Should I tape the lectures?

A similar question was posed in the pre-meds area. But, this sort of query applies to med students as well…and in a completely different context than it does in Ugrad.

There’s not 10 men mean enough to make me use one of those infernal things! Seriously, if the lecture was not of sufficient quality to merit you budgeting that session into your schedule that I am sure as #### not gonna waste more of my precious time listening to it some other time. And, with the demands of studying and lectures of med school – you do not have the time to waste relistening to a taped lecture. It simply is not very efficient.

You will quickly learn the key to success is becoming a very efficient and directed learner (sometimes even becoming a bulemic learner).

How? Most schools provide either lecture note packs, copies of computer-based presentations or both – focus your efforts there. If the professor felt it was critical enough to take up his/her time putting together that note pack or presentation, they also feel that those contents are the testable core of the material.

To supplement note packs and presentations, use old test files (if your schools permits those) to direct your efforts. Those are invaluable as most professors recycle questions and you may just pick up a questions or two by osmosis. The best way to study from old tests is not memorizing the answers – in fact, that will get you burned. At schools where test files are allowed, many of the departments will maintain question banks that make it easy for them to subtly alter questions yielding a different correct answer from the same choices provided. Med school exams are not like Ugrad ones where of the 5 choices, you can throw 2 out for being off the wall or silly – all of the choices are usually valid choices or have a single element mistated or reversed to make it untrue. To gain the largest advantageof old exams – take the choices for each question and explore why it was correct or incorrect. For the incorrect choices that are valid statements, try to contrive scenarios where it would be a correct answer. For the incorrect ones that were erroneous, make them into correct statements and then contrive questions where they would be the correct choice.

Also, old tests make excellent resources for quizzing one another. I found that sitting arounf in a small group with a fistfull of old tests and orally quizzing one another the night before an exam was exceptionally helpful. One, to avoid embarassment – you had to prepare in advance. Two, it set up a forum where you could exchange levels of understanding with your peers…probably enhancing your own level.

Lastly, reading assignments – straight from a BioCem professors mouth, “completing all of your assigned readings is the least productive way to spend your time”. Only use the required textbooks as a last resort – if you just can’t gain an adequate level of understannding from the note packs, presentations, your peers or professors first. He recommended that in lieu of buying the required texts, to instead buy board review style books and use them as references. I chose the Lippencott series “Board Review Series” or BRS or ‘the checkerboard books’ to use. They are excellent! Actually, they are far too in-depth for board review and more suitable for references & they have loads of practice questions in them.

Best of luck to you all!

Hi Folks,
I am going to have to agree with Dave on taping lectures. You will not have the time or the inclination to listen to most lectures more than once.

Utilize your school’s noteservice and supplement with your notes. During my freshman year, I did more lecture transcriptions than anyone else in my class. I hated re-listening to a lecture tape.

If you find that lecture is very difficult to understand, tape only the parts that are confusing. If you find yourself dozing in class, then turn on the lecture tape but generally, don’t waste your time listening to lecture tapes.

Most tests do not test lecture material but your learning and synthesis of lecture information. You are much better with your notes, the noteservice and the syllabus.