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If you're not getting the grades you want in school, you may think it's because you're not putting in enough effort.
After all, working harder should yield better results, right?
For many students, the issue isn't actually a lack of effort.
Rather, it's the way most pre-med and medical students study that is highly ineffective
and ultimately holding them back.
We'll separate fact from fiction, explore the scientific research, and give you actionable
advice that you can follow.
Dr. Jubbal, MedSchoolInsiders.com.
As an MCAT and USMLE tutor, I've seen first-hand how impactful it can be for a student to make
the switch from commonly-used, ineffective study methods to evidence-based, effective
study methods.
Ultimately, you've probably heard others suggest
a variety of study methods, some of which are contradictory to one another.
For that reason, it's important to practice some judgment and critical thinking of your
own when sifting through advice.
I like to look at a few key elements.
First, is the information I'm receiving backed by evidence?
That being said, not all evidence is created equal, and I've even gone over how you can
assess the strength of a research study in a previous video.
Additionally, not every question you have has been addressed with sound scientific research.
So if your question isn't adequately addressed by the scientific research, you'll need
to keep in mind some other factors.
Which bring us to the second point: credentials.
I don't mean the person needs a PhD or an MD after their name, although that certainly
If the person giving advice wasn't able to achieve the results themselves that they
are promising you, then where is their authority on the matter?
I personally scored in the 99.9th percentile on my MCAT, or the 100th percentile for the
statistically illiterate, and I hit the high 260s on my USMLE.
And third, what is the potential upside and downside from following the advice?
I'm unlikely to eat mysterious foods or take radical supplements because there is
potentially a large downside with relatively limited upside.
However, I'm more willing to experiment with my own study methods or productivity
strategies since the downside would be relatively limited.
That being said, I wouldn't start a new sleep routine just one week before my MCAT,
as that is higher risk.
In investing, we call this phenomenon asymmetric risk – you want to take risks when the potential
upside or gain is significantly larger than the potential downside or loss.
Knowing that, let's dive into the five most common mistakes students make while studying.
The first mistake is misunderstanding the utility and balance of comprehension and memorization.
Recently, there seems to be an attack on memorization, with the idea that comprehension and understanding
is all you need.
This is idiotic advice that does more harm than good.
Like most things in life, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
In certain subjects, particularly medicine, memorization actually becomes increasingly
Comprehension and memorization are not an either-or proposition.
You need to use both in harmony to ultimately get the best grades and be the best doctor.
On one end of the spectrum, you have students who try to create flashcards and memorize
every single fact.
These students need to focus more on creating a mental scaffolding of comprehension before
they start filling in the small details.
On the other end of the spectrum, self proclaimed study experts say memorizing is bad and not
to use flashcards, pushing a silly agenda that by simply understanding the concepts
deeply, you'll never have to memorize a fact again.
That's a load of bull honkey and more marketing ploy than substance.
Sure, in cardiology, having an understanding of pressure-volume loops and basic fluid dynamics
is foundational, and trying to memorize these relationships rather than understand them
will prove detrimental.
This is why so many students find cardiology particularly challenging – it's heavy
on concepts.
On the other end of the spectrum, anatomy is heavy on memorization.
Understanding the relation and functions of different body parts helps in memorizing important
information, but at the end of the day, using a mnemonic device to memorize the branches
of the external carotid will take you much farther than simply trying to understand it.
Prior to starting plastic surgery residency, I spent a year teaching anatomy to first and
second year medical students.
I also spent considerable time tutoring students for both USMLE Step 1 and Step 2.
I found that different students require different approaches, as do different subjects.
For anatomy, students benefited most from learning memory tricks and mnemonics.
Comprehension could only take them so far.
For students struggling with renal or cardiology, we had to focus more on comprehension, as
memorizing facts without a solid foundation has little utility.
I've covered additional details in how to balance memorization and comprehension in
a previous video.
Now I'm guilty of this next one. Back in college, I often studied by re-reading my notes, which is terribly inefficient.
By re-reading notes or re-listening to a lecture, you're spending most of the time hearing
things you already know,.
That time would be better spent (1) applying your new knowledge with spaced repetition
to improve memory consolidation, (2) challenging the newfound knowledge with practice questions,
or (3) learning about it from a different angle to address inconsistencies or holes
in your understanding.
Don't worry about making sure you heard every single last word.
You can still set the curve and have top marks if you miss a small detail here or there.
For the MCAT and USMLE, students often brag about how many “passes” they've done
through their prep books, such as First Aid.
There's nothing wrong with referencing the text when you see a gap in your knowledge,
but reading the whole thing cover to cover multiple times is a perfect example of the
law of diminishing returns in action.
This next mistake is a perfect summation of the previous two.
Students have pride in how rapidly they listened to a lecture recording or podcast.
Oh, you only listened at 1.5x?
I was at 2x!
Oh, you did only 2x?
