Study Tips !
Before I started PA school in August, many PA students warned me “What worked for you in undergrad, might not work for you in PA school.” I freaked out. At the beginning of our semester, our Health Promotion Disease Prevention course had us complete a learning style inventory.
Are you an auditory learner? Visual? Read/write? Kinesthetic or Multimodal? You can take the quick questionnaire here http://vark-learn.com/the-vark-questionnaire/ to find out!
It turns out that I’m a Multimodal learner with visual and kinesthetic qualities! This totally makes sense to me and I completely agree. Honestly, my study habits have more or less stayed the same in comparison to undergrad however, the amount of resources I use quadrupled. I am still visual and kinesthetic and I find myself finding all types of tools to help me comprehend better.
Be forewarned- I use a lot of resources to help me understand the content. What works for me might not work for everyone and that’s the tough part- trying to figure out what works for you! Also, my methods change depending on the course. What I do for Adult Medicine is completely different for Pharmacology and Structure and Function and so on. I’ll basically list all the resources I use and you can try which ever is appealing to you and hopefully it’s effective!
I recently purchased the iPad Pro 10.5inch with the Apple Pencil and I LOVE IT. It's perfect with Notability!
I love this note taking app and have been using this since undergrad! I suggest using Notability on an iPad or some sort of touch screen. I’m able to download all powerpoints, docs, and PDFs on to the app, organize it by courses and then annotate on it. Since I’m a visual/kinesthetic learner, I draw pictures, highlight, cut & paste..etc! Additionally, if you can’t catch what your professor is presenting, there’s a built-in recorder and you can take photos and embed it into your notes! It’s also FREE on the iPhone however it's $10 on the iPad and MacBook! I recommend just downloading it on the iPad :) Go download it now!
To see how I use Notability and my iPad, check out my video https://youtu.be/Kw8yNUT11qU
This is another great app to use in lieu of physical flashcards! My classmates and I contribute to making a set for each lecture and use it while we study for quizzes and exams. It’s so helpful to condense what we learn in each section into flashcards and have it easily accessible anywhere we go.
PDFs are the way to go for me, I love all things electronic and my books are synced through iCloud on all my devices (iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro). I love the Find tool for when I need to look up a specific disease or symptom. I have all my books on PDF except for Pance Prep Pearls and Ultimate Mnemonic Comic Book.
4. PANCE Prep Pearls
Some consider this the PA school bible and YES I agree. In essence, it’s high yield information for all the topics you will ever come across in PA school. I use this as one of my final tools in studying. After studying my notes and charts, I go through PPP at the end, two days before the exam to refresh my memory on what I learned. Also, go to Kinko’s to spiral bind your PPP for easy flippage! They will even add on a frosted front cover and a solid back cover to preserve your PA school bible.
YES. I love this study tool so much for learning Pharmacology! As you all know through my Day in the Life IG stories, pharm is like a whole new language for me. I needed pictures and mnemonics to help better retain drug classes and what their mechanisms are. I signed up for a year subscription in the nick of time because we had two quizzes and an exam recently. I scored above average in my quizzes and exam, woo! I told my classmates about this and some jumped onboard the Picmonic wagon :) I would use Picmonic a day after pharm lecture to solidify what we covered. Some of the Picmonics have more information than we need but it’s great to know additional drugs, just in case our professor surprises us. In addition to pharm, I have used it for learning pulmonary diseases and pathophysiology. I cannot wait to use Picmonic for the next unit: Heme!
To get 20% off on Picmonic, copy and paste this link into a new incognito browser
I used YouTube videos religiously in undergrad and I also use it in PA school! I search our unit topic and find the video that best explains our concepts. There are so many channels that do a great job in teaching- Osmosis is currently my favorite! These other videos are extremely helpful for Physical Assessment and Clinical Skills class. For example, I learn best when I see someone else perform the HEENT (Head, Ears, Eyes, Nose and Throat) exam than reading about it in the book.
7. Google Calendar
This is my life. Honestly, I am lost without my Google calendar app. I love the reminders options because I’m able to set many throughout the day and I will get push notifications to “Study Adult Med” or “Read for HPDP”. I am very organized and able to manage my time well thanks to this!
Test questions galore and thankful to have access to this test bank through my program! This is super helpful for Adult Med since the questions highly mimic PANCE! I get together with my classmate to go over questions and work out why we got certain questions wrong or right!
9. Physician Assistant Exam Review Podcast
I’m not an auditory learner but I want to include this just in case you are! Brian Wallace, PA-C goes through all the topics in short 30 minute podcasts and they’re great for commuting to school or working out! I sometimes use this for my drive to school when I want to review concepts I’ve learned.
10. Good Ol pen, pencil and paper
When powerpoints on Notability don’t do it for me, I revert to writing and drawing on a notebook or blank paper. I write it over and over like standards lol to really engrave the information into my brain! When I have to recall concepts, I close my eyes and imagine where I wrote that specific information on paper.
These are my methods so far and I am always open to new things. I’ve been doing well with quizzes and exams so far… So hopefully you can give some of these a try!