How to Study Smarter

How you study matters. Since starting my medical clerkship rotations, I’ve had to be selective about my studying. I’ve been working 12-hour shifts, 6 days a week at the hospital; I don’t have time to sit down for a prolonged, ineffective study session.

Because of this, I’ve been researching ways to study smarter, not harder. I came across this video from Osmosis, where Dr. Rishi Desai lays out his top study tips.

His first tip is one I hadn’t consciously considered: choose an appropriate location. He points out the importance of having some control over your environment in order to be productive. I’ve since set up a designated study spot in my house. To be honest, it’s just a different spot at my kitchen table. But when I sit there, it tells my brain that it’s time to focus. I also make sure my phone is out of sight and out of reach to minimize distractions.

Another tip of his that I’ve adopted is to make a study plan when you wake up so you don’t waste time figuring out what you’re going to study. He recommends asking yourself what topics you’ve been struggling with, and what two things you want to learn today. Write those things down on your to do list in order to stay on track for the day.

He also stresses the importance of spaced repetition. This is a science-based learning technique where you review content at set intervals. In my clerkship role, I'm using spaced repetition by reading my summary notes from last year in order to remember what I already learned but have since forgotten.

Watch the video for more helpful study tips from Osmosis. Happy studying, and I know you’ll crush it!