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Medical Brain boost

  1. Jul 25, 2005 #1


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    I need to prepare for a very important exam in 6 months and I'd like to start training sometime in October. If I really needed to consume a lot of information in such a short amount of time - what is the best course of action? I've outlined a few possibilities, and I'd like to know your professional opinion on these

    1. 8 hour sleep, 30-40 minute jog in the morning, fish for breakfast, plenty of glucose thorughout the day

    2. modafinil, piracetam, jogging, 8 hours of sleep, 100 vocabulary words a day in addition to test preparation, omega-3s foods
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 25, 2005 #2
    Sounds like you have all correct...except relaxation time...one day in 10 where you do something fun..away from your studies. This gives the brain a settling down time. And reduces stress.
    It could be a day at the beach..a all day dvd movie marathon, or just a drive in the country. But it is just as importaint as all the other things your doing.
  4. Jul 29, 2005 #3


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    Well, why wait until October to start? You could start studying now and pace yourself more slowly to give you more time to rest.

    Good nutrition and good sleep are important, and exercise will keep you from getting sluggish from all the sitting and studying. Also, don't try to do 8 hours of studying in one block unless you're super-human! Break it into a few blocks of 2 or 3 hours of studying with relaxation breaks in between.
  5. Jul 29, 2005 #4


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    Ive already started on glycine and some backward number memorization, so far 32 digit sequences remembered in 16 minutes - not sure if that is an average or below. Memorizing vocabulary words seems to work well too. Do you have any memory improving techniques?

    Edit: Also, the government has put modafinil on a Schedule 5 list meaning I actually need a prescription for this. Unbe-freaking-livable. I'll have to order some from Russia :approve:
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2005
  6. Jul 31, 2005 #5
    This topic originally caught my attention and after reading cronxeh's plans for improving his mental performance, I thought whynot keep the topic of "brain boosting" going. I myself know little about the subject. I only heard of people abusing drugs such as adderall. However after looking up some of the compounds listed by cronxeh ( eg. modafinil) I wondered what are other substances people generally use and what are their benefits and disadvantages? Personal experience would be interesting to hear as well.
  7. Jul 31, 2005 #6


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    abusing drugs is such an ignorant term, I'd stay away from using it. Generally CNS stimulants such as modafinil are not particularly beneficial for a human being, but if you have a night shift or an important profession like military or oncall physician, nurse, etc - its important to have these things around. As a matter of fact Air Force is testing modafinil, and there are plenty other compounds that are useful for cognitive enhancement. Here is a short list:

    ADRAFINIL (aka Olmifon) Stimulant
    ANIRACETAM (aka Draganon, Sarpul)
    DHEA (aka Dehydroepiandrosterone) Anti-aging
    DILANTIN (aka Phenytoin) Cognitive Function
    DMAE (aka Di-methyl-amino-ethanol) Memory, Learning
    FIPEXIDE (aka Attentil, Vigilor) Learning
    GABAPENTIN (aka Neurontin) Anti-convulsant
    GEROVITAL (aka GH-3) Anti-aging, Memory
    GHB (aka Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate) Sleep Aid
    HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE (aka hGH, Somatotropin) Anti-aging
    HERBAL ECSTASY (aka HerbalX, Cloud9)
    HYDERGINE (aka Dihydroergotoxine) Memory, Anti-aging
    MECLOFENOXATE (aka Centrophenoxine, Lucidril) Anti-aging
    MELATONIN Sleep Regulator
    MODAFINIL (aka Provigil) Stimulant
    OXIRACETAM (aka Neuractiv, Hydroxypiracetam) Memory
    PHENYTOIN (aka Dilantin) Cognitive Functions
    PIRACETAM Cognitive Functions
    PRAMIRACETAM (aka CI-879)
    SELEGILINE (aka Deprenyl, Eldepryl) Memory, Intelligence
    TRYPTOPHAN (aka l-tryptophan, 5-HTP) Sleep Aid
    VASOPRESSIN (aka Pressyn, Diapid) Memory
    VINPOCETINE (aka Cavinton)

    You can read up on any of those over at http://www.erowid.org/smarts/
  8. Aug 1, 2005 #7
    This is very interesting. I was wondering what test are you preparing for cronxeh?
  9. Aug 1, 2005 #8

    Math Is Hard

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    It's his Driver's License Test.
    Good Luck, cronxeh!
  10. Aug 1, 2005 #9


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    Its some wicked evil test that.. tests for physics, chemistry, and biology, and essay writing and reading skills. In essence I need to consume about 3000 pages of information and 7 more classes to prepare for it

    And MIH..

    ah what the hell its best to let it go :biggrin:
  11. Aug 1, 2005 #10
    Interesting list!
  12. Aug 1, 2005 #11
    This may fall on deaf ears but I hope it doesn't.

    Cronxeh, best of luck in your preparation. I don't know the specifics of your situation (obviously) but the tests I wrote and gave for my pre-nursing microbiology students were written with the intent of determining if they could explain the larger context, and think critically (analyze, discuss) the subject matter for the question at hand. NOT with the intent of seeing how much they had memorized for the short term (anyone can do that.)

    Example: One lecture dealt entirely with the history of microbiology from Aristotle through Francis Bacon and the 1800's when the germ theory of disease took off. There were a dozen or fifteen relevant names (Pasteur figured prominently but there were loads more) and 2000 years of progress in our understanding of the "unseen world."

