Establishing healthy study habits, collaborating with classmates and managing stress can help build a firm foundation for your medical career.
Your first years as a medical student will require a high degree of focus and determination. Although you’re sure to face challenges, this is also one of the most rewarding parts of your journey toward becoming a physician. Setting attainable goals and establishing smart study habits during your first year of medical school will help you stay on track and lay the groundwork for your future career.
Tips for success
The courses you’ll take during your first year of osteopathic medical school will provide you with a solid grasp of the basic sciences as you prepare to complete rotations and, ultimately, treat patients. Studying the human body can be an intense undertaking. Here are some tips to help you chart your course toward success.
Make a plan
Start each study session with a list of goals and tactics. For instance, you may want to convert notes on blood component synthesis into a diagram or develop a chart of chromosomal abnormalities. Clearly identifying your goals will help you stay on task and avoid distractions.
When learning new material, creating your own study aids can help reinforce concepts and make the material less intimidating. Former students recommend making flashcards, rewriting notes and diagrams, and creating question/answer summaries of lectures.
Switch it up
By this point in your education, you likely know which study approaches suit you best. You might retain information best when you study solo, or perhaps you thrive on the knowledge sharing that results from partnering with a group. Many experts recommend a mix of both, with time spent studying alone at first and then alongside others when you feel more confident about the material.
Practice exams will help take your study prep to the next level. Try to recreate the anticipated conditions of the exam as closely as possible. If the test is multiple choice, get plenty of experience adjusting to the lay of the land before you dive into answering questions. Quickly browsing the entire exam before you begin will help you create a game plan for budgeting your time.
Take care of yourself
In the midst of exam prep, it's especially important to preserve a balanced schedule that includes work, relaxation, family and friends. Many students find it helps to recharge with a workout break. Even just taking 10-15 minutes away from hitting the books can help reset your mind when fatigue sets in.