tips for undergraduates

My Psychology Study Routine

This is just what I did for all of my undergraduate psychology courses, and I found that this worked the best for me!

1. Read the textbook before class & make notecards!
Psychology has a lot of vocabulary words and concepts, so I found it the most helpful to make notecards as I was reading the course material to help reinforce this information early on.

2. Take thorough class notes!
Most of my professors posted their notes online prior to class, so I would print them out and bring them with me to class. I would try and read over them while I was waiting for class to start. This way, I could take notes on what the professor was saying (often times supplemental material) instead of just following along with the powerpoint.

3. Reread notes and revise notecards!
A few days after class (I tried to do this every weekend), I would reread my notes and add any additional information to the notecards I had made from the textbook.

4. Study from the notecards!
Instead of just rereading my notes over and over again before the exam, I would go through my notecards once or twice a day starting a week before the exam. This is much more active learning than just passively reading your notes!

5. Study guide!
Most of my professors provided a study guide for the exam. Mainly for this, I would make sure I had all of the necessary information from the study guide in my notecards. If the exam was an essay exam, I would bullet point all of the information for each question one day, and each day after use the study guide like a practice exam and try and answer all of the questions from memory. I found that my answers got better and better each day, and were nearly perfect by the day of the exam!

Let me know what you do/did for your psychology courses! I’ll be following and reblogging people who do!

Cranquis Mail: The MCAT keeps defeating me

(name withheld) asked:

Hello Dr C
I really enjoy your blog. I am hoping to someday be a doctor but getting in has proven quite challenging. I did very well in school, have hospital/ER experience, volunteer at retirement home playing music and did independent biochemistry research. However, I feel I have been defeated by the MCATs. I have taken them twice now and the best I can do is a pathetic 26. I have no idea how to study for them. I tried notes and note cards. I took a class and I did practice questions, but being a full time worker at the hospital has made studying hard. Do you have any advice? How can I get all that information to stick? I am great at problem solving and diagnostics ( or at least the rudimentary diagnostics we did in physiology) but its the shear volium of information I am finding so defeating. Sorry to assault you with this wall of Text. Thanks for taking the time

Greetings, Gargling Gluestick (your CranquisNym™) –

First off, my standard disclaimer re: MCAT-related advice: It has now been… 18 (18?!) years since I took the MCAT. Plus, my preparation for the MCAT was rather, um, atypical.  So please realize, I am in no way an expert on anything MCAT related. Seriously, you’d be better off asking Kim Kardashian for her tips on memorizing the Krebs Cycle Cycle.

But for lots of tips on how to study, you should wade through (more information for you to absorb, sorry) my #study tips tag. Or here, this particular post summarizes a lot of my usual “studying under a deluge of info” advice.

Now, in case you wanted some feedback on your efforts so far: 

Keep reading

3 tips for undergraduates wanting to do their thesis project in a research lab
  • do not wait until your senior year to find a lab to join. things in science are slowww–one experiment can take a week or more to run–so learning the skills necessary to carry out your own project may take a few weeks to a few months. and then add on top of that at least a semester needed to write/revise your thesis… i mean it’s doable! but not ideal at all. not only will you be stressed, but the grad student or technician supervising you will also be stressed as they have their own things to do. joining a lab junior year or before is ideal. 
  • i know scheduling is already a mess but do try to have 2-hour-or-more-blocks of time each day to be in lab (and unless approved by your PI, it has to be during the time frame when someone is also there to supervise you.. so usually between 8 am and 6 pm weekdays). most experiments are continuous, and 1 hour here and there won’t get much data
  • get as much done during the summers as possible. your PI may even pay you as a student worker if you inquire. 

i’m making this post because i just got an undergrad this summer who wants to write her honors thesis on a project in our lab. but she’s a double-majoring senior and i’m looking at her schedule and feeling reaaally stressed bc i can’t think of a project that would fit her schedule and time frame. and this semester is going to be particularly busy for me so i’m not going to have much time to help her as much as i’d like. thankfully she came in part time during june and july to learn the basics but it’s still going to be a tight race. 

also writing this because i myself screwed up my senior year during college and had like 3 months to write my entire thesis and slept every other night for a few weeks and it was absolute hell so yeah. don’t do what i did. 


i used a essay timer planner at undergrad : its a website

you put in how many words you have to write, when the essay is due, and what pace you want to work at (like loads towards the start and slower towards the end etc)

but i had it bookmarked on my old laptop and cannot find it anywhere now

does anyone know what is called??