Dental school is an exciting, yet overwhelming time for most future dentists. Developing good study habits at the start of each semester will ensure you feel prepared and organized.
- Take notes – Taking notes during class is likely to increase your focus and help you retain and remember the information you’re learning. While handwriting your notes is the most effective, pulling up Microsoft Word on your computer doesn’t hurt either. If you’re feeling generous, use a collaborative platform like Google Docs so you and your friends can share notes. Must we remind you that part of taking notes also means showing up for class?
- Determine your learning style – Everyone has their own way of learning, so figure out which is the most effective for you. Does listening to music help you study? Are you most productive in the evening? Do you enjoy studying with friends? Once you determine your learning style, develop a study plan and stick to it. It’s the toothpaste to your toothbrush.
- Ask an upperclassmen – They’ve been in your shoes. Look to them for guidance on specific labs and classes. Even ask which study habits they found the most effective. While class information can change from year-to-year, a little insight can go a long way.
- Find a study spot – Finding a comfortable and quiet place to study is just as important as studying itself. Or, maybe you have several study spots – it’s okay to change up the scenery! No matter which spot is “the one” be sure you’re free of distractions. Studies suggest that on average it only takes 3 minutes for someone to get distracted, mostly by digital entities. Even more, it can take an average of 25 minutes to return to the task at hand.
- De-stress – How well you manage your stress can make or break you in dental school. Attend a yoga class or go for a run to refresh and clear your mind. Or perhaps watching an episode (we mean it, just one) of your favorite Netflix series is your idea of relaxing. Our favorite: sleep.
- Don’t cram – When you cram for a test or practical exam, it’s unlikely you’ll succeed. You are learning a vast amount of information in dental school, and unlike undergrad, there’s no flying by the seat of your scrubs. The information you’re receiving and being tested on will quite literally be useful to you for the rest of your life.
Now that you have the tools you need to effectively study, it’s go time! With these tips you’ll go from worry to work mode in no time.
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