Wednesday, 14 August 2013

How I create my study schedules for med school.



There are no firm "rules" to creating a study schedule, and I find that the more aggressively I organize a schedule, the more I rebel from it. This is a general outline, and what works for me might not work for you. So be patient with yourself, flexible, and forgiving until you find something that works. Rest assured, you'll get into your own groove in no time :)

RECORD YOUR COURSE SCHEDULE
At the start of the block, I like to do as much work as possible to lessen the work load as I go throughout the course. I'll start by looking at the syllabus and seeing what I need to accomplish. Then I'll use a software program, like iCal, to enter my classes. iCal is great as it syncs to my mobile device. Once I've established the amount of time dedicated to class, I have a better idea of the amount of "free" time I have to spend on studying.

HAVE A GENERAL PLAN OF ATTACK  FOR STUDYING
I have a study system for each individual week of my course. Here is an example of a "light" week:
  • SATURDAY/SUNDAY
    • complete all of the week's objectives
    • complete the weekly quiz
  • MONDAY - FRIDAY
    • solidify lecture notes
      • e.g. I do this by utilizing a whiteboard/creating mindmaps/etc.
    • study specific problem areas I've identified in my weekly quizzes
    • read/outline relevant chapters 
    • get ahead for the following week(s)
    • use board review prep books to assess my knowledge
    • for anatomy:
      • visit the lab on Fridays with 1-2 classmates to review our check-list
You most definitely do not have to follow my schedule, but I find it useful to have a general scheme that you stick to as it alleviates a lot a stress. And stress, as you know, is not fun.

GET AHEAD AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
I find this especially important in the final block before our final exams as our finals are chunked together (e.g. we'll have 11 exams at the end of our semester). By completing all of my block objectives in the first week, I was able to dedicate more time studying the blocks before it.

CREATE A DAILY SCHEDULE
I typically do this before I dive into my studying that day. For example, I have a general to-do list for my week (see above). Then, for any given day I'll again write a general to-do list. 

E.g. 
  • MONDAY (GI block)
    • understand lecture 4
    • skim chapter 4 
    • create/review flashcards
    • understand innervation/blood supply of the GI tract
Furthermore, I'll allocate a general time frame for each of my tasks. I try to make this draft flexible enough that, if need be, I can change my game plan.

E.g.
  • Monday (GI block - the esophagus)
    • 3-4:30 PM
      • understand lecture 4 
    • 4:45-6:00 PM
      • skim/read chapter 4
    • 6-7 PM
      • dinner break! 
    • 7-7:50 PM
      • create/review flashcards
    • 8:00-9:00 PM
      • review GI innervation/blood supply
    • 9:15 PM +
      • if need be, finish any incomplete tasks
      • cool down, relax, and sleep!

A FEW GENERAL PRINCIPLES:
  • Do more challenging tasks near the beginning; cool down towards the end
  • Be flexible with your study schedules 
    • they might need to change depending on your mastery of the material/work ethic that day
  • Opinion on paper vs digital planners
    • use whatever you'll stick to :) 
      • e.g.
        • I use iCal for my course schedule
        • I use an agenda for my monthly schedule
        • I use a blank sheet of paper to create my weekly schedule
        • I use a whiteboard for my daily schedule
  • Use different colours for different topics
    • this will make your schedule much more fun and organized
  • Check things off as you go
    • gives you a sense of accomplishment!
I hope this helps! Best of luck in the new academic year - make 2013/2014 a good one :)

Posts you might like:





 Thank you for stopping by!

Image: source

4 comments:

  1. This makes my head hurt! LOL I'm sooooo glad I'm not in school anymore!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Instead you make such lovely designs/artwork :)
      haha some days my head hurts too! But I'm okay with working hard, as long as it pays off ;)

      Delete
  2. Thank for that weekly outline! It helped me. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely, I'm glad it could help :)

      Delete

Thank you for commenting! I love reading each and every one.
If you enjoy this website, please click "Join this site" on the right hand bar.
Have a lovely day,
Cerena

ShareThis