Hi Miri, after passing my exam a couple of weeks ago and studying for the exam including scouring daily through your amazing videos and notes, I knew I had to write a post to thank you and hopefully help others struggling with studying, including those with learning challenges. I know you often say that we are the ones who deserve the sole credit in passing, but I truly believe that if I did not find your videos and page, that I would not have passed. This is because of several factors but most importantly for me, your positivity and creativity. Seeing your smiling face and learning the creative ways you used to remember different aspects is what helped build my confidence and drive to keep finding effective ways to learn the material. So THANK YOU a million times over!
I also wanted to write this post to help those struggling with studying who have ADHD or other learning difficulties (And I know Miri you have said you yourself have struggled with learning, so I completely related with you on that as well). In studying for the exam, I found that my ADHD was negatively impacting me more than ever before, even with medication. For hours I looked up study strategies for adults with ADHD and other such topics, and could not find anything particularly useful. I am not saying that I have all/any answers by any means, but maybe I can help at least one other person.
Discovering My Own Unique Study Methods
I stopped trying strategies that “everyone” suggested that just did not work for me. For example, one such strategy was the Pomodoro Method of 25 minutes of studying, 5 minutes break, repeated 4 times, then a 15 minute break. This was a great idea, in theory, to limit distractions, but I found that 25 minutes was too long for me and that my mind would wander and perseverate on other things. Instead, I set a stopwatch to track my studying, and tried to not break distraction for at least 15 minutes. I kept a post-it nearby for things I thought of that I needed to do so that I would not think about them while studying, and could attend to them during a break. I also let myself have longer breaks if I needed it. Bottom line: I was honest with myself about the time I needed to take, and I took it. Yes sometimes that meant I was asking myself, “Do I really need 15 extra minutes of this Friends re-rerun?”
Delving Deep Into the Material
I took quizzes, but only when I felt I really knew the material. For me, seeing any score under a 70 sent me into immediate freak out mode. So this meant that any further studying for the day was greatly hindered. I still would get 70’s and below even after I felt I knew the material, so it came down to really self-reflecting and thinking, “Did I do everything I can to understand this material? Do I really feel like I know it even though my score did not reflect it?” If the answer was yes, I moved on.
Relating Back to Real Life Stories
I did everything I could to NOT just rewrite all the study guides. It took me a long time in life to figure out that re-reading letters on a page did not help me learn. Despite this, about 2 weeks into studying, I looked back on my progress and really just had colorful versions of my study guides re-written. Had I learned the material? Not really. Again, I reflected on what had helped me learn best in the past. It has always been pictures, or videos, or hands on learning. After going through every OT Miri video I could get my hands on, I started using Miri’s methods of reflecting on life stories or funny sayings or pictures to help me remember, and this helped a million times more than anything I did writing notes those first 2 weeks.
Taking a Break
I gave myself a break. This was incredibly crucial all throughout studying, but especially the last few days before the exam. My exam was on a Monday and after taking a NBCOT practice exam on Thursday (I got a 438), my mind started shutting down. At first, I was really worried about this because I just could not concentrate any more to studying and figured that there was no way I could be done studying or reviewing 3 days before the test, right? Well, it hit me that I might just be ready for the exam (even though my practice test was not a passing score) and that any more reviewing or studying was just going to make me more anxious about what I did not know (Because there will always be things we don’t know)! So it took a lot of hemming and hawing (sorry if that silly saying is lost on most of you), but I finally put down the hundreds of note cards and did activities like jigsaw puzzles, coloring, exercising or going for a walk, and even just watching tv.
As I have said, I realize these are things that worked for me and won’t work for everyone, but I hope it has helped someone somewhat. And I feel like there are a bunch of other tidbits of information that helped me that I’m not thinking of now but wanted to share this while it was still fresh in my mind.
Thank you so much Miri for your incredible help, guidance, and support, and of course Congratulations to you and your family on your beautiful new addition to your family!