Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Studying Biochemistry

"Just came across your blog. I must say you are very inspirational. I am first year medical student but I find it hard to study biochemistry. I would like to know if there is a good way to learn it. Any tips?" -Asked by email

Hello! 

I am happy to know you found me inspirational.

Biochemistry is a hard subject. Mostly because it requires so much memorization.

The process of studying is (usually) divided into three phases:
1. Learning new info phase
2. Memorization phase
3. Revision phase

Learning new matter phase is simple. You read through everything quickly. Put question marks on what you don't understand. Highlight what you think is important. And just read. It's a pleasant phase till..

..Till you read it for the second time and realize that you DON'T REMEMBER A WORD!

"I've read all this before! See, I've even underlined it. Why can't I recall anything?"

Welcome to phase two. Memorization phase. In this phase, we memorize things.

In sections where there are pathways, write the pathway neatly on a page. Make a notebook for yourself. First time you write, copy it down completely.
Now, memorise it from the book. You're more likely to remember your own handwriting. I don't know how you do it but you need to know the pathway.

You can do it by -
1. Plain repetition
2. Using a mnemonic
3. Creating a song on it

Now you've memorised it. But you might.. You just might forget again.

The other "short notes" that don't contain complex pathways are easy to learn and revise. Make mini notes on them. Don't know how? Read how to make concise medical notes.

Revision phase: This phase starts when you have no new information to take in.
I practiced writing any 2 pathways every day... Till it was ingrained in my central nervous system. Do this, trust me, it takes barely 10 minutes.

On the exam day, you'll be thorough with ALL the pathways (Like I was!) So you just look at the pathways, revise the short questions nicely and calmly rock the exam xD

For extra  marks:
Be different & bold. Do things no other student would do. (As in, learn and write things no other student would!)

What I did -
I had two books, so I merged both the books in my "notebook". So when the question on cholesterol metabolism came, I knew a little more than the pathway from the usual book.

One of my professors asked us to memorize the structures of nucleic acids - he said they're simple. When they asked about this topic, I drew the structures.

I had looked into some multiple choice questions as well, just to test  myself. I think that made me better than the rest.

That's all! 

PS: I did great in my exam.

-IkaN

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