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My mind tends to get distracted very easily so my question is what are some good tips for staying focused and determined during pre-med, especially during late nights with little sleep?

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#pre-med

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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Josh! I agree with the above answer and adding on I think it's important to avoid distractions like your phone by putting it away. Leave it in your bag or put it in another room to avoid going on social media or texting friends. I think taking mini breaks is helpful and this is where you can check your phone as well but it's important to not overindulge. I would also advise to make a good list for the day as to what you'd like to get done. I know there can be a lot of work as a premed so break it up, if you have 5 chapters to do in a week maybe do a chapter each day and make good notecards and go over topics before moving on. I love Quizlet and definitely recommend it for studying! Lastly, it's a little practice as well, at first it may be hard to sit down and focus but you need to build it up like a habit. After a while you get use to not checking your phone as much or getting even more work done than intended. It's something to get better as you move more into the field of medicine, because grades are crucial to doing well and getting into medical school as well as completing it! I once watched a video about a med student studying and he would do 4 hour of block just studying; I think mini breaks are good but I think the more you get into the advanced courses the breaks can be shorter or the studying can be longer. Take time to yourself and do things you love, but know when it's time to sit down and study too!

I wish you the best!
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Gabby’s Answer

Hi Josh,

First off, congratulations on pre-med! It's not an easy field and requires a lot of hard work, but you're on the right path by reaching out!

I'm happy to share a few tips which will hopefully help:

1. As counter-intuitive as it may sound, taking mini breaks actually helps refocus the mind. If you incorporate "mini breaks" into your studying, this will help with your concentration, comprehension and retention. Studies have actually shown that working in 45 minute sprints and taking a 15 minute break, helps in these areas. Consider studying for a few hours, taking 15 minute breaks in-between. Then take a longer break for lunch, maybe 30 or 60 minutes. Walk outside, move around and get blood flowing, which also helps with renewing your focus to go back to studying.

2. Study in a variety of ways: oral conversations, flashcards, using different colored pens/highlighters can also impact your retention of difficult information. From experience, I've come to realize that I learn well with the colors orange and blue (not just because I'm a Broncos fan!) but my memory works best with these colors. Try it, see if you notice a different in your learning style!

3. You mentioned foregoing sleep, and while difficult to squeeze in given your focus area, it's another important factor in allowing your brain to reset so it can recover and start fresh the next day. I've added a few resources below for you to check out; hopefully they help you.

Best of luck!

Gabby recommends the following next steps:

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-deprivation/lack-of-sleep-and-cognitive-impairment
https://www.oxfordlearning.com/how-to-study-effectively/
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Lesly’s Answer

Hello! I can relate to having trouble concentrating while studying, particularly during nighttime hours. Here are some uplifting suggestions that have been beneficial for me:
1. Engage in a Mindfulness Activity.
2. Collaborate with Motivated Individuals, if feasible. Perhaps a roommate.
3. Anticipate a Reward for Yourself.
4. Eliminate Distractions from Your Surroundings.
5. Accomplish Your 'Recharge Routine.'
6. Participate in Physical Exercise.
7. Enjoy a Brief Rest.
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