Mehar Kaur Bhatia, Final Year, Government Medical College, Patiala

Have you ever wondered what goes inside your brain when you’re trying to learn something new? I certainly have. While we can easily grasp the physiological mechanisms of other bodily systems, the intricate workings of the human brain remain somewhat enigmatic and mysterious. It is a complex organ, housing billions of neurons that communicate through a trillion synapses. Then what makes it difficult to remember the classification of ovarian tumors, recollect doses of antibiotics, or memorize the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis? The key lies in realizing that effective learning is a holistic process, encompassing not just the acquisition of knowledge but a complex series of processes leading to its integration into clinical practice.

1. Acquisition of information through the 5 (or 6 or 7) senses, which gets further processed in the respective sensory areas

 2. ENCODING information into neuronal patterns that involve activation and strengthening of synaptic connections between neurons, in regions associated with learning and memory (hippocampus and prefrontal cortex)

3. CONSOLIDATION into long-term memory by reactivation and stabilization of neural connections and integration of new knowledge with existing one

4. RETRIEVAL & recall by reconstruction of neural patterns associated with stored memory &

5. Reinforcement through repetition and practice strengthens these connections.

 As an aspiring medical professional, embarking on the MBBS journey is an exhilarating yet daunting experience. The vast magnitude of information, the rigorous curriculum, and the demanding landscape of the profession often leave even the cream of the crop feeling overwhelmed. My motivation to write this article is rooted in the struggle to find creative learning techniques that fit perfectly into my brain’s neuronal wiring to propel my academic performance. Over the years, I’ve scoured the web, watched countless YouTube videos, and sought advice from seasoned seniors to shortlist a few approaches that can help me achieve desired results. Here are some neuroscience-backed learning methods I found useful!

SPACED REPETITION: The top-notch, time-tested method! This could involve making flashcards or high-yield journals for factual information, particularly anatomy and pharmacology, or making a high-yield journal and reviewing them at regular intervals. Reinforcement forms the basis of this spacing effect.

MULTISENSORY LEARNING: Multimedia resources, such as interactive anatomy apps or virtual dissection tools, serve to engage many senses simultaneously and boost learning of anatomical structures and medical processes, given the huge amount of visual and audio information implicated in the course. It encourages information processing and encoding. Watching sketchy or picnic videos and listening to audiobooks are some really good resources!

EMOTIONS AND STORYTELLING: It’s intriguing to know how our emotional state of mind plays a significant role in memory and learning. As they say, ‘success isn’t the key to happiness, but happiness is the key to success. If you love what you do, you’ll be successful. The amygdala in the brain integrates emotional experiences into various neural circuits. Emotions significantly influence our cognitive functions. Narrating to someone the course of a disease or associating anecdotes and real-life situations with medicine can help us relate to the material on a more personal level.

GAMIFICATION: Gamifying the learning process makes it more enjoyable. This can be done with the use of quizzing apps or online platforms that offer medical case simulations and rewards for achieving milestones. It involves leveraging the brain’s reward systems and dopamine levels to enhance motivation and engagement.

MIND MAPPING: Without mind maps and flowcharts, integrating information on a horizontal and vertical level and correlating pathophysiology with diagnostic criteria and management options can be a task. It encourages critical thinking and supports the brain’s innate tendency to create meaningful connections.

SLEEP AND MEMORY CONSOLIDATION: I recall my elementary school teacher telling us that sleeping helps you compartmentalize all that you’ve learned so that you can retain it more clearly when you wake up. Consolidation benefits greatly from sleep. Good sleep habits become essential, not just for retention but also for general well-being.

BRAIN BREAKS: Interspersing non-learning breaks with learning sessions can help recharge mental reserves and reduce burden. Timed, incentive-driven breaks help fight procrastination. Incorporating activities like stretching, deep breathing, and meditation greatly reduces stress levels and maintains focus and productivity. The Pomodoro technique is a time management method based on 25-minute periods of focused work broken by 5-minute breaks!

REST, DIET, AND EXERCISE: Stress and anxiety are lessened, and the brain receives more oxygen when you’re in a good mood. High protein and water content accumulate the required energy, while glucose and fatty acids build up the raw ingredients for the myelination of neurons. Our brain is wired to learn through curiosity, exploration, and discovery.

Let’s tap into these innate qualities to foster a love for learning! – Unknown

Mehar Kaur Bhatia, Final Year, Government Medical College, Patiala


1. BrainWare. Neuroscience of Learning Brain-Based Learning Strategies [Internet]. 2022. Available from:

2. Martin A (Abbie). 8 proven techniques to increase learning behavior using Neuroeducation [Internet]. 2021. Available from:

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