Want to study better, not harder? Here’s how with spaced repetition
Even in a problem-based learning (PBL) environment, such as that used by UHSA, there are still things you just have to memorize. Welcome to medical school!
But when it comes to memorizing information, the age-old approach of reading the textbook multiple times over doesn’t work. So, put down that 600-page physiology textbook, and that can of energy drink, and learn about spaced repetition, the mental hack that can help you earn an A.
Spaced repetition is based upon how your mind works, which is the key to why it’s successful. One way of doing spaced repetition, and we’ve told you about this before, is the use of flashcards!
Use index cards to create vocabulary words, with the word on one side, and answer on the other. Or you can put questions on the card that you have to answer.
For example, consider our old friend the lysosome that I love so much. What information do you need to know about lysosomes? Well, not just the definition, but also the diseases that are associated with lysosomal defects, such as Tay-Sachs Disease, Parkinson’s, and even Alzheimer’s – and don’t forget the role of the lysosome in the smooth endoplasmic reticulum of the liver when it comes to detoxifying drugs like alcohol and phenobarbital as it relates to epilepsy.
See how that works? You’ll create index cards for each of these topics, much like the mind map we often time use for visual learners.
Now, as you go through your flash cards, you’ll realise some you know very well, and some you are still struggling with.
For those you know well, set those aside where you will study them less frequently. But still study them, as everyone forgets, and you need reminders. Meanwhile, focus the bulk of your review on those cards you still struggle with until you master them as well. Once you know them all well, through spaced repetition, you can go back a review them periodically.
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