Top Tips on How to Get the Most Out of Your Medical Textbooks

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Did you know that 25% of university and college students reported that they worked extra hours so they could pay for their textbooks and other school supplies? 11% even said they skipped meals to be able to afford their textbooks.

If you are a medical student in the same boat, you will want to do everything you can to get the most out of your medical textbooks. Keep reading for some tips that will make reading medical textbooks more productive and effective. 

Work in Short Bursts of Time

Your brain isn't a machine, so you can't possibly capture enormous amounts of information by reading medical textbooks for hours on end. You need to work through the textbook in short bursts, preferably no longer than 25-30 minutes. Even shorter if the text is heavy and hard to understand with lots of difficult medical terms. 

This way, you can allow your brain to understand, capture, and retain the information rather than reading it and forgetting it two seconds later. 

Read the Textbook Sections Out Loud

When you read a text out loud, you are bringing in two of your senses at once - both listening and speaking. This can help you understand the information you read better and also help you remember it easier. 

Some people find this technique quite helpful and effective. Others don't. So you will have to try it out for yourself.

Make sure you are in a spot where you can speak out loud to yourself without feeling self-conscious about it or worrying that others are going to laugh at you. This anxiety could negate any positive benefit of reading out loud. 

Take Notes on the Subjects That You Find Difficult 

You should be taking notes on everything you read because that engages your brain further and allows you to remember things better. But if you don't have much time, you could just take notes on the things that you are finding difficult. This way, you will be able to mark these items in your brain cells with certitude.

Make sure that you are taking notes in the fashion that suits you best.

Some people like using an Apple Pencil on an iPad to take digital notes. Others like pen and paper best. Still, others like to do voice notes to themselves and take notes that way.

Don't worry about what others are doing, and do what's ideal for your personality and learning style. It's more important that you capture the information stored in the medical textbooks rather than compete with others.

Highlight Important Sections, but in a Minimal Fashion

You might have seen some medical textbooks owned by friends that look like a highlighter vomited all over them. Not a single line is left unhighlighted. 

That defeats the purpose of using a highlighter in the first place. You should be highlighting only those bits of the textbook that are extremely important so, in minutes, you can skim through these important bits before an exam or test. 

Also, think carefully before marking up your textbook. If you are planning to resell the textbook because you wish to make some of your money back, then you will want to avoid highlighting it or ruining it in any way. 

Mark Difficult Sections to Read Again

Use a Post-It note or some other sticky tab to mark all the sections in the textbook that you did not understand. If you don't get it the first time around, that's okay. Don't berate yourself. 

Take a breather and come back to this section in a few days. Once your brain has had a chance to mull over it subconsciously, you can come back to it and try to understand it again. You might be surprised at how much more sense it makes after a few days away from it. 

Explain What You Read Out Loud to Others or Yourself

Teach others and you will understand it better yourself. You have probably heard of this learning adage before. 

When you have to explain something to yourself or particularly to others, you have to simplify it and break it down into smaller chunks. This simplification happens only when you understand the subject matter very well.

That's why you should try and teach others sections of the medical textbook that you found particularly hard to understand. This should help congeal it in your brain, getting you ready for the exam to come.  

Take a Speed Reading Course to Read Faster

Medical textbooks are enormous tomes of books. They are heavy reading, with hundreds of pages for you to get through in a short amount of time. 

It's not like you only have one of these gigantic books to read. You probably have at least five to ten.

That's why it's a good idea to take a speed reading course so you can read through the sections faster and end up understanding medical textbooks and difficult medical terms better. This isn't a necessity, but it's a great tool to have in your back pocket. 

You will appreciate speed reading even more as you get to the higher years of medical school and into your residency, where you have to balance studying with long hours of work. 

Medical Textbooks - Make the Most of Them This Year

Paying hundreds of dollars to purchase medical textbooks? Well, there's a reason why they cost so much. Not only are they heavy reading, but they are also filled with diagrams and colored graphics, all so you can become a better health care professional in the end. 

If you are a student in the healthcare field, like nursing, medicine, paramedics, or more, we have medical training kits (practice IV kits) and medical textbooks for sale. Check out our catalog online.  

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