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I'm an MS1 and I find that I'm still having a hard time finding a study method that works well for me. I'm just wondering how everyone else is studying (specifically) in med school? Any tips?

 

Thank you! :)

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I set aside times of day specifically for studying and I tare frequent breaks during study sessions. Same as during undergrad. I use whatever means - taped lectures, slides, YouTube videos, books, clinical resources - suit my learning best for a particular subject. And I don't stay up late (generally. I have a couple times) because I really, really value my sleep.

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I've tried a lot of study method in MS1 and lost a lot of time trying to find best way to study. 

The only thing that worked for me is read and re-read 2, 3 to 4 time the suggested material. Bought a bunch of yellow and orange highlighters and highlighted while reading. Didn't mix too much color, more than 2 or 3 was a waste of time.

By the end of the pre-clerckship, I feel like most of the student of my year was studying like this too.

 

Keep it simple and stupid. 

Read and highlight.

Healthy lifestyle.

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Repetition, repetition, repetition. Use different resources and different formats to consolidate the learning and ensure you fully understand the concepts. I prefer to not spend time making notes as that is time you can spend studying, and I find that when I paraphrase information it has the possibility of being translated incorrectly.

 

Flash cards like Anki are nice for minutiae, but I find them insufficient for larger concepts.

 

One of my favourite resources right now is OnlineMedEd. I download the audio to listen to on long trips, or at the end of the day when I'm exhausted its nice to watch a video instead of putting in effort to read.

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Just keep reading. It almost doesn't matter what you read or really how you read, as long as you're sticking with relevant material. Ideally this reading will involve some sort of application to test your recall and contextualize information. I studied a lot off of practice questions.

 

This isn't undergrad and so for the most part, you don't need to have every single detail memorized. It's probably counterproductive to try to be that complete anyway. Learn the big facts, learn the ones that are important for your future practice, as well as the ones that you find interesting. Basically, make your studying productive and enjoyable, it makes it a lot easier to do. If you miss a question or two because of that, it's really not a big deal anymore and not worth stress out about. If you're an MS1 and presumably still doing well enough in school to keep going, you're probably doing just fine.

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Just keep reading. It almost doesn't matter what you read or really how you read, as long as you're sticking with relevant material. Ideally this reading will involve some sort of application to test your recall and contextualize information. I studied a lot off of practice questions.

 

This isn't undergrad and so for the most part, you don't need to have every single detail memorized. It's probably counterproductive to try to be that complete anyway. Learn the big facts, learn the ones that are important for your future practice, as well as the ones that you find interesting. Basically, make your studying productive and enjoyable, it makes it a lot easier to do. If you miss a question or two because of that, it's really not a big deal anymore and not worth stress out about. If you're an MS1 and presumably still doing well enough in school to keep going, you're probably doing just fine.

How do you shift from an attitude coming out of undergrad where you're trying to memorize every inch of details possible to make sure you get that 4.0 to trying to "learn" concepts and not worry about getting a few Qs wrong?

 

Also, does this mean that med school is less stressful in this regards cuz ur not so focused on learning every detail? 

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How do you shift from an attitude coming out of undergrad where you're trying to memorize every inch of details possible to make sure you get that 4.0 to trying to "learn" concepts and not worry about getting a few Qs wrong?

 

Also, does this mean that med school is less stressful in this regards cuz ur not so focused on learning every detail? 

 

In a way, medical school is set up to facilitate that transition - there's no marks (outside of Quebec) and far too much information in too short a time to realistically master. Class averages drop into the 70's for people who are used to getting 90's, so people are missing questions right from the start. The challenge comes from adapting to that reality. Some people fought it, tried to still do as well as possible - there's merit to that, you do retain more when you study more, but the returns are pretty low. Of course, many students enjoy learning this way, so kept up heavy studying as a deliberate long-term strategy. Some people went full out in the other direction, putting in the bare minimum just to get a safe pass - there's merit to that do, stress levels stay down which is an important priority. I threw myself into ECs in pre-clerkship for my supplementary learning, doing the classwork as necessary but devoting my efforts to learning outside the curriculum entirely.

