5 Tips for Student Success in OT School
Written by Philip Yan, Published on May 16, 2017
Congratulations! You’ve received your letter of admission to OT school.
Now here comes the question. What is the key to success in OT school?
Occupational therapy school is tough. There are readings, practical exams, group projects, and labs, all on top of lengthy amounts of time spent in class. When all this is happening at the same time, how do set yourself up for success in OT school and survive a few years of grad school?
Here are 5 tried and true methods to start you off on the right path.
1) Triage readings
Having multiple readings on MOHO, dressing techniques, and dementia all due tomorrow isn’t fun. At times, you may be asking yourself how it is physically possible to complete all the readings in one night, let alone remember the information from them!
The answer: determine which ones are the most important.
The best way to complete readings is to look at the titles of all your readings and rank them in order of importance to your upcoming classes. There are usually 1 or 2 from each class that are the most important for the in-class activities, with the rest giving supporting information. Remember.you can always revisit the readings you missed, later on!
Remember. You can always revisit the readings you missed later on!
Tip: For textbook readings, skimming subheadings lets you know the direction you will head towards in class and introduce important terms. Sometimes this is all you need for success in OT school!
2) Learn to enjoy group work
There is lots of collaborative work for OTs in school and professionally. Being in school is a great time and place to learn how to work in a group with other people. When you approach group work as a learning opportunity, it can be very fun to assume different roles.
For example, develop your skills as a facilitator, or practice leaving space for others to talk.
In addition to doing group projects, studying in groups allow you to solidify the material by teaching others, which has been shown to be one of the best ways to learn.
3) Establish a routine
It’s a lot easier to wake up at 6 AM when your body is used to it. Routine helps us organize our time. Some examples of my routines include:
- Reading/listening to leisure books/podcasts on the commute to/from school
- Getting to school early to review the day’s schedule
- Making a “to-do” list and triage the next day’s readings after the last class of the day
We all know the importance of exercise. Physical, mental, and social, the benefits are too many to list. That being said, it can be hard to find the time to follow through on plans. Establishing a routine with classmates who have the same schedule as you can help.
Go to the gym before class, run a lunch hour HIIT group, or even going for a walk after class can help improve your overall health and focus immensely.
There are additional health tips for success in OT school here that apply to students as well.
5) Be ready to learn
Mental preparation is important in grad school. Although these few years can be hard and seem long, these are the best couple of years to ask questions, build professional connections, and seek guidance from experts in their field. Making the most out of these opportunities is an active choice to make!
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