My study experience (1)

Hampir terlupa menunaikan hajat seorang ibu-cum-student, Nurul :D, yang minta nasihat tentang cara study. Em Nurul macam tersalah orang je untuk minta nasihat huhuuu.. takde apa yang istimewa untuk dikongsi, pencapaian dulu pun biasa2 sahaja.. tapi Alhamdulillah ala kulli hal..

Mencoret kisah kehidupan ketika study dulu, I had a longstanding history of studying in a day school. I went to SMK Subang (I cycled to school), in the meantime went to boarding schools twice, first in Form 2 (for 2 weeks) and second in Form 4 to KUSESSS (SBP Kuala Selangor) for 4 months. Memang kes tak tahan duduk asrama. Homesick. Took both my PMR and SPM in SMK Subang. Sekolah yang mempunyai reputasi buruk sebagai sekolah tempat pelajar dibuang, anak angkat polis dsb. Well, I am proud of the school, I love the teachers, dan yang pasti disitu aku mula mengenal erti kehidupan.

Then I went to MCIIUM (yang skrg dipanggil CENFOS), reading pre-medicine. Masih boleh tahan. Because I could go back every week, it was quite near to our house, and many a times I went back home during weekdays huhu. Still homesick.

After 2 years, I graduated from MCIIUM, and went to Kuantan. That was when my major problem started huhu. Kuantan campus was 4 hours drive from our house, and my homesickness was very severe such that I thought of quitting medicine haha. I went back home fortnightly, and sometimes weekly huu. Those days were my dark days. I cried every single day, I started to abandon my study, I took exams for granted, but Alhamdulillah Allah helped me along the way, and He showed me what was best for me.

Because I was so fed up (haha), in my first year of MBBS, I decided to get married, so that I won't feel too lonely. Tapi entah macamana takdir Allah, I got engaged to a man who was studying thousand of kilometres away from home! In Jordan huu. Lagilah susah nak dapat permission nak kahwin huhu. But I kept praying and praying and praying to Allah to show me what was best for me. Seriously waktu tu rasa sangat serabut. In the meantime I started to make my own 1-page, computer-printed medical notes, to make myself busy. I planned to stay at home throughout the revision weeks at the end of each posting, but of course I couldn't bring home the bulky and heavy lecture notes!. With time, I became so obsessed with this compact notes hehe. I found it easy to read, and in the same time, my colleagues started asking for the soft copy. Really I enjoyed sharing them! I incorporated the notes given by lecturers and also used few textbooks. Initially I took 1 whole day to finish making a note, but after years, i took 5 minutes to finish making a note alhamdulillah. It was stressful initially when your friend has finished reading many lectures and you are stuck with 1! And definitely hunching in front of the computer for hours caused severe back pain. But I tried hard to be patient. Practices make perfect! By the time I finished my 2 years, I have 3 big A4-sized own notes which my friends call 'Maryam's Book of Spells' haha because I designed the cover just like a spell book. I was influenced by the Charmed series actually :p So I throw away all the lecture notes (given by lecturers). And the 3 books are

1. Book of anatomy (including embryology and histology) and physiology
2. Book of pathology and pharmacology
3. Book of miscellaneous (microbiology, immunology etc)

As for the book 1 and book 2, i arranged the content according to systems. I can still remember:

1. CVS
2. RS
3. GIT
4. HBS
5. UGS
6. Endocrine
7. MSS
8. Neurological system

During the revision week before my first pro, I brought home the 3 books, studied in the leisure of my own home and came back to Kuantan 2 days before the exam. Alhamdulillah I passed.

Then i started my third year. My first clinical year. During this year we were required to acquire the skills to make a diagnosis. 4 rotations- Paediatrics, Surgery, Internal Medicine and O&G. I didn't lose time to start making new notes. At the start of each posting, I will list down all the lecture topics, seminar topics etc. Then I will study according to systems. I am the type of person who likes to compartmentalize everything haha. For example, we had 10 weeks for each posting. So I allocated the first 8 weeks for serious studying and making notes. For paediatric, I have 8 major systems to be covered, so a week for each system. The first week is for CVS for example. I glanced back at the embryology, anat and physio of CVS (in my preclinical spellbook), then I list down the Paediatric CVS topics which I needed to cover in thet 1 week (plus making notes). Few tips which I can give are:

1. Don't procrastinate. If according to your study schedule, you have to finish Congenital Heart disease, Heart Failure etc by TODAY, then do not go to sleep at night without finishing what you have planned earlier. If you procrastinate today, you will procrastinate tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and at the end before the exam, you will feel that there is just too much to be covered!

