How To Survive Konte Uke (Norwegian Retake Week)

It is so common to have to retake a class in pharmacy school that I don’t know a single person that hasn’t retaken one during their first year of pharmacy school. I would even go as far as saying that pharmacy school is the single hardest study in the entire world. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve said it. Prove me wrong if you’d like.
Konte Uke or ‘retake week’ are the two first weeks in august where students that have failed a class have to retake that class. In Norway, when studying pharmacy you need to have all the classes from the previous year approved to pass to the next year. If you by any chance happen to fail a class, you are forced to repeat the year until you pass that class. The total amount of times you are allowed to take an exam in a particular subject is three times. If by your third time you did not make the class you get kicked out of pharmacy school. Brutal I know.
It is essential to pass your classes the first time around. If you are lucky, generally you only have one exam to retake. Some people, like me, are extremely unlucky and have to retake several classes at once. To me – that is the definition of hell. Honestly, that was a low point in my academical career, and I was almost certain I was going to get kicked out of pharma-school. Luckily I MADE IT! and not only did I pass, but I also passed with decent marks.

Passing two exams was extremely stressful, but these are my tips on how to make it:

Say NO to work

I know. We all need a part-time job to make it. Summer is the golden time for students to work. But as soon as you find out that you have failed a class, apply for vacation and use that time to study.
I was going to backpack the south of Spain for two weeks before my school start so I had applied for a two weeks vacation. Sadly I ended up failing two of my classes, but having those two weeks to only focus on my school work was a gift sent from heaven.

Find a study partner

Even if you are studying for different subjects, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you have someone to cry with and rely on. I spent a lot of those two weeks going from “I got this” to “for fuck sakes I will never make it”. I was blessed I had friends to support me, keep me motivated and encouraged me to continue even tho the odds were against me.

Find a study space

P50-G414 was my house! Quite literally. The school was empty, my friends and I were pretty much the only ones there.. so we ended up leaving out stuff in that room and made a routine to always meet there for some heavy study time. when I pass that room I get so many flashbacks. Both good and bad, but I’m still happy it happened that way.

Cook two-weeks worth of food

Or ask your mother to do so for you as I did. My mum is a key feature of my passing. The first week I was eating pure junk. Take-away every single day. That was not keeping my mental health good. When you eat a lot of junk you tend to feel bad too, so make sure you put a little effort into eating healthy and balanced.

Breathe

Stress is going to want to take over, but don’t let it. Have some breathing time. Take a nap. Shed a tear or two. Whatever it takes, but don’t give up and don’t give in. If I did it, anyone can.

 

Good luck!
Have fun. Stay Curious.
– Tia ✨

STUDYTIPS #3: How I Use OneNote To Take Notes

First things first: Create a book for that class

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This is an obvious step. Some people like writing the name of the class (exam. organic chemistry) I prefer writing the code of the class as sometimes they have a long name ( FARMA2220 for Pharmacology and Physiology 1).

Organise your book according to subject

For this particular class, I am having right now, there are three books I have to get through. So I decided to divide the notes based on book and class notes.
On top of the three books, this class is divided into five themes that cover different chapters. So far I am done with one theme, and will start my second next week. I like classifying my notes in themes too:

 

 

Use OneNote wisely to take notes

When in class, add the lecturers’ pdf file for more effective note writing, and always remember to record your class. OneNote conveniently has a button made just for this.

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When taking notes from your textbook, make sure you highlight and add important figures to illustrate your point:

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Taking notes is a personal thing, you need to try many different methods to find the right one for you. This is the methods that work best for me.

Good luck!
Have fun. Stay Curious.
– Tia ✨

 

STUDYTIPS #1: My Three Steps Note Taking Process

Step one: From textbook to laptop

Use my highlighting technique (coming soon) to make the important sentences from the book stand out, and write this down on your laptop.

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I like using OneNote for note-taking. Take notes on a laptop is crucial for this step because it allows you to write a lot of information fast, and as a pharmacy student, there is a lot of text to cover in six weeks. You do not have time to waste handwriting pretty notes. Instead, write all everything you feel is relevant to your OneNote.

Step two: from laptop to notebook

Once the important things are picked out from your book, it’s time to make sense to all the information on OneNote.

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Preferably print all your digital notes into paper, arrange them into a folder and take handwritten notes from your laptop notes. It may sound silly, but when handwriting notes, try to “dummy” down all the info on your laptop for better understanding of the subject. Imagine you are explaining the notes to a five-year-old. This gives you the ability to reformulate the book in such a way you are forced to understand.

 

Step three: From notebook to flashcards

Once you have “dummied” down your notes, you should be more familiar with the subject. Use both your laptop notes and notebook notes to make flashcards you can use to further lever up academically.

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Use flashcards to write difficult and/or fancy words to describe the terms you have dummied down on your textbook. This way you will have several ways to explain a subject and have a greater ability to understand it too.
This is a very time-consuming way of studying, but it’s the best technique to retain information over a long time. Cramming two weeks before an exam is a no go in pharmacy world, with this system you need to learn your subject from the beginning. Set out enough time to study during a day, and spend your time studying wisely. No point in reading the same sentence over and over and not understanding the key points. Train yourself to find key-points in a text. Saves you lots of time.
Good luck!
Have fun. Stay Curious.
– Tia ✨

5 TIPS TO STUDY

Sometimes, I get carried away. I forget the things that matter to me, and I neglect things I shouldn’t. School, for instance, is one of these things. I love pharmacy, but sometimes it can get a little too much. A little too much reading, a little too much studying, a little too much stress.

So here are my five study tips.

Step 1: Know the work
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Make sure you know what it is they expect from you in the exam. Read your syllabus properly and ask if there is anything you are unsure off before you start studying. Knowing what you are supposed to know is important, as you don’t wanna be wasting the time you generally don’t have.

Step 2: Do the work
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Trust me, it sucks. I don’t enjoy sitting on my ass eight hours a day to read a book that might as well have been written in Hebrew. But you have to do it. Make sure to do a minimum of four hours of study per day, but optimally keep it between five to eight hours a day.

Step 3: Make flashcards
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whether it is by paper or by using Quizlet flashcards are super useful. Not only for memorizing terms, but also for keeping with you for when you are on the go. I work every weekend, so studying is difficult for me. I am not allowed to read my books at work, but when the store gets quiet. I try to get through a couple of flashcards and memorize some terms.

Step 4: make "mock exams questions"
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when reading your textbook have a separate page where you can ask yourself typical questions a professor would ask if he asked a question from this particular chapter. This way you can test yourself on the important stuff of each chapter, and you have exercises to do a couple of weeks before the exams.

Step 5: Breathe
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Life is difficult as it is. Take some time off. Go workout and breathe. It’s going to be okay. And stress is our number one enemy.

Have fun. Stay Curious.
– Tia ✨