I’m about done with the class that started before medical school! Yay! Right in time for Friday, which begins this crazy journey called medical school. So I wanted to share some of the things that I learned. The expert skills program originally came from Texas Tech but my school is doing a version of it that will cover all four semesters (MS-1 and 2). This segment, called block one, is supposed to begin the summer before medical school. It covers things like your learning style, how to do concept maps, how to study effectively and efficiently, and coping with stress.
Now that I’m almost done, it has been a really good thing for me I think. Though some of the principles can be used for any kind of study, its geared specifically for the high volume of material of medical school. I think from undergraduate, I know how to study well, but my methods were time-consuming and I still bombed some tests- oops. I didn’t always feel glad to be doing it when I found out they were taking some of my summer away. Still, the prof has been really flexible on everyone’s due dates because he knows its summer.
This method is something I feel like I can manage. I won’t follow it exactly though, because I still like some of my old tried and true things I do like reading aloud.
The most interesting part for me has been learning my “type”. They have a test based on the Meyer-Briggs personality test, but theirs only tells you your learning type. Mine is ISFJ. Which is Introvert, Sensing, Feeling, Judging. Your overall personality type can be much different than you learning type, and as with most things related to psychological testing, real people are much more complicated so I very well could have extrovert leaning 49% of the time and introvert 51% of the time and it would still call me an introvert.
Anyways, this is my type description in a nutshell
Sympathetic, manager of facts and details, stable conservative, concerned with people’s welfare, dependable painstaking (haha! I love that word), systematic, uses sensible intelligence, loves practical skills, learns best by myself, I enjoy learning things best when they have proven value, I prefer steady, sequential work (yes!), I have a controlled and orderly life, have a patient, persistent attention to other’s needs, I follow a sensible path based on my experiences, I have a rich memory of concrete facts (absolutely true), I value a few strong relationships, I like consistency, the familiar, and the tried and true, I value compassion, kindness, and caring, I prefer to work according to a plan and schedule, I like authority (I beg to differ) and set procedures. I value hard work and perseverance most in myself.
I think its overall pretty accurate!
What struck me most was how accurate it was when it was talking about how I handle stress! Oh man. It was bad I was all like mmHmm.
“You tend not to trust your ability to use your imagination and to see new alternatives for a stressful situation. Instead, you will tend to assume that your way is the only right way to manage a situation. This leads to uncontrolled intuitive type behavior under stress, such as an unrealistic doom and gloom outlook, which can cause you to give up on seeking alternative solutions to the situation. Let’s keep using the example where you are exhausted from long hours of study and then you learn that you have scored a 50 on an exam that you thought you had mastered. An exaggerated intuitive response would cause your imagination to go spinning out of control, causing you to treat the situation out of proportion as a catastrophic event. Your normally practical behavior would give way to impulsive, rash behavior such as abruptly taking off in the middle of the day to go to a movie or to go buy a new stereo system (which you can’t afford). ”
Anyway, here’s the study plan they outline.
“SuccessTypes time management
Identification stage. Identify material you don’t already know the night before lecture. Highlight terms and concepts you don’t know, or write them down. Spend 5-10 minutes or less per lecture hour.
Orientation stage. Use the lecture to give you an orientation to the terms and concepts that need to be learned. Check off the concepts you highlighted or listed during the identification stage.
Organization stage. Develop a visual organization of the material as soon as possible (at least on the same day). Spend most of your available time doing this.
Verification stage. Dedicate blocks of time on the weekend to each course. Use verbal paraphrasing to review your notes and to determine what topics need more study. When your verification process shows that you have a specific area of difficulty, refer to the text or notes, or arrange to see the instructor. ”
So basically before I go to bed each night, I’ll look at the pages going to be covered in lecture. Highlight the “words” I don’t know- (Not entire paragraphs! I used to do that). During lecture I will then have something to listen for and will take paraphrased notes over what is emphasized or repeated while checking off the terms the professor actually covers. These terms will be important to study later. Then I can concept map or draw out the material covered each school day that same evening. End each night by highlighting the material for tomorrow. Saturdays and Sundays will be spent doing the verification step where I reconstruct the material from my visuals only. Review everything covered that week. Start over again on the identification step Sunday night for the lecture Monday. Whew. Sounds like a lot of work, but I think it sounds manageable.
We’ll see if it sticks. Idunno.
-All excerpts and paraphrase from “SuccessTypes in Medical Education” by Dr. Pelley and Dr. Dalley.
In the book they suggested we pay it forward and teach someone else what we’ve learned. So there ya go!