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Striving to Be a DPT

Time Management in PT School

Published June 23, 2014 5:07 PM by Jocelyn Wallace

I have been in physical therapy school for almost a month, have taken three exams so far and have three coming up this week. The lesson I'm learning most quickly is the need for time management. There is simply not enough time to cover every slide, do every reading and outline every lecture to the same extent as I could in undergrad. For example, I have a physiology and clinical anatomy exam next week as well as my first practical. At the same time, the information in gross anatomy is flying faster than ever! So juggling all of it is hard. Here are some of the lessons I've learned so far:

Listen actively. We spend 6 hours a week in physiology lecture and over 10 hours a week learning anatomy; this time is key for understanding the material. I'm finding that the more I can get myself to focus on the material and pay attention, the more studying seems like review. This is different from undergrad, where showing up to class didn't necessarily equate to being present.

Get to know the professors. I'm figuring out that there is literally too much information to learn it all. You have to figure out the professors' teaching styles and what they're emphasizing. Listen to what they emphasize when they speak and which concepts they mention repeatedly. So far, this is working well, as I got an A on all three of my first exams!

Put the books away. This has been the hardest part because I could really study 24/7 and still not know everything. Putting down the books and taking some (scheduled) "me" time is a necessity! Beyond that, you have to be able to set aside the class with the exam the next day in order to stay on top of all of your other classes. You simply can't focus on only one class a day. I've been trying to set aside blocks for specific classes, but it has been tough.

If anyone has any other suggestions, please share! Thank you for reading.

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Thank you for your post regarding time management.  This is an area of struggle for me and I am continuously making efforts to improve my time management skills in physical therapy school.  Up until this point in my life, I have felt very confident about my study habits and the ways in which I manage my time.  While I am successful in physical therapy school, I constantly feel as though I am poorly managing my time and can improve my methods of studying.  Ensuring that one understands the points in class that are emphasized repeatedly is a great suggestion for students seeking to improve their performance.  Similar to you and many of my fellow classmates, I felt abundantly prepared for every exam I encountered in my undergraduate career.  However, since beginning this program, I never feel adequately prepared for an exam.  While I am not accustomed to this strategy, I believe I will begin to try to utilize your suggestion of studying for each class a little each day.  With five upcoming finals in one week, I believe your recommended approach may be very beneficial.  Please let me know if you have come across any additional study methods that have proved to be effective.  

Thank you again for your post.

Kristen Cayton, Physical Therapy - Student (1st year) March 7, 2015 1:29 PM

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