The first day of school is always a little nerve-wracking, but the first day of med school is on a whole new level. Most students will work harder than they ever have in their lives thus far and the beginning of medical school represents a huge change of pace for many. The following tips will help you get through those first few months of med school when everything is new and overwhelming.
Whether you are just starting up your second semester of medical school or knee-deep in second year, you’ve probably started to think about that next big hurdle: Step 1. Not only do you need to pass to become a doctor, but a good score can open doors to competitive residency programs while a poor score can close them. With so much weight placed on a single exam, you would expect programs and lecturers to emphasize the material tested on this end-all-be-all test. In most cases, you would be wrong. While some programs provide a bit more Step 1 focus in courses, many teach details that are tangentially relevant to Step 1 topics, but miss key points that are frequently tested, often referring students to review this test material during their dedicated study period. And it can be frustrating! You’ve made it this far by thinking ahead, planning early, and trying to avoid cramming unless absolutely necessary. Why should this be any different? So as a student, you may be faced with a difficult choice: study for your courses or study for Step 1. But there are effective and efficient ways to begin preparing for Step 1 well before your dedicated study period, while incorporating material that will be tested on course exams. Here are some key tips for beginning your Step 1 prep during your coursework:
One issue I find most students struggle a bit with when studying is revisiting old material. There never seems to be a good time to go back to your old lectures to brush up on the basics of physiology, pathology, pharmacology or even your favorite topic, biochemistry! How can you make sure to squeeze in that crucial extra review needed to solidify old concepts without falling behind on the new ones? Here are a few tips on how to incorporate old material into your day to day and why it’s necessary to do so.
Congratulations – you’ve faced the challenges of the med school admissions process and are finally living your dream of attending medical school. Unfortunately, things are not going as planned. Your professors are hard to understand, there’s a ton of lecture material, and let’s face it – you performed poorly on your first set of exams, and you feel like you’re struggling. At Med School Tutors, we’ve worked with many students just like you, and we’re here to help put your mind at ease by responding to the top 5 concerns that students in your situation express when they reach out to us. Here goes!
I remember the pure joy of realizing I could now pursue my dream of becoming a doctor, the acceptance phone call I got from the dean of admissions followed by the excitement of telling my friends and family. But as my school start date crept towards me, anxious thoughts started to swirl in my mind. How would I possibly learn the sheer volume of material that I would soon face? I asked this question to a few people on the interview trail, and still recall what one wise, grizzled 4th year shared with me, "Medical school is not any harder than the courses you took in college, in fact in many ways the material is easier -- physics, organic chemistry, and on -- you won’t encounter any subject close to that difficult in class. The hardest part is the volume. It really does feel sometimes like ‘drinking from a fire hose."
Medical school is often exceptionally challenging, but becoming a doctor can be one of the most rewarding professions. Not only are physicians well paid, but they have the ability to save lives and have a powerful impact on people in their moments of need. Worrying about whether or not you will get through med school with your mind intact and your career assured is nearly universal among med students. So, while we’ve published tips like this before, they bear repeating:
Worried? Anxious? Excited about the transition from undergrad to medical school? Here are the top five tips for a smooth transition:
In medical school, most of my peers and I tended to be people who excelled in school from elementary school through college without any special assistance. However, med school can be a game-changer, and sometimes we find ourselves needing to reexamine our approach. In particular, medical licensing exams are different than anything encountered before. The sheer volume of material that one is expected to assimilate is typically greater than even students from the most demanding undergraduate disciplines have ever encountered. Couple that with organizing the material in order to apply it on marathon-long eight hour tests — sometimes spanning two days — and it’s easy to see why intelligent people who were always good students can sometimes benefit from expert help.
Let’s get back to the very basics!
First, the age old equation,
To date, I have spoken with over 780 students about preparing for their USMLE exams. Hence, I have grown quite used to asking people, “And do you ever use flashcards?” and hearing someone answer, “No... they are the worst” on the other end.