Saturday, October 7, 2017

How Am I Studying: The End of Third Year

I remember when, not too long ago, I used to be writing all sorts of study posts during first and second year. Something happened around the end of second year (even now, I'm not quite sure what), but I just haven't been able to get back to the groove of writing about studying. I've always wanted to be one of those study focused blogs, but that seems to be getting harder and harder by the day.

Sometimes, the best way to get things done or to get things to change, especially if you're unhappy, is to take the first step and get started. It doesn't matter if the first step is really small, you just need to start and get the momentum building. You'll get where you want to be before you know it. However, something important to keep in mind before taking the journey is to consider how much you are willing to sacrifice with it.

There's no point in committing to a cause and getting started when you are just doing it for fun or if you don't know if you really want to do it in the first place. I feel like that's a problem I face a lot. There are multiple things that I want to do, but I am never sure if I will be able to put in the kind of effort that is required to get the ball moving. I wish I had the time to sit down and think about all these things and plan them out, but let's be real, I'm never going to find the time until I make the time, and if I can't make the time, then maybe I shouldn't be doing it in the first place.

It's a bit of a defeatist ideology, I realize, which is why I'm trying really hard to start working on things I think I am passionate about. The truth is, I have a multitude of ideas. I just need to get started.

However, that is not what this post is going to be about. Today we will be talking about my current study routine. Third year has come to an end and the past three weeks have been spent studying- cramming- I have lost track of it, really. The days seem to have all blended together. Nevertheless, let's get started.
The Ingredients To Studying:      
     a check list of all the topics you need to cover
     review books that you have used religiously through the year
     all notes that have been compiled for the sole purpose of the final exam
     a handful of highlighters, loose sheets, pens
     a mug to hold your tears
     your will to survive
I am at this point in my studying where if I don't understand something, I cannot afford to slow down and read it up from the big books and spend more than ten minutes trying to figure out how it all works. If I don't understand it within ten minutes, then I don't have the time for it, not for these exams at least. The only choice left for me is to attempt to memorize it and move on. I need to pass these exams and then I re-study these topics again at my leisure in fourth year when I am preparing for the USMLE.
Some of My Favorite Programs      
     Sketchy Micro
     Armando Hasudungan
When there is something I'm having a hard time figuring out, I usually use the programs/sources above. Anki has been my go-to thing throughout this study period. My entire prep is built around it. Anki is basically a flashcard app where you can build your own cards and then study them. The study process involves you grading yourself and marking cards so that the program can repeat difficult cards more often for you. Making cards, in my opinion, isn't that hard, but because I jumped on the Anki bandwagon so late, I actually didn't get the chance to make cards consistently for third year. Instead, I have been using Anki cards built by Zanki, which are basically around 20k cards, all built from Pathoma and First Aid.
Rough Schedule of the Day      
     8am-11am: lie in bed, contemplate life, get up eventually for breakfast
     11am-2pm: review anki cards
     4pm-8pm: read up new topic
     10pm-11pm: anki cards for this new topic
     12am-2am: lie in bed, contemplate life until eventually sucked into the void.
I am hoping I perform well on the exam. I have only prepared for half of them (the written ones) so far, the practical exams still await me. I thought I would be able to review histology slides as I went through the content, but it seems I am not that good at keeping up with a schedule. The planner I made so meticulously is barely used, I have reverted to writing the next day's to do list on my arm so that it's always there in front of me and I can wash it off later in the day. Here indeed, you get to see how lazy and awful a student I am but hey. I'm trying my best.

What have you been up to lately?

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