First off, I honestly love any school supply in general (back to school shopping makes me super excited) so I’ve tried a TON of different products and these stood out to me. Secondly, I tend to study in the same main way-by writing things out-so all of these supplies are geared towards doing just that.
- Staedtler Triples Fineliner.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these with all my heart. They’re super fine tipped, which is great if you write tiny like me, but the ink comes out great so I never have to worry about it being too hard for me to read later on. I also love that the ink is pretty good about not smearing (the ban of any left-handed writer or anyone who has a tendency to write sporadically all over the page like me). I can highlight over my notes in these pens and not worry that its going to become an illegible, smeared mess. The colors are also AMAZING. I think sometimes that writing in a whole bunch of colors makes me think in colors. And then, when I think in color, I can remember what fact I wrote in that color. To me, its just helpful to tie in another aspect to remembering. Finally, they come in this great carrying case that stands up (yay organization)
- Mildliner Highlighters
Firstly, I love all highlighters. I think it is a super important process of how I take notes and then later study, so there will be three kinds of highlighters on this list. These are my favorite simply because of the colors they come in, the fact that they’re double ended, AND they don’t bleed through the page. Pastels are probably my favorite type of color, and it goes hand in hand with these highlighter doing a great job of not bleeding onto the other side of the page (my biggest pet peeve). The double ended aspect of the highlighter allows me to either highlight or underline which is great.
I love flashcards. My favorites are the normal 3 X 5 in both lined and completely unlined and the 4 X 6 sized ones. If I need to draw a diagram or a body part, I stick to having it unlined on both sides. And I use the 4 X 6 ones when I have more information to write on the card (for instance in Pharmacology I write the mechanism of action, mechanism of resistance, what it acts on, and side effects all on one card). But I think the physical act of making flashcards helps almost as much as the act of studying with them. So they’re super important in my study supply repertoire.
- Spiral Notebooks
Brings back the good old days of elementary and middle school when this was always on your list of things to buy. For PA school I love having spiral notebooks because binders suck and it allows me to keep all of my notes for a class in one place. They’re super easy to carry, I never have to worry about anything falling out, and I don’t have to spend the time to hole punch papers. Plus, if I end up not using all of the paper in the notebook, I tear it out to use as lined paper. So I think it ends up not only saving me a lot of time, but saving the environment by my using every sheet of it. I use colored tabs to separate the different exams in my notebook, and that way, when I have a question about something I learned previously I know right where to turn to.
- Sharpie Clear Highlighters
These bad boys have a clear tip that allows you to see where you’re highlighting as you do it. If anyone else is like me and gets super annoyed when you highlight past where you need to, these are a lifesaver. Downside, they do tend to bleed a little more through to the next page. I tend to save these for notes that are only one sided or when I’m marking up an article for class.
- Sharpie Gel Highlighters
Yes, another set of highlighters. These however, are totally different in the fact that they’re Gel. What this means is its kind of like a big crayon. I really like using these guys fro highlighting in book since they don’t bleed through onto the other side and they don’t smear at all. Plus, if I need to highlight more than a simple word or line, the highlighter going over itself does not make the color any darker. They’re also great in the fact that they can’t dry out, which means I can leave them uncapped the entire time I’m reading, and since we normally have HUGE reading assignments, this is great.
- Colored Pencils
I like to draw dragrams or the different parts of the bodies. While I like to pretend I’m more crafty and artistic than I actually am, drawing in different colors is actually SUPER helpful for studying. When I’m drawing the skull for example, I can make each bone a different color, which helps me visual the bones margins and then later remember which color it was next to and thus which bone is shares a boarder with. My drawings may not always be anatomically correct, but using all sorts of different colors lets me have a better understanding of parts. Plus, I literally cannot stand drawing with pens. It just bothers me to no end.
You can literally find all of these items on amazon (which don’t forget if you sign up with your .edu email address, you get 6 months free!) In addition, most of them (except the Mildliner highlighters) are common enough to be found at any school supply store/Walmart/Target. And, everything I use holds on to life for a long time and doesn’t tend to die.