Intro Round - Done and Dusted

Saturday, 4 February 2012
Finally after much ado, I have gotten every question answered and every paper signed. Queues? They turned out to be no match for my powers of standing still for prolonged periods of time. Next week, classes will start and I'll be using my newly acquired student card to gain access to the rest of my life.

Over the course of the last week, I have given some thought to the challenges of student life. Below, I have listed some common guidelines that the wanna be cum laude student should employ.

Know which study methods work for you
If your current study method resembles this, you are going to have a problem:

The volume of work that will be covered is much higher than ever before. In addition, lecturers are not just going to be testing if you know the work, they will also be testing how well you understand it. They do this by seeing if you can apply what you have learnt to different scenarios. The implication is that your current study methods (if they exist) will have to be adapted and refined to suite the requirements of a university education. You might even have to learn a few new methods to reinforce your current study techniques. In the end, books know things but people are the movers and shapers of the world.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Preparing for your lectures, practicals and everything else is essential to your survival as a student. The more the work becomes a part your daily routine, the easier you will be able to recall it. Preparation helps give you an idea of how easily you will understand the work. It also gives you opportunity to start outlining your notes. Doing this will give you more time in class to focus, listen and learn.

Know how to take notes
Try to develop your own style of shorthand; even though some lecturers provide students with access to the slides online, it is still important to take down additional information (be it new examples or notarizing which sections of the work are relevant for evaluations). The pace and volume of lectures will be such that you will not be able to write down everything that is said. But remember that despite the fact that shorter is faster and ultimately 'better', care should be taken to ensure that you will be able to decode your abbreviations and handwriting at a later stage.

Review work often
Your brain, albeit powerful, will not allow you to simply recall any information at any point in time. You might be able to remember all your work now, but over time, your recollection of the content will fade. Reviewing work will give your brain the opportunity to create new, and strengthen old pathways in the metaphorical superhighway of your brain.

Attend lectures
The year is only just beginning and optimism levels are at an all time high. But as the year progresses it will become blatantly obvious that direct repercussions of bunking are non-existent. Lecturers love surprise quizzes and although these bare minimal weight, they will be relevant to work discussed recently. Hence they should provide you with an opportunity for some "free" marks which can ultimately help raise your final score.

Make friends with the people in your class
Many of your friends might be studying at the same campus but might not necessarily be in the same course or groups/classes as you. Having someone you can count on will provide you with a fail-safe should something impede your ability to attend a class. They might be able to tell you what was discussed and whether any administrative information was given. Also, it never hurts having a study buddy.

Don't procrastinate
Procrastination is the assassination of motivation and motivation leads to the cultivation of a student that gets things done. It might seem harmless to put off doing 1 or 2 assignments, but come tomorrow: "Oh wait, this is more work than I thought!", and WHAM an F for each half-assed assignment. Remember, lowering your semester mark leads to the possibility of the faculty denying you entry into the exams.

Take care of you
You are not a robot, but if you think you think that you can keep cramming information and alcohol into your system, you will turn into one. And not the cool kind mind you, think Marvin from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Make use of the guidance counselors and support staff at your campus, should you wish to talk about the challenges of adapting to this new lifestyle, the death of a loved one or any general turmoil that may be brewing inside you. Also attempt to eat healthy and remember to get enough sleep.

I’ve tried to keep my study techniques simple and general, but the bottom line is that your system has to reflect the way you think. Most students however haven’t given much thought to the way they'll tackle student life, leaving them scattered and at loose ends — and their marks reflect this. What advice do you have for the folks out there trying to get it all together this semester?

Netter's Anatomy Flash Cards - for Mac, Droid, BB and Windows Mobile 
iStore Medical Apps
Top 5 Medical Apps for the iPad
Android Market - Free Medical Applications
Medical flashcards Android Apps
Anki - Digital flashcard creator / browser
Study Style - Discover your Learning Style Quiz
Medical Mnemonics

How to Take Good Notes
Tips for Surviving Medical School
Advice for Students: Taking Notes that Work
The Best Way To Learn & Study
How to Study and Prepare for Finals This Year
5 Bad Study Habits