If you’ve decided that a career in pharmaceuticals is right for you, but you’re not sure how to get started, you may be wondering what is the best way to study pharmacology. The best way to study pharmacology, at least according to those who have done so, is to begin as early as possible, develop a solid flashcard collection and then embark on an investigation of the world of medical databases. The earlier you begin, the more readily you can perform independent research on drug names, clinical terms and basic pharmacological principles. In addition, avoid temptation: focus on these first, followed by cross-referencing with sources from other disciplines.
Separating the pharmacy from the rest of the medical discipline is easy. In fact, when it comes to the best way to study pharmacology, the separation is made so easy that it practically flows from one subject into another. The key to success is spaced repetition, specifically, good, clear, large and easy to understand flashcards. Clear, large and easy to understand flashcards are the key to effective spaced repetition. Easy to understand flashcards are not necessarily easy to locate: many of today’s medical textbooks on pharmacology (and just about all of the best home study courses) are packed with unnecessary filler, multiple pages of technical language and countless amounts of irrelevant repetitions. A good idea is to find a book with easy to read and spaced repetition – preferably, a book which utilizes a good key phrase database, as this will make finding and referring to important terms easy for students.
The next key to studying pharmacology effectively is effective use of memorization aids – especially, as a pharmaceutical grad student, the use of mnemonics and flashcards. Like spaced repetition, effective use of mnemonics in pharmacology textbooks and in home study courses should flow seamlessly from one topic to another. Good memorization aids include words like “amazing” or “interesting”. These words have been found to be especially effective in describing and memorizing specific details of specific topics.
Another key to effective learning in regards to any subject is the integration of learning objectives and study methods. In the case of studying pharmacology through the use of anki board flashcards, this is done through the practice of keeping lists of topics as you go through your anki sessions. It is possible, of course, to just list things as you study; however, this can lead to the loss of motivation. In order to prevent the loss of motivation, as well as, learning objectives, it is recommended that students keep systematic lists of what they intend to accomplish throughout the course of their studies.
Using mnemonics in textbooks and in home study courses is another useful way of making sure that students effectively learn what they are studying. When used correctly, mnemonics can provide a key that is often times hidden within the many words and concepts commonly found in many pharmacology textbooks and in traditional classroom courses. For example, when studying pharmacology under the supervision of a pharmacist, the student will be asked to review basic terms such as benzene, thinner, antipsychotic medications and other such substances. Throughout their anki session, however, they will likely hear the term “antipsychotic” several times. This can be a great help in developing the key skills of pharmacology – identifying and understanding the many different chemicals that make up today’s pharmaceutical drugs.
Of course, like any endeavor, starting out on the right foot is the most important step of any project. After all, without knowing how to get started, you will have no business studying what is needed to become a successful medical office or pharmaceutical lab. If you are preparing for the medical school entrance exam, this is where some of your hard work will be focused on. One important skill that you will need to develop early on in your career is being able to quickly identify which sample is the appropriate one for your learning. Most textbooks will give you a list of sample questions that will be timed to test your speed and knowledge of the material. This is an important step that will help you develop your own personal “testing style”.
Another area of development you will need to focus on during your preparation for the medical school entrance exam is developing study strategies for each of the main sections. The four categories of material covered in your course will be: anatomy, physiology, clinical pharmacology and biochemistry and toxicology. While the contents of these sections are not the most important, it is important that you know how to correctly construct the question banks to maximize your efficiency during the tests.
The topics that you cover in medical school will be determined by the school’s requirements. In order to be prepared for these requirements, you need to find out what is expected of you throughout your four-year degree program. Once you know what the focus of your course will be, you will be able to develop strategies for study pharmacology that are aligned with your anticipated goals. A strong understanding of all areas of pharmacology will help you successfully complete the medical school application and thrive in your chosen field.