1. BE CREATIVE-
Overall, any creative and unique way of studying will work. If you want to study with your pet dog go ahead! Feel like going on your roof or studying in the swimming pool? – thats cool! (be careful on the roof) – Be creative in any way possible. The more creative ways you come up with the more interesting the STUDYING process will become. The more interesting the studying process becomes the better you will retain the information. If you are learning something for your PERSONAL enjoyment, you never have a problem remembering it. So take your optometry course materials and turn them into something you CHOOSE to learn. Not something you HAVE TO learn!!! Instead of studying optics problems using the formulas take out your trial lens kit and investigate how converging and diverging lenses actually function.
2. TAKE BREAKS-
Another way to practice the study & reward method is to take breaks. Say for example you reviewed 3 days of lectures out of 20. Reward yourself with a 15 – 20 minute break. By setting up a reward system you will put more effort into getting to the point and learning the information at hand. REPLACE procrastination with BREAK TIME. There is nothing wrong with taking a break to get a bite to eat, call your friend or go outside in the sun. Just make sure you keep up the habit so that just as fast as you took the break you can get back to studying!
3. TEACH SOMEONE-
There is nothing better than teaching someone what you are studying for! By doing this you force yourself to work up to your best potential. By dictating out loud what you know you clarify in your mind that you, in fact, REALLY do know your stuff. Whenever I have helped to teach people, I find that I understand the material more then when I started. Due to the fact that optometry is profession that requires lots of verbal communication it is essential that you are able to explain concepts out loud. Also, considering class sizes are very small your class mates will become your family. Although graduate optometry school can be competitive, students helping students is the more common situation.
4. GET PROPER EXERCISE-
Simple enough, your brain which retains all of the information you study, functions smoothly thanks to the blood flow rich in oxygen and nutrients. By running 20 – 30 minutes a day, lifting weights at the gym, doing sit-ups, pull ups, or push ups will DRAMATICALLY improve your ability to retain information. Not only does it improve the flow of oxygen, blood, and nutrients to your brain, but it stimulates the release of pent up hormones like testosterone (for all you guys especially). No matter how much we evolved we are still wild animals in our genetics, and if we do not release some of our endorphins it has NO PLACE TO GO. You need to have physical exersize in your life in order to allow your mind to focus and store new information; if not your brain will be un-balanced and will leave you procrastinating. You will also feel REALLY good about yourself, and this confidence breeds success. Want to know the key to succeed in optometry school? LIVE A WELL BALANCED LIFE!
5. GET PROPER SLEEP-
Get some quality REM sleep. I am not an expert on sleep, although I do know it is absolutly necessary to recuperate, build energy, to allow involuntary organs to filter the crap out of your body, and overall simply to re-charge your mind. Not only will a good sleep help you retain what you learned during the day, but it will give you the proper energy you need to focus on your books the next day. We can argue all day about the proper hours necessary, but who cares? The point is go to sleep for long enough to have a dream or 2 and then wake up and get ready to study! For me classes start at 8:30 or 9:00am 5 days a week. That means I need to be sleeping by 12:00 – 1:00am or I will have a big problem when it comes time to wake up at 7:00am to study ocular anatomy.
Although these tips may be obvious they are often overlooked. If you are having a really rough week and you THINK you covered all the bases then think again and review these points.