    I recall a panic stricken student asking afterwards, if she had to know specific details such as Semmelweiss dying in 1832 (or whenever it was).

    The answer is tricky, but ... No. That "focus" is wrong. If she could see the bigger picture and know *enough* details to demonstrate that she could speak about the subject critically with some authority, then I would be *far* more impressed than if she simply gave a list of dates and names. (I don't even remember dates and names.)

    There are students that approach the exam in both ways -- Some with dates and names and (this is the important part) .... I knew that *that* sort of rote and meaningless learning would be gone in six months. I had other students that could succinctly explain why (for example) handwashing was as great an advance to health care as antibiotics. They could explain how the importance of handwashing was discovered, the societal resistance to this idea.... then also describe and compare the story of penicillin discovery and a bit about how that has led to our current problems with antibiotic resistant germs. Some details are important, but there were no specific details that I would look for.

    Now although ot sounds like the latter group was biting off a bigger chunk, I'd like to direct your attention to the fact that they aren't stating a specific date or other minutiae for their answer. They aren't cramming; they are, rather, understanding and communicating why the information is important, And, their answer is more satisfactory.

    It sounds as though you are trying to train your brain to cram more facts. My *best advice* to you is to study with an eye for *connections* between things. I think if you can do that, if you can see the big picture (and this takes practice but is worth it) you'll be way ahead. If you can describe how the *chemistry* of a hydrogen bond affects the *physics* of surface tension, you will, in my opinion, be way ahead of the students that (I'm grabbing 'for-instances' here) have *memorized* the kilocals per mole that are required to break a hydrogen bond, and who merely write out a list of such facts without demonstrating understanding or application, etc.

    I don't know the best way for you to train your brain towards seeing connections. Maybe others do - all I offer right now is my perspective as an educator on the idea of cramming facts. You're better off learning context.
  13. Aug 1, 2005 #12


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    Well I'm very good at forming connections between sciences, especially philosophically speaking. However this exam (MCAT) is a particularly hard nut to crack. You get no calculators (not that I'd need one, but I'll need to review counting techniques from Discrete Math), you get no formulas, so I'll have to study and do problems for each concept just to remember all the formulas and procedures, and most importantly you get no slack for answering a question wrong. Simply put I cant afford to not know the answer to a question. I'm not taking this just to get into a med school - I'm taking this to get the highest score possible (45T) and when asked how much I got on my exam I could rub it off in this girl's face and say 'Im sure higher than you' - because, well, I just hate her. And no, I'm not doing it because of that, I just want to sum up all the years of studying sciences and humanities and reaffirm myself in knowing and understanding the material and being prepared for 'real world' questions and applications
  14. Aug 1, 2005 #13


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    Counting techniques from Discrete Math? It's not that hard of a test. They tend to give you problems using numbers you can easily calculate without a calculator. The formulas you'll need are the basic ones (they seem to like to throw a problem on springs into the physics section every year). Actually, the physics part is really easy...they only test on baby physics, the formulas you wind up memorizing even when you don't try. I remember a few organic chem questions from when I took it had the answers buried in the questions. :rolleyes: And don't forget, it's multiple choice. :biggrin: For the essay, just get ahold of a lot of practice essay questions and get used to the format; it's very formulaic.

    The review books are the easiest way to study for it, they condense the material down so you can just focus on the stuff likely to show up on the test and not worry about wading through entire textbooks of information that won't. But just get the books off someone who took one of those courses, don't waste money on the course unless you're a really bad test taker, or if your writing skills are sub-par and you need feedback and critiques on your practice essays. The rest you can get from the review books on your own.

    Oh, and the vocabulary is all the same type of words that show up on the SAT and GRE. Nothing new there.

    Please don't turn into one of those pill-pushing doctors when you go to med school. :wink:
  15. Aug 1, 2005 #14
    I see. By all means, cram away! :smile: :smile:
  16. Aug 5, 2005 #15
    If your worried about math calculations for the MCAT, you shouldn't be too worried. I heard that you should just convert things to scientific notation and keep the sig figs down to 2. The math isn't that difficult just like most of the subject material on the MCAT is not that hard, they want to know if you can think and apply the general knowledge of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

    Granted they expect this general knowledge of these subjects to be fairly large, seein that most people will have had 16 hours of bio, 16 hours of chem, & 8 hours of physics.

    I actually was reading through a kaplan MCAT book and i think it said that less than 15% of the test is based on outside knowledge.

    But good luck studying!

    I'm taking it next August!
  17. Aug 14, 2005 #16


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    A quick update on Adrafinil ( CAS # 63547-13-7 ) with Piracetam ( CAS # 7491-74-9 ). The effects seem to be: an elevated alertness as well as generally much less mental and physical fatigue. I dont know all the biochemistry involved with Adrafinil but it seems to take at least 1 week for the effects to kick in, and at least 3 weeks for cognitive enhancements to become apparent. So far only after a week I can say there is an increase in mood and less brain blanking going on. Perhaps theres a placebo effect at work as well, cant be certain for sure, but the short term memory seems to work better - particularly takes less time to remember a 32 digit number as compared to before. I'll keep you updated
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