to write/create, the better. It saves time.

Day to day it is up to you. Do you like constant, even workflow? Do you like to cram? Days off?

I would work no less than 6 independent hours per day (averaged) on a weekday and no less than 2 hours per day averaged over each weekend day. That puts a minimum of 34hrs/week outside of class.

I tracked all of my hours and I will tell you I rarely went under 50 hours most weeks. This included class time though, so take that as you will.

Also, remember the golden rule: An hour of focused studying > two hours of distracted studying.
 
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M&L

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definitely agree with @TakotsuboOkazaki , especially when it comes to not making your own anki cards.

this is how i do it:
1) open up the syllabus when the course starts, make a list of all the due dates on one page, and i hang it up on the fridge or something. I also highlight different types of things with different colors, - for example, small groups that have required attendance are in blue, things that i have to physically do (quizzes, and such) are yellow, etc.
2) open up the first week and look at all the lectures scheduled for that week. Open up the first lectures, and try watching it. Do i LIKE THE TEACHING STYLE? If YES, i pause, open up corresponding chapter of First aid (btw i tear out the pages, write notes into them, highlight everything i need, and then file them into the binders). before i even start the specific lecture, i find where that material is in First aid, read through this specific page, - this helps me see what is high yield and what is not. THen i open up powerpoint on one screen and lecture on another, and start working through lecture. I play lectures on 1.5 speed, but i pause it to make notes. This saves time. As i go through lecture, if something important comes up that is NOT in first aid, and it is small enough to fit rigt into first aid book - i just annotate it there. If it is big - like a very useful concept map - i take a separate piece of paper, and then insert it in between the first aid book pages. DO NOT WRITE LECTURE NOTES< - stuff like definitions, etc. Stick with tables, concept maps and diagrams. Before exam, i would watch Board and Beyond to review.
if i DO NOT LIKE THE HOUSE LECTURE - for example, it seems too complicated, or i just dont like the specific instructor, i watch Board and Beyond (the same way, with first aid, etc). and THEN, after i am done with Board and Beyond, i watch house lecture on 1.5 speed.

3) For micro and pharm i watch sketchy. Some path sections are good too.
4) when i walk my dog i do anki. There are a lot of great decks, - i personally use cheesy lightyear deck. It is HUGE and is very conveniently divided by sections. It has first aid stuff, all sketchy, pathoma and board and beyond. So since i use all these sources, this deck reinforces all of that. Usually i watch the lectures first and then the next day do the anki that corresponds to it. DO NOT MAKE YOUR OWN CARDS!!!!!!!!! instead of cards, i make concept maps and hang them all over my apartment.
Also, i realized that, since i started the deck late, i probably wont go over the whole deck by step time, so i prioritize certain sections - it is better to skip some sections all together, and do other ones completely, than do sections partially. Trust me on that one.

5) if the topic is on pathology, i watch pathoma videos.

6) when you went through specific section of material, do questions. do ALL THE QUESTIONS that you can find on that topic, - this is what should be the bulk of your effort. When you do a specific question, think of ALL the answers: "what would have to change about the question for this answer to be correct?".

ok i cannot think of anything else at the moment. Feel free to ask questions
 
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M&L

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oh, also - i wake up around 6-7, walk my dog while doing maybe a 100 anki cards. Then have breakfast, do lectures, and such till about noon. Walk my dog again, - another 100 or 150 anki cards (a lot of them are review), then have lunch. Then maybe a nap.
In the afternoon, if this is beginning of the course, i will keep doing lectures. (i like to front load all the lectures before i try questions, this is just how my personal brain works - i like seeing the full picture). If it is closer to the end of the course, i spend most time of questions, and on reviewing first aid, and anki.
In the evening i like to play video games for about an hour, cook something good, maybe workout, spend time with my pets. I also knit, read, and bike.
 
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TwoHighways

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I kinda half ass study from 8 until 1 or 2 in the afternoon, quit for a few hours to eat/work out, then pick it up for an hour or two before bed. Put in a few hours on Saturday morning and Sunday as well (my Saturdays are mostly occupied watching college football). Not doing great, but not in jeopardy of failing.

I don’t do lecture or go through powerpoints. Too proud for that haha. I have a pretty good idea of what I need to learn and attempt to learn it utilizing mostly outside resources.
 
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M&L

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Hi guys,

Im two months into medical school and struggling hard to figure out how to study. In undergrad I had a routine/plan for each exam which included writing everything out and reading textbooks, etc. but I obviously cannot do that in med school because of the immense amount of info and time restraints. I've been trying to get into anki, but it is taking too long to make cards. (EDIT: I also do not know if I should watch lecture and then make anki cards, or make anki cards during lecture, or watch lecture at 2x then make anki cards. I do not really have much time for experimenting and I just wanna know how yall approach it.) Taking hand written notes per lecture takes me about 2 hours per lecture, which idk if it is too long or just right. What I mainly need from you guys is your hour by hour study schedule or what you do in a day, so that I can replicate it. Or atleast attempt to replicate it and see if it works out for me.

I do not know how to set up my study plan and/or what to do. I am barely afloat right now in school.
also, go talk to the office of academic development in your school. Our school offers FREE TUTORING, including special sessions where you can discuss your study methods, etc. It is really helpful in figuring out what exactly you are doing wrong.
 
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IMG69

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Wake up 5am do my allocated study for the day (anki + learning language), leave for the hospital at ~8.50am, note anything I don't know/want to refresh from todays cases e.g today we had vertigo, review/refresh myself on that stuff e.g I went over central and peripheral vertigo again, so depends on what I saw which takes 1-2 hours. Beach for 2-3 hours then alternate between gym and 3 mile runs each day. Go over 2-5 clinical examination skills while eating dinner, then with whatever hours I have left either do more language or open Dope's clinical deck because I'm a masochist.
 
Jun 13, 2019
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Yeah I agree with above. Dont rewrite lecture notes it will take up way too much precious time. Go through them a couple times and talk things out, Ive found it to save a ton of time compared to writing it out. If you focus on class, thats a good thing, but I suggest you incorporate a premade Deck into your day. As a current M2 it is the best decision I have made thus far because the amount of content covered on the uslme cannot be feasibly covered by class lecture.
 
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Tangerine123

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Don't really remember MS1/2

MS3/MS4:
  • Wake up at 3:30am. Breakfast, commute.
  • Hospital Work 5am-5pm with 36 Hour shifts every 4 days and no post-call day off.
  • Lectures 6pm-8pm twice a week at the main university campus (30min drive from Hospital). We were allowed to have dinner during class.
  • 9pm+ Crying, alternated with Netflix, World of Warcraft and sometimes studying. Although most if the time I would just fall asleep.
I wish that were a joke. Hated every second of it.
 
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Cornfed101

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Lots of great stuff has already been said, but I will say that you need to figure out what your learning style is. Are you a visual/auditory/kinesthetic/etc learner? I am visual and kinesthetic so I skip lectures entirely because I get nothing out of them. Instead I focus on premade Anki decks and try to make visual or kinesthetic connections to difficult concepts. You need to figure out what type of learning works for you. If you are auditory then it would be helpful to listen to lecture (or listen to BnB). The thing is you have to find what works for you because it may not be exactly the same as everyone else.

don’t take lots of notes on in house lectures though. Pretty sure that’s universally a bad idea
 
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M&L

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Don't really remember MS1/2

MS3/MS4:
  • Wake up at 3:30am. Breakfast, commute.
  • Hospital Work 5am-5pm with 36 Hour shifts every 4 days and no post-call day off.
  • Lectures 6pm-8pm twice a week at the main university campus (30min drive from Hospital). We were allowed to have dinner during class.
  • 9pm+ Crying, alternated with Netflix, World of Warcraft and sometimes studying. Although most if the time I would just fall asleep.
I wish that were a joke. Hated every second of it.
oh my god... what rotations!!!!?????? my friends who are M3 did have anything even close to that on IM and FM.
 
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Jul 17, 2020
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Don't really remember MS1/2

MS3/MS4:
  • Wake up at 3:30am. Breakfast, commute.
  • Hospital Work 5am-5pm with 36 Hour shifts every 4 days and no post-call day off.
  • Lectures 6pm-8pm twice a week at the main university campus (30min drive from Hospital). We were allowed to have dinner during class.
  • 9pm+ Crying, alternated with Netflix, World of Warcraft and sometimes studying. Although most if the time I would just fall asleep.
I wish that were a joke. Hated every second of it.
Wow. That's really all I have to say. Good for you, what a grind! 36 hour shifts are non-existent at my school. Even 24 hour shifts are really 15, max (residents always said go home and study/sleep). But my school is known for having "extremely friendly" programs. My M3 year looked like this:

Surgery: 530am - 11am (M-F), with one 24 hour shift
Psych: 8am-4pm (M-F)
Peds: 7am-noon or noon-7, with one 7-7 shift (3-4 shifts per week)
OB: 5am-6pm (OB is bad everywhere), with one 24 hour shift (M-F)
IM/FM: My living room (COVID)
Neuro: 8am-2pm (M-F)
 
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Tangerine123

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I believe he said he is a US IMG in Germany in psychiatry.

Ahaha yeah, but did med school in Latin america.

As an IMG student from a third world country you are used as cheap labor and work like 70+ hours per week. I did pay a huge mental and physical price, however I now see the results of my effort. Currently in the research part of a PhD/Residency program.

6:30am: Wake-up, breakfast and commute
8-9am go swimming
10am-12pm Reclute participants for clinical trials
12pm-1pm Lab meeting
1pm-3pm Reading literature and sending emails
3pm+ FREE ahhhh!

If I don't have meetings or patients to reclute then I can just stay home. The experimental work is done by MSc students and research assistants. I guess it will change once I rotate to the clinical side of the program and once I have to start with the data analysis and writing, but for now it's perfect.
 

Neopolymath

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Ahaha yeah, but did med school in Latin america.

As an IMG student from a third world country you are used as cheap labor and work like 70+ hours per week. I did pay a huge mental and physical price, however I now see the results of my effort. Currently in the research part of a PhD/Residency program.

6:30am: Wake-up, breakfast and commute
8-9am go swimming
10am-12pm Reclute participants for clinical trials
12pm-1pm Lab meeting
1pm-3pm Reading literature and sending emails
3pm+ FREE ahhhh!

If I don't have meetings or patients to reclute then I can just stay home. The experimental work is done by MSc students and research assistants. I guess it will change once I rotate to the clinical side of the program and once I have to start with the data analysis and writing, but for now it's perfect.
I like your posts and different perspective. The only reason I pointed it out was that people should know that isn't a typical American schedule. Glad you are enjoying some free time.
 
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ohmanwaddup

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Wake up 5am do my allocated study for the day (anki + learning language), leave for the hospital at ~8.50am, note anything I don't know/want to refresh from todays cases e.g today we had vertigo, review/refresh myself on that stuff e.g I went over central and peripheral vertigo again, so depends on what I saw which takes 1-2 hours. Beach for 2-3 hours then alternate between gym and 3 mile runs each day. Go over 2-5 clinical examination skills while eating dinner, then with whatever hours I have left either do more language or open Dope's clinical deck because I'm a masochist.
I'm doing the math and idk how there is enough time in the day for all this lol
 

IMG69

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I'm doing the math and idk how there is enough time in the day for all this lol

Most of my days end at 2-3pm, so i'm done reviewing whatever I needed to and at the beach by ~4-5 till the sun goes down usually depends. Our consultant doesn't keep us if there's nothing new or interesting. I've got surgery soon and well winter is near so i'll lose my beach hours anyway but my classmates have said Surgery isn't long hours either.
 
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Jul 17, 2020
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What? You only worked 5.5 hours a day on surgery? What paradise is this?
My school offers different services for surgery. All of them are laid back in comparison to what I hear at other schools, but some are unbelievably student-friendly. I would show up, round on 2 patients, do a quick scrub in on a surgery, and then would be told to go home and study since I had zero interested in surgery. It was a dream. This is a level 1 trauma center, too. To this day, every time I see the chief resident I was with, I give him the respectful nod and finger-point.
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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My school offers different services for surgery. All of them are laid back in comparison to what I hear at other schools, but some are unbelievably student-friendly. I would show up, round on 2 patients, do a quick scrub in on a surgery, and then would be told to go home and study since I had zero interested in surgery. It was a dream. This is a level 1 trauma center, too. To this day, every time I see the chief resident I was with, I give him the respectful nod and finger-point.

Jesus. That is the dream.
 
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