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Studying Habits for Medical Students

There are horror stories of medical students studying 8-10 hours per day, having no social life, and having to sacrifice their sanity just to keep up with the volume of material we’re held accountable for. I’m here to say that those rumors are pure nonsense.

In my experience, there are two types of medical students:

  • Those who study pretty much the same way they did in undergrad.
  • Those who study nothing like they did in undergrad.

Yeah, they’re extremes, but studying habits are extremely variable within a group of students. When do people study? Where do people study? How often do people study? It just depends on the individual, so stop asking. 馃槢

However, there’s聽one piece of advice I’d like to offer. Never ever skip a night without studying something. If you’re not going to study at all one day, at least dedicate an hour before going to sleep to anatomy, biochemistry, histology, etc.

I like to study the most difficult topics or vocabulary-ridden lectures right before falling asleep. By the time I wake up, it seems my unconscious self has rationalized the material, and I actually remember most of what I initially labeled as gibberish. Pretty amazing how the brain can do that. 馃檪

For those who are curious, I tend to get more out of attending lectures than most of my classmates, so I study minimally outside of class (maybe two hours a day). Before exams, studying gets ramped up significantly, and I find myself studying a lot more without even realizing it… probably out of desperation. 馃榾

As a double science major in undergrad, I think that the concepts we cover in medical school are actually really simple – it’s just the volume of material which is overwhelming. This is where individualized study habits come into play, since a lot of students don’t share my perspective. In any case, once you find a method of studying that allows you to “drink from the firehose” of medical information, stick with it! 馃檪

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