2. Don't spend too much on a topic. For example, I have seen someone who wants to study about cholelithiasis, and that person opened Snell (Anatomy book), opened Netter (another anatomy book!), trying to compare things. You want to study cholelithiasis and not anatomy, so stay focused. Yes anatomy is important but now is not the time to compare the anatomy stated in different books! So that person ended up spending the whole night on cholelithiasis alone! Macamana nak habis study huhuu.

3. Read fast. The first time you read a topic you may want to spend a little more time, say 15 minutes if it is a short topic (obviously 15 minutes are not enough for Congenital Heart Disease). But the second time you read it, no more than 5 minutes should be spent on it! Memorize the important points, the differentiating features etc. For example if a child comes with shortness of breath, what are the differentials? And how can you differentiate each differentials etc.

4. Discuss with friends. Discuss doesn't mean you need to have a study group. I don't have a study group. I study alone. But I have a study partner with whom I discussed usually few days before exams, after both of us have a basic idea of the whole posting, and we try to highlight important points. I don't prefer the idea of attending a study group when I still can't imagine the structure of a topic. In short, I don't like to come empty. I will only drift to something else while somebody is teaching huhuu. But different people have different preference so know your preference :)

At the end of my third year MBBS, I finally got married haha. Alhamdulillah. Married but stayed apart was to me far far far more tolerable than staying single. Life became much happier for me. Allah gave me a bestfriend with whom I could share every single thing in life. Alhamdulillah and alhamdulillah. My homesickness has reduced in intensity.

In 4th year, I moved out of the hostel, to a pink house which i shared with Mimi. That was really fun! To have your own home, where I could bake and cook, which I could decorate and kept clean hehe. Moving out of the hostel was a BIG relief. I had many things to do to lessen the pressure. Medicine itself was not a burden, but the life was! Far from home, stuck in such a small hostel cubicle, nothing much to do other than studying haihh. That was when i started baking cakes and sell them! (Adoi sempat lagi jual cake huhu. That was for fun :D)

Orang kata 4th year ni honeymoon year. But of course not to me. I don't study as hard (or as stressful) as everybody else, when most people are stressfully studying, and yet I don't honeymoon like everybody else, when many people are honeymooning I guess hehe. The word is 'consistent'. I used 4th year to the most. During my family medicine posting, I used it to update my 3rd year notes, mostly IM. In FM, you will learn chronic diseases (esp HPT, DM, Asthma etc) in details, including the management. During this posting I finished reading the CPGs (which is extremely important), took out the important points and made notes out of them (so that I don't have to read the CPG again in final year). In FM, you will also learn a bit of Paeds, O&G, surgery, so I made notes and compiled them with my 3rd year notes. In public health, I took the chance to revise my biostatistics (in preclinical year) so that I don't have to study them again for my final pro. We also had specialize postings- which are important. But I (as usual) incorporated the topic into my 3rd year postings for example

1. Anaesthesiology was incorporated into my Surgery notes
2. Dermatology was incorporated into IM
3. Radiology was divided into all 4 major postings
4. ENT stood by itself
5. Ophthalmology also stood by itself

Entering 5th year, the first posting was such a horror. it was IM. I had hyperem. Of course I didn't attend ward, didn't cover my patients, didn't fill up my logbooks except for few to get a Pass haha. I attended bedside teaching for an hour few times per week only to make sure my attendance is not affected. I didn't study at home, luckily abang was in Malaysia at that time, and he helped me a lot. Hantar g hospital utk attend kelas 10am, tunggu depan hospital at 11am to fetch me home hehe.

Masuk je 2nd posting which was O&G, I started to sprint. Habiskan notes IM and in the same time siapkan notes O&G. Sebabnya utk 5th year, we have to know how to manage and treat the patient in detail. So I update my 3rd year notes, repair here and there and hey my notes were ready to be printed and bound! I made them halve A4 size. still my spellbooks, but smaller version :D

Adush panjang sangat ni... I'll continue later with
1. Mcmna study waktu pregnancy?
2. Mcmna study waktu bersalin?
3. Mcmna study dengan Ameer Faheem?
4. Bila masa nak buat semua notes ni?
5. Mcmna nak tackle pro?


ipen said...

salam, kak maryam, mohon share tips ni dengan kawan2 blh? =)

Ummu Ameer said...

oh sila2 :)

ipen said...

agak2 bleh tak nak dapatkan spell book lengkap akak tu?..kot2 bleh jadi witch yg baik time pro nanti...hehe

Ummu Ameer said...

oo bleh2 tp softcopy ye. sbb yg hardcopy akak guna.. melainkan klu nak pinjam sat utk photostt bley la :)

ipen said...

akak..macam maner nak dapatkan softcopy note tu?...kalo email mcm besar je kan