19 Study Tips From PT Students
Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes 30 seconds
If there's anything that we learn while in school, it's how to study. In physical therapy school I think that we can all agree that studying becomes one of our top priorities, along with sleeping, eating, and bathing. Too far? I didn’t think so.
But most of us find out pretty quickly what works for us and what doesn't. Highlighting things, notecards for days, reciting notes, regular group study sessions—the methods are endless. For this post, we asked current and former students what their favorite study tips, advice, and methods are. Read. Absorb. Study on.
I've been trying to improve my abilities and strategies for studying, learning, and enhancing my memory. I'm currently reading a book called, A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science, by Barbara Oakley, which really dives into how we learn (math and science are the focus of the book, but applies to any subject) and what science has to say about how to best study, enhance memory, etc. I highly recommend this book to all students! - Keats S.
Video demos and audiobooks over everything! - Jared A.
Several classmates and I bought small dry-erase boards, so we can quiz each other and draw out stuff. Saves paper too. - Heaven P.
Self-made flashcards and video! - Andreas H.
So super weird, I actually walk around with clutches of notes because that physical stimulation helps me retain the information. I did it for my DPT. I did it for my MBA. And heaven forbid if I go back to school again...I'll repeat the strategy. - Ben F.
Similar to Ben F, I like to move while I study! I'll walk around my apartment with my notes, or on the treadmill at the gym, if it's not too busy (headphones with classical music help in that setting). For anatomy, I printed out skeletons by body section (1 page for below knee, 1 for hip-to-knee, etc) and then drew on origin and insertion for each muscle and highlighted the name based on compartment or muscle group! - Lexie B.
Study a little every day, never let yourself get behind and overwhelmed. Study guides for each test, recorded lectures, pictures of models and labeling in a document, dry-erase boards, and drawing/coloring in a way that makes sense to me. Also, study groups! - Kirsten S.
Particularly for anatomy, we started with 1 landmark, asked a question about it, and then used the answer to create a new question. So when it came to tests, we looked at each structure from every possible angle, instead of memorizing a chart (eg, Q: What are the rotator cuff muscles? A: Supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, subscapularis; Q: What is the origin of the supra? A: The suprascapular fossa), and so on. My class also used a ton of Google docs, and anytime someone made a study guide/quizlet, we shared them all. - Heaven P.
I always break up my studying, so I don't stay on 1 subject for too long—maybe 2 hours at most—and then switch to something else. Breaking up an individual session by taking a short walk also helps me. - Kenny M.
Studying with peers is not usually my thing, but it was essential for anatomy. Quiz each other, make connections, link the written information, cadavers, and bone models! Look for common attachments, actions, etc. Lots of colors on notes help too. - Camille H.
I'm huge on mnemonics and learning by compartment. What really helps, honestly, is knowing your bony landmarks because they help you picture origins and insertions. There's no use in memorizing origins and insertions, if you do not know what they look like or their location. My class uses dry-erase boards, and we also group study! And the biggest thing that has helped me is previewing my lecture content the night before, so I have an idea of what we are talking about and can follow along, rather than having stuff go over my head that I've never seen before. - Chloe M.
Buy a kid's art pad (mine are from the Dollar Store) and use it for doodles, lists, mind maps, and "brain dumps. " For me, it takes away the perfection factor and helps me study more freely. Also, using a bone model and making clay muscles has helped me. - Gabriella
When I study, I usually choose 1 of 3 methods: table making for things I need to memorize, retyping PowerPoints into Word documents, and, the method that works best for me, is going through the material 1-2 times on my own, then teaching a few of my classmates in my study group. Teaching the material to others shows you where you have holes in your knowledge and what to work on. - Gillian M.
Read it, write it, and repeat it. - Peter P.
Reviewing each day's notes at night was helpful. It decreased the amount of time I spent studying before tests and improved my retention. - Sarah L.
Quiz yourself all the time, regardless of topic, and doodle your anatomy in a way that makes sense to you. - Karen C.
I study best in groups of 3 or less. Quiz/teach each other and practice recalling information from different contexts (ie, not just lecture slides). - James M.
Studying muscles with a bone model and rubber band to mark the attachments and actions was a game changer for me! - Katie R.
Teach what you've learned to someone else. Being able to teach the material means that you understand it. - Ravi P.
I wouldn't have made it without my study group. Each person brought something unique and fun. - Matt N.
Have a study tip you live by? Add it to the comments section below.