Six percent of students decide not to become a doctor within seven years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. The road to becoming a doctor isn’t easy. It’s especially hard if you’re not used to studying this much during college. Read the following study tips to starting your first year and passing the MCAT.
Get Realistic About Your Goals
The amount of material that you need to remember for the med school exam is far more than what you had to remember as a pre-med student. The materials presented in medical school is nothing like your college classes. This causes students to lose focus during their first year of medical school. Don’t underestimate the amount of material, and don’t waste time with your studies. This information is not to scare you away. Getting realistic about your goals and setting them can help you determine a clear study path.
Master the First Year of Med School
If you’re someone who’s organized, now is the time to make some changes. For the next few years, you should be as organized as possible. It’s important to kick off the first year to the right start. Practice organizational habits such as keeping track of your books, book notes, lecture notes, slides, study schedule, test dates, and so forth.
Document test dates as soon as possible. If you use a calendar app, set reