study-habit

I feel like this is something important that all of us at studyblr need to know:

We all say that grades or scores or GPAs don’t define your worth or you as a person. It’s true to some extent. Getting average scores or even failing once or twice doesn’t mean you’re an idiot or that you’re stupid. Similarly, straight A’s don’t make you the smartest person in the world so always be humble.

But the point is that, the grades don’t define your intelligence. The grades define how hard you work. Sure, some people can get A’s without having to study or work so much, but most people work their asses off studying and revising and teaching themselves. People have to work very hard to get A’s because they don’t just happen. And while yes, school can be stressful because not all of us are organized or productive or motivated all the time, it’s up to us to have discipline and to be proactive in our studying.

This may sound insensitive, but rather than complaining about how much you hate that you need an A to get into a good college or whatever, you should focus on overcoming whatever it is that’s *stopping* you from getting that A. An A does define you in college and high school (at least for me it does) because you don’t get an A if you don’t study and put in effort. If colleges were to say that grades don’t matter at all in terms of acceptance, then what benchmark is there for your academic ability and skill set? If not your grades, then what else can show that you’ve learned and gotten something out of your years at school?

And it’s not about studying hard, it’s about studying smart. Use resources and techniques that work well for you; there are hundreds of different types out there, so there’s no reason learning can’t be fun. Even if teachers make school life shitty and put pressure on you about grades, school is still about learning. Turn your studying into something fun because you can get more out of it by actually learning things. Science can be fun, literature can be interesting, business can be exciting. You just have to go out there and make the effort to find resources that help you learn what you need to know. That’s why we’re here as a studyblr community, to share what we know about study tips and websites and such, instead of complain about how crappy the education system is and then whining about not being able to get good grades. And the amount of effort you put into revision and practicing what you know, is the real way to get an A, because that A comes from you learning and knowing your shit. Grades do define you - they represent how much effort you put into learning in order to get them.

Things Top Students Do

1. They don’t always do all of their homework.

In college, homework assignments generally make up 5-20% of your grade, but can be the biggest time-suck for most students. Yes, working problems is one of the best ways to turn new concepts into working knowledge, but a large majority of those problems that take you hours and hours to work through, you’ll never see on an exam.

2. They never “read through” the textbook.


Per time spent, reading the textbook is one of the least effective methods for learning new material. Top students use the examples and practice problems, but otherwise use Google, lecture notes, and old exams for study materials.

3. They Google EVERYTHING.

It’s like an automatic reaction. New concept = go to Google for a quick explanation. Don’t think just because your professor gives you a textbook and some examples on the blackboard that you’re limited to that information. You have a massive free search engine at your fingertips, so make use of it.

4. They test themselves frequently.

Testing yourself strengthens your brain’s connections to new material, and gives you immediate and clear feedback on whether you know something or not. Bottom line, repeated self-testing significantly improves long-term retention of new material. 

5. They study in short bursts, not long marathons.

Studying in short bursts tends to help you focus intensely because you know there is at least a short break coming.

This also fits in nicely with our Ultradian Rhythm, the natural activity/rest cycle of our bodies, which makes studying continuously for multiple hours on end counterproductive.

6. They reverse-engineer solved problems.

It’s one thing to follow and memorize a set of steps to solve a calculus problem. It’s an entirely different thing to understand what a derivative is, be able to take derivates of complex functions, know when to use the chain rule vs. the product rule, etc. The problem with simply following the steps the professor provided, or the textbook outlines, is that you’re only achieving a surface-level knowledge of the problem. Top students, instead,take solved problems and work backwards, from solution to question, asking “why.”

Why did this get this value?
Why did they simplify this expression?
Why did they use that type of derivative rule?

By following this process, you begin to understand the interconnections of the concept, and how to directly apply that to a problem. This “working knowledge” of a concept is key to performing well on exams, especially on problems that you haven’t seen before.

7. They don’t own a highlighter.

Highlighting anything = unengaged reading. If you want to note something that stands out, underline and write a corresponding note to go along with it. Or better yet, write yourself a note summarizing the item in your own words.

8. They sleep–a lot.

The daily routines of top performers, in any field, are characterized by periods of intense work (4-6 hours per day) followed by significant quantities of high-quality sleep (9 hours per night). You see this trend in top violin prodigies and chess champions, as well as elite athletes. The idea is to alternate periods of intense work with rest, so that you create tons of new connections in your nervous system, and then allow adequate time to assimilate those gains.

9. They engage themselves by asking questions.

What happens if I tell you, “Thomas Jefferson almost single-handedly drafted the Delcaration of Independence in 1776.”?

You might say “Hmm.. that’s interesting”, try to remember it for later, maybe even write down a note or two.

But what if I ask you, “Who was Thomas Jefferson?” What changes?

You start searching your memory, sifting through images of old guys, founding fathers, thinking about the Declaration of Independence. You come up with your own narrative, and then realize that you have gaps.

When was he around again?
And why was he so important?

You’ll probably find yourself going to Google to fill in the gaps. Through that process your learning will be much more deeply seated in your brain than anything your history teacher ever told you about him. That’s the power of asking questions.

10. They make the best out of lecture.


Yes, your professor sucks. Yes, lectures are boring. Yes, it’s either too fast so you can’t keep up and miss all the important stuff, or it’s way too slow and you start zoning out because you already understand everything.

The best students look at this this way: I’m going to be there no matter what, so what’s the best use of my time while I’m in the classroom? Ask questions, bring the textbook and look stuff up, focus on the important practice problems to copy down in your notes, try to anticipate what the professor is going to say, make note of anything they put emphasis on as a potential exam topic. All of these things make the time you have to spend in lecture more productive and engaging. And that’s less time you have to spend studying later on.

11. They over-learn.

School is hard enough, with the amount of studying and homework you have to do. And on top of all of that Facebooking you have to get done? It might seem ridiculous to suggest learning more than you have to.

What!? Are you insane!?

But this is precisely what top students do. And paradoxically, they end up spending less time trying to understand how to do homework problems, andless time studying for exams because of it. Because when you “over-learn” past what’s presented in class, you build a better framework for the subject.

Think of trying to remember some details about Abraham Lincoln’s life. You try to remember the dates of the Civil War, or what he said in the Emancipation Proclamation. You study the same facts over and over and over again… but it’s just boring, and you quickly forget. But what if you knew his whole life’s story? About how Lincoln suffered from bouts of depression, and his relationship with his wife suffered? You start to learn that the dude was human, and you start to relate to the things he did and the struggles he went through. Now you’ve constructed a story in your head. And studies show that humans learn best through stories. So yes, it’s more information, but your brain knows what to do with it now that all those random facts are linked together. More learning, but less rote memorization and struggling to remember random facts.

12. They immediately study their exam mistakes.

Most students get their exam grade back, flip through to see if the professor made any mistakes they can argue about, and then promptly shove it into their notebook, never to be seen again until the mad scramble at the end of the semester to study for the final.

Instead, top students ignore what they got right, and use their mistakes as an indicator of what to improve on.

13. They’re busy with work and side projects.

Yes, to do well in a course, you need to focus and put in the hours. But like many geniuses throughout history have shown, involvement in a diverse set of subjects, activities, and skill sets keeps you active, and provides you with a rich and diverse set of mental models to pull from.

Also, as they say, “If you need to get something done, give it to the busy person.” If you stay active in multiple areas, you don’t have time to procrastinate, and are forced to be efficient with your study time. This generally translates into quicker learning and better performance throughout the semester.

14. They use lecture as a detective mission.

Though completely unaware of this fact, your professor has tells. Yes, like in poker. Tells during lecture will hint at particular types of concepts and problems that will be emphasized on the midterm or final exam. The best students pay attention to topics professors spend a seemingly inordinate amount of time on and make note. Chances are you’ll see something related on the final.

15. They don’t wait for motivation to strike.

Motivation comes and goes, but studying for a degree requires persistence and consistency. Just like Olympic athletes train even on their worst days, the best students figure out how to get their coursework done when it’s the last thing they want to do.

16. They practice under test conditions.
The old adage “practice makes perfect” isn’t totally true. Deliberate practice under the right conditions, with the correct mindset, is more like it. Instead of reading through all of the lecture notes and redoing old homework problems, top students make themselves practice exams, and rehearse their exam performance, under time pressure and in similar conditions (no notes, uncomfortable chair, quiet room, etc.) to what they’ll see on test day.

17. They use old exams.

Professors aren’t the most inventive folk. Along with coming up with lecture material and departmental responsibilities, they’re also primarily concerned with research. So typically midterms and final exams more or less look alike for similar courses year-to-year and even across universities. Because of this, old exams are a gold mine of opportunity for figuring out what problems you should be able to solve and study from.

18. They make their own study guides.

The best students don’t simply use the study guide the teacher provides, they create their own.

Creating the study guide is half the battle, requiring you to go through your notes, consolidate them, and organize them in a way that you understand–all valuable study activities. You’ll also be able to use your equations sheet much more effectively on the exam itself (if allowed) because you know exactly where everything is.

19. They actually write on paper.

Writing out notes on a laptop is efficient. Too efficient. Because it’s so easy to quickly type out exactly what the professor is saying, you don’t have to do the work of trying to figure out how to consolidate the information into your own shorthand. Some also believe that the act of writing helps retain more information.

20. They use the 80/20 rule.

Yes, some students who get good grades do every reading assignment, finish every practice problem, and attend every study session they can get their hands on. But these students are missing the point. There will always be an endless amount of information you could learn given the time and effort, but having the ability to discern what is worth learning will truly set you apart.

Top students identify the 20% of concepts they need to learn deeply, in order to determine 80% of their final grade. They focus intently on those few things, and simply ignore the rest. This is a formula for high performance, without hours and hours of busywork. And it translates seamlessly into the real world too.

21. They don’t complain.

Complaining simply has no place in the smart student’s repertoire. If something sucks, change it or ignore it, but don’t waste your time, energy, and mental state talking about it. Got a crappy professor? Either switch class sections or focus on teaching yourself. Horrible textbook? Find alternate resources (Google is free in case you hadn’t heard).

22. They learn by doing.

Any technical subject can only truly be internalized through use. Just like learning a new language, learning to be fluent in algebra or calculus requires active application of rules and formulas. Top students know there is a big difference between knowledge, and applied knowledge.

23. They take personal responsibility for learning the material.

The best students understand that they, and only they are truly responsible for their own education. So waiting to be spoon-fed by your professor and doing the homework assignments will never be enough. Despite your school’s best intentions, they’ll never be as committed to your academic success as you can be.

24. Following what they love

Those students you admire are passionate about what they are learning. They have the drive to develop their learning further based on their love of what they are discovering. This may not always be the case and is often unavoidable but if you follow what interests you and cultivate a curiosity of this area, your motivation to learn will thrive.

Not every student is the same and many top students don’t follow the status quo. The best way to create good habits for students is to try a variety of techniques and figure out what works for you.

25. Question your teachers
Thinking outside the box is a cliche but certainly a reality for students.  They question everything–especially test questions they get wrong.  This attitude is important because it shows a general inquisitiveness that is essential in learning.  As any parent of small children knows, questions are a way to gain knowledge.  Teachers can’t be offended when a student asks a difficult question and parents should encourage this behavior.  

26. They know the best way to study.

It is important to know the best way to study for yourself. Do you need pictures? Sounds? Study better in quiet or noisy environments? Figure out what works best for you so that you can make the most out of your study time.

27. They play hard.

We all know that a balanced lifestyle is the best way to stay mentally and physically healthy! Top students don’t spend all day in the library grafting (contrary to what you might think!) Rather, they take the time to put their studies aside and do something which is fun and exciting!

 Source : 1 2 3 4

Guide on How to Catch Up in Your Classes

I often see master posts and tips about how to become organized and have better study habits but not about what to do when you have essentially messed up. I just wanted to share some of the things I do when I fall behind and how I recover. Unfortunately, this is an experience I am very familiar with but I am actively working on changing.

Please do NOT use this guide as a justification to fall behind. This is a guide for those who for whatever reason are already in this predicament and need help ASAP!

1) List everything you have to get done. Absolutely everything, down to the smallest detail.

  • For example, do not write down “readings for class X” but rather list out every chapter, and if you want every subsection of that chapter. This makes it easier to gauge how much time you need for every assignment and will motivate you when you check them off!
  • I like using apps like OneNote and Momentum to make my to do lists or just standard sheets of paper.

2) Calm down.

  • If you are anything like me, after you have made your long to do list you will start to panic. (I do, every single time!) Do your best to calm down, a calm mind is a sharper and smarter mind!
  • Personally, I like taking a moment outside to just concentrate on taking deep breaths of fresh air. This helps bring my heart rate down. (It’s something a bit similar to meditating)
    • For meditation, stretching, yoga, exercise, and power-naps you can use the app Fabulous (I use it often during the day for these purposes.)
  • Do not use this time to procrastinate! Try to find a relaxing activity that is not time consuming (i.e, DO NOT watch an episode on Netflix, play a video game, or anything that can easily feed into your procrastination) Although, these can all be relaxing activities, you will unconsciously negatively reinforce your habit of procrastinating to relieve anxiety and, thus, will consistently want to procrastinate when you are distressed or overwhelmed by your classes. Essentially, creating a cycle of procrastination. 
    • Ex: I am behind and am experience a lot of distress and anxiety. Watching Netflix (i.e. procrastinating) gives me temporary relief by distracting me from my responsibilities. Once my episode finishes, however, I feel the anxiety from my workload again and will decide to watch another episode etc. etc. It’s an endless cycle.

3) Plan out your week and dedicate each day predominantly to one class.

  • Now we have all the assignments and studying you have to do for every class and you are calm. Make sure to pay extra attention to due dates and plan which days you will be dedicating to each class. Plan a whole week and remember to plan wisely!
  • Prioritize by amount of weekly workload and proximity of due dates.
    • Does a class have assignments due every week? That class is most important since small assignments can eventually add up to a big portion of your grade. These assignments are due the soonest and, therefore, need to be done ASAP. Dedicate the whole day to just that class.
    • For example, for my Life Science course I have weekly quizzes and clicker points during class. If I am behind, I will dedicate a whole day to doing readings for that class first.
  • Have two different assignments for different classes due on the same day? Plan in advance so that you will still dedicate a whole day to each class rather than working on both assignments the same day (which would most likely be the day before, am i rite? ;) -> No, seriously don’t do this.)
    • If it is utterly necessary to do both assignments on the same day, then do split up your day.

4) Plan out your day. Every single hour. Seriously.

  • I literally will make a list of available times for each day and will schedule in assignments, meals, breaks, interviews, everything.
  • Try to be realistic! (I struggle with this a lot.)
    • Estimate the amount of time for an activity and then add a few more minutes to that.
    • Do not forget to schedule in essential personal care time. You need to eat, you need to take breaks, you need to shower, and you need to sleep. By doing this, you will be able to curve fatigue and to overall be in a better mental and physical health which is important for productivity.
  • Interweave your studies/assignments for a class.
    • What I mean by this is that you are behind and need to not only do the assignments but most likely need to learn it QUICKLY for the upcoming exam.
    • So an example of interweaving would be actively going back and forth b/w reading a chapter and your lecture notes. When I am behind I will take notes on the chapter I am currently reading and add those notes to what was said in lecture. Therefore, I am catching up but also making sure I am understanding the readings in terms of what is being taught in class. This saves time and you are learning!
  • Re-plan.
    • Some assignments will take longer than expected or a day will simply not be as productive as you thought it would be. It’s okay. Do not get discouraged. Simply, re-plan, adjust your days and continue moving forward! In order for this to work, you need to be flexible and learn what are the most important assignments you should be spending your time on.

5) Do not procrastinate!

  • I know this is easier said than done, but you (and I) are behind so we really have to stick to this one. Procrastinating may feel good at the moment but you will feel terrible about it later.
  • Here are some tools to help: Self-control (for macs), and Forest (for phones and computers.)

6) Go to the library or a quite isolated space.

  • Go. Go now.
  • Studying in your dorm room or at home gives you too many opportunities to be distracted and you simply do not have the time to take the risk. Food and people are my main distractions!
  • Also, being in a space where others are working will motivate you to do the same.
  • Get hungry while on campus? Pack your lunch AND dinner when you go to class and just spend the rest of your day in the library.
  • If you are starting to feel mentally fatigued, go somewhere else, take a small break, and continue. Go to a cafe, a computer lab, a grass field, anywhere. A change of scenery while studying can help you feel refreshed!

7) Give yourself rewards for accomplishments

  • I prefer to keep my rewards small. They tend to be having a small talk with my roommate, experimenting while making coffee, making myself a really nice dinner, or pressing flowers.
  • Do not over extend or continually take breaks. Again, do not reward yourself with something that you associate with procrastination or could procrastinate with!

8) SLEEP!

  • Last one! I know everyone and their moms say this, but sleep is very important for learning and (if your cramming) retention. After a certain point your brain will be too fatigued and will not retain anything you try to cram into it, so why not spend that time doing something better? Like sleeping!
  • Before I even start studying, I give myself a cut-off time. This is a time when I will stop, no matter how much work I have gotten done, and will prepare to go to sleep.
    • I wake up at 8am, so mine tends to be around 12:00am.
    • Your cut-off time should be strict and should give you at least 6-8 hours of sleep, so plan wisely!
  • Consistency is the key to success.
    • Studies have shown that inconsistent sleep affects your learning retention and academic abilities the next day. So, really try to stick to this one, if anything!
  • Again, the Fabulous app can help you stick to your cut-off time and maintain a regular sleep pattern.

I could go on and on about this but this post has already become more lengthy than I had anticipated!

Remember these are the things I do when I am behind (usually severely), this does not consist of my daily study habits when I am caught up. Therefore, some of these tips aren’t efficient for long-term learning but are definitely better than cramming (in my opinion and experience.) Catching up is by no means fun, therefore, once you are caught up, please try to implement better time management and daily study habits. (If anyone is interested in tips for those, let me know and I can make a post about it!)

Lastly, you can do this! I mean it. I do not know you personally but I have seen people do the most astonishing things in the face of adversity. So please trust me when I say, I believe in you wholeheartedly!

Good luck!

Jessica

Fri, Jan. 29th 2016 | 12:00pm

Using Evernote.

I have received a lot of questions about what program I am using to organize my notes. It is called Evernote and it is still something I am experimenting with but I am quite pleased with the results thus far.

What appeals to me most about it at this point is the ability to edit and sync my notes on my computer to my phone so that I always have all of my notes with me anywhere without the hassle of notebooks and paper. That, along with a fast and responsive engine for tagging and searching makes organizing and finding my notes a lot less time consuming.

As one reader was asking, it does support document and image attachments as well as recorded audio clips (that have thus far not been very useful to me). However, I do insert inlayed images often for diagrammatic purposes. 

At this time, it is definitely a much more tedious operation to convert readings and clinical pearls to digital notes when I come home but over the long term, I think they will be more useful.

anonymous asked:

5-7? that's amazing compared to my 0 a day. self deprecation aside, what tips do you have for developing a study habit?

Hello.

Well, there is no particular secret in developing a study habit. It is like any other habit. It takes time and repetition.

  • Create a Schedule and Try your Best to Stay on Track. If you forget to do something on your schedule, carry on. Do not try to backtrack. Or everything else on the schedule will have a time shift. Come back to it later.
  • Mark down on a calendar, everytime you followed your schedule.
  • Reward yourself when you complete a task. Do not reward yourself before… 
  • Be Consistent. If you study better in the morning, then start with studying in the morning. Even when you feel lazy, try to study a bit. It is better to study a bit than not at all.
  • At first, it will be hard. But, after 10 days, it will become easier to develop this habit. It is said that it takes around ~66 days to create a habit. 

Best of Luck.

What to do when you get a bad grade

1. Don’t mope around and keep beating yourself up. That will only distract you from your studying, and stop you from doing your best in other subjects.
2. Remember a bad grade is only a bad grade. It doesn’t mean you’re worthless or have failed as a person.
3. Try and find a way to let your feelings out through some kind of physical activity. For example, through running, jogging, or going to the gym.
4. Aim to do better on the next test you have. There will still be other tests where you can get a higher mark. Maybe see it as a wake-up call, and change your study habits.
5. Try and figure out why you received the bad grade. Do you need to study more, or to learn some new techniques? Did you not fully understand the course material? Did you just have a bad day, or were you tired or feeling sick?
6. Get extra help from your teachers if you need it. Most of them are happy to answer students’ questions.
7. Be determined to keep going and to persevere. It’s easier to do well with a good attitude.

Ganito ang pader ng kwarto ko. Ang daming nakapaskil na kung anu ano. Pota kala mo kung ano, pero yun pala reviewer. Tapos may white board pa na akala mo naman naglelecture ako sa isang class. Pero kahit na nakapaskil yan diyan, di ko rin siya masyado pinapansin. Ang weird no? Ewan ko ba pero minsan ko lang matitigan yang mga nandiyan kasi bukod sa alam ko naman na yan e, di ko alam bakit pinaskil ko pa yan. Diba dapat yung mga di pa ko masyadong familiar na concepts ang dapat na nandiyan? Ang gulo ko. 

Gusto ko na alisin yang mga yan pero, ewan ko yung isa lang ang hindi ko aalisin diyan. Yung galit na galit na note na “MAG-ARAL KA!”.  :)

Pag nakikita ko yang mga notes na yan, napapabuklat talaga ako ng libro.

Ginagawa niyo ba yan pag dibdibang aral ang ginagawa niyo?

Pero sa mga nursing students at sa mga nursing graduates na nagrereview for board exam e malamang “Oo” ang sagot sa tanong ko. haha :) Pakiramdam ko tuloy ang sipag ko pag nasusulyapan ko yang mga lintik na mga nakadikit na yan. Pero ang maganda naman dun e, SINISIPAG AKO DAHIL DIYAN :) 


Effective naman yang technique na pagpapaskil ng notes sa pader ng kwarto kasi halimbawa, pagkagising mo sa umaga, yan na agad makikita mo. Kumbaga, dahil sa araw araw mong nakikita nasasanay ka na at tumatatak na sa memorya mo. Katulad nalang yan ng pagkakaayos ng mga furniture niyo sa bahay. Yung kahit pumikit ka, kaya mong ituro kung nasaan ang patungan ng TV, ang sofa, ang cabinet etc.  

Noong una pa nga balak ko sa kisame ko ilalagay para habang nakahiga ako, e iyan ang nakikita ko. Kahit sa pagdilat ko palang sa umaga, yan na agad ang sasambulat sa pagmumukha ko. Subukan niyo, baka effective din para sa inyo :) 

Study Habit:

◦ Study Space≧◇≦

Mess up the whole house, just not my study table!

✓ To study well and stay focused you should be comfortable.

✓ Studying on the bed or the floor is not recommended.

✓ Posture is an important factor of comfort.

✓ Cleanliness and orderliness avoids hassle and distraction

✓ Lighting and room temperature can also affect our concentration. By the window is great for lighting.

✓ Cleaning and organizing my study space motivates me.

✓ Your study space should be convenient. Fill it with study weapons and stuff.

✓ Love your study space so you could love studying more. Decorate it, organize it, love it.

✓ Make your study space your favorite spot, and not the sofa where you can just sit and be idle all day or watch tv.

✓ There is always room for inspiration on the study table.

woesandwy asked:

Hello! I just found out about your blog and it's amazing :P Also, I'd just like to ask if you have any tips on how to make yourself less sleepy when studying? :P hehe

Now that is an interesting question woesandwy. If there was a fool proof solution, you can bet your money that medical students would have been all over it years ago. Unfortunately, life is not always that easy and it hides her secrets well.

Here are my suggestions:

  • Sleep more. Obviously this is playing a role somewhere. If you are not getting enough sleep then it will affect you for the rest of the day.
  • Proper sleep hygiene. A poor sleep hygiene habit that many of us have is studying in our own bedroom or worse, on our bed. Rooms should be compartmentalized based on function if possible. The dining room is already for eating, the kitchen for cooking, why not extend that to studying? Study in a study room, and sleep in your bedroom. If you study in your bedroom, it can increase your likelihood of feeling sleepy.
  • Give yourself a break. The monotony of studying can be mentally taxing. I personally tend to study for 20 minutes, then take a 10 minute break. While it is not perfect, it does give my brain new stimuli and that can help combat sleepiness.
  • A drink of your choice. Now, we are bringing on the big guns. If you must, then you can try tea or coffee. Black tea has a little more caffeine in it so if you need a little more kick that could be a good choice. On the extreme end of the scale, something I would not recommend are energy drinks. I know people who have used them for exams and honestly, if you are so awake you cannot get a solid night of sleep, it probably was not worth it.

These are the tips I keep in mind when I am studying and hopefully they will work for you too. Good luck and take care.

Do you have tips on combatting sleepiness while studying? Leave a comment below.

I was asked on tumblr to go into detail about a typical day during my MCAT study in Spring 2015. Others’ MCAT strategies were super interesting to me before I studied for the exam, so I’m happy to share mine with you! But keep in mind, this is the schedule that worked for me and it may not work for you or anyone else. I say this because I tried to replicate random study schedules the first time I took the old exam in 2014 and it was a time-suck and a mistake. No one knows your study habits better than you! Create a study schedule that will work for your needs.

Items of Note

  • General MCAT study tips to warm you up for the MCAT marathon.
  • MCAT study time: just under 9 weeks
  • I studied 7 – 8 hours a day.
  • My volunteering was on hiatus to maximize my free time for studying.
  • I was enrolled in 1 post bac lab course.
  • My job was remote and part-time.
  • I will include a schedule that includes a workout, which I incorporated every other day.
  • On the days I didn’t work out, I used that extra time to run errands, do homework for my lab class, or have dinner with someone.
  • For the first month of studying, I took Saturday and Sunday off. After that, I took one day off per week.

My Typical MCAT Study Day

730AM: Wake up! Occasionally earlier, and occasionally later. But this was typically the best time for me to wake up.
745 – 8ooAM: Make + eat breakfast, watch the news, let the caffeine from my deep, dark tea work its magic.
8oo – 1030AM: Study at home
1030 – 1050AM: Snack/talk to humans/email/text break
1050 – 130PM: Study at home
130 – 230PM: Lunch with TV + some work/emails
230PM: Get ready + drive to the gym
300 – 345PM: Workout! Usually cardio on the elliptical or a cardio-infused, strengthening workout of my own. It was quick + got me moving.
400 – 530PM: Shower + dinner.
530 – 600PM: Drive to library + set up
600 – 800PM: Study at library
800 – 820PM: Snack/talk to humans/text break
820 – 1000PM: Study at library
1020 – 1100PM: Whatever I want (usually tumblr or TV)
1100PM: Sleep

Why This Study Schedule Worked for Me

Experience has shown me that when I study into the afternoon, I get kind of down/lose focus/am uninterested. Mornings and evenings are the best time for me to study. Allowing myself a long break in the middle of the day where I get to unwind and be in a different environment makes me feel like a balanced human. Last Spring, it helped me recharge for the latter half of my studying at the library. If my day didn’t start early, I wouldn’t have had the luxury of long breaks. Luckily, I am somewhat of a morning person if I sleep at a reasonable hour! Overall, I was exponentially happier studying for the MCAT in 2015 than I was in 2014 — for multiple reasons, but my improved schedule was definitely one of them.

Tips for Creating Your Own Study Schedule

Be honest with yourself about what works for you. If you loathe getting up early, don’t do it! Just plan the rest of your day around that. But keep in mind that this is a short period of time where it is ok to be a little uncomfortable for the sake of your larger goals. You’re not going to be able to see your friends all of the time if you want to get a decent score, but you also don’t have to be a hermit for two months. A hermit-ish lifestyle will serve you best. Like most things in life, MCAT study calls for balance both for your sanity and your success. You will learn so much about not only science but yourself through this journey. It’s cheesy but true for me. Remember, every day that you study, you’re one step closer to med school!

Don’t forget to scope my general MCAT study tips that I shared in the thralls of last year’s MCAT study! As always, I love comments and tumblr asks so please send them over. I hope this was helpful to you!

My MCAT Study Schedule: A Typical Day was originally published on Premed to MD

New Moon in Aquarius starts tomorrow, signifying an excellent beginning towards comparison, balance of the self and others, and educating yourself.

We’ve talked about how the New Moon signifies beginnings. It’s the perfect time to start month-long projects, scheduled to come to an end once the Full Moon makes its cycle. The New Moon also focuses on love and protection, enhancing the effect of protection rituals and love spells. Overall, the New Moon encourages you to reach for what you seek, finally take action for your responsibilities and needs.

In Aquarius, the New Moon encourages and aids self discovering tactics, knowledgeable discovery, protecting the individualism of others, and emotional revolution. The needs of the masses are readjusted, reset, and taken into consideration. Aquarian New Moons signify time for emotional change and internal revolution and refusal to accept what’s been hurting you anymore.

Recommended ritual practices for this time include forming study habits, beginning to cut harmful ties, creating happiness for yourself and others, and beginning odd and artistic new projects.