 

I wouldn't say stress in medical school is lower on average, but it's different. You don't need to stress about marks, but there's the residency match hanging over your head and a lot of uncertainty in the future. Marks are also a pretty good reinforcement - the high from getting a good mark is not there nearly as much, because high marks aren't all that beneficial anymore. It's also harder to know if you're on the right track knowledge-wise, because what's put in front of you is so vast and what you can realistically process is only a chunk of that. In undergrad at least, what you needed to know was pretty well-defined and you could be reasonably assured that when you learned the material put in front of you, you knew what you were supposed to know. On the plus side, despite the uncertainty going forward, the likelihood of outright failure is very low - the vast majority of students pass each evaluation, go onto residency, and having a decent career. That can be pretty reassuring. On the whole, some students report less stress, some report the same, some report more.

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In a way, medical school is set up to facilitate that transition - there's no marks (outside of Quebec) and far too much information in too short a time to realistically master. Class averages drop into the 70's for people who are used to getting 90's, so people are missing questions right from the start. The challenge comes from adapting to that reality. Some people fought it, tried to still do as well as possible - there's merit to that, you do retain more when you study more, but the returns are pretty low. Of course, many students enjoy learning this way, so kept up heavy studying as a deliberate long-term strategy. Some people went full out in the other direction, putting in the bare minimum just to get a safe pass - there's merit to that do, stress levels stay down which is an important priority. I threw myself into ECs in pre-clerkship for my supplementary learning, doing the classwork as necessary but devoting my efforts to learning outside the curriculum entirely.

 

I wouldn't say stress in medical school is lower on average, but it's different. You don't need to stress about marks, but there's the residency match hanging over your head and a lot of uncertainty in the future. Marks are also a pretty good reinforcement - the high from getting a good mark is not there nearly as much, because high marks aren't all that beneficial anymore. It's also harder to know if you're on the right track knowledge-wise, because what's put in front of you is so vast and what you can realistically process is only a chunk of that. In undergrad at least, what you needed to know was pretty well-defined and you could be reasonably assured that when you learned the material put in front of you, you knew what you were supposed to know. On the plus side, despite the uncertainty going forward, the likelihood of outright failure is very low - the vast majority of students pass each evaluation, go onto residency, and having a decent career. That can be pretty reassuring. On the whole, some students report less stress, some report the same, some report more.

Thank you! This is really helpful advice. 

 

I'll admit, once the initial excited wore off last week I had a moment of panic about not being able to keep up with it all in the fall

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Organize typical presentations into large, blown-out schemes along with super condensed notes are what I've found work best for me. I found it impossible to memorize everything thrown at us. The volume is just too great.

 

Antibiotics are a whole other thing, however...

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Pre-clerkship: Anki (made my own questions from our lectures and did them over and over)

Clerkship: Uworld Q bank, pre-test, case files, toronto notes, and then other resources are specialty dependent (ex. pestanas for surgery).

 

I find that I can't just read things and absorb. Really jealous of those that can. I need to be writing down notes (even without the intent to read them later), making my own questions, or doing as many practice questions as I can get my hands on!

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Literally, I would make Flashcards after every lecture and memorized every single detail. Lol and did really well on exams. Luckily, some blocks would have pre made Flashcards so I wouldn't have to do all the work. Or I'd divide the work with a friend. If anything troubled me, though, I would study with a friend and we'd drill each other until the concept was learned.

 

In terms of review, I would set a strict schedule and stick with it. Fun highlighters helped me with that. :)

 

In clerkship, I've done similar but added practice questions. I would do tons of them and did well.

 

And for OSCEs, I would just study with a friend a day or two before. Just go over the different tests, more so for muscle memory.

 

Upper years are also good in guiding you on important concepts.

Edited by Cerena

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I have a different way of doing things. I don't love learning medicine based off half-hearted PPTs from profs.

 

You've got to find what works best for your learning style, your career and knowledge ambitions and what still allows you to do well on evaluations to ensure you are learning what the program wants you to learn.

 

At the start of every module, I read relevant chapters in Bates, Robbins, Cecil's and Guyton & Hall. That gives me a good foundation to build on for the rest of the module. Then I reread them throughout and at the end of the module. Then your knowledge is fairly comprehensive and you don't have major gaps in your foundation (as far as comprehensive goes as an M1 M2)

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