Preparing for Finals

Hello, all. I can't believe its already Week 13 of the trimester. Though the break between trimesters doesn't affect us in the clinic, because we work through the break, it does mean we are that much closer to graduation. It's not just patient numbers we need to hit while in clinic, there are also blood chemistry and urinalysis, SOAP notes, patient narratives, and community service hours that need to be completed also. It seems monotonous at the time, but these other requirements really do prepare you for real life practice. Needless to say we have been busy trying to knock out all these requirements before December rolls around.

While we've been busy in the clinic, everyone else has been busy preparing for finals. Since finals are around the corner and it's been a few trimesters since I wrote about how I study, I thought it'd be pertinent for this week's blog. The first part of the plan is to realize that cramming is not the way to go. I had to learn this the hard way during my first trimester. Studying really should be done each day to stay current with your material and keep the topics fresh in your mind throughout the tri. The best way to learn something is by repetition, like Malcolm Gladwell wrote about in his book The Outliers, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. Once you are in the proper mind set for studying, the next step is to get into the material.

Hopefully, through the trimester you have been reading and highlighting pertinent material in your books. This is the first step. Our professors do their best to give more attention to more difficult topics but there is just not enough classroom time to hit every topic so it will be your job to read up on everything else. While reading the book, it helps to read aloud and highlight as you go. This feeds information through several parts of the brain, which helps with retention. With this same principle in mind, the next step of the plan is to transcribe book notes and class notes into a consolidated form. This not only makes you look at the material another time, but also gives you a compact study guide to read over as much as you can.

Remember there is no substitution for rest. If it comes down to getting a good night of sleep or cramming, take the sleep. While you sleep, your brain continues to review information you introduced to it before you hit the sack. A solid 8 hours of sleep will do wonders for retaining information as well as help with test taking stamina.

To recap, read the book aloud and highlight, transcribe your book and class notes into a solid study guide, and try to get some sleep. Endurance is the name of the game, if you put in the work through out the trimester, studying for midterms and finals is extremely manageable. Don't let the exams stress you out, prepare as best you can, go into the exam confident and relaxed and you'll do fine.

I hope this helps settle some test taking anxieties out there. After finals are over there's a two-week break waiting for you, so let that be some of your motivation. Once you hit clinic and your number of tests drop, you'll have some free time on the weekends to finally have a social life again.

2012-07-31_Domino Beach

This past weekend was 2 of my best friends' birthdays, so we celebrated on the beach. Family and friends got together for some beach soccer, domino tournament, and a few drinks to top it all off. It was a killer weekend, and I feel like I need another weekend to recover from this last one. Study hard; there is a light at the end of tunnel.

Catch ya later,
Dex