Study LESS, Study SMART – What I Wish I Knew in College
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Study LESS, Study SMART – What I Wish I Knew in College


I would bet that you are not studying anywhere
nearly as effectively as you could be. And why should you care? Well, if you study more effectively, you can
learn more and retain more in less time. That translates to less time studying, better
grades, and more time doing the things you actually enjoy. In this video, we’ll cover all of the study
hacks I learned in medical school, and what I wish I knew back in college. What’s going on guys, Dr. Jubbal, MedSchoolInsiders.com. This video is an updated version of my first
ever video: “Premed Study Strategies – What I Wish I Knew in College”. By following the tips in this video, you’ll
be studying less and earning better grades immediately. I just wish I was studying like this sooner. Without further ado, let’s get to it. First, active versus passive learning. The default studying pattern we all employ
is passive learning. It’s easier, requires less effort, and overall
is just more comfortable. Active learning is more challenging, it’s
less comfortable, but is ultimately much more effective. There are 4 Steps we must address to actually
use active learning. Steps 1 and 2 are about obtaining the
information, and Steps 3 and 4 are about reviewing and reinforcing the information. The first Step is to identify what is important. Not all information is created equal. To employ active learning, you must constantly
be sorting information and assessing its relative importance. Second, organize the information in a way
that you understand. Again, as an active process, this isn’t going
to be just copying and regurgitating information, instead you are going to be doing the difficult
task of synthesizing the information in your own words, in diagrams or in other study aids. For example, I loved creating tables and charts. Let’s say I was comparing macro-minerals,
like sodium, potassium and chloride in the GI system. I would take the extra time and effort to
extract the relevant information and organize it in a chart format. The process of creating this chart was enough
to improve my understanding of the concepts and now I also had an excellent study tool
to review at a later date. Number three, memorize. You need to memorize the information in an
active way. I’ll get to how to do that later. And lastly, apply the information. You can do practice questions from the textbook
or online services. Old practice tests or practice quizzes from
your professor are also fantastic resources. Next, let’s talk about your studying environment. This is an area requiring more personalization,
so it’s key that you figure out what works best for you. First, the location. Do you prefer coffee shops and libraries,
or studying at home? If you’ve seen the video of my workspace,
then you understand why I love working at home. Many people do however get easily distracted
at home and that is why they prefer the coffee shop or library since helps them focus on
the work at hand. Next, group versus solo studying. Are you studying by yourself or with other
people? My split varied but it was roughly 50/50. Maybe a little bit more time studying solo. In group study the rate of reviewing material
is slower but the main benefit is working through and reinforcing difficult concepts
while also keeping you motivated and sane. That being said, groups need to be small. Study with only one or two other people. Groups larger than this have severely diminishing
returns because you are going to get distracted and your productivity will plummet. One of the biggest advantages to group study
is the ability to teach what you have learned. This teaching reinforces the material for
yourself and you also help out your friends and classmates. I go over how to use a strategy in my Fineman
Technique video. Now, there is a trade-off between novel stimuli
and maintaining a routine. Novel stimuli such as varying your study location
has been demonstrated to improve recall and retention. However, for some this works directly against
the benefits of a routine. The routine of waking up at the same time,
studying in the same place, etcetera, may facilitate productivity and fight off procrastination. The novel stimuli of studying in new locations
and with new people may impede your ability to get into the groove and maintain productivity
long term. I found myself studying in usually the same
spaces. Either I was in my med school in the empty
classrooms, which is when I usually did group study, or I was at home studying solo with
my optimal setup. Now, in terms of timing and pacing, one of
my all-time favorite study hacks is the Pomodoro Technique. Essentially, you focus on one task, study
in these 25-minute blocks, take five minute breaks and it sounds very simple but it actually
is super effective at fighting procrastination, improving your focus and maintaining endurance. I go over how you can use it most effectively
in my Pomodoro video. Third, let’s talk about obtaining the information. Generally, you’re going to be obtaining information
in one of two ways as a pre-med, either lecture or textbooks. During lecture, most of us follow along with
our own copy of the Powerpoint and we just take notes in the comments section. This is a very passive way of learning. Here are some other options to improve your
methods of obtaining information. First, consider writing versus typing your
notes. Each, of course, has its pros and cons. Typing is faster which sounds great initially,
but if you type faster you are able to transcribe what the professor is saying verbatim. That is not good. This is a very passive way of taking notes. By writing, you generally write much slower
and therefore you have to emphasize the important information and rephrase and organize it into
your own words. Writing in comparison to typing has also been
demonstrated to improve recall possibly due to the increased motor coordination required
for writing. When I was in med school, styluses aren’t
what they are today and I opted for typing in some classes and writing on paper in others,
