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Studying for Medical School

The study tips you will encounter in the next couple of lines are from my experience. These tips are for anyone who seeks a study plan or looking for some additional tips to add to their own. It isn’t the end-all and the be-all to studying. If you find something that works for you, CONTINUE IT. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

Everyone knows that medical school is no small task. Everyday, we receive an overload of information and must know it for the never-ending medical school and licensure (USMLE) exams we must take. Additionally, we must remember this information in order to correctly treat our future patients. However difficult this task may be, it can be done and here’s how I did it and continue to do it. Let’s get started!

Studying for block exams.

Attending lectures is up to you. I would suggest attending the lectures for two weeks and figuring out if it will benefit your learning style. I attended lectures and highlighted the sub topics the professor emphasized on. After attending the lectures for the day, I headed to the library to read and study the lectures of that day. I found highlighting and underlining to be helpful. (I even had a highlighting system, which I can write a post about if you like) I created mind maps, flowcharts and diagrams. During the weekend, I would re-read and study the lectures of the week and read the major key points of the previous weeks. For myself, I believed hearing new material from my professor first helped build the foundation of the memory for the material. Reading after lectures and re-reading it during the weekend reinforced the information, which allowed me to retain it. Now that the material is stored in your brain, it is time to retrieve it. Don’t wait till test day. Start by doing practice questions. APPLICATION. Application is the evidence of learning!

Block exams.

For myself, medical school block exams were every first Monday of the month. It was a whole day affair. Exams would begin from 8am till the late afternoon with thirty minutes to an hour lunch break and a couple of minutes of break in between. Why the long day? Every subject was tested that same day. In the long run, this prepared us to withstand the long hours of licensure exams. I would complain at the time but looking back now, it helped tremendously. I felt my study plan for reading everyday after lectures and actively studying the lectures from the previous weeks on the weekend more than helped on my exams. The day before my block exam, I stopped studying around 5-6pm. (Some suggest not studying the day before.) I would prepare myself for the next day and ensured I had the proper items for a successful test day: ID (✔️), extra pencils (✔️), snacks (✔️), water (✔️) and flash cards (✔️).

Stay tuned for study tips for USMLE and more on the part II!

All the best!

Dr. A

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