When you are in a medical school, staying organized and creating a perfect study plan is key to your success. Students are required to gobble down sheer volume of course material, and it is nearly impossible to learn each course in detail. That is why academicians advise students to go through the material two or more times a day to gain an immaculate understanding of the concept. Constant repetitions will reinforce your understanding and thereby help you better prepare and excel in the exams.
There is no denying that maintaining an impressive GPA in for a medical school is a daunting task. However, creating a study schedule makes it easier for you to set yourself up for success. To help you stay on top of your studies and organize your study routine, we have compiled a list of tips and tricks to smartly manage your time and make the most of your study time.
Let’s go through each of them in detail.
Determine Your Learning Style
Every student has a different learning process. In a medical school, you have to absorb a lot of information in a very short amount of time. And since the pace of medical school is really fast, finding the learning style that works best for you is the key. You need to identify what studying style suits you well. You might enjoy learning concepts by either watching videos or going through anatomical illustrations. You can listen to podcasts designed for students or maybe simply reading an article would suffice. You might prefer participating in a hands-on activity that will help you build a strong understanding about the intricacies of the cardiovascular system. Finding the best study style and the techniques to learn the materials covered in the class will increase the effectiveness of your study time.
Create a Schedule & Follow it Religiously
Building a study schedule and sticking to it will help you stay more organized. However, you can make important tweaks to your schedule by figuring out how long your assignments, quiz preparation or other academic activities take. When you know that doing your homework assignment or revising your lecture will take one or two hours, it will make it easier for you to set aside dedicated slots for activities you like the most.
Focus on High-Priority Tasks
As clichéd as it may sound but the 80-20 rule is applicable everywhere and medical school is no exception. Keep your high-priority tasks in mind that use up most of your energy, time and focus. Once you have identified them, move other lesser important things around your schedule. Use a calendar or a study planner and divide time according to the difficulty level of the subject that you have to go through. For instance, if you find it hard to learn complex anatomical terms but find pharmacology interesting and easily learn the mechanism of actions of drugs, you should devote more time to anatomy course to memorize the concepts and terms.
Make Time for Your Personal Activities
You have might have heard the myth that in a medical school, you will not be able to find time for your social life and personal activities. However, this is not the case.
By creating a schedule, you can manage both your study and social life. Being a medical school student is not a walk a in the park, you need to take time for yourself to refresh your mind and body. Make sure your study plan is designed in a way that gives you time to exercise, meditate, and hangout with friends and family. By giving yourself a refreshing break, you’ll recharge your mind which is essential for your mental health and helps you in coping up with the stress of pursuing medicine as a career.
Create a Perfect Study Environment
Studying in a distraction-free place will greatly help you memorize the complex medical concepts. No matter if you prefer to study in a medical university library or your bedroom, finding a study space that makes your studying more pleasurable is the key. Make sure your study space is free from any distractions to prevent procrastination.
Make the Most of Anki Flashcards
Study-aid Anki is a great learning strategy that you should add in your medical school study schedule. Anki flashcards will help you master a voluminous amount of information you need to master to complete your MD program. Anki flashcards are based on spaced repetition – an effective study technique that is used to retain the information on the topics you find difficult to memorize.
Take Practice Tests
Studying for the USMLE is a complicated task for many medical students as they are required to learn a large quantity of information. However, integrating some effective USMLE preparation techniques in your study plan will help you get a good grasp of the material tested and secure stellar marks. Setting aside time for practice tests is a great idea to get acquainted with the material, build confidence and improve your test-taking skills.
Find the Best Resources
In medical school, keeping up with the classes, completing assignments on time, doing lab work and cover the enormous amount of information is an uphill undertaking. There are a number of online resources available for medical students that are easily accessible and can strengthen your medical concepts and clinical skills.
Online Med Ed, Picmonics, MedNet, Healio and Merck Manuals are a few online resources for medical students that help in building a strong foundation in hematology, physiology, anatomy, biochemistry and other fundamental courses you will learn in during the course of your medical education. Furthermore, there are many YouTube channels available for medical students that help you understand the difficult topics and secure an impressive score on the USMLE Step I and II.
Reward Yourself for Studying
Providing yourself rewards to complete your assignments and staying on top of your courses is an excellent strategy to keep yourself motivated as a medical student. Once you complete a study session, play your favorite game, attend a sporting event, watch a movie, take a nap, post stories on Instagram, or visit a friend or family member. Do whatever you love most.
Studying medicine is tough but you can make it interesting if you follow a study schedule and add some activities to make it more enjoyable and engaging. Learning different courses each day and pursuing extra-curricular activities in your break time will make it easier for you to remain focused and continue to work hard to secure impressive marks in your board exams.