Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Study Methods for Junior Courses

Quite a few sophomores have asked how to study for junior-level courses. My advice is figure out what works for you and stick with that. Everyone learns differently. Some of my friends record the lectures and listen to them multiple times. I am more of a visual learner, so reading, looking at diagrams, and watching videos helps me the most.

My modus operandi has been to take very detailed notes in class. I bring my laptop in class and type information directly on the power point slides. Later, I print out the lectures in outline form. Then I take that print-out and go through the book with the power point and take notes in the margins. This helps me make connections as I relate the textbook information to what I learned in class.  

One nursing student asked whether I recommend relying more on the power point or the book. The answer is you definitely need to rely on both. I would recommend using the power point as a guide for your studies.  Take the information in the power point slides and go find it in the book. Our professors can only include so much information on a power point slide; it’s our responsibility to go to the book and learn the information they were unable to convey in class.

Don’t get bogged down in the details you find in your textbooks. Be sure to understand the nuances of the concepts, but pay special attention to the concepts that are covered in class. Those will be the most testable material as well the material you will be most likely to use in clinical practice.

The key to success in junior year is truly balance. Learn to manage your time, and your life will be a lot less stressful. Realize that it's important to study and get good grades, but it's also important to give yourself a break too. If you do, you will feel more refreshed and better able to tackle your studies. 

This post was a response to a comment on my blog. If any of you have more questions, feel free to leave a comment, and I will do my best to address any questions or concerns you may have. 

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