Monday, August 26, 2013

How to use flash cards (and peanut butter crackers) in PA school

Care and Feeding of PA Students

The care and feeding of a blog doesn't always match the care and feeding of a PA student.
Well not much actually matches the care and feeding of PA students, or any student in the medical field, except a constant supply of FLASHCARDS and easily obtainable, healthy, cheap food.


Junk food encouragement -

  • Note: At my program, we have a lovely gentleman down the hall who stocks his desk with peanut butter crackers and other (not-so-healthy) junk food goodies for us.  Darrell offers a constant supply of encouragement.  He is also the Mayor of cheeriness and the King of stick-to-it pep talks!  

  • His attaboy/attagirl emails re studying and the dedication of PA students are beyond compare.

And now, I have found a solution to the flashcard issue.

Anki is a spaced repetition program for studying.  It is FREE.


you heard me right, our favorite student price-- F R E E -- !

Anki is an online system where you can download other people's "decks" for a topic you are studying, say French or anatomy, or you can create your own decks of cards from your own outline.  I am trying a combination of both my own decks and downloading others.

(Anki does have an app for your phone that does cost real $$ - $24.99.  I haven't downloaded it yet.  But I think once you're are using Anki successfully, it is probably well worth the cost.)

Anki shows you a flashcard - you think of the answer -then hit "show answer" and then rate your response as "hard" "good" or "easy" and the program determines when it will show you that card again based on your response.  Anki will show you a card that you marked as "hard" sooner and more often so that you can practice the material.

Here's a link to Anki basics. 
Check it out if you are working on optimizing your brain stuffing skills.

I will let you know how this works.  Supposedly Anki is designed to optimize long term memorization.
Here's the link to a med school student's blog where I found Anki if you want to read more about it from a medical school student's perspective preparing for Step 1.
And here's another cool medical student blog on the wonders of Anki.

Unfortunately, you are still on your own for the constant supply of food if you don't have a "Darrell" at your school!

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