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There's a great deal of misinformation and resulting confusion
in the world of study strategies and optimization.
To this day, I still get frequent questions from students about the relative utility of various study methods.
Let's cover the most popular techniques and go over each of their pros and cons.
Dr. Jubbal, MedSchoolInsiders.com.
Let's first dispel the most common myth -
that you must study harder to do better in class.
If you're already studying a few hours per day,
the quality of those study sessions becomes far more important than the total duration.
Knowing that, how can we determine what constitutes high-quality studying?
Here's the good, the ok, and the useless of study strategies.
Passive forms of learning are what we all default to.
They're what we've been taught in grade school, and they're much easier to do than active forms of learning.
They feel comfortable, familiar, and allow us to feel good about ourselves
and our productivity without having to venture too far out of our comfort zones.
The most common form of passive studying would be
re-reading your class notes again and again to reinforce the information.
While repetition is certainly important when learning new information,
active recall with spaced repetition is far more effective than passive methods.
Another crowd favorite is highlighting in a textbook
and simply re-reading those highlights to study the information.
Again, passive reinforcement in this manner is very weak and not a good use of your time.
Re-listening to lecture audio recordings is another poor use of time.
Generally speaking, any time you are rewatching, rereading, or re-listening to information,
you're exercising passive forms of learning.
Recently one of my followers sent me a video of another YouTuber who has a unique approach to active learning.
He recommends you write questions for yourself and skip writing down the answer,
as he explains you can look that up later if you forget.
I'll say two things about this.
First, I love the emphasis on active recall,
which is something that transformed my own studying as a medical student,
and it's why I push it so heavily on this channel.
Second, I see this as a suboptimal and highly compromised implementation of active learning.
Allow me to explain.
First, if you write questions for yourself without answers,
you'll get the big picture and gestalt dialed in, but you will miss most of the important details.
For a concept heavy course that's light on facts, this isn't a big deal.
However, most classes for pre-meds and medical students do have a high number of facts that must be memorized.
If you want to perform at the highest level on your MCAT or USMLE,
memorizing a large volume of facts is necessary.
Second, there's an art and science to writing out questions that test your recall.
Writing such broad questions is highly inefficient in the context of accelerating learning.
Proper implementation of active recall for maximal learning efficiency
requires smaller testable pieces of knowledge.
Imagine this - you have a question or card asking you to describe 5 elements of a disease process.
If you remember 4 but forget 1,
you have to do the question again and go over all 5,
rather than just reinforcing the one you forgot.
As you expand this to hundreds or thousands of concepts,
it's clear that the inefficiency compounds on itself and becomes highly costly.
This technique isn't terrible, but it's not nearly as effective as others,
which we'll get to shortly.
I would only recommend this study technique of writing broad questions
without detailed answers in two instances.
First, the course is highly concept heavy,
such as some upper division neuroscience courses.
Or second, you have phenomenal natural memory and memorization comes easily to you,
which is the only other instance I can see this being effective.
Like most of you, I don't have amazing memory.
It's important to know your strengths and weaknesses so you can intelligently approach studying
to take advantage of your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses.
When it comes to performing well in class or on tests,
you can think of three foundational domains:
critical thinking, test-taking skills, and memorization.
If I'm being honest, I think my critical thinking and test-taking are very well developed,
but my natural memorization abilities are nothing special.
For that reason, I relied on several advanced memorization techniques to compensate that allowed me
to still rank number one in college and medical school in several classes.
Effective learning is comprised of two main elements -
comprehension and memorization.
It's best to first comprehend and deeply understand the information before trying to encode it to long term memory.
Memorizing first, without understanding,
results in a weaker long term grasp of the information.
That being said, don't believe the false claims that by simply understanding information deeply,
you'll never have to memorize a fact again.
No matter how deeply you understand wound healing in the context of plastic surgery,
you still have to memorize that peak tensile strength across a wound
occurs at days 42-60 with a magnitude of 80% of the original strength.
And yes, you will be pimped on that in the operating room, multiple times.
Again, the first step is to comprehend and deeply understand the information
before attempting to commit the information to memory.
How should you go about this most effectively?
The first layer is how you interface with the information for the first time.
If you enjoy learning from your professor and you feel they do an effective job teaching,
then prioritize attending lecture and being as engaged as possible.
If you don't click with your professor or feel that you learn better from a textbook,
online videos, or other resources, consider skipping lecture and prioritize those higher yield resources instead.
The second layer addresses confusion that remains after first exposure to the information.
