Brain Matter: Using Wisdomap as a study aid to retain medical information

We love hearing from medical students about how they're using Wisdomap to help them study medicine. James, from the University of Cardiff's medical school emailed us to explain how Wisdomap was helping him memorise medical information.

We asked him to write it down for others to read.

Enter James:

It's a recurring experience I’ve had as a medical student: I've just about reconciled one topic, be it paediatrics, psychiatry or reproductive medicine, when I'm swept onto a new one - and what was once understood with at least some degree of clarity soon fades away... if not indefinitely, at least to some dark recess of the temporal lobes. Thankfully struggling with information overload has not been a lonely experience, with friends echoing similar encounters: that is, apart from the really smart ones who seem to be able to read something once, digest it and retain it for at least the rest of their lives.

The inescapable fact is, as medical students we have to learn how to best retain the knowledge that is going to be necessary when we start work. One of my favourite clinical attachments was with a consultant surgeon who liked to tell his attentive flock of medical students, ‘The cost of learning is eternal repetition’. He repeated the phrase enough times over four weeks for me to remember it a year later and prove his point: repetition is key. But it’s not always the repetition of the same material that helps. For example, you can read the same page of a textbook over and over again and still not understand something, never mind remember it five minutes later; but if similar information is represented in a different format and you get it, you understand it and now you may be able to retain it. This is where I find Wisdomap useful. It’s a learning tool that works for me, and I think it works for a number of reasons, here’s just three of them:

1. If you have seen my study area, you know that I can be slightly disorganised, but with Wisdomap I can keep my clinical medicine notes in one place. No more sheets of paper lying in pseudo organised piles on my desk!

2. I can represent concepts visually. For example, I’ve always had a problem remembering the classification of bacteria and antibiotics and which one belongs to which group, but with Wisdomap I’ve made it so much easier by creating a mindmap.

3. Wisdomap has a ‘test’ function which helps me revise the content I’ve just created.

There is more to Wisdomap than just these functions but perhaps the main reason why I like it is that it’s easy to use. It’s simple enough for it to be an aid to learning rather than a time wasting gimmick, and while it’s not the only method I use to help me retain medical information, it’s one that I invariably enjoy.

Wisdomap Medicine is used by medical students around the world to build organised differential diagnoses, memorise medical information, create structured medical study notes and access medical information on the go. It takes 30 seconds to sign up for an account here.