Study Hints and Tips for Medical Students
Every medical student has their own study strategy when it comes to organizing the volume of study material per hour and per day. The material presented in medical school is much more difficult than many challenging undergraduate courses because it requires active learning. Active learning involves making decisions about the material such as “what is most important?” and “where does it fit into the bigger picture?”. Passive learning, on the other hand, involves reading pages of text or going over notes in hopes of absorbing the information faster. Changing one’s study habits is not easy; however, the most fundamental principle of efficient studying in medical school is active learning.
There are four active processes of studying
They can be used in any active study pattern and include the following:
- Identifying important information – the first step involves answering the eternal question “what is most important here?”
- Organizing the information – the second step involves creating a framework that facilitates memorization.
- Memorizing the information – the third step involves frequent review of the information in order for it to become absorbed by the brain.
- Applying the information to more complex situations – the last step involves answering quiz questions, practice questions, clinical applications, and more.
Every student will start to develop their own “high volume” study method sooner or later. The majority of medical students benefit from a starting strategy which entails five basic steps.
The basic steps of your starting strategy
- Finding the bigger picture by skimming the material before class. It is important to be able to identify four or five major topics.
- Creating a rough draft of the material based on the lecturer’s slides. Notes can help emphasize the context in the textbook.
- Creating lists or diagrams that help organize the needed material. This approach can help emphasize patterns that facilitate memorization.
- Actively memorizing the material through lists and diagrams. It is important to be able to incorporate the information quickly and efficiently.
- Practicing applying the material through practice or quiz questions during the study process.
Few simple revision tips for new medical students
- Break up study schedules into 20 to 30 minute segments
- Create a study timetable
- Keep hardest topics for the morning
- Create colorful notes and mind maps
- Practice old exams and papers
- Start assignments sooner rather than later
- Get plenty of sleep
- Learn to speak with confidence and structure
- Read plenty of articles and medical blogs. Learn what medicine is all about.
- Set aside a day to relax and be with family and friends
To be a good student, dedication, work-ethic, and self-confidence are three aspects that are required. However, in medical school, almost everyone has that. For this reason, it is important to create a successful study method. The students who have the best methods are called geniuses. The students who fail to implement proper study methods flunk out or barely pass. It is important to realize that in order to be successful in medical school, reviewing study material over and over again is a must. Volunteer experiences are just as important and give medical students a wider perspective on patient care.