At this point, you have a few options.
First, consider office hours with your professor or TA.
Bring an organized list of questions you want to ask them.
Second, study with a small group of friends - I recommend only one or two other people,
no more than that.
This is a perfect opportunity to practice the Feynman technique,
which I've shown you how to implement most effectively in a previous video.
Lastly, consider visiting other resources, such as test prep review books,
online videos, Reddit, online forums,
or a dedicated and high-quality tutor like the stellar ones available at MedSchoolInsiders.com.
The third layer involves applying the information.
This kills two birds with one stone,
as it not only helps you more deeply understand the information,
but it's also one of the most effective ways to memorize.
The main tool you should be using here is practice problems.
If you're studying for the MCAT or USMLE Step 1,
there are several question banks and practice tests you can choose from.
If you're studying for an upcoming quiz or test in class, you have a few options.
You can look to your textbook for practice questions.
Alternatively, and even better, take a look at previous year's exams
which will likely be more similar to the test you'll be taking.
Now that you understand the information,
it's time to rapidly consolidate that information straight to your hippocampus for long term memory.
Again, practice problems are key here,
as they not only help you understand the information more deeply,
but require you to apply the information and utilize active recall.
Doing so is tremendously powerful in memory consolidation.
The second tool would be spaced repetition software such as Anki.
Anki is a free flashcard app you can use on your phone, computer, or tablet.
While tremendously powerful, many students have bad experiences with Anki for a few reasons.
Here's how to avoid that.
First, do your flashcards daily.
When you fail to do your assigned cards, they pile up quickly,
also known as a high review burden, and then you're discouraged from opening the app ever again.
Second, use good flashcards.
I've seen many students, and even study experts on YouTube,
making the common mistake of asking very broad questions on the front
with a long paragraph explanation on the back.
This is a terribly ineffective way of using flashcards.
You can use pre-made decks, but making your own is the best bet.
I've gone over the 13 steps to making good flashcards previously.
Anki is far from perfect, but it's the best tool we currently have.
Understanding it's limitations and how students' lives would be transformed with more efficient studying,
my team and I have been hard at work to improve the implementation of spaced repetition with active recall.
Our new company is called Memm.
And big shout out to the handful of Med School Insiders newsletter subscribers
who volunteered to be early access users and help us refine and improve the product
before we release it to the public.
Lastly, all these study techniques can only work effectively
when they're placed within a larger context that facilitates learning.
Regarding study scheduling, understand how your energy and focus waxes and wanes throughout the day.
Schedule your study time appropriately for the periods when you can be most focused.
Also understand you cannot study for hours on end without proper breaks.
Strategically scheduling chores, exercise, or other necessary daily tasks should be used to your advantage.
For example, get your workout in as a break from studying,
so you can come back and hit the books with a fresh mind.
Or do your chores in the mid-afternoon when you experience a dip in energy.
You may not realize it, but the location in which you study influences your energy levels,
ability to focus, emotions, and much more.
Be deliberate with all elements in your environment.
Do you prefer silence or the bustle of a coffee shop?
Do you get distracted at home or does an optimized dual monitor work station make studying more enjoyable?
At the end of the day,
tailoring a plan and environment to your individual needs will yield you the best results.
Thank you for taking this important step in your life.
Getting a handle on your study techniques is one of the most foundational skills in
living a fulfilling and balanced life as a student.
Understanding how powerfully these skills can transform student lives
is why I started Med School Insiders in the first place.
I also understand that while making these YouTube videos helps many students,
there are many that still need additional help.
And it's for this reason that my team and I have worked tirelessly in creating
the best 1-on-1 tutoring experience for students pursuing careers in healthcare.
Not only do we recruit the best tutors in the industry,
but we've obsessed over creating the most effective and rigorous system that optimizes for one thing
– delivering results.
If you want to crush your MCAT, USMLE, or need help doing better in any class,
from organic chemistry or physics to cardiology or surgery and everything between,
our team has got your back.
Visit MedSchoolInsiders.com
and use the coupon code BESTTUTORING for $100 off any of our tutoring packages of 10 hours or more.
Coupon is valid for the first 25 customers.
Good luck and happy studying!
If you found this video helpful, please leave us a thumbs up to keep the YouTube gods happy.
Make sure you're subscribed with that notification bell enabled.
Much love to you all,
and I will see you guys in that next one.
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Study Techniques - The Good, Bad, & Useless

3 Folder Collection
Summer published on July 30, 2020
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