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Navigating the Biomedical Maze: A Scholarcy Success Story

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Emma Warren-Jones
3 min read

Picture the whirlwind of being a first-year biomedical science undergraduate at the University of Sheffield – the excitement of newfound knowledge mixed with the challenge of deciphering scientific jargon that might as well be written in another language. Now, meet a remarkable undergrad on this journey, not just as a first-year student but as someone who returned to academia at the age of 23, bringing a different perspective and life experience to her studies.

When we spoke to Sanya Sharma earlier this year, she described herself as a visual learner. She was motivated to try Scholarcy to make sense of scientific papers and help her to absorb complex information. When she embarked on her journey to becoming a biomedical scientist, the challenge of understanding research papers was all too real, often requiring her to tackle each paper line by line.With 3-4 hours of lectures every day, there’s a big emphasis on self-directed study in Sanya’s course, which brings with it long periods of concentration and the challenge of staying motivated.  Early on in her first year, Sanya turned to Scholarcy to help her read and understand the long list of scientific texts that made up her required reading.Like many students today, Scholarcy isn't the sole tool in her arsenal. She also uses Glean, which captures lecture notes, helping her to build a solid foundational knowledge of her subject. Mind-mapping tools, to help her visualise connections between topics and articles are another important component of Sanya’s software toolkit, and she also embraces tools like ProStudy and Read&Write to enhance her learning.

“I really like the fact that Scholarcy is a web app and there’s nothing to download.”

When she discovered Scholarcy, she found its user-friendly interface was ‘a breath of fresh air’. She would paste the URLs of her articles into the web application to generate Summary Flashcards that transformed long, unfamiliar texts into something more accessible and relatable.  Scholarcy Flashcards quickly became her secret weapon, helping her tackle each paper in bite-size sections, systematically build her knowledge of the subject, and even add her own notes.

“It helps speed up the process of reading and understating papers and makes me a more proactive learner.”

When it comes to revision, Scholarcy's interactive highlights are her trusted tool. The distinct orange and blue shades play a pivotal role in memory recall. For Sanya, the most useful section of the Flashcard is the Scholarcy Summary, which concisely captures the essence of each paper.

“I even used Scholarcy in a lecture recently. The lecture was about how to read a research paper and I found that the Scholarcy flashcard really helped with this.”

But Scholarcy isn't just a summarizer; in the last few years, it has evolved well beyond that into a comprehensive learning tool that helps students to read, understand and confidently apply the knowledge they acquire from academic texts to their own work. Still, like any innovation, Scholarcy has room for improvement. Certain features might not be immediately evident, and Sanya told us that an in-app tutorial could effectively bridge this gap effectively. Stay tuned for more on this…! Our goal at Scholarcy is to help more students like Sanya to get the most out of their academic journey, build confidence, and most of all enjoy the experience of learning.