Thursday, April 14, 2011

Moment of truth

This Friday will be the moment of truth where I'll put to test my new study skills.  Recently I found a website that helps visual learners study differently than what I grew up knowing. VISUAL LEARNING WEBSITE
For instance instead of writing your outline in a bullet form on lined paper, try using a blank piece of paper without any lines and use a flow chart method.  This has been a more effective tool for me so I can break down an entire chapter to one or two sheets of paper.  Here are a couple examples (sorry for the fuzziness):

This is a list of terms for 5 chapters that is viewed at-a-glance format, easily read by me

This is my big white board and I'm transferring what is on the white board and putting it on to another sheet of paper

Then after I've put all the information in a much easier digestible format, I transfer the information to blank piece of printing paper and will pour over that during my study time for the test.  Let's hope this works so that I can get a score on Friday's exam that will rock my socks off!


  1. Have you tried Memory Notebook of Nursing. It is really great for visual learners. The funny pictures and sayings really helped alot of people in my first bout with Nursing school.

  2. Shoot my computer wouldn't let me see the pic's. Must be what you sent last night! Good luck with this method, I hope it works out great!

  3. I can't see the pics either but it seems very interesting. I am going to check out that website because I found I am more of a visual learner as well and could use all the help I can get!

  4. Christine - I haven’t tried Memory Notebook for Nursing but am intrigued and will look into it after I post this comment. Thanks for your help.

    Dominique – I tried to repost the pictures so they could be seen by everyone, and yes they were the ones I sent you the night before. I took the test today and could’ve done better, but there is so much info that we cover. It’s always hard for me to understand where to focus my study time on.

    It’s just me – I hope this helps for you, but don’t hold me to anything. I didn’t do that great on my test today but I think I understood more (retention wise). Good luck to you and however you decide to work on your studying :-)

  5. Zazzy, I can't wait to explore this visual learner website. One of my excuses for not going to nursing school until I was in my 40's was I wasn't smart enough. I learned I am smart enough. I simply don't grasp concepts from deadpan lectures. Just writing those two words turned on my snooze button!

  6. RE: memory noteboks - they also come in a notecard format. I know I'm posting nearly a year later, but in case you have some new readers who are interested in them, Nurse Nacole has a post (with sample images!) on them (along with a lengthy comparison of the two formats -- book vs. card). After seeing both in person, I agree that I would probably go with the cards.

    Here'a link to Nurse Nacole's post:

    And here's a link to an AllNurses posts where most, but not all, of the mnemonics are from the memory book/card series:

  7. When I read the comments about the memory notebooks, I completely forgot why I had clicked over to comment in the first place, LOL.

    I am in LOVE with my dry erase boards. I have about 15 different colors of markers with many of them in more than one thickness.

    I am some combination of kinesthetic and visual learner. I like to turn large amounts of my note information into a "big picture" that will let me more easily recall the information in the future. It's hard to describe how I do this on paper, but people who have seen me do it seem to really like the technique, so I'll try to give a couple examples.

    First, one that you might be able to picture from your own knowledge: When I was learning about hearing in physiology, first I drew a (rough) sketch of all the parts from external to internal through which the sound waves traveled and was able to write a numbered list of the structures. Then I would add additional drawings/lists for showing additional smaller structures and describing how they work for both hearing and for balance. In the end, the big drawing that I created (on a huge, classroom sized dry erase board in a study room at my library), had about 6 sections to it - including one that listed disrorders of hearing (like conduction vs. neural, etc.) Often there are a few arrows between different sections to remind me that the sections are related. This way, if I need to, I can start drawing (or thinking about) whatever part I remember and it can trigger me to remember a part that I'm blanking on during a test.

    I almost always create my "big pictures" on a classroom sized dry erase board. I keep writing one section of my notes (in list or picture format) until I can remember it then say to myself "how does this relate to the next part" then start writing the next related part in another section. Once I have everything that's related on one dry erase board, I copy the drawing down onto a piece of paper to use as my "answer key" when I try to draw the information in the future.

    Often, when I'm thinking of one of my "big pictures," I can "see" numbers of bullet points for each section (e.g. 5 key signs/symptoms, 3 key diagnostic tests). Being able to remember relative number of bullet points per section can really help me with my recall.

    If you want to actaully SEE an example similar to what I'm talking about , I think the diabetes mellitus management page of the first volume of the memory notebook of nursing is a decent example (though I would organize it into more clearly defined areas -- theirs are too intermingled to help me remember them just by looking at it. If you want to keep the exact same format, I would use a different color marker for each main area).

    If I had been the one to create this, the picture would have started with just the five main arrows [cause, assessment, diagnosis (which I would have called classifications ), treatment & complications], so I would start learning the drawing by being able to name those 5 areas. Then I would add the next subset of facts -- e.g. for classifcation/type, I would memorize that there are 4 types and that there are 4 main complications and I would practice listing them -- WITHOUT all the extra details under each. I would keep redrawing this stage until it comes easily, then I would add more facts under the subcategories (i.e. all the details).

    The repetition of redrawing the "big picture" from blank page to how much you already know is what really ingrains the info in my head and makes it easier to recall.

    Of course, learning all the facts is only the first step, since you know your test is going to ask you about the "rightest" answer, but it's a good start.