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A Plea for Study Help/Advice

I feel like I've lost the last 2 months to the process of getting my head meds sorted out. The panic attacks of Wellbutrin have now given way to the 5:30 AM wake-up call of Prozac. At least I know that in a week or so, I'll be back on my usual sleep schedule. Prozac and I are old, if somewhat quarrelsome, friends. I may lose my libido, and have a harder time losing weight, but at least I know it will not pull any funny stuff on me.

Now, to focus on the Massage Cert. Ugh. Judging by the numerous study guides I've got, there are going to be lots of questions on lots of topics we barely touched on in school. I need to know a ton about Chinese Medicine, hydrotherapy, macro and micronutrients of all sorts… all things I'm not actually allowed to meddle with when I have a practice. It makes no sense!

I know that many of you fine folks have a lot more formal education that I do. Can you offer any study advice? I have gone and purchased my own weight in study guides, anatomy books, flashcards, etc., but I'm kind of at a loss for study infrastructure if you follow me.

Do you find it's helpful to sit at a desk with few distracting items in view? What time of day works best? Can you point me to any references (books, sites, whatever) on study procedures that you have found helpful? It feels like I'm terribly out of practice. Any thoughts you might have will be of immeasurable value to me!

Comments

( 37 comments — Leave a comment )
crossbonesdj
Dec. 14th, 2005 01:01 pm (UTC)
For me, I always found it easier to study away from home (ie away from TV/Music, etc). Maybe a quiet spot in a local library?

Also, don't study for hours and hours in one day and then nothing the next - make it a routine you can stick to. Flash cards are great and can be used on the way to things/waiting (ie the metro, waiting in line, etc)
fenriss
Dec. 14th, 2005 01:19 pm (UTC)
Library is an excellent idea. I might try going to Arlington Central after work, and asking Eric to pick me up there later in the evening.

And I think you are spot on about routine. It's easy for me to fall into the "5 hours one day, then nothing for a week" trap.

Oh... and we should figure out an evening for a casual massage party, if you guys are still up for that. Maybe early January?
(no subject) - crossbonesdj - Dec. 14th, 2005 01:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - taschoene - Dec. 14th, 2005 02:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fenriss - Dec. 14th, 2005 03:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - taschoene - Dec. 14th, 2005 03:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - underfiend - Dec. 14th, 2005 02:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fenriss - Dec. 14th, 2005 04:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
_blackjack_
Dec. 14th, 2005 01:02 pm (UTC)
Um, how can they ask questions about Chinese "medicine" when it is just made up anyway? It's not like they can prove that the qi DOESN'T flow the way you say it does.
fenriss
Dec. 14th, 2005 01:20 pm (UTC)
And you are asking me this, why? I agree that it's irrelevant to my field of practice. That's why it irritates me so, that I am required to know it.
(no subject) - _blackjack_ - Dec. 14th, 2005 02:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fenriss - Dec. 14th, 2005 03:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
nixieq
Dec. 14th, 2005 01:48 pm (UTC)
hmm, i'm going to point bigeyedgirl your way, if you don't mind. i can't remember if she actually got her certification, but i think so, so she might have some useful tips.
fenriss
Dec. 14th, 2005 02:31 pm (UTC)
Ooh! Muchos nachos :)
(no subject) - bigeyedgirl - Dec. 14th, 2005 05:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fenriss - Dec. 14th, 2005 06:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
troyswann
Dec. 14th, 2005 02:21 pm (UTC)
hmm. I've always been a good memorizer, but organizing information is always the best bet for me--adding links between networks of ideas. It's what makes the difference between an info-dump on an exam and actually getting a grip on the material. So, I do what is called The Patented Salieri Five-Finger Guide to Everything in the Universe. Basically, once I've got a pretty good grip on the material, I break the whole shebang into five categories. Then I break those categories each into five categories and each of those into five categories and so on. It's all based on the principle that the brain can easily remember 5 things at once, but not a lot more, and so this principle of 5 things allows you to arrange information in related packets so that you can more easily make the links among those nasty little details and between the little details and the Big Ideas that contextualize them. It's like sorting all the red balls in one basket, and then subdividing by size. The Five Finger Guide has been the basis of all my teaching and studying since my undergrad and I swear by it.

As for the actual process of studying. For me, I do not do well if I sit at a desk (and worse in a comfy chair) and stare at books for hours and hours. I study in max 20-minute bursts with some other activity--checking the laundry, making tea, looking out the window, walking the dog--in between so that the information has time to settle. Then, when I sit down, I do a quick five finger summary of that information and then I move on to the next bit. I learn very little by pushing my brain to a state of despair.

And I write everything out. Over and over. Because that mechanical process seems to solidify things in my mind. I can never remember a thing if I just read it.

