COVID-19 pandemic is a major threat to the world’s population. Physicians and nurses are on the frontlines trying to heal the sick and save lives. Medical students are often pulling double duty—Working in health care and studying for the very exams that will decide their future. While there are no tools to give you all the answers, there are ways to make the experience a little bit easier.
Avoid Distraction When Studying Online
Many students have been forced to focus on online learning during the coronavirus pandemic. This may present some challenges to anyone who has never worked or studied online. It is very easy to get distracted if specific rules are not established from the start. Ensure that friends and family members know that even if you are home, you are not available for social calls or major distractions from your studies online. Online learning during the COVID-19 crisis is not only possible but likely essential. Make sure when you are online, learning what you need to know to help those who have been infected with covid19, that you learn to help yourself so that you can continue to help others at the same time.
Although noise-canceling headphones aren’t an app that will help you learn, they’re an essential tool for effective learning. Block out background noise in any location and concentrate on online interactions with other classmates or professors or for white noise to keep a clear head while studying or completing practice tests. What’s great about noise-canceling headphones is that you can wear them without listening to anything and still muffle much of the sound around you. This makes it easier to work in an area with children running around, noisy roommates, or in a breakroom between shifts.
Website Blocking Applications
If you’re not used to working or studying from home, you may have trouble staying focused with so many web-based distractions. While it’s great to take a break from time-to-time to divert your attention to something different, too much can leave you studying less and scrolling more. Luckily, students and employees have been working from home for two decades now. Many tools have been developed to keep your eyes away from social media, news, weather, and other distracting websites. These items can help you focus on upcoming exams.
A top option is Freedom, a paid service that works across all platforms. It can keep you from cheating and popping on your phone or tablet to check the latest headlines, texts, and social media posts. Freedom applies to specific or all websites and apps. For example, you can keep access to your Google search engine, but block Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Video Conferencing Platform
Studying alone isn’t always the most conducive way to learn, especially when you’re already spending much of your time in social isolation because of COVID-19 distancing rules. Part of the higher education experience is interacting with classmates, professors, and colleagues. Your school may offer a platform that’s secure for class interactions, or you can try one of several tools. Zoom is one of the most popular options. It’s user-friendly and has a free option for small groups—Perfect for studying.
Flashcard Web and Mobile Applications
Much of the content medical students need to learn isn’t subjective. These tests aren’t asking for feelings or opinions, just the facts. Repetition is a proven learning technique that goes back centuries. There are several free and paid websites and apps that provide digital flashcards that you can edit to create your own tools for studying.
A top option for medical students is Brainscape. This site allows you to build your own set, share with other students, and smoothly transition between the phone app and website to accommodate your study needs. Additionally, these offer premade sets from other certified sources to save you time and improve the retention of important terms.
Online Test Prep Platforms
It may not be as easy now to get one-on-one help from a professor or gain the confidence necessary to mentally prepare yourself for medical exams. But there are web-based tools that can improve your self-confidence and give you the mental boost that’s essential to acing important exams, such as the USMLE Step 1. One option is Lecturio, a preparation site that provides videos by top medical school professors. Lecturio is available as a web application and through iTunes and the Google Play Store.
You don’t want to spend too much time studying and burn yourself out. Keep track of how much time you spend on each subject with proven effective, time-tracking software or apps. There are several options you can download to your phone or add as a browser add-on with Chrome, Safari, and Bing. Time-tracking tools are also great for working from home, to assist with calculating an hourly rate or making sure you are getting enough work done throughout the day. One of the most popular apps is Toggl, which also integrates invoices for independent workers to bill clients.
These aren’t easy times. Many people, including students, educators, business owners, and other essential workers, are overstressed, anxious, and dealing with a wide range of emotions that are entirely validated. Consider using these apps and other tools to help make it a little easier for you to study and work from home.