Most of us students are not morning people, and I can tell you from experience, that studying at night works best for me. However, studying in the morning is the best because you’ll have full of energy. Some of you probably feel tired in the morning, well that could be for two reasons which clearly would lead to tiredness right after awakening. First, if you didn’t get at least 7-8 hours of “consecutive” sleep then you will not feel well. When I say consecutive, I mean sleeping continuously sleeping without waking up in the middle of the night. Second reasons deals with over sleeping; if you over sleep then you will feel tired. Oversleeping can lead to tiredness because you glycogen stores will be depleted. Remember if you sleep for 10 hours or so, which means you haven’t eaten anything within that time frame so your body has little to no energy.
5. Ripe Bananas
You would be surprised how well ripe bananas can help; it has a good concentration of tyramine. When you study the autonomic pharmacology section you will learn about tyramine and how in helps in neurostimulation. Ripe bananas will definately wake you up.
USMLE Step 1 Fact: Tyramine is high in wine and in cheese, patients who take selegiline, a selective monoamino oxidase inhibitor type B, will have an emergency hypertension reaction.
What I mentioned will work for everyone if done consistently. Don’t expect it to help you right away, give it couple of days to see a significant difference. I have tried so many methods of studying in the morning and the best method for me is what I mentioned; try it and see if it works for you.
These days are long and I’m still studying for the USMLE Step 1. I had distractions in my studies and that hindered me to fully focus. Another thing was the money problem. SJSM has an unusual billing policy so I had to work on getting money for living in Chicago. SJSM wants to continuously have me paying even when I’m not taking any classes so I don’t get any chance to save up. This is one of the reasons my studies are difficult and SJSM doesn’t understand that. I guess that’s one of the prices I have to pay for going to a Caribbean school; it’s all about money.
One of the most significant things I learned in studying well is to study somewhere else other than you own home. The USMLE Step 1 is an important test and you cannot risk studying at home because your family will bother you. Your family will never understand the important of this test nor will they understand that you shouldn’t be bothered. If you’re going out to watch videos go to a coffee shop or something. If you’re going to do Qbank questions then go to the library. When you feel bored go to the gym and burn off that anxiety, built up from all the studying.
You should realize that no matter how you study you should make each minute worth it. That means that it’s better to have a quality study than a quantity study. What I am trying to say is it’s better to have 7 hours of quality study than to have 16 hours of off and on study.
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.