During my first meeting I ever had with my PA school mentor, I was asked if I knew the type of learner I was. I soon discovered that I was not simply being asked this question to be known to on a personal detail -I was being asked to make sure I wasn’t wasting my time studying in ways that weren’t efficient to my learning style here in PA school.
So, let’s not waste any more valuable time studying information you can’t remember, am I right?! You may just simply learn in a different way than you think!
There are 3 types of learners:
& with these types, each person has a way they learn best.
Personally, I learn best in ways the kinesthetic + visual learner absorbs their information, so I learn by reading information & writing it out. There are countless ways to improve your study habits to make your time efficacious, so I encourage you to use the quiz as more of a guide and try new ways of learning until you find one that really makes the information stick!
Throughout didactic I’ve learned these tips that improved not only the way I retain material, but how engaged I am as well:
1. The whiteboard: Many of you may know that I am very inattentive, especially at the end of the day. In fact, sometimes I have to just force myself to go to sleep early so I can wake up even earlier to be able to absorb the information that’s expected. The whiteboard is great for retaining loads of material (aka all of the Pharmacotherapy information you’ll be needed to know), by the time you re-write the same format you made on your whiteboard you’ll almost have it pictured in your mind. The whiteboard is a great way to stay engaged in your material, while staying green ;)
2. Stand while you study: this will increase your heart rate, thus increasing blood flow to your brain-your brain needs this circulation to optimally function. Plus, you’ve likely been sitting all day…standing may start to feel like a much-needed stretch! Personally, I find coffee shops with a bar height that is great for an eye leveled view. No better way to prevent DVT's if you aren't finding time in the day to exercise!
3. Print out your notes/outlines: Using paper allows me to mark my notes/outlines as much as I’d like as I go. Doing this is almost my way of “participation” in my studies, if my hand is moving along with the material, it is likely my mind is also focused. Not only am I engaged but I’m less likely to be distracted by the distractions of my laptop & cellphone. Studies have shown typing out notes to be beneficial, but not quite as constructive as rewriting notes. However, it’s PA school and sometimes you just do not have the time to re-write every little word you read or want to outline. Which is where the bullet 4 comes in to play…
4. Use Color! As time consuming as this may sound, adding color to your notes not only makes your work more aesthetically pleasing but it also stimulates attention! The level of cognition your brain has to reach to attain attention of information leaves color coding your work more probable to be stored in your memory. So basically, the information we pay more attention, i.e. adding color to key words, definitions, or highlighting major points will more likely be remembered than the mundane black and white notes where ignoring important details is way easier.
5. Talk it out: This is great for auditory learners, and if you’re in PA school- a great way to compare information you may have missed in lecture or the book. If you aren’t an auditory learner (like me), talking through topics and concepts is best when reviewing information rather than learning for the first time. This will help solidify the information in a new way.
Above all, utilize the material given to your BY YOUR PROFESSORS first! This is likely what your test material will be pulled from before anything else. Use web resources & books to supplement your understanding of the disease process or topic. PA school has a great way of presenting more than enough resources for you use and in the beginning, it will be VERY overwhelming to know which to refer to or utilize.
OVERALL MY ADVICE TO YOU
- FIND A RESOURCE THAT WORKS FOR YOU & STICK TO IT- stay away from using too many thus wasting time over studying one topic when you have 30 + to know before the next day. Utilize that time to dive deep into specific topics when you're not on such a time crunch to compare & contrast information.
- STAY ORGANIZED: Many classmates and myself used Microsoft’s OneNote, a note taking service that allows you to organize all of your material on to one accessible source. I now have all of my information learned in PA school on this feature that I know I can pull up & search at any time. I won’t elaborate too much since I can foresee this becoming a blog post in the future, but if you have questions about it feel free to reach out!
ONLINE MEDED: This resource was recommended by so many different sources and once I tried it- I had regret not using this site sooner! Basically, OME is a site made to help students pass their board exams in Medical School taught by Dr.Williams. He teaches in both algorithms and mnemonics to complete the circle of understanding with use of his whiteboard. Each video is organized by disease process or body system that helps give a great level of understanding to supplement your lecture notes with! Most videos are for free but if you’re interested in their premium content they are now running a 6-month promo for $199.
If you divide the $199/6 = $33 which is almost $40 off the monthly subscription, & is even cheaper than their $9.99 trial which recurs into payments of $40 each month.
It comes with all of the following below:
· No Video Ads!
· Video Companion Notes
· (400+ pages)
· QBank (1,200+ board-style vignettes)
· Flashcards (10,000+)
· Flashback Mobile App
· Clinical Cases (40+)
· Downloadable Audio Lectures
· Premium Support
· Unlimited Downloads!
(I think some of my stationary lover followers will appreciate):
Zebra pens: for all of the left-handed peeps these are my favorite:
A planner that you will USE, here are few of my favorites:
Highlighters that will add color to your printed lecture notes!
I would love to hear your feedback and if any of these methods begin to work for you as well! To see more of my daily PA school routine, check out my Instagram account @withashleykay - - link is below on the carousel.
All the best,