I don't know if that will help, but I suppose the more different techniques you have to choose from the better off you'll be.

Good luck!
fenriss
Dec. 14th, 2005 02:34 pm (UTC)
Wow. That's spectacularly useful. Fives. A number of the scared feminine. I will use that. Thanks so much!
boadiccea
Dec. 14th, 2005 02:21 pm (UTC)
I was not the best at studying when I was in school. That being said, a few tips that worked for me:

1. Don't try to do it right after eating. If you need to break the study to eat, go and take a walk after your meal before trying to hit the books again.

2. Flashcards are a real good memory device, because they work both ways. You can learn things from A-->B and from B-->A with the same tool. They are bi-directional instead of uni-directional in terms of the pattern of the information going into your head. :)

3. Study with a friend. Have that friend quiz you. (I will happily come over and quiz you. I helped my mom get A's in German and Psych that way.)
fenriss
Dec. 14th, 2005 02:35 pm (UTC)
Yay! Wonderful tips. And, some time in January, I will definitely take you up on your offer to quiz me!
_blackjack_
Dec. 14th, 2005 02:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, and I attribute my GRE scores to eating pizza beforehand...
fenriss
Dec. 14th, 2005 03:16 pm (UTC)
Pizza. Noted.
eac
Dec. 14th, 2005 02:47 pm (UTC)
Hi, sweetie. I'm glad your brain is sorting itself out.

Study infrastructure wise, I used to find that 2 thin gs worked we well for me:

1. Take good written notes as you're reading, and then rewrite them several times, summarizing each time, so that you end up with a short study guide you've created yourself.

2. As you sit down to read/memorize/learn things, formulate questions that you think are relevant about the material and then answer those questions using your own words. (See this: http://www.memory-key.com/StudySkills/elaborating_information.htm)
fenriss
Dec. 14th, 2005 03:23 pm (UTC)
Hi. Hope you guys are settling into the new place well.

Very good suggestions. I sort of already intuitively do 1. I'd never really thought of 2 before, and find that link tremendously helpful! Thanks very much, hon.
(no subject) - vitruvian23 - Dec. 14th, 2005 04:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fenriss - Dec. 14th, 2005 04:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
rydra_wong
Dec. 14th, 2005 02:48 pm (UTC)
(Here via flists, hope that's okay).

Especially if you're a visual learner, mind-mapping can be a very effective tool for note-taking and memorizing information.

Study breaks are crucial - experiment with different timings and see what works best for you, but a short break every hour or so can make a lot of difference to your ability to focus.

If you've got to remember a lot of anatomy, check out the various anatomy colouring books available - they really do help.
fenriss
Dec. 14th, 2005 03:26 pm (UTC)
(Here via flists, hope that's okay).

Absolutely!

Especially if you're a visual learner, mind-mapping can be a very effective tool for note-taking and memorizing information.

I've heard that, but I've never fully investigated it. I did find a free online service that was supposed to help you do this, but I couldn't make it work, and gave up in frustration. Perhaps I will Google a bit on it.

Re: breaks and coloring books; I'm on it! Thanks very much, and you are always welcome to drop in.
(no subject) - rydra_wong - Dec. 14th, 2005 04:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fenriss - Dec. 14th, 2005 06:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rydra_wong - Dec. 14th, 2005 06:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
lizaboo
Dec. 14th, 2005 03:40 pm (UTC)
i used to read in the peacock room at the freer. not only was it soothing, but i couldn't get up and check my email or lie down and take a nap or whatever while i was there.

also, i found that i learned something best when i explained it to someone else. that's still how i prepare lectures for class.
fenriss
Dec. 14th, 2005 03:53 pm (UTC)
Freer. Gotcha. Just need to remember not to bring the laptop, or it'll defeat the purpose.

Also, I plan to bend E's ear a whole lot about the stuff I'm reading, so that should help. Thanks very much.
(no subject) - tafkarfanfic - Dec. 14th, 2005 07:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
rimrender
Dec. 14th, 2005 04:07 pm (UTC)
I have to have some background music or short attention span theatre kicks in hard. Especially with studying puter stuff. I also rotate in some brain candy reading to clear the brain after about 4 hrs of studying. Conan is still the best for that. (Chp1 -Conan kills somthing. Chp2- conan fucks something. Chp3- Conan kills a whole lot of shit and fucks something else. Chp4- Conan pisses of great antient evil, kills it, fucks its corpse and the kings daughter in the same night. Lather, rinse, repeat.)
fenriss
Dec. 14th, 2005 04:27 pm (UTC)
...Read ...mindless ...fanfic at regular ...intervals. Check!
(no subject) - tafkarfanfic - Dec. 14th, 2005 07:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 37 comments — Leave a comment )