Technology can be both a blessing and a curse. But in vet school, we’ll take all we can get. In veterinary school, technology is our friend. Our dear, dear friend. It can make our difficult lives just a tad easier.
Here are my 5 must-have apps to use in veterinary school:
There are tons of note-taking apps out there where you can edit and annotate Powerpoints, share noted among friends, and organize your notes just the way you like. However, I’ve found that a lot of these apps out there don’t do all of those things great. But then there’s Notability. Notability is an app where you can import nearly any kind of file and it will convert the file to a PDF. You can then mark it up all you want by either using a stylus or typing in notes. You can highlight, type, and draw. I even use it as a notepad to take handwritten notes. The files are saved to the device you have the app downloaded on, be that your PC, laptop, iPad, and so on. Now here’s the cool part. Notability will back up your files to up 5 different internet sites: Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, or a WebDAV account. What this means is that you can access these files, since they’re PDFs, literally anywhere you have internet access. This has saved my butt many times, like when I forget my iPad when I need to review powerpoints. I just go to my Box account and open up the file from there. Easy.
If you aren’t familiar with the Plumbs Veterinary Drug Handbook…you will be soon. It’s got most if not all of the drugs we use, their mechanisms of action, dosages, interactions, and so on. It’s free for vet students! After you’ve graduated it’s free for the first year, and who doesn’t love free? After the first year, there’s a yearly subscription of $85 per year. When the powers that be over at Plumbs have updates or additions to the formulary, you don’t need to go out and buy the new edition. The app simply updates itself with the new info. The app also incorporates a note section where you can type in any notes you have about the drug.
The Merck Veterinary Manual is a one-stop-shop for nearly all diseases and conditions in vet med. It’s a great reference guide to find info on a disease’s pathophysiology, signs, diagnostic options, and treatments. And now it can all be accessed on your mobile device. The app also has some added features you don’t get in the hard copy: like quizzes, clinical calculators, and tons of pictures and videos. Here’s the kicker: yes…it’s free.
Simply put, this is a website and app where you can make digital flashcards. You can make your own classic cards, with a term on the front and the definition on the back, and you can even add in charts and pictures. With the flashcards, you can star cards that you want to review more, and that allows you do go through just those starred cards. Quizlet is just a great place to keep your notes and organize them. Now I know you’re probably asking, why not just use regular flashcards? And yes, I will agree that actually writing out the cards can help you in your memorization, but vet school is all about time management. By using an app like Quizlet, you can really improve your efficiency not only because, if you’re like me, you can type faster than you can write, but you can also go through flashcards much faster on a computer than having to shuffle them by hand. You also don’t risk losing physical cards.
Like I said, vet school is all about time and task management. If you don’t have a handle on either of those…vet school’s going to be much harder than it has to be. So if you can find any to-do app that works for you, I highly recommend using it. I’ve been using the app Wunderlist for a few years now and love it. The app allows you to make different categories to make organizing your to-dos easier. You can also add due dates, alarms, memos, reminders, and tasks within a task. I’ll add any and just about everything I have to do to Wunderlist: notes I need to retype or review, Quizlet cards I want to get through, quizzes I need to take, assignments, people I need to call or email…the list goes on. The app syncs across all your devices, including the app for your PC or Mac. A cool feature also is that you can share to-do lists between friends. You can assign to-dos and keep track of what’s done…so it’s great for group projects.