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How to Beat Procrastination and Perform Well in Medical School

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Procrastination is common among students. This bad habit is prevalent among those students who have poor time management skills which eventually create a bad impact on their academic performance. However, a study suggests that procrastination is a problem associated with emotional block, not time management. According to a study, 80% to 95% students procrastinate, 75% consider themselves procrastinators, and 50% procrastinate consistently. A research has shown that procrastination is the major cause of stress and anxiety among students which lead to poor academic performance.

Medical students are required to absorb a lot of study material in a short period of time. The pressure of achieving good grades and performing well in USMLE Step 1 is high. When there is too much academic pressure, many students want to avoid completing their assignments and put off other tasks. The reason for delaying and avoiding their academic work is linked to fear and anxiety of doing poorly or not completing the task on time.

Whether you are a prospective medical student or studying in the best medical school, here are some easy steps to beat procrastination and improve your academic performance in medical school.

  1.       Time Management
  2.       Build a Study Schedule with Short Break
  3.       Identify Reasons of Procrastination
  4.       Block All Distractions
  5.       Follow an Active Learning Style


  1. Time Management

Time management is one of the most important traits of successful medical students. To overcome procrastination, improving your time management skills is important. In fact, succeeding in medical school, you need to know how to manage your time efficiently. There are many time management tools and techniques that work well and help students cope with procrastination.

Whether you want to complete your assignment on time or memorize concepts for the upcoming class quiz. It is advised to set specific time limits for certain tasks so that you can easily track your time. Many medical students spend countless hours studying but still fail to achieve optimum academic performance.

Dedicating time to your studies and carefully monitoring and tracking your activities will let you know how much time you spend in studying and how many hours you waste in procrastination. For maximum efficiency, you can set a reward for completing the assignment on time. Make sure to work realistically and don’t give too much time or less time to complete the specific task.

  1. Build a Study Schedule with Short Break

Creating a study schedule is one of the most important learning strategies to succeed in medical school. You need to divide your time in blocks and do your work in dedicated time slots. It is advised to create a list of tasks you need to complete. A to-do list is the best thing to stay on the right track and stay on top of your medical education.

Don’t forget to give yourself a break. Human mind needs to be refreshed and relaxed. As a medical student, you have to do a lot of things, such as learn complex anatomical terms, learn physiological and pharmacological processes and prepare for clinical rotations. Giving yourself a short break will increase your productivity and energize your mind and body to absorb massive course material. This strategy will surely help medical students to beat procrastination and perform outstandingly in medical school.

  1. Identify Causes of Procrastination

It is important to identify triggers that put off tasks and cause procrastination. For instance, completing the most difficult assignment to understanding the complex biological concept can cause the brain to lose motivation and avoid doing it. It forces your mind to remain in the comfort zone and delay things until the last minute. If that is the case, motivate yourself to complete the harder tasks by breaking the task into small, manageable chunks.

Similarly, prioritization helps you a lot. Creating a list of important tasks and prioritizing them on the basis of their deadline helps you complete more work in less time. Organizing your assignments and learning material based on their importance will help you organize your tasks efficiently.

  1. Block All Distractions

Removing all the biggest distractions is one of the most effective ways to stay productive and beat procrastination. According to a study, every student is distracted for at least five out of fifteen minutes they are dedicated to studying. The reason for distraction is constant temptation to check social media usage and texting. This is why they spend less time focused on completing their medical schoolwork, take longer to complete their assignments and delay exam preparation.

Switching off your phone or turning off alerts when you are studying is the easiest way to say goodbye to this digital distraction. Furthermore, finding the right place where you can stay focused is also advised. Some students work best in a quiet environment, some students complete their work fast in a clean and clutter-free space. Avoiding distractions will definitely help medical students to overcome procrastination and stay focused.

  1. Follow an Active Learning Style

Many medical students find it difficult to cover a lot of course material in medical school. They are overwhelmed by the amount of study material and reduce their anxiety by procrastinating. Finding the active learning style is the key to absorbing important study material.

For instance, you can use flashcards to memorize complex topics, watch YouTube videos to understand the concepts or use mnemonics to strengthen your memory. Finding the right learning style helps medical students to review lectures, complete lab work, prepare for class quizzes and prepare for USMLE Step 1 and 2.

To Sum All Things Up

With careful planning, following the right learning strategies and time management techniques, medical students can beat procrastination, study efficiently and improve their academic performance in medical school.

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