Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Q& A Wednesday: Tough Classes and Tips

What are the tough classes to watch out for? Any tips?

To be completely honest, it is difficult to pinpoint which classes are tough. There is no one class that everyone will agree is the toughest (or easiest). Every class is challenging in its own respect because each has different requirements and expectations. Some classes require more writing while others require presentations. What is most important is realizing where your strengths are. One way of looking at the classes is to think that they are all equally challenging; all classes require some amount of rote memorization along with synthesis/analysis and application of that information. All of our professors are extremely adept at teaching you; however, your way of receiving the information may not jive with their teaching methods.

Remember, "challenging" does not mean impossible!

There are many ways to make your educational career easier. Start off by honing your time management and organizational skills. As crazy as it sounds, a great suggestion is studying ahead of time. A simple way is to review your notes just once either the same night of lecture or immediately before class. Many students audio-record lectures and listen to them, whether it be in their cars or even at the gym (what better way to combat lecture-induced lethargy than by exercising?). Also try different study techniques; if you have never studied with flashcards before, it's not too late to try them. Again, it may also depend on the class material. For instance, creating charts and flashcards for neuro classes can be quite helpful. Discussing educational theories in detail with your classmates can help you memorize them more efficiently.

Above all, remember that your classmates are your best allies. If study groups are beneficial, meet with your classmates. You all will have the same/similar schedules so finding a time to meet on campus should be relatively easy. Remember, a study group doesn't mean there has to be ongoing discussion. You can all sit around a table and ask a question when one comes up. Quizzing each other is often helpful. Please do not be afraid to ask your professor a question! If you are not comfortable asking in class, ask them via e-mail or during his/her office hours.

Although this often happens, try your best to avoid forgetting all information immediately after you complete an exam. You will quickly realize that class material can overlap in graduate school. The more you remember, the less you have to study the next time around. One of the best ways to retain learned information is to learn it “as you go.” If you cram it all in the weekend before the test you will forget it. However, if you learn it over between when it is taught and when it is tested you are much more likely to remember it.

Our professors are a closely-knit team who work proficiently and efficiently to provide us with knowledge. They are well-aware of what material each of them has taught us so they confidently assume you have mastered that "old" material. It is in your best interest and knowledge to not spend class time asking the professor to review material that should have been learned already from a previous quarter. There is only so much time before you will begin clinic and externships. The more new information you gain, the more confidence you will have when you become a student clinician.

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Check back next week for another Q & A!

1 comment:

  1. 1st year grad student7:18 PM

    Wow! Thanks for this info. I was feeling overwhelmed and I guess I still feel that way, but now I know what to do to succeed in this program. Thanks! Now I just have to actually do the work. (good luck to me!)

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