Summer Study Blues

Summer is almost here, your ED may be experiencing the usual post winter downturn in attendances, it’s time to have a rest, right? If you are sitting the 2012.1 exam, you should be well on your way with your study program, and “rest” should be the thing you do for 5 minutes between your practice MCQ and practice VAQ/SAQ sessions. For those planning to sit the 2012.2 exam you may be in that difficult early phase: procrastinating, finding it hard to concentrate or spend more than 10-20 minutes at the desk without checking your facebook, being easily distracted and getting frustrated by the fact that you can’t remember anything about the last paragraph of Tintinalli you just read.

Well don’t lose heart. The first month or two of your study time may feel fruitless, but it’s all part of the process, and you need to push through it, and gradually build up your stamina so that by Christmas you are able to spend several hours of your days off at the desk, and feel OK about not going to the beach on the nice sunny 35 degree afternoons. Or alternatively, going to the beach can be a great reward if you achieve your study goals for the day.

To confirm that your early hopeless attempts at study are universal, check out a site we’ve found: FRACPexam is a blog that has some great anecdotes about procrastination, but also some good tips on motivation and memory improvement. It pointed us to Mnemosyne, a free computer flashcard program, and Supermemo, an interesting site with some prudent tips about memory improvement and knowledge retention.

If you like reading non-medical books, and need some motivation, perhaps the last book you should read this year (before committing to only reading exam-related material for the next 12 months), is Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. I’m halfway through reading it, and it’s a fascinating true story about improving your memory. The techniques used may not be the best for the exam (or you may indeed find them helpful), but the story is a remarkable demonstration of the plasticity of your brain and will show you that can learn and remember a lot more than you think… Here’s a nice review of the book, and a list of some other books on memory.

Failing that, log in to EDExam’s members area and check out our own, ACEM Fellwoship Exam specific articles on studying for the exam.

Now, STOP PROCRASTINATING and get back to work, there’s less than 100 days til the next writtens, and less than a year to the 2012.2 exam!

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