Dex's Amazing Three Tier Study Plan

Hello, all. Hope everyone had a relaxing weekend.

This weekend was perfect for outdoor activities down here in Florida. We got a little bit of a cold front Saturday and Sunday, so my pals and I went to the Florida State Fair Sunday afternoon. I haven't been to the fair since I was kid, and it was still as awesome as I remembered it. I'm sure Dr. Seaman (our resident nutrition expert) would have never approved the mass amount of carni-food I consumed, but it was a weekend, and it was the fair. We hit Cracker Country for some beef jerky and kettle corn, and even tempted fate, riding several extremely sketchy rides. All in all it was a pretty darn good weekend. 

Midterms are around the corner, and like most of the students I talked to last week, I started the strenuous task of studying this past weekend. Each trimester I try to write a little something to guide some of the incoming students on how to go about tackling the upcoming barrage of exams. It took me about two and a half trimesters to lock down a study plan that finally seemed effective.

2012-02-14_xray2
Guy, Margo, and I studying for our radiographic positioning midterm.

The biggest factor that weighs on the study process is time. It is vital to give yourself enough time to process and learn the material. After my first trimester, I quickly realized that cramming would not cut it in this program. There is just too much information to try to memorize.

This leads to me to my next study pearl--do not just memorize information. Here is where anatomy, physiology, and pathology are critical. If you are able to understand the mechanisms underlying the topics you are trying to learn, the light bulb will click on a lot faster. This may take a little extra time and some spatial reasoning to put everything together, but it will definitely make you a better doctor in the end.

2012-02-14_xray1
Another shot of Guy, Margo, and I studying for our radiographic positioning midterm.

The third and final tier of Dex's amazing study plan is to create study guides. There is a reason this is the last tier, because it's my least favorite. Though this last step seems repetitive and tedious, it is arguably the most effective part of the plan. Here is where it all ties together. By writing out your notes and reading them aloud, you begin to filter information through multiple parts of your brain, more areas than simply reading notes. Think of it as throwing a mud ball at a fence. The first time you throw the ball of mud, only some of it may stick. The next time some mud gets flung at the fence, more will stick, until you have a huge wad of mud--knowledge--hanging on the fence that is your mind. Decent analogy, right? Thank you, Dr. Stark.

There you have it. The three step process that has successfully gotten me through seven and a half trimesters worth of exams. This is just how I do things. I'm not saying it's the cat's meow or anything, but it seems to do the job.

I hope this was a helpful entry for some, and if anyone has any questions, don't hesitate to post a comment or shoot me an email.

Catch ya next time,
Dex