As I am writing this post I am thinking of all of the items on my Monday Sept 25th, 2017 "To Do List" that I still have to do ;-) but I definitely want to share my thoughts on 2nd year so far.
Class started Mid August and I am currently taking Pathology, Medical Microbiology & Immunology, Pharmacology, and Fundamentals of Medicine. In about 3 weeks we will begin Pathophysiology. I will share with you all in a later post more details about all of the classes.
The last 5 weeks have been crazy, when I say crazy I mean crazy and to top it off we just completed our first set of exams for our year long courses. I can only speak for my school and my curriculum but 2nd year is completely different from 1st year, there is 5x more material to cover, longer class hours and did I say 10x more the material.
But Five exams in 3 days does not sound that bad at first but it was definitely more challenging than I thought. And guess what I did absolutely... .....HORRIBLE (well not super horrible but bad enough on 1 exam to really make me rethink everything for a quick second).
Learning to balance the new load of material was a challenge but the most demanding or worrisome part of the past 5 weeks had to be "other" issues I had to deal with equaling to an undue amount of stress, from financial stress, to home stress, to work stress, to financial stress, to just extra stress leading to an unfocused mind. And to be very honest I did not study everyday like I should had. Nope I didn't, on days when I was just completely over it, I might have studies for 30mins- 1 hr. I was not getting adequate sleep, all adding up to not so ideal circumstances.
A few good/not so good things that I did prior to this exam block was:
1- Met with a tutor to get an idea I how I should tackle studying for my courses. I received a few good tips but ultimately the tutor and I were not the same type of learner of many of the tools mentioned were not ideal for me. Try out multiple tutors, until you find your match!
2- Attempted group study. This was not effective for me either (at the time) because I was the weak member of the group, I was ill prepared and honestly couldn't keep up. I could have more effectively used that time to catch up on material. Going forward I will use group study to review questions (share common or differing point of views) and topics that I don't fully understand.
3- I did quite a bit of practice questions. Initially, I did practice questions to early before we covered all the material (so I could not answer many of the questions) and I didn't thoroughly review my answers afterwards. I plan to go back to my trusty MCAT question review method: Review all the questions and take brief notes on topics I get incorrect, if the topic is in my "REPEATEDLY MISSED" list, take more in depth notes and discuss the topic with a tutor, professor or another student.
Immediately after my exams, I emailed my advisor with revisions to the my study plan for the next test block, I met with one of my professors to discuss best practices for doing well in their course, I reached out to another tutor, received tips/guidance and then I reviewed my missed exam questions. AND I GOT SOME REST, or simply put did something none school related.
My transparency is to let you know that life will continue to happen whether we are students or employed adults. I mean this isn't my first time failing an exam but as with any time that you fall short of your goal, you have reevaluate your actions and work harder the next time.