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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

rydra_wong
Dec. 14th, 2005 05:48 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 06:26 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.
rydra_wong
Dec. 14th, 2005 07:22 pm (UTC)
You could try getting one of the mind-mapping books, but IMHO they tend to be an over-elaborate and over-hyped presentation of what's really a very simple (and old) idea.

Basically, a mind map consists of brief key words or facts, connected by lines representing the connections between the ideas or facts. Put the central topic/idea/theme/whatever in the centre of a big piece of paper, then everything else branches out from there. Sub-headings become subsidiary branches.

Wikipedia has examples:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_mapping

I'd guess that the effectiveness depends very much on whether it "clicks" with your learning style, but turning topics into mind-maps on large sheets of paper and sticking them up on the walls was very effective for me when I had to memorize large amounts of information for finals exams at university. Much easier to remember than linear lists, I found.
fenriss
Dec. 14th, 2005 09:04 pm (UTC)
We did some of this when I was in College, I think. Thanks for the link! I will try it.
rydra_wong
Dec. 14th, 2005 09:26 pm (UTC)
Oh, forgot to mention - basil essential oil in a diffuser (or, if you're a lazy person like me, just put the bottle on your desk with the cap off) is excellent for staying awake and focused while studying, in my experience.

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