7 Tips on How Smart Girls Study

MY NAME IS DR. KAY AND I'M A PHYSICIAN AND FACIAL PLASTIC SURGEON BASED IN LA. I LOVE HELPING PEOPLE LOOK AND FEEL THEIR BEST! CHECK OUT MY INSTAGRAM @BEAUTYBYDRKAY TO SEE SOME OF MY WORK.

Being a student can be hard. Being a woman in medicine can be even harder. But it’s so important to know that you can do it! With enough determination, and maybe just a few tips and tricks, anything is possible. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite study secrets from real students and real doctors. Learn how to study effectively from myself, the physicians who came before me, and from the new generation of pre-medical students! 

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1. Map out your time. 
It’s so important to know your schedule inside and out so that you can plan how you spend your time. When you get your syllabus at the beginning of the term, block out important due dates and exams so you know exactly what you’re working towards! From there, plan out how you’ll spend each week so that there are no surprises by exam season. 

2. Don’t cram. 
I know everyone does it, and everyone says not to do it, but it’s really so important to study your material a little bit at a time. I always found it helpful to go over a lecture the same day I heard it. I would go through all my notes to make sure I understood why the professor said everything he or she said, and why it was important for overall course understanding. This also helps to filter out unnecessary or irrelevant information from the beginning!

3. Make a study guide. 
After refining my lecture notes, I always found it helpful to make a study guide including everything I had learned about a week before an exam. This was really great for making sure I understood how all the material fit together. It also helped as another filtering step to make sure all the information I was studying was actually meaningful. 

4. Make mnemonics and make conversation. 
When study guides get to be 50+ pages and you feel like you’re drowning in material, make mnemonics! They’re fun ways to remember groups of information. Also try talking through information with a study buddy. It’s often much easier to remember a conversation than to remember a page in a textbook or study guide. 

5. Study to learn. 
Repeated exposure is key. Reading, drawing, summarizing, and writing things down is important! Learning medicine is like learning a new language, but if you change how your brain organizes material, it’ll help you get everything down. One thing that really helped me learn was reading a chapter, then closing the book and summarizing everything I learned on a blank piece of paper. 

6. Learn how to take breaks effectively. 
I made a habit out of silencing my phone and putting it away for half hour blocks. I would study really hard, with no distractions, for that half hour, and then check my phone for five minutes before going back to my work. This helped keep me accountable and prevented me from scrolling through social media instead of studying for my final. 

7. Environment is important. 
I realized after spending eight hours in the library every day studying for the MCAT, that the library actually made me miserable. I started seeking out hip new coffee shops with cool vibes, good drinks, and good wifi. I found that studying in an environment that made me happy made my studying more effective.

I hope these study secrets help you chase your dreams! Thank you so much for reading. 

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