5 Ways to Improve Study Habits- JESSICA

This week we have an awesome guest blog post from Jessica of Petite Style Script! Jessica is a critical care pharmacist and also runs an amazing blog. She knows a thing or two about staying organized and offered up some incredibly study tips. Read below for her tricks and advice!

As a student, I always set goals to improve my study habits. I focused on organization, planning, different study strategies and techniques. After trial-and-error, I found the perfect balance.

Many readers here are healthcare students and today I want to share something different from my usual blog content – 5 Ways to Improve Study Habits. If you know me from Petite Style Script, you may be wondering why I would write about this topic. Well, outside of style advice, I am an assistant professor/critical care pharmacist and genuinely love to teach & help students succeed.

I am consistently confronted with poor study habits by my own students. Let’s talk about 5 ways to improve your own study habits.

  • Find Focus
    • Ok, so you may not think of decluttering as the first thing on your study list to-do but let me explain…
    • Before we can think about studying and succeeding in our education, I recommend reflecting on what’s around you
    • What do I mean by that?
    • The easiest way for me to explain this is to direct you to the KonMari Method, the art of decluttering and keeping items that only truly spark joy!
    • This philosophy is not only effective but it “places great importance on being mindful, introspective, and optimistic.”  

    Are you constantly getting distracted by things around you?

    Stressed about cleaning up your home this weekend (because those dishes just stacked up during finals week) and worried about finding scrubs or business casual attire to wear on rotations – all these things take away from succeeding in your education!

    • We waste so much time cleaning up, decluttering, and worrying about things that are just not that important in life that we don’t have the FOCUS to study!
    • Even if it’s not the KonMari Method, but something similar to it – think about checking out the philosophy – I apply this in my life now and on my style blog – be intentional with your clothing purchases and only invest in/own items that truly spark joy in your life.  
    • {More about how I apply KonMari Philosophy on my blog http://bit.ly/KonMariStyle}

  • Be Intentional
    • What do I mean by “intentional”? I’m referring to not just “going through the motions” of studying. Just because you have a book open in front of you for two hours doesn’t mean you are really absorbing the material
    • You hear it all the time, plan ahead, fill in your calendar! Well, now you have to be intentional with your time commitments.
    • I recommend over-estimating how long a task will take – it’s always more disappointing to realize that you can’t finish studying a topic and are cramming things in at the last minute
    • Don’t solely rely on scheduling big blocks of time to study – pick one topic or piece of data to study in 15 minutes if that’s all you have. Often small but consistent repetitions can be effective.

  • Make it Your Own
    • Make your OWN notes!
    • We all know the pile – Powerpoint slides, handouts, study guides, textbook chapters, online tutorials – well, how much of it is your own?
    • We study from so many sources that we get overwhelmed
    • Let’s put an end to some of that – start condensing information into your own format and style – this will help your mind stay organized and lessen the overwhelming stack of handouts or textbook pages!

    My #1 recommendation: CHARTS

    • I love nicely organized charts that have pretty colors and are formatted on just a few pages – I personally converted topics to 1-5 page charts for ALL my pharmacy school work
    • What is your favorite way to create your own notes?

  • Apply
    • Big Picture / Little Picture
    • Sometimes we are so focused on getting through material that we forget why we even started it!
    • Remember there is always a big picture (broad overview) to a topic and the micro-details (little picture)
    • Applying the information you are currently learning to a (comprehensive) patient case or a real patient makes it much more applicable – and in turn, easier to remember

  • Teach It
    • The best way to learn something is to force yourself to teach it to someone else

    Study Group Time!

    • Teaching a topic to 2-3 peers is always helpful and when you don’t have a classmate to teach something to, try it out on a family/friend who has no knowledge on the topic – this is particularly helpful in healthcare when you have to simplify terms and remove healthcare jargon
    • I love getting out a white board and figuring out the simplest way to explain a concept

    Now it’s your turn. What are your favorite study techniques that help(ed) you get through difficult times? Share in the comments please!

    Jessica in her FIGS Fleece Jacket & favorite Marie Kondo Books

    Jessica is a critical care pharmacist/assistant professor living in southern California. She is currently pursuing a passion for style with her blog, Petite Style Script – providing style advice, tips & tricks, skin/fitness health and petite-friendly fit reviews. She also loves giving back and launched her ‘Giving Back Series’ at the end of 2016 (featuring FIGS!). Jessica has plans to launch a pharmacy-focused website later this year!