This is a repost from last year after I took my first exam. I thought I would post it here on the new site.
I had my first exam last week, and got my results. I felt like the first three weeks were just a learning process uphill with everything, system, blackboard, making friends, learning to study and familiarizing myself with the setting. So it was the same for studying for the first exam.
I don't know how to study for exams effectively yet. But I know how I should NOT after my first exam. A little disclaimer, everyone has different study method, so what I say here might work for others and you should take it with a grain of salt.
1. Don't fall behind from the Day 1. I know it is only the day one, but they were already enough information to be memorized. So start studying early, I will do that much better and stress out much less.
2. Don't skip the details. I had a tendency to concentrate on the big picture and skip the details in the materials. It makes sense, but not in med school. Med school requires me to know the details if they are given in lectures, so I now will pay attention to the details more.
3. Don't freak out following others. Everyone went crazy the week of the exam and I almost got sucked into it, which was toxic seriously. Yes, I can worry a little which in inevitable, but freaking out made me worry about materials that I was comfortable with and almost made me lose control over my study plan. So I won't listen to people who are freaking out, because really as I said everyone is different in regards to study methods, the base level, weaknesses and strengths.
4. Don't review lectures aimlessly. When I reviewed materials, I didn't have any specific purpose, which was not very effective due to the volume of material. So now I have to study/review with critical thinking like in the verbal reasoning section in MCAT? I know it does not sound very fun, but I think it is going to be helpful. What is the point of this lecture? What is the important points? What are the details that matter? How do they connect with each other? Active thinking, digesting, and processing of materials as I go is a must.
5. Don't enter lectures unprepared. I went to lectures without preparing for them, so I sat through them aimlessly. It goes along with #4. If I pre-study for the lectures by skimming through the handouts and powerpoint slides will provide me an overview of the topic, and give me guide to important points and concepts I will mostly likely struggle with in the future.
I find that it is all about efficiency and studying smart, because the volume of information I have to memorize in 3 weeks for an exam is pretty overwhelming and it is only going to get more in the future. I will see how these plans go for the next exam in 2 weeks.