Effective study skills can help a student excel in medical school and beyond. In the medical field, it's imperative to keep updated on recent findings and materials while retaining basic information and learning from personal experience. For most students, successful studying starts with finding the best study method. Much of medicine revolves around order, so organizing materials, notes and methods can assist a student in determining the most effective study method.
Organize your notes and textbooks. The very act of finding or creating structure in your study method can show you how the information itself is categorized. For example, human anatomy is very structured and easy to study by system or organ. In this way, the subject matter itself will often lead you to effective organization.
Create and use mnemonic devices. These are words or phrases that also function as acronyms to help you recall specific information. You can create your own mnemonic device, or research one for any conceptual problem. For example, the word "van" can stand for vein, artery, nerve.
Use multiple senses to learn. For instance, study words, pictures and three-dimensional models. Aside from being helpful, this is necessary for some medical professionals who often rely on the senses to observe and diagnose problems.
Study in groups. Groups meet on schedules and provide a focus for study. They can also minimize frustration. For example, if you need help remembering something or don't understand a topic, your classmates can assist.
Teach someone else. Repeating the information and answering another's questions about the topic can help you to more fully understand the subject matter. Specifically, teach in a cause and effect fashion to communicate and comprehend the material. For example, state a scenario such as, "The patient has been involved in a motor vehicle accident and presents with abdominal pain. What are the possible diagnoses and method for diagnosis?"
Take an introductory study skills class at medical school. These classes are geared towards students in your field and offer a chance for you to learn and retain the large amount of information necessary to understand in medical school. The intro class will help you understand what type of learner you are while imparting general understanding about how the human brain learns and retains information.
- Consult your adviser or study skills department in your school if you need help studying.
- Rewriting material can also help you retain the information.
- Ask other students, doctors and professors about their suggested methods.
- Don't forget to take a break during study time. You still need to eat and socialize to maintain a healthy lifestyle balance.