Study Tips

How to Prepare for Active Learning Sessions in Medical School

Gia Eapen
Published on Jun 9, 2020. Updated on Sep 15, 2020.

A medical student explains how she uses combines some of her favorite study resources—Osmosis, Picmonic, and Sketchymedical—using Osmosis Workspaces thrive in medical school.

If you are in or around a medical school environment, I’m sure you have heard of the push toward active learning in medical education. Active learning means that rather than just listening to your professor and taking notes, class time is interactive and includes techniques such as case studies, group projects, think-pair-share, or demonstrations. 

I am a first year medical student at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont, and a majority of my classes are taught in an active learning or flipped classroom format. These classes involve doing a fair amount of preparation to get the most out of the cases or questions presented during the session, and Osmosis has been integral in helping me streamline this process

Uploading all of my documents to the Osmosis Workspaces has been a game changer for me in this active learning setting. Not only does it help with organization, it also allows me to create flashcards, view resources related to my class materials, and collaborate with my classmates, helping me feel prepared and more involved in these active learning sessions. 

Check out my 3 simple steps to getting you started on the path to streamlined studying!

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Step 1: Creating flashcards from class documents in your Osmosis Workspaces

The first thing I do after uploading the pre-work for an active learning session to my Osmosis Workspaces is to create flashcards for important concepts. I try not to create too many flashcards per class, and I avoid making cards for facts that I already know or for concepts that require more understanding and less memorization. 

That being said, I make sure that the cards I create are comprehensive; if I study the flashcards I made, I will be prepared for class. Within the Osmosis Workspaces, you can also collaborate with your classmates to create flashcards and questions, which helps cut down on the time it takes to create the content you are using to study!

GIF showcasing Osmosis flashcards in action.

Step 2: Using Osmosis Workspaces to find supplemental content

Another reason why I love the Osmosis Workspaces is because it allows me to find additional content that is related to my pre-work for class. Workspaces links Osmosis, Sketchy, and Picmonic videos alongside uploaded documents. After going through my pre-work, I will navigate to these resources to help fill in any gaps or solidify my understanding.

Step 3: Studying the Flashcards you’ve created and added to your Osmosis Workspace

After I’ve finished preparing, it’s time to study! I’m not particularly worried about getting every single flashcard I’ve created correct. Instead, I treat this time as a second-pass over the material which allows me to get a sense of how much I’ve retained. Once I’ve studied the flashcards for my session, they’re added to my spaced repetition quiz, so I’m able to study them multiple times before an exam. 

I have found that this method helps me prepare for an active learning class, and sets me up for long-term retention of the material I’m learning. Even if you are not in an active learning environment, preparing before class (rather than just reviewing after) can have a huge impact on the way you understand and retain information. Although it does seem like a lot of work for a class, it definitely pays off in the long run. 

Overall, the Osmosis Workspace has helped me to stay more organized and retain more information while in medical school. 

About Gia

Gia Eapen is a second-year student at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. She is originally from Connecticut and went to a college near Chicago before starting medical school. Gia is currently interested in OB/GYN and surgery. In her free time, she likes to read, cook new recipes, and browse interior design magazines.


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