Med School-ing: Note taking? Flashcards? Apps? | Purely Positivitea

Med School-ing: Note taking? Flashcards? Apps?


One of the most common questions I get from incoming students is "What do you use for ______?" I leave the blank open because there's a lot to cover in medical school and millions more resources, so it can be difficult to find what is most useful for you. I'm going to use this post to detail what works for me and I'll include a few things that have worked for my friends as well so that you can explore!

What do you use for note taking?
I use Microsoft One Note for my note taking. I like it because I can have everything in one place, but keep it very organized. For example, I'm able to import lecture power points in as PDFs so that I can annotate them during class (I use an iPad Pro & and Apple Pencil, that's why the handwriting looks so realistic! I'll post more about it at another time then link it here), but I can also write/draw freehand on what looks like looseleaf paper or highlight text from assigned readings. It's helpful because I don't have to click through a bunch of folders with files to find what I am looking for. You can also your handy dandy command F if you're looking for something really minute across a bunch of weeks.


I make a new "notebook" for each block and organize it into two sections, which may or may not work for you depending on your program! In the first section, I put tabs for labs, PBL, and things like histo and anatomy.

Then, I make an expandable "notes" tab for my day to day lecture notes (see above).

Microsoft One Note automatically backs up your notebooks online which is a HUGE stress reliever, especially if you get hit with unexpected computer problems. I think that the only real downside of One Note is that the free cloud storage runs out really quickly and you have to pay extra mooola for more. It's really affordable at $1.99 per month, so it's not the worst thing in the world, but it'd be great if there was more free storage!

Others use:
-Notability (iOS app)
-Microsoft PPT & Microsoft Word
-Google Docs
-Good old fashioned paper & pencil

What do you use for flashcards?
I LOVE Anki. I'll have to admit, it was super intimidating when I first downloaded it because the interface is not user friendly at all! I really liked the idea of spaced repetition for learning (which is how anki's software works), so I decided to give it a try. On the advice of an MS2, I searched up "Anki for Medical Students" on youtube and watched a few short videos to get started. Once you grasp the basics, it's actually really easy to use! I'm so happy that I gave Anki a try and it has been a staple for me ever since. Depending on interest, I could always post a short/sweet tutorial here on the blog, let me know!


Others use: 
-Memorang
-Quizlet
-Regular Flashcards


What apps do you use?
If I try to explain each of them, we'll be here all day so I'll just list a few! These are all for iOS, but I'm sure some should be available on other systems too.

-Essential Anatomy 5 (3D interactive model that makes frequent appearances in my instagram story hahaa useful for class!)
-Epocrates (useful for pharmacology)
-Prognosis (nerdy medical game, but super fun & educational!)
-Flat Tomato (for pomodoro/tomato timing!)
-Pinterest (welp ya know, a girls gotta find meal prep inspo somewhere!)


What question bank/supplemental system do you use?
As a first year, there will be product after product thrown at you, "group" deals for your school, and other things like that. I managed to resist the temptation this year and I'm glad that I did. I'm definitely not downing anyone who has used products or services, but I'm acknowledging that it can be a lot of pressure to get every single thing (especially when it seems like everyone else is!) and the costs can add up quickly. When considering a product, always remember that it depends on what kind of learner you are and most services have a free trial, so try that first! Additionally, there is no magic bullet that will guarantee your success, so be weary of products that promise too much. I know that there are certain things I will be getting during second year to prep for STEP 1, but I haven't found that I needed anything supplemental for first year.

What are some _______ that YOU use?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links at the end of the post which just means that if you shop through one of the links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale :)

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