The following comments are excerpted from SOM presentations by Lawrence "Hy" Doyle, learning specialist from the UCLA/Drew Center of Excellence, to MS I and MS II classes, February 10-11, 2004.
Best Practices for Learning and Studying
- While studying, look for those parts and concepts that "don't fit"
- Capitalize on the "medical problem solving process" for learning basic science with a "clinical orientation"
- Write down concepts and information you don't understand in the form of questions; then look for answers in your textbooks, listen for answers in lecture, and discuss the questions with study partners
- Study at least one half hour each day
- Study regularly with a productive, compatible group of around 4 students
- Use the preview, review method for new topics
- Get an overview of the scheduled topic before class when possible
- Study fact-based and process-based topics together, for example, study anatomy with physiology, pharmacology with biochemistry
- Use concept maps, cognitive maps, or charts to organize study materials and course notes, link the main concepts by defining their operational relationships and/or links
- Discuss your maps with study partners, explain your thought process in creating the map
- It's difficult to memorize everything, try "chunking" bits of information together as a concept and memory aid
aka "Concept Mapping as a Tool for Integrative Learning"
John Pelley, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry at Texas Tech University, created a unique method and focus to help medical students experience greater academic success. Dr. Pelley outlines his philosophy and techniques for learning and test taking in his handbook, “ Success Types for Medical Students,” (available at the HSC Library, and OCEP Library, BMSB 106, and through the Medical/Legal Bookstore).
Basic to Pelley’s approach is use of personality type theory, as indicated by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, to explain differences in learning style. These different styles can manifest as a primarily linear or integrative learning orientation, and this orientation can dramatically impact studying and test taking strategies.
Dr. Pelley presented his method in a talk titled “Concept Mapping as a Tool for Integrative Learning” at the medical school in 2002 and 2003. Concept mapping is a visual method used to illustrate connections between basic concepts, and helps to conceptualize disparate groups of facts into a coherent whole. According to Pelley, a linear learning strategy is suitable for much pre-medical school learning and for learning basic science facts early in medical school. Integrative learning, however, helps students integrate across disciplines and develop a more conceptual understanding of medical science. Concept mapping might be the kind of foundational skill that could aid studying across disciplines and in test taking.
For more information, you can visit Dr. Pelley’s website.
At UNM medical school, you can contact Pam DeVoe, M.A., Curriculum Development Specialist, Center of Excellence, 505-272-1419 or firstname.lastname@example.org.