I'm more of a 3x kind of guy.
Here's the reality.
I personally rarely went over 1.5 or 1.7x for lecture recordings, but I had many friends
who were going at 2x or even faster.
But guess who was getting better scores in class, on the MCAT, and on the USMLE?
I'll let you figure that one out.
Don't fall into the trap of thinking that listening at higher speeds is always better.
I consider myself very fast when it comes to learning new information and test-taking.
I'm usually one of the first to finish my exam or think through a challenging concept
presented in class.
Yet I choose to listen to my lecture recordings at a moderate speed.
So what gives?
When you are presented information for the first time, it's not a race to hear the
words as fast as possible.
Your goal is to comprehend what is being said and build a mental scaffolding of understanding
as you go.
By going at too rapid a pace, you end up comprehending much less, as you're unable to make the
necessary real time connections.
The rate I chose varied based on the subject material, the lecturer, and how fresh and
alert I was feeling.
As someone who processes relatively quickly, I found my mind wandering while waiting for
the speaker to get to the next topic.
Therefore I sped up the lecture to the point I was able to maximize both engagement and
therefore understanding without compromise.
If you want to know more, I made a video about speed reading which goes over these details
in more depth.
Despite commonly being used, highlighting
has been demonstrated to provide little to no benefit for students studying for a test
and may even worsen inferential recall.
This detrimental effect on higher level functions may be due to highlighting drawing attention
to individual items rather than to connections across items.
This goes back to the balance between comprehension and memorization.
For most of your college courses, and certainly for the MCAT and USMLE, you'll need to rely
on critical thinking and higher level functions to perform optimally.
Skip the highlighting, and opt for flashcards, the Feynman technique, or other active learning
methods instead.
Which brings us to the last and final mistake.
Not using active learning study methods.
Across multiple studies, active learning methods have consistently demonstrated far superior
There are two primary ways you should be practicing active learning.
First, self-testing.
A study of Texas medical students demonstrated that time management and self-testing were
the strongest predictors in academic performance, more so than even GPA or MCAT scores.
Studies have also demonstrated that practicing retrieval produces greater gains in meaningful
learning - more specifically, test results up to 50 percent higher than concept mapping
and 100 percent higher than reading alone.
Taking practice tests frequently and regularly is one of the best ways to prepare for exams,
particularly for the MCAT or USMLE.
But many students push their practice tests too far off, focusing only on content review in
the early stages of prep.
However, the benefits of taking practice tests occur even when you don't have as solid
of a foundation, as you're not only learning and consolidating new information effectively,
but also learning how to apply said information.
Second, spaced repetition.
In short, spaced repetition helps consolidate working memory into long-term memory, which
is ultimately what you want on test day, thereby allowing you to spend your brain cycles on
applying the information rather than remembering it.
Cramming may work for quizzes and smaller tests, but you're not going to remember
the information long term, and cramming simply won't cut it for larger tests like the MCAT
Spaced repetition is daunting and the overwhelming majority of students do not practice it effectively.
For that reason, I've created an entire playlist on how to use Anki, the best spaced
repetition software for pre-med and medical students.
Link in the description below.
These are the most common mistakes I've seen from personally tutoring and mentoring
dozens of students.
But there's even more that I wasn't able to fit into this video.
If you haven't already, be sure to check out my Study Less, Study Smart video where
I cover the study methods I learned in medical school, but wish I knew in college.
It's already over 1 million views and counting and I have received hundreds of messages from
students who have drastically improved their grades after implementing the advice within
the video.
I hope you find it helpful as well.
Link in the description below.
Following the advice from our videos and blog posts will take you far.
It took me years of experimentation and tweaking to finally get consistent and excellent results
that allowed me to match into a hyper competitive surgical subspecialty.
If you aren't getting the results you want in university or medical school, our tutors
at MedSchoolInsiders.com can help.
Whether it's the MCAT, USMLE Step 1, or any other pre-med or medical school test,
we can help.
Our tutors scored in the top percentiles and can help you do the same.
If you regularly watch our YouTube videos, chances are you know how heavily we emphasize
the importance of systems in generating desirable results.
And our tutoring is no different.
We have painstakingly taken months crafting the systems in place to provide the best quality
We examine your test taking strategies, study methods, road blocks and sticking points,
and customize a tailored plan to optimize your performance on test day.
Visit MedSchoolInsiders.com to learn more.
Thank you all so much for watching.
Are there any other studying or test taking myths that you want me to cover in an upcoming
Let me know with a comment down below, as that's how I know what it is that guys
want to see.
New videos every week, so make sure you're subscribed.
If you want to chat with me in real time, enable the notification bell as I'm in the
comments section during the first hour after a video uploads.
Much love to you all, and I will see you guys in that next one.


あなたは間違った勉強をしている - ここに理由があります。

63 タグ追加 保存
Summer 2020 年 8 月 10 日 に公開
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