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Day-to-Day Habits for Successful Optometry Students

Posted by Amanda Dexter on September 22, 2016 at 9:00 AM
Amanda Dexter
Dr. Amanda K. Dexter received her optometric training at Southern California College of Optometry in Fullerton, California, where she was Class of 2010 Valedictorian. She also completed a residency in Primary Care and Ocular Disease at the Veteran's Affairs Hospital in San Diego, California. Dr. Dexter is the Manager and Program Coordinator for OptoPrep, the premiere online study resource for the NBEO Part I & II.


While the excitement of starting a new year in Optometry School is beginning to wear off, and the stress of upcoming midterms, quizzes, proficiencies, and clinic is settling in, we've come up with a few tips you should make part of daily habits to keep optometry students on top of the game throughout this next quarter/semester. 

Take Good Notes in Class

  • If your instructor provides you with a handbook of slides or an outline for your class, make sure to bring it with you each day and add to and embellish on the information already provided to you. Add as much detail as possible.
  • If they do not provide a handbook, make sure to take all notes for each particular class in the same notebook. Keeping all related information consolidated in one place will keep you organized and will ensure you don’t lose any important information.
  • Date each new entry in your notebook/handbook.
  • Class notes should contain as complete a record of what the instructor said as possible. You cannot, of course, write down every word spoken, but don’t leave out major concepts. If you think you missed an important idea, ask your neighbor or raise your hand for clarification.
  • Anything the instructor writes on the board should appear in your notes. If the instructor took the time to write it out, they consider it important. And you should too!
  • You may find it helpful to use a couple of different colors of pens or highlighters to emphasize certain topics. 

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Be Involved in Your Classes and Labs

  • If the instructor is moving too quickly, or you don’t understand something that was said, speak up!
  • Ask questions if you are confused. If you don’t want to ask during class, most professors will wait a few minutes after class to answer questions.
  • Take advantage of 1-on-1 opportunities with instructors in smaller lab environments.
  • Participate as fully as possible in class and labs. Certain exercises and activities are done for your benefit!

Review Notes Everyday

  • Research has shown that reviewing new material within 24 hours of hearing it increases your retention of the material by about 60%! Spending a few minutes each night to do this will keep you refreshed on the material and will reduce the time needed to study older material come exam time.
  • Also, reviewing material before the next class will help you identify points of confusion or omission in your notes so that you may ask questions and get clarification before more advanced concepts are taught and the confusion builds. Don't get to the point where its too late, you're confused, and panic sets in!
  • Keep up on your reading assignments and supplementary textbook chapters. This will make class and taking notes easier for you if you have an idea of topics before the instructor reviews them. This will also cut down on study time before exam.

-Dr. Dexter

The Top 15 Tips and Tricks for Studying for Part I of NBEO®

NBEO-Tips-large.pngWe’ve put together a ton of great tips and tricks for studying for Part I of NBEO along with two tailored study programs that will help you thoroughly prepare for the big day. Remember, you’ve made it this far and you can totally do this!

Some of the Top 15 Tips include:

  • Familiarize Yourself with the Test Format
  • Tackle the Weak Subjects Early
  • Start Sooner and Ease Into It
  • ...and 12 more!

NBEO Part I Study Guide The Top 15 Tips and Tricks for Studying for Part I

Topics: Optometry School

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