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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!


Dec. 14th, 2005 05:21 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!
Dec. 14th, 2005 05:34 pm (UTC)
Wow. That's spectacularly useful. Fives. A number of the scared feminine. I will use that. Thanks so much!



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