Sunday, 13 January 2013

Revision Tips: Disconnecting

This may sound really simple but some of my most productive time is spent when I am disconnected. I don't just mean disconnected from the Internet, I mean pull out those headphones find a quiet place where no one will come and distract you and get to work. This may sound simple but time after time my friends come back from late night library sessions and when I enquire as to how it went, they tell me all about the latest gossip and how many funny YouTube videos they watched.

This seems stupid to me, why spend so much time 'revising' when you could be doing something else. It sort of ties in with the time management post and the Pomodoro tip, the time you spend revising should be effective and if you aren't working go and do something else. I firmly believe that twenty five minutes of quality work is much better than an hour of rubbish, and in my mind rubbish also includes excess planning and preparation time. Plenty of people are guilty of making plans so detailed that it takes a significant amount of time to make them. 

You might even discover something that fewer and fewer people realise: books are great for learning things! With almost everything available online it is very easy to push aside the humble book, I admit to being guilty of this sin myself. The thing is that books are written by experts, reviewed by other experts and formatted into an easy to understand style. Anyone can write anything on the internet, I'm exercising my right to that at the moment, but books go through rigorous checking. I suppose if you are looking for the latest update on a particular cancer therapy then you might be excused, but as medical students we mostly aren't. 

Of course some of you may find disconnecting a bit extreme, so here is my less extreme version. Keep those headphones in but only listen to instrumental music, I find when I'm listening to songs with words that I struggle to concentrate on the words in front of me. Use Pomodoro to manage your time, check Facebook or YouTube during your breaks if you need to. If anyone tries to talk to you, politely tell them to go away, or not so politely as the case may be. 

I'm not a cramming type of person, but I'm not a long term time tabling sort of person either, I just like to knuckle down early and get on with it. I admit I may not get the best grades, but I'm still at medical school, and I still manage to have fun in the run up to exams. So in summary, just remove all distractions. Sit there with a book, a pen and some paper; nothing else. Don't do this all the time or your friends might think you're a hermit, I find this provides a welcome break from my usual revision where I rely heavily on my computer. 

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