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Study Strategies & Tips

Sample Weekly Schedules: We asked two alumni to document a week in their life as a PBPM student for each semester of the program. Your personal weekly schedule will probably look different for each person, but feel free to consider this a guide.



Note: All titles are hyperlinked directly to YouTube videos

Philosopher’s Notes: A Mind for Numbers by Barbara Oakley (presented by Brian Johnson) (~10 minutes)

  • Focused vs. Diffuse: can’t be “on” all the time. Your body/brain need time to rest and sleep is the best way to enter the Diffuse state.

  • Procrastipain: Your brain reads the anticipation of an uncomfortable task as pain, but once you engage in that task, the pain goes away. Pain is only in the anticipation, not in the doing.

  • Procrastination can be addicting, but long term effects can be detrimental to your productivity and ultimate results.

  • Process & Product: Process over Outcomes. Focus on putting in the time (20 minutes) rather than stressing over the actual outcome. Give an allotted amount of time to the task and recognize all that can be accomplished with that time. Energy may flow and you may accomplish more than you think by just showing up!

  • Stress Response: Make a choice- will you choke or recognize that your body is “turning on” so you can perform your best? Cultivate biology of courage!

  • Explain like I’m 5: Fully understanding can come from explaining to someone else. Work with your classmates to teach one another as you process your own understanding.  

  • Spaced repetition: Move from working memory to long-term memory- study something, but then recognize other similar ideas over a period of time. Continual exposure helps drill into consciousness.

Take a deeper look at what Focused & Diffuse Modes look like:

How to Learn Faster #01 Introduction to Focused & Diffuse Modes (~4 minutes)

Focused Mode: Familiar thought patterns

Diffuse Mode: create space to look at things broadly, make new neural connections, and get to the initial place you need to be to get to a new solution.

Study Tips for Medical School & College (~5 minutes)

  1. Read aloud & then rephrase

  2. Teach yourself or others

  3. Imagine information in question form- how would this appear on a test?

  4. Do application questions early- why did I get this wrong?

  5. Use spare time wisely!

  6. Study efficiently/smartly- if distracted, stop studying and then go back to studying when you can focus

  7. Study in a group- keep number of members small. Keep others on a schedule & accountable.

  8. Make a study schedule- divide up your resources. Allot specific time for specific subjects/activities. Schedule in breaks!

My Comprehensive Guide on How to Study (~6 minutes)

  1. Create weekly schedule: 1) Block off classes, 2) block off studying, 3) block off volunteering.

  2. Don’t fall behind on lecture materials. Be an active participant so your mind stays active while in class.

  3. Go to office hours and review sessions.

  4. Create a perfect study space- library, café, home? Background noise or no? Feel free to change your scenery or try other places as needed.

  5. Avoid cramming- study a little bit daily. Make study schedule 1-2 weeks before exam.

  6. Engage in group work AFTER everyone has reviewed the material.

Time Management Tips (~4 minutes)

-Use a planner! Electronic or paper or both
-Prioritize your goals. How much time needed to achieve those goals? Schedule those first! Set small & specific learning goals rather than filling up blocks of time arbitrarily.
-Free Time Card- activities listed for small increments of time. Optimize productivity!

Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools

This playlist includes a series of 3-6 minutes videos that address a variety of studying techniques. Feel free to peruse by topic as you work to increase your own productivity and ability to learn in new ways.

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