My Favorite Books: Learning How to Learn

In researching evidence-based learning, we’ve encountered an avalanche of books, papers, blogs, and podcasts about learning how to learn effectively. It can seem overwhelming at times. A great place to begin is by picking a book and reading it cover to cover. Here are Alex’s favorites.

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Learning anatomy: a strategy for memorizing muscles

What's the best way to memorize the muscles of the arm? Cathy discusses her two-step approach to developing adaptive expertise in anatomy, which will play a big role in our future careers—scroll to the bottom to find out where we're headed next year!

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Memorizing Drug Trade Names

Learning trade names (or brand names) of medications poses a classic memorization challenge for medical students transitioning from preclinical to clinical medicine. We learn all manner of generic drug names as first- and second-year students, only to find that doctors and patients throw around trade names far more frequently. Knowing these trade names can be invaluable. Here’s how Alex tackles it!

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The Body Palace: Memorizing the Review of Systems

A key tool in the physician’s arsenal is the review of systems, or ROS—a run-through of pertinent symptoms while taking a patient history. To the novice clinical student, it can feel overwhelming. Medical students often first learn the ROS as Alex did—as a giant, inscrutable list of symptoms. Here’s how he uses a memory technique to tackle it painlessly.

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It's in the Genes: How to Memorize Tricky Number/Letter Associations

Our newest question comes from a reader who’s a medical student in Italy: “I use a lot the memory palace for my studies but I was wondering if you can help me to memorise in an easy way the genes, because they are made with letters and numbers for example: BRCA1, FGFR1, HLA, Cn3D.... something like this! I hope this can be helpful for all the other medical students.”

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How to Memorize the Entire Facial Nerve Using a Memory Palace [Video]

In this 20-minute video, Alex walks through how to memorize the entire facial nerve (cranial nerve VII) using a memory palace. The facial nerve is a key player in neuroanatomy and pops up during gross anatomy in medical school.

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Do Memory Palaces Hinder Learning? Our Top 3 Don't-Miss Tips

If you're someone struggling to apply memory palaces, look no further. Here I discuss my top 3 realizations about memory techniques as they pertain to learning—the ones that took my approach from frustratingly ineffective to invaluable.

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Never Forget What You Learn: 4 Reasons You Should Be Using Anki in Medical School and Beyond

Anki, powered by spaced repetition, is a powerful tool for making things stick long-term, and I can't imagine learning without it—even with the aid of memory palaces. Here's why you should be combining spaced repetition with memory palaces to get the most from medical school and beyond.

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