Mar. 25th, 2009

mellicious: pink manicure (spring flowers)
Here is how I study. This class I'm taking now is "online" - mostly meaning that the tests are online and you do all your studying out of the book. So I've had to adjust the way I finally learned to study in college, which was to take notes as fast as I could write in class (I had a whole system of abbreviations, as I recall, although I couldn't tell you what they were any more) and then I would come home and REwrite them in understandable English - preferably soon after class before I forgot what all the abbreviations meant. As time went on I decided that the writing and rewriting process was where my brain learned things best, so that became a definite part of my routine - at least when I had time to do all of that. So what I'm doing now for medical terminology is pretty similar, except just that there is no initial lecture to take notes on, I just have to take notes out of the book, lots of them. Lots as in, I've filled up two (smallish) notebooks already and am starting on #3. Then I take all the definitions that I've copied down and put them into an Excel spreadsheet - can you get any geekier? - it has four or five tabs - words, roots, prefixes, suffixes, and terms (meaning technical terms and abbreviations and other stuff that doesn't fit well elsewhere). I will have a nice little mini-medical dictionary when I'm done. The rest of the notes I've been putting into OneNote when I get around to it. That doesn't seem as helpful as the definitions part, though.

The chapter on the lungs has turned out to be easier, much easier than the last one, which makes sense since they did say that last test was the hardest one. The chapter on blood had a lot of concepts that were pretty much new to me, like many types of blood cells, not just red and white but broken down into a whole bunch of subcategories, like granular and agranular leukocytes, eosinophils, basophils, neutrophils. It was quite a lot of stuff to take in. The lungs are easier because everybody's had some kind of lung disease in their life - colds, flu, vaccines for pertussis and diphtheria - and the flu - TB tests - and then there's bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma.... you may not have had all of those but you know people who have! And you see those drug commercials on TV all the time for drugs for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - aka COPD - and asthma and some of these others, too. Respiratory diseases are just much more a part of people's normal lives than some of this other stuff, much as we may wish they weren't.

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