How to study medicine – Workflow

A well-structured workflow can save hours of precious time for study, work and social life. Although I’ve often had quite smooth sailing thanks to decent memorization techniques, my current work and study-situation won’t allow me to cram as intensively as I’m accustomed to the last days before exams. Thus, I’m in need of a good an efficient workflow.

Repetition is a key factor in retaining information. Ideally you would want to prepare for a lecture, do the lecture and repeat the material afterwards. However, for most students this concept belongs in Platon’s transcending reality. It’s beyond this world.

Stay ahead
Stay 1 week ahead, rather than behind. The workload is the same, the outcome significantly different.

When prioriticing calls for trimming the repetitions, cut elsewhere than the preparations. In my experience, having prepared for a class makes me retain the lecture better than sitting the lecture and then going over my notes later. More often then not I tend to end up on the opposite – without preparing, and repeating poorly taken notes. Which is stupidity, when this is no less time consuming than being 1 week ahead, simply less efficient.

Note drafts
Make a rough draft of your notes while preparing for class. This way you can pay attention to your lecturer, rather than your notes, and fill in only the gems and important bits that weren’t already in the slideshow/handout/readings.

I write my notes in Pages for Mac. I usually summarize the headings/topics of the slides while preparing for the lecture, along with some keywords. Then I add in any additional important information from the lecture while in class. I always aim to keep the notes from one lecture within a single page. This way I have short and consise summaries to easily get an overview of the material before exams.

How do you study best?


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