Studying at home or the library?

I have a couple questions for all you MS-1’s and MS-2’s:
Where do you do the bulk of your studying, at home or the school (or somewhere else)?
What factors contributed to your decision to study where you do?
Thanks for all your input!!

First & foremost - BEST OF LUCK TO YOU TOMORROW! Secondly, ‘where’ is what ever works best for you & your husband. For me, I actually made better grades studying in our study rooms…where I could put on music for background (I could not, cannot & will never be able to completely focus in a quiet environment - makes all of these standardized tests very hard for me!)…and avoid interactions at home. Let’s face it, I would MUCH rather talk to my wife than study! However, all that excessive time away began to weigh heavily on our marriage; therefore, I chose to sacrifice some GPA points by studying at home, but was able to remain happily married.
So, the answer to your question, as is usually the case from me, is not simple & is best asked by a return question. What will be the better balance point for you, your grades & your family? Unfortunately, you cannot address any single issue in isolation…it is a matter of balance.

My first year I wandered around school trying to find the “right” study place for me. I concentrated my efforts on the quiet, solitary study rooms in both the SoM and the library. Then one day early in second year, I had three hours to kill in the afternoon and found myself outside of the library, so I went in and sat on the first floor in the commons, next to the great big floor-to-ceiling windows. It was that day that I discovered what I had been searching for. The first floor had enough backround noise to not drive me crazy like the dead-silent “quiet” rooms and the windows provided enough visual stimulation for me. I credit part of my doing much better in second year to this discovery.
Even though I had the house to myself while studying for Step I, I still made the daily trek to the library to study because there were just too many distractions around my house.
My main point is that I had to understand who I am, that I’m not like my classmates that need to lock themselves away, but that I need external stimulation, just enough in the backround.
Hope this helps,

I have serious problems studying at home. Besides the husband and kids, there’s the TV, the fridge, the computer… So, I study at school. I prefer to study with other people but have been unsuccessful in finding anyone with a similar schedule/interest. Since we have afternoons free most days, I stay and study in either the library or one of the small group rooms. I also study on the bus on my 45-minute each way commute.
Best of luck! I hope MSI is a piece of cake for you!

Hi there,
I was a home study person unless I was studying with a specific group. I found that there were too many interruptions at the library. On the other hand, if studying at the library helps you focus, then study there and leave home for un-winding.
I would never be anywhere near school during exam week. There was too much tension and too many panicked folks. I studied like the test was two weeks before it was actually going to be held and then slept on reading days. I took every exam very well rested.
I also like to study at Starbuck’s on Sunday morning. I would settle into one of those huge overstuffed chairs in front of the gas fireplace on a cold winter’s day. It helped me concentrate and it was fun to look up and see folks coming and going. My best friend and I studied for USMLE Step I at the Starbuck’s on Rockville Pike in Rockville, Md. We would bounce things off each other but we took our EasyReaders, colored highlighters and got lots done.
I also did some heavy studing at the end of the runway at National Airport. The planes would be about 100 feet over my head and I could feel the warm jetwash as they landed. I took my computer and got lots done there by the Potomac River.
Sometimes a change of scenery is just what you need to hone in on your work. Another study strategy for me was to take a kitchen timer and set it for 50 minutes. I would study for 50 minutes and take a break for 10 minutes. If something was bothering me, I would write it on an index card and think about it on my break. Breaks were for water, bathroom etc. When I got back to studing, my mind would be sharp and I would go another 50 minutes.
I spent most of my studytime at home with my two Beagles curled up under my desk. They were the recipients of my lecturing on various subjects too. If Jack and Jill could understand what I was explaining, then I had an handle on the concept.
Anyway, find some good study niches and move in.

Congrats Danielle!!
First, I agree with OMD that you and you alone will know what works for you. Once you have been in class for a week or so you’ll be able to start figuring out what is/is not working in terms of studying/time & family management – for me planning/reading about study schedules is OK, but putting things into practice quickly reveals areas I didn’t consider (e.g. morning jog routine, hourlong phone calls with friends/family, unforeseen emergency/events cut into planned study time). Don’t believe the hype – some classmates may claim to “study a week before the exam” – even if it is true, if you are someone who needs to read a chapter three times to get it, and need to study every night, then that’s what you do!!
My class day is long – it begins at 8:30 and runs into the afternoon, anywhere from 3-5pm. I try to preread the material for the next day’s lectures at home – last year I did not do this consistently, but when I did it, I got more out of lecture (less likely to fall asleep in class ). I take LOTS of notes – and I’m a visual person so I also bring a variety of highlighters/pens for drawing pictures, highlighting on teacher handouts, whatever. I did get razzed for massive highligher collection but after a while my neighbors started to use them too. After classes end (or between classes if possible) I review the day’s notes - no matter what.
Evening study time commences after a dinner break and relaxation time or nap. As to location, for me it depends on my mood and the situation. So I may be at school, at home or in a coffee house. I LOVED my study group last year – we met almost every weekend, at one of our houses, a restaurant or coffee shop, and happily we were able to be productive AND have a good time. New thing for me this year: I will be taping selected lectures, not as a substitute for active listening in class but because I will be spending time on the train/bus instead of car. A classmate taped all her lectures but then didn’t have time to review them. I guess I’ll find out if it works for me soon.
Again, congrats and have a great year!!

I have always liked the idea of studying at home, rationalizing that I could clean the kitchen, do my abs tape etc.during my study breaks. However, it inevitably became more break and less study as I was easily diverted to all of my unaccomplished household tasks. Plus the phone was always ringing.
I study in the library now but I need a study room because I have found that I really need to talk to myself while I study. I don’t have to do it every single study session but I get a lot more done and I stay a lot more focused if I can lecture to myself about what I had just studyed etc and just make sure that I am processing the information that I am learning.
I also like to be somewhere that has places near by to walk to on my break. The starbucks is about a 10 min. walk from the library and it is the perfect study break. I do the 45 min. study, 15-20 min. break thing and it really helps if I can walk somewhere on my break and get outside.

Although I can study at home and sometimes I do…I am trying to keep business away from home. My class day is long (with some big breaks in btw though) from 8:00-4:00/5:00 I come home eat with my family and around 7:00 head back to school. I have various places to study from study rooms to the library. On weekends I act like it is another school day and leave home around 8:00 and study until about 5:00.