I’m in my fourth semester here in Saint James School of Medicine and so I tried many things in my previous semesters to increase my efficiency in studying; some worked and some failed. The methods that worked for me, I use it on a consistent basis and it helped me get through. If your current study methods didn’t work for you then try what I did and perhaps it will help you.
Don’t Re-Write All the Notes
This is a common mistake most medical students make, and I made it too in my first semester. The notes are right in front of you, why would you want to re-write them. If you were to re-write the notes then only re-write the little important ones. The medical lectures the teachers give out are so big and you don’t have time to re-write and understand the concepts. In medical school every minute is precious and you don’t have time to write a novel so don’t attempt to write one. Therefore, don’t re-write the notes unless they are key concepts that will help you understand the material.
Read Out Loud
This helped me so much; I am a visual and an audio learner, and most people are. Read the notes out loud and don’t be lazy about it. If you read out loud you won’t loose attention of what you’re reading. If you read silently then it’s guaranteed that you will loose focus on what you’re reading. Medical terminology and concepts are not easy to comprehend easily, such as examples are pathways of the intrinsic clotting factors. It takes a while to differentiate and understand intrinsic and extrinsic pathways. Read out loud with someone and trust me it helps; and it didn’t just help me, it helped other students as well, especially in Histology.
Repetition is the Key
Remember the saying “practice makes perfect” well it’s true. If you read a medical term over and over again then the information will be stapled to your head. The same principal applies when reading the notes over and over again. This is what I did, I read one slide once, then went to the next one and read that, then I went back to the first slide and read it again. After reading slide one and slide two again, I read slide three, after reading slide three I went back to slide one, and I continued this process which allowed me to memorize the information easily. Also while doing this I read out loud so that helped my memorization even more.
These study methods takes a good amount of energy and so you will be tired after the first lecture, but you will get more out of it than re-writing the notes or reading them silently. Just note, try the study methods and be consistent about it, don’t be lazy about studying, if you are lazy then ask yourself what are you doing in medical school. Good luck studying.
PDI is a challenging class in MD4; it requires you to take whatever you learned in the previous semesters and use it altogether; PDI stands for Physical Diagnosis Introduction & Clinical Medicine so you can see why it’s hard, now we’re entering the clinical arena. There are no notes to copy from. Dr. P speaks, and it’s your job to take notes or record his lectures on an audio device. I have found it kind of challenging to get the attention I need with our big class of 60 people. The class is divided in to 2 groups; each group takes turn surrounding the gurney while the instructor teaches the concepts of examination. Thank GOD for the internet; I’ve found videos online to help me in PDI. I have gathered them to a playlist and it’s displayed below; the concepts the videos show are taught in class and if you watch them over and over again then you’ll get very familiar with the examinations. If we have to learn any new concept in class for block 2, then I will update the playlist below with new videos.
The videos include shifting dullness, fluid wave, Murphy’s sign, Rovsing’s sign, and rebound tenderness.