Habits and study tips for successful medical students

Being a medical student is certainly a daily challenge.

Regardless of your passion for medicine, student life can be stressful and overwhelming at times, due to the hard work and long hours split between studying and training rounds at the hospital. And regardless of the many advantages that come with being a doctor, you must recognise that achieving any sort of career in medicine is a complicated task. Patients’ lives will depend on the training you receive. You will need to be prepared, as a doctor, to be able to work under immense pressure and in life-or-death situations, all while undertaking your job to perfection so patients are treated well, and lives are saved. In this profession, there is no room for mistakes, so as a student, the commitment you make is paramount and you need to be willing to put in the hard work to make sure you become a highly trained and skilled doctor. Whatever the challenge you might face and the difficulties in overcoming it during your student years, it will all be worth it when you will achieve your goal of becoming a doctor.

Therefore, we have compiled some useful habits and effective study tips that will help you study smarter and be the top medical student you strive to be.

Study smart

You will need to study a lot during medical school. It would be pretty impossible to achieve the required skills and knowledge to become a skilled doctor, unless you put in all the effort and commitment that studying needs. Every medical student will have a different way of studying, collating information, and organizing their study periods so that they can be more productive and efficient. Some students may prefer to study with other students in a study group, while others prefer to be free from distraction and study alone. Study groups are a great way to share ideas and explain things out loud to one another, it will also help to get used to pronouncing medical words. However, studying alone can ensure you avoid any distractions if your fellow students aren’t as committed as you are.

You need to work out the best method for you, as there will be a lot of studying to do through the entire medical school journey. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to try out new studying methods, which will help you notice what works best for you.

Find what helps you learn the most. If you want to progress further and not only focus on your class material, you could also invest in online learning classes, volunteering, etc. All of these are great learning tools and will enhance your learning and medical knowledge even further.

Get enough sleep

During exam season, when students disregard their own health to be able to focus solely on the task at hand, sleep is often deprived. However, as a medical student, you should know the importance of sleep. Getting a proper night’s sleep will give you the energy and cognitive boost to be healthier, study better, feel happier and more motivated too. Constantly feeling tired and sleepy in class, will not set you off on the best foot to becoming a successful physician. Ensure you log your sleeping patterns, set a schedule and stick to it. Forming a good sleeping habit will allow you to stay in good health and focus on your goals!

Join in with social activities

A doctor does more than just perform surgeries, treat patients, and make medical prescriptions. A great doctor is one who can understand, relate, and connect with their patients and their family and friends too. It can often be hard to communicate with patients when they are going through a lot of physical pain. Furthermore, doctors continually come across patients with different social backgrounds, personalities, and behaviours. Hence why joining in with social activities during medical school will help to develop your soft skills and ultimately help toward the successful medical career you are aiming for.

Get organised

An essential part of medical school is being organised, so ensuring you properly manage your priorities and time is paramount. It is vital that a doctor is organized so they can do their job free from mistakes that can put a patient’s life at risk. You will learn throughout medical school how to stay organized and properly plan your priorities. Each step you take as a medical student will need to be properly organized. Getting organised now is an important habit to have as a successful medical student. Habits such as allowing yourself extra time to cover a more difficult topic, organising your study material, and generally being accurate with timekeeping and other life organization skills. All these areas will help you being well prepared for exams, and well prepared for a successful career in medicine.

Take a day to relax

All work and no play will lead to medical students feeling burned out, overwhelmed, and tired. Doing hospital shifts teamed with studying in your spare time will teach you a lot, but you need to process the information too so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. You need to let your body and mind take some time away to relax so that you can recharge and refresh. Having a day to relax won’t make you a less successful student; on the contrary, it’ll give you the motivation and focus on continuing working towards your dream. It will be far easier to commit to your goal when you have the right balance between studying and relaxing.

Search for mentors

Accepting mentors’ help is another habit that successful medical students should adopt to develop their skills and become a highly trained doctor. There is real value and future career preparedness to be gained from the doctors that are also teaching at medical school. These doctors have profound experience in your field and there is nothing wrong with asking for help from your mentors to aid your understanding of the real duties that a doctor performs in the field. Academic advisors, professors, and teaching assistants are the mentors you will reach out to for guidance during your medical school studies.


Humanitas is a highly specialized Hospital, Research and Teaching Center. Built around centers for the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, neurological and orthopedic disease – together with an Ophthalmic Center and a Fertility Center – Humanitas also operates a highly specialised Emergency Department.