Student Study Tips for Medical Career Paths
Studying for any subject and at any level during an academic career can be a laborious and challenging process for even the most gifted of students. Medical-school students and those who plan to pursue careers in the health profession, however, face a significant courseload on the way to graduating. Specific tips for studying while working toward a career in medicine can help students survive and thrive throughout their education programs. Actively studying, staying organized, managing time, and relieving stress are just some of the important ways to ensure successful studying while in medical school.
High School and Pre-Med Students
Study habits that you establish and maintain throughout your high school and pre-med careers directly affect how well you do in medical school. High-school students who recognize that they want to pursue a career in medicine should begin incorporating medical-school-level study habits as soon as possible to prepare themselves for the demands of the career. Pre-med students who are considering declaring their intentions for medical school can determine how their studying habits will have to change by interviewing current medical school students. In either case, the acknowledgment of and preparation for the amount of studying that medical school demands can help students meet their goals while pursuing a health career.
- High School Preparation for a Career In Medicine (PDF)
- Medical School Admission: Myths Versus Realities
- Pre-Medical Advising: Choosing a Major
- Pre-Health Study Skills
- Build Effective, Efficient Study Habits for Medical School
- Premedical Student Tip Sheet (PDF)
Learning and studying in an active manner can significantly improve your chances at success in medical school. As one of the best learning strategies available, active studying is particularly suited to those on the health professions track, as it incorporates many different techniques that promote the retention and assimilation of a large amount of information. Active learning makes talking, listening, writing, reading, and reflecting on studied material as engaging as possible. A good way to use active learning is to establish a study group with classmates or those who belong to pre-med organizations. Along with aiding in your studying, health organizations and pre-med groups can also help you establish connections with others who are planning to pursue careers in medicine. Members may have special insight into remaining on track and can provide you with advice and suggestions needed to perform your best while working toward your goals.
- What Is Active Learning?
- How to Study Actively
- Learning Strategies for Success in Medical School (PDF)
- Active Study Techniques
- Center for Learning's Active Study Strategies (PDF)
- Examples of Active Learning
Disorganized reading materials or studying areas can negatively impact the quality of your studying time. Neatly organized texts and notes will cut down on the amount of time that it takes to get ready for studying. To organize your academic career, start by taking clear and effective notes. Get answers to any academic questions you may have as problems or issues arise. Research has shown that clear areas free and relax the mind. Learning how to prioritize can also help you keep your studying tasks separated from one another and can help you break your studying time into blocks. Establishing a test-preparation ritual can also take the anxiety out of those legendary, intimidating exams that cover concepts that are medical. Vitality in both studying and organization can lay the groundwork for an incredibly successful and rewarding medical school career.
- Stay Organized
- 10 Tips to Stay Organized (PDF)
- Manage Your Time and Stay Organized
- Practical Study Tips (PDF)
- Apps for Students: Organization and Study (PDF)
Responsibly and consciously allotting your time for various tasks in medical school can lead to success. Those accomplishments, however, start with managing your study time. For medical students, it can be incredibly important to plan studying time in advance and use tools to help visualize your time and note your progress memorizing and assimilating concepts. Using planners with layouts that break down hours, setting personal goals, and sticking to a regular study schedule help you get the most out of your time while hitting the books. Proactive activities like taking better notes in class and breaking down major assignments into manageable parts instead of tackling them at once or waiting until the last minute to get them done can also help you complete tasks faster. Be aware that time management is a skill that you will have to master in both your professional and personal lives after you graduate, as the rigors of the profession will likely demand much of your attention.
- Time Management
- Basic Time Management for Academic Success (PDF)
- Medical Student Well-Being Program: Time-Management Tips
- Time Management for Health Professions Students (PDF)
- Seven Time-Management Tips for Health Professionals
The medical education track is an especially taxing one and can require that you make a concerted effort to reduce stress. Consider learning about the concepts of mindfulness and meditation before entering any program that can be classified as medical. Vitality within your physical and mental beings can be improved, and regular exercises can decrease the potential for feeling overwhelmed. A benefit of engaging in mindfulness is that it can relax you and contribute to your focus, which can make studying a much easier and natural process. Anxiety about tough tests can also be controlled by injecting a bit of Eastern philosophy into your studying habits.
For optimum performance, it can be best to ensure that you're in optimal health. If you're about to apply to medical school, get a checkup, update any prescriptions you may have, and make sure you stick to your medication schedule. Should you already be in medical school, take steps to protect your physical health like engaging in regular exercise, getting enough sleep, eating healthfully, and avoiding substance abuse. Since medical schools and associations are very aware of the demands that medical school can impose on students, you may be able to consult with them for ideas on how to incorporate relaxation techniques into your studying rituals.
- Engaging Your Brain to Reduce Stress and Study Better (PDF)
- Losing Focus? Studies Say Meditation Can Help
- Medical Student Stress Management and Well-Being
- Medical Schools Take Active Role in Reducing Students' Stress and Anxiety