Right before I started veterinary school in August, I was ravenously looking for different study habits and techniques. While I was successful in undergrad, I was really worried (and had been told from multiple sources) that to succeed in professional school I would need to change or at least adjust my study habits. And, now that I’m a few months in, I definitely agree that the way I study has changed and I’m doing even better because of it! One surprising place where I found new ideas for studying was actually in the Merck Veterinary Manual, and I’m excited to tell all of my followers about it!
I have the Merck Vet Manual as an app on my phone (free download, by the way), and it has all sorts of resources, ranging from news articles, drug dosage calculators, and a tab called “Veterinary Content.” Merck’s Veterinary Content has sections on every body system and diseases that pertain to those parts of the body. A lot of that is a little over my head right now as a first-year student, BUT it has one section called “Special Subjects” that had just the information this first year needed!
The Special Subjects section has a whole file of resources specific to studying for veterinary school! It starts with a pep talk about how proud you should be of yourself for making it into veterinary school, and then it breaks down the major areas that most students struggle with, which I definitely agree with. The three big problems for learning in veterinary school are rapid forgetting, passive studying, and reversion to past behaviors. The Merck Vet Manual has all kinds of information (AND solutions) about each of these problems and just reading it back in August really helped me clarify what and how I needed to focus in order to succeed.
My favorite thing specifically that I found in this resource was the concept of studying using a “memory palace.” When you make a memory palace, you create an image in your head, and then associate words or lists to that image. Then, when it’s time to recall that information, all you have to do is think of the picture and your brain will help you associate the words to it. This has been a really useful tool for me so far as I am an extremely visual learner!
There are so many places one can go to for studying resources, tips, and tricks, and the Merck Vet Manual has proven to be a great place to start! I am certain I will be using many of the other functions (especially since it’s now an app) the farther I get into my curriculum and eventually as a practicing DVM!