particularly for my summary sheets, which we’ll get to later. But now with the Surface Pro and the iPad
Pro with Apple Pencil you can get the best of both worlds. Check out my video on how to most effectively
take notes with the iPad and Apple Pencil. Second, let’s talk about lecture versus podcast. Your school may offer audio or video recordings
of your lectures. And for me, this worked best. However, there are of course distinct advantages
to attending lectures in person. For lecture, you have this set routine and
you’re surrounded by other people who are doing the exact same thing. It helps reduce distraction and encourages
you to be engaged in the lecture at least more so than if you were listening to a podcast
at home. You’re also able to ask questions in real
time. But the podcast on the other hand, gives you
the flexibility to watch whenever you want, meaning you can watch the lecture on your
own schedule when you’re well-rested and feeling fresh. You can also watch it at increased speeds. I personally opted for 1.5x or 2x playback
speed. Zoning out with slow speaking lectures was
a big issue for me and that’s why I love the ability to speed up the podcast because it
helped keep me engaged and focused. That being said, be careful of the temptation
of podcasting because it requires a great deal of discipline to stay on track and not
fall behind. If you are the type of student who would procrastinate
with podcasting, do yourself a favor and stick to attending lectures instead. Okay, now let’s talk about rewatching lectures. This is a total waste of time. I understand the thought process behind it
– you want to make sure you didn’t miss anything important and you want to reinforce the content. Repetition. The problem is that rewatching lectures is
extremely passive, even more so than attending it the first time. Your time is better spent reviewing the information,
synthesizing it and doing active learning, questions, flashcards, etcetera. Do not rewatch the lectures or re-listen to
recordings. Use your textbook, other resources, your classmates
or your professors office hours if you need clarification. Now, let’s move on to textbooks. I used to highlight the textbooks and read
my highlights several times to review prior to exams, but that’s obviously a terribly
passive way to study. Reviewing your PowerPoint slides or Word documents
is equally ineffective. Instead, make the process as active as you
can, even at the time of initial exposure. Using either your computer or notepad, summarize
what you read into your own words. By doing this, you are identifying the important
information and organizing it in a way that you will understand – this whole process
will ultimately drastically improve your recall during test time. Lastly, let’s cover memorization. Memorization is arguably the toughest part
of studying, at least for most students. There are a few different methods you can
use to memorize information much faster and much more effectively. First, summary sheets which some people like
to call condensed notes. One of the best ways to memorize is to summarize
the information. Let’s say you have three pages of notes for
one lecture. Condense them into one page by organizing
and restructuring the information into smaller chunks. And I don’t just mean decreasing the font
size, adjusting the margins, I mean actually go through and read your notes carefully and
extract the highest yield points and rephrase them again into your own words. This process of condensing alone is a form
of active learning and it will reinforce the material. But now, you also have this condensed study
resource that you can review at a later date. One of the most powerful ways to memorize
information is spaced repetition. We know that repetition is key to memorization. The idea here is that after each review, you
can increase the interval between reviews. For example, you are exposed to the information
on day zero, then you see it again after 24 hours, then after that another 72 hours, etcetera. Instead of reviewing it every day, you only
review it right before you’re about to forget. To perform spaced repetition on your own requires
a lot of scheduling and it’s not feasible. That’s why you need to use software like Anki. I have a playlist of tutorials that go over
exactly how to use it. I recommend that you make your own flashcards
within Anki and review them daily. By making your own cards (versus just taking
someone else’s), you are again taking advantage of the active learning process. Reviewing your cards daily is also key, because
otherwise you won’t be taking advantage of the spaced repetition. A big reason why flashcards are so effective
is because you’re using recall rather than recognition. Recognition shows you the right answer and
you tell yourself, “Oh, yeah. I recognize that.” Whereas recall requires you to extract the
information on the fly which is ultimately more similar to test day. The beautiful thing about flashcards is you
don’t have to sit down and spend 30 or 60 minutes at once. To get through all my cards each day I would
just open the Anki app on my phone at any brief moment of downtime. I will go through cards when I was, you know,
waiting in line at a restaurant or getting groceries or waiting for a friend. In those few minutes, I was able to perform
a handful of cards but this adds up throughout the day. In order to sit down and review one lecture
it’s going to take you 20 minutes at least. But if you do a few flashcards you just need
a few minutes. Now, these are all of the strategies that
I honed during medical school. If I went deep into each topic this video
would be ten times the length. If you’d like to know more about memorization,
Pomodoro, the Fineman Technique, or any other study strategy that I mentioned in this video,
there are links down in the description to teach you more. Let me know down in the comments what your
favorite study hack is or if you want me to cover another study strategy in an upcoming
video. Thank you all so much for watching. Happy studying. Good luck. And I will see you guys in that next one. [Music]

