A big change in medical school is to be surrounded by the same classmates, day in and day out, everyday for at least the next two years. Naturally, you begin to observe their studying habits. Some print out their notes and follow the lectures in class, coloring them with six shades of highlighters. Others, open up their laptops and follow the presentation on their own screen while chatting away on facebook.
A lot of people like to study in groups; much time is spent “pimping” each other on obscure facts from lectures. Some use group study time to learn from others or as an opportunity to teach. Most student-made notes and study cheat sheets are shared with each other.
I’ve tried many different learning methods since starting medical school, changing it up to see if I can become a better student. I’ve tried copying what other people do, maybe by imitating their study styles, I’ll become more effective. After two months, I’ve come to realize I must do what my instinct has been telling me all along.
Study the way that fits you. I should be true to my own learning methods and continue to do them. I’m a visual learner who does most of my education outside of the classroom. For me, nothing is more effective than a big chunk of time in front of class notes, textbooks and making my own notes. Lectures aren’t effective for me, I retain absolutely nothing. Flashcards are nice, but whenever I make them, I don’t use them. I don’t listen to podcasts and reading notes over and over again doesn’t do it for me.
And for the past two weeks I’ve gone back to my old and time-tested methods. And I have never felt more confident with my choice. I am beginning to grasp the concepts taught quicker and in more depth. I use less time to study more topics. I skip class occassionally and I don’t feel guilty. Use what works for you. Learn the way you are most comfortable with. Knowing how you best study is important. Don’t be intimidated by people who learn differently from you. Do what you do best. After all, it got you through undergrad and into medical school and I guarantee it will get you through pre-clinical years.
I’ve heard clinical learning though is completely different.