Do you want to know what is the best way to study pharmacology? Studying in the right environment, subject and time will help you get the most out of your studies. Your learning efforts are just as much about you as they are about the subject. So, are you ready to get started? Let’s go!
The best way to study pharmaceuticals is to begin early, get a solid pharmaceutical flashcard set and begin early on with a solid foundation. The earlier you begin, the better. Recognize patterns ahead of time: pre-fixes or suffixes can guide you initially, focus on these first. Life events that happen around you and around other topics in the medical world will teach you about pharmacology in a new way.
The best way to learn about an ailment is to take note and do plenty of research: review notes after class, scan textbooks for notes, talk to doctors, pharmaceutical qualified people (not your mother-in-law! ), search out articles about symptoms and progressions. Review the most common ailments, like hypertension, pain management, colds and allergies, and the most popular pharmaceutical medications for each ailment. Choose three to five pharmaceuticals associated with common ailments, and study the literature to gain knowledge. Then choose three to five drugs associated with the ailments studied, and study the literature to gain further understanding.
One excellent source of information and practice in learning about pharmacology is the textbook and related reference materials produced by pharmaceutical companies. Some of these are hardbound, meaning they have a solid, high quality text and illustrations, while others are available as “thin” or “paperback” editions. You can study pharmacology through these textbooks, if your teacher has allowed it, or through the many online sites offering easy access to online textbooks. If you want to learn quickly, particularly for a class assignment, use flashcards and mnemonics, since they are cheap ways to review content that must be memorized.
Spaced repetition is another great way to gain in-depth knowledge about any given subject, especially one as vast as pharmacology. With spaced repetition, students are presented with a series of phrases and words; they then have to remember them in order to answer a quiz. This type of learning is much better than rote memorization, and students find it extremely helpful in the course of mastering the subject.
Of course, for the best pharmacology instruction, you’ll need some reliable textbooks. The most popular texts for high yield students are those published in major medical textbooks, including Textbook of Pharmaceutical Sciences (written by Katz, 1979) and Textbook of Biochemistry and Physiology (written by Bressler, 1987). If you’re just getting started or need supplemental support, these books make great jumping off points. As an option, you might also try Review of Medical Science, Second Edition (written by Barsich, 2005), which covers much more than just medical terminology.
Step two: You’ve read enough textbooks to know what’s covered in each of the books listed above, so now is the time to learn what’s really happening in the clinical portion of the studies. To do this, you’ll need access to a pharmacist or medical school librarian who can pass along information to you on both pharmacology topics and real life case studies. In addition, it’s a good idea to bring along a notebook, pencils, and notebooks to jot down notes as you observe the lectures. Studying pharmacology in this way can also help you develop your own clinical skills as a pharmacist.
Step three: Finally, in preparation for what’s ahead, you need to familiarize yourself with the terms used in pharmacology. One term to be aware of is zanki. Zanki means to compress, and it comes to use with regard to medications meant to ease pain (anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, etc.) It’s a key concept in an anesthesia class, so make sure you study it in depth.