About James Carlton

Read All Posts By James Carlton

100 thoughts on “Study LESS, Study SMART – What I Wish I Knew in College

  1. What I do is that I procrastinate to the very last day and then do all my homework and studying for like 3 hours straight and then do it again the next week 💀

  2. I regret not discovering your channel earlier. Although I am not a lazy student, in fact in many subjects I take great interest in and study them very hard and passionately. But thing is opposite for Accounting at my university. I find it so boring and keep procastinating to do exercises though Accounting exam is coming right behind my ass :((

  3. Watching this I´ve noticed that all my teachers teach as by passive learning. We are supposed to copy what´s on the board while listen to the explanation; so most of the times I have to teach myself at home 😅

  4. I had been studying every month,every week, every day…only to get a C! And my procrastinating friends got distinctions

    Life is a b** I swear!

  5. This is what Helps me study….
    -Study myself
    -Write when I study
    -Write with different colors but don't decorate it waste time
    -Study music doesn't work for me but you can try
    -If I don't get something I text a friend or search on internet
    Hope these tips help you too

  6. Something I recently found out is that cellphones GREATLY reduce a person's ability to concentrate and memorize. Part of studying effectively is also removing cellphones from the room, as well as just making sure to cut down usage in general.

  7. Can't agree that this takes less time. Sure it's effective. But I alsp disagree in summarizing it. It is really too random what could be in the exam. You usually have to know literally everything so there isn't much to summarize here. And taking notes on paper in the lecture has the same problem. There are too many things that aren't in the presentation so I have to add it and I could never do that by writing it down because I would certainly miss plenty of important expects

  8. This is really helpful since midterms are coming. And I strongly agree that writing down notes is better than typing them. And I also do this strategy where after I write them, I summarize it, then re-summarize it again until the only keywords are left. It is very helpful since the summarizing part usually takes concentration and understanding. So during the process, you are actually learning more and understanding more of the topic. And this helps a lot. Instead of just memorizing it that you would eventually forget, learning and understanding the topic more would retain in your memory.

  9. I love flashcards, they really work for me! I wish I had known in high school: / Thanks for including a girl in the video.
    When I look for these videos there are only men, that discourages me xD The same happens to me with the motivational videos … The only ones I find are to exercise -.- (as if women only had to worry about the body)

  10. I generally use typing but I always rephrase every word I hear. Coz I don't really want to type fast when it's not needed for me. Because when I type fast I tend to forgot analyzing it carefully what I have heard

  11. I have been doing very poor in gen Chem 2 and have been beating myself up for it although we still have 3 exams left I hope this helps me out

  12. i don understand first u said to watch podcast then u said stop watching lectures on internet that u have already taken

  13. forget better grades. let's focus on learning better and then be glad if a grade reflects that. nothing wrong with them but we see them too much (in my opinion) as the end to be achieved, not just a potentially imperfect measurement of what was achieved regardless of them.

  14. I think it's kinda my fault but let's be honest here the school System is shit and could use betterment for students to actually care for Gods sake.

  15. I take an addy and pull an all-nighter before an exam and always ace it. BUT it’s making my life deteriorate lol. I need to stop and split up my time more properly BUT I feel like all my free time is literally homework and writing notes ???

  16. I mean i would get great grades if i would just leave my phone alone and not be on social media 24/7, it's like my addiction, any tips?

  17. i do 25 mins break and 10 mins studying but when i study i focused my whole body and mind to it and that way i can memorize/study faster lol

  18. Great video! Speaking from my experience, the Pomodoro technique doesn't work for me. I only make for sections as a max, then, I stop. Without it, I can continue way longer

  19. does this even work on engineering students? like we dont really have materials we have to memorize… im a computer science student so i dont see how this is going to help me with coding or any other mathematical lesson :/

  20. For me I study with what suits me, I hate studying on beds because when I'm on my bed I think of sleep so I study on a desk

  21. he: minute 6:00 “you can get the best of both worlds”

    me: remembering the good old HANNAH MONTANA song, and singing it for 30min straight, and forgetting what i wanted to do.

  22. I think everything got his time there is time for every thing that,s how l think it & see it cus l,m multiple Tasker men versatile full of versatility you had to be like a optupus with different arms hands for the positive important things.

  23. Several things I want to say: 1. Unlike what you are suggesting, I believe that viewing podcasts instead of going to the lecture itself is very, very time efficient. First, there's no need for you to ride/walk to class and back. Plus, you can rewind the recording for things you may not understand on first pass. Although you may not be able to question the lecturer, you can always check with the text, ask a friend, or ask the professor during scheduled tutoring hours. 2. I also believe – unlike what you suggest – that reviewing power point slides is actually very effective because these are the points that the prof thinks are important. There's a good chance you will see them again. 3. Summarizing things in your own words is a good practice, but it's not always feasible to do in class while the lecture is going on. Better to do it later (if you attend lectures) which is why I favor viewing the podcast of the lecture because then you can always pause and formulate your summaries 4.I thoroughly agree with having condensed notes (summary of your notes) which can be very time consuming, but is ultimately worth the effort and time spent. 5. Anki is a godsend. You would foolish not to use it IMO.

  24. Man that ginger girl is soooo freaking hooot. She looks like a smart girl who is career oriented which I such a turn on. Wow them green eyes melt my heart.

  25. Methods in this video is really help me so much in studying process, I will try perform this all methods in my college life. Thank for Med School Insiders because content of video really useful for me.

  26. Tips from an A student (work in progress to reach A+) :
    1- Do a summary for every new lesson, write in your own way, (use charts, tables and arrows to memorize easily)
    2- Make a to-do list every day
    3- Organize your priorities
    4- don't review right before fire the exam because you'll feel distracted during the exam, istead highlight the points you need to revise and just do it (it's preferable to finish everything a day before)
    5- during exams, isolate yourself from social media platforms, ik it's hard but it's a must!
    6- don't compare yourself to your friends (don't ask them during studying in which lesson are they bcz that will increase your anxiety )
    Wish your friends luck!

  27. My suggestions as a A+ student

    Go through the chapter and study the material BEFORE the lecture, that way you'll have a much easier time understanding what the teacher is talking about.

    Study little by little – instead of first reading or making notes and THEN studying it in the end, write a little, study what you have. Again – write a little, study it.

    Focus more on paying attention to what the teacher says than studying every single word in the book because that exactly is mostly going to be on tests. It's a golden trick for good grades 😉

  28. What you said is 100% true. However, one more study technique, when you try to memorize something, don't just read it, but write it while saying it outloud in a medium volume.. This boosts your study time ×3
    ….
    One more thing, can you please make a video about how to study for very long exams? Like when i have a 10 Units exams or so without forgetting any info

  29. I wish more of my students knew this.

    Frankly, it should be taught in secondary school.

    Also… I'm a big fan of adult students doing the active learning exercises themselves. It really slows down course content to expect faculty to do it

  30. Meanwhile here I am procrastinating my chemistry competition admission test.. they gave us the material today and the test is in a few days.. going to try this, wish my luck!

  31. Good day! Im a grade 10 H.S level and this coming year im moving up into senior high level in our country (Philippines..) After spending 2 years in S.H level next is college.. It seems in my self that I want to stick into this course (doctor) but there's something bathering in my mind about this.. Im always keeping thinking that it's very impossible for me to get this kind of job.. Cause I think im not intelligent enough.. Can you plz give me an advice to motivate me… Im so downful.. 😭
    I really really want to become a doctor but… Maybe im foolish.. Thats why im afraid to try this dreams… 😢

  32. I write fast and summarize the lectures into my own words.. but I can't read it later because of bad handwriting lol

  33. Hi! Amazing videos!!! Thanks for sharing them!!! Can you plz tell what programme do you use for making your videos?? I liked so much how you presented them!!! Thanks!!! 🙂

  34. I have a few questions though,
    1. What should I do in these 5 minute breaks, because if i use my phone i get distracted?
    2. What should i do if I don't like my handwriting and I don't know how to change it and the fact that it's ugly demotivates me from studying from the notes

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