Candidates put all the efforts in preparing for the medical PG exam. They even give adequate amount of time for study but all their effort is destined to fail if they’re not good at making study notes. This makes one think whether it is important for doctors to know about taking notes. There is a very good reason why it is important.
Medical PG entrance exam preparation involves learning and revising more than 500 topics. Their subjects are really vast and they have much more to remember than most other competitive exams.
Hence making notes of difficult topics and topics that you tend to remember is really important. So that you don’t need to go through every topic again when you start revising.
Now the question arises: How to make notes that are understandable and don’t take much of your preparation time?
Below given are the tips compiled after analysing different note making patterns followed by the medical PG toppers.
1. Copy a neat small summary with headings.
Avoid copying a mass of information. Small summary saves a lot of time but this summary should have all the important information required about the topic.
2. Have a hot word column:
Keywords or hot words are a very concise summary that helps improve your memory. These hot words also help you prepare the topic better. Make it a habit to find keywords for all important points.
3. Do not use skeleton prose:
This is the usual way of taking notes with headings, subheadings and bullets. This method is everywhere like text books and guides. This is not good for personal notes as it becomes ‘copy and paste’. It doesn’t organise contents for your memory with meaning. Also keep this in mind that you avoid ‘copy and paste’ at all times.
Make sure that you have hot word column on the left, points on the right and a box for summary at the bottom. Personalise the summary with your own words. This reworded summary of the topic will help you consume better during revision.
5. Your own words:
When you use your own words it encourages active thinking, better understanding and high retention which is most important for retaining things. So read and understand a topic and then try explaining it in your own words in your notes, you may also write your mother tongue in between.
6. Try and make questions:
Try and make hot words and questions from a topic. Later, create a summary. Then try to answer the questions. This is the most effective revision method known. These questions also play a similar part in better learning.
7. Use abbreviations and symbols:
Using abbreviations helps to keep the notes brief. Learn more and more abbreviations to bring down the time elapsed.
8. Organising notes:
Use separate notebooks for each subject. E.g. Anatomy, Microbiology, Anaesthesia etc. Or use File dividers to separate topics.
This is a key goal of note taking. Sometimes medics take notes to ‘learn later’. This is procrastination and it often doesn’t happen. Hence you have to have time for your revision. There is no compromise on this. It is easier to score high with this approach.