Improving medical students

Archive for the ‘Study Tips’ Category

Rapid Learning Strategies for Medical School

Posted by medliorator on January 22, 2010

#2 – Metaphor

Here’s a quick way to separate the rapid learners from the average learners. Ask them to give you an analogy for whatever they are learning. The rapid learners probably have already thought of at least one analogy, application or metaphor. Slower learners usually are baffled by the question.

Linking ideas allows you to retain them longer and understand them better.

#5 – Linking (Or How to Remember a Grocery List Without the Paper)

The idea here is that you form a chain, linking each item in a sequence to the next item. You form these links by imagining bizarre and surreal pictures which combine the two elements.

For a simple list like Milk -> Honey -> Apples, you would need to form a link between milk and honey, which you could imagine a giant cow that had bees which came from its udders instead of milk. For the honey and apples, you could imagine an giant apple beehive swarming with tiny apple seeds.

#6 – The 5-Year Old Method (Try explaining quantum physics to a first grader)

Most rapid learners know how to simplify an explanation. Obviously, actually explaining your masters thesis to a first grader might be impossible. But the goal is to reduce the complexity, by explaining, breaking down and using analogies, so that someone far below your current academic level could understand it.

If you can teach an idea, you can learn that idea.

9 Tactics for Rapid Learning [Scott H Young]

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Essence of Medical Training – Everybody is My Teacher

Posted by medliorator on January 14, 2010

Everybody is my teacher –  I think I held this idealistic view prior to entering medicine, though my belief in this has only strengthened with time.

Sure, professors, attendings, senior residents, and other “formal” authority figures taught me a lot of stuff. Patients—people—often were (are) the best instructors of all.

Example: I had learned about Familial Mediterranean Fever when I was a medical student… and never saw a “real” person with that diagnosis. Thus, I had forgotten what this condition entails (other than a fever). Recently, I met someone with that diagnosis and this person provided a clear description of the symptoms, how the diagnosis was made (”avoid passive voice”), and how the condition is treated (”did you not read what I just advised?”).

Things I Learned in Medical Training That Have Influenced Me in My Non-Medical Life [inteuri]

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Improve Focus with SimplyNoise

Posted by medliorator on November 16, 2009


Hone study-time focus with backround noise streamed for free at SimplyNoise.

Correlate: Ambient Study Sounds – iSerenity

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Basic Study Strategies for First Year Medical Students

Posted by medliorator on November 7, 2009


1. Find some peace and quiet. Studies have shown that just 20 minutes of highly focused, quiet time can help you learn and remember more than hours of working with distractions and while multi-tasking. So, to get the most out of your study time retreat to a place where you won’t be bothered by loud music or talking and can just focus in on your work.

2. Get organized. If your papers and materials are all over, you’ll spend just as much time looking for what you need as actually reading through and absorbing material which doesn’t make for a very productive use of your time.

7. Write it down. For most people, writing things down helps big time when it comes time to recall things on a test or even just during study time.

8 Tips to Help You Study Better and More Effectively [Life Optimizer]

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Secrets to Medical School’s First Year

Posted by medliorator on April 23, 2009

1. Figure out your learning style and figure it out fast… sometimes students find out that their way of studying isn’t working and instead of changing their approach, they go at it harder.

2. Seek help. Students who make it into medical school are used to being near, if not at, the top of their respective classes. It might be hard to ask for help. If you need help, put aside your pride and ask for it.

4. Study hard. Push yourself — at least through the first semester. Then, you can decide how much you can afford to pull back while still attaining acceptable (in your eyes) scores. It’s easier to “ease off the throttle” because you’re studying more than you need to, than to “floor the pedal” trying to catch up at the end of the school year.

Lessons Learned From First Year [Jeffrey MD]

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How to Avoid Procrastination

Posted by medliorator on January 22, 2009

  • What will happen if you don’t progress? It won’t hurt to scare yourself a little

Develop your plan, list..

  • Major, realistic steps – A project is easier when it is built in stages;
  • How much time each will take – A schedule helps you keep a progress chart and reinforce that there are way-stations on your path
  • What time of day, week, etc. you dedicate yourself to work – This helps you develop a new habit of working, build a good work environment, and distance distractions
  • Rewards you will have at each station – also what you will deny yourself until you arrive at each station

Avoiding procrastination [Study Guides & Strategies]

Correlate: Conquer Procrastination

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Managing Exam Stress & Optimizing Performance

Posted by medliorator on December 1, 2008

Philip Zack:

Many people have an automatic train of “self talk” in their heads, which has the effect of giving up control to external factors with unhelpful statements such as, “The exam is making me stressed” or “I’m bound to fail again.”

Take control of these self talk messages by challenging them—for example, “The exam is making me stressed” becomes “I let myself get stressed in the exam;” or “I’m bound to fail again” becomes “I might fail, but if I prepare well I might pass.”

You can also control your emotional state by practising simple meditation or visualisation exercises, both before the exam and during short breaks in the exam itself. Box 3 shows a simple example, using a technique called anchoring. You can use a range of techniques, which can either be self learnt or taught by a professional, such as a yoga teacher or hypnotherapist.

the Yerkes-Dodson curve:


Exam technique 2: performing [BMJ Careers]

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Three Timeless Study Tips

Posted by medliorator on October 31, 2008

You can prepare yourself to succeed in your studies. Try to develop and appreciate the following habits:

  • Put first things first – Follow up on the priorities you have set for yourself, and don’t let others, or other interests, distract you from your goals
  • Discover your key productivity periods and places – Morning, afternoon, or evening?  Find spaces where you can be the most focused and productive.  Prioritize these for your most difficult study challenges.
  • Look for better solutions to problems – For example, if you don’t understand the course material, don’t just re-read it. Try something else! Consult with the professor, a tutor, an academic advisor, a classmate, a study group, or your school’s study skills center

Effective Habits for Effective Study [Study Guides and Strategies]

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Heart Sounds & Cardiac Exam Primer

Posted by medliorator on October 29, 2008

Blaufuss Medical Multimedia Laboratories offer a free interactive tutorial worthy of a closer look.

  • Cardiac Exam Module
    • heart sounds tutorial
    • quiz
    • detailed animation of S2 splitting.
  • Electrocardiogram Module
    • Supraventricular tachycardia tutorial
    • Interactive ECG viewer
    • interpretations & detailed explanations.

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Take Better Notes – Cornell Method

Posted by medliorator on August 15, 2008

  • Note taking area: Record lecture as fully and meaningfully as possible.
  • Cue column: As you’re taking notes, leave the cue column empty. Soon after the lecture, reduce your notes to concise jottings as clues for Reciting, Reviewing and Reflecting.
  • Summaries: Sum up each page of your notes in a sentence or two.

Geek to Live: Take great notes [Lifehacker]

Ready-made, Cornell Method printouts are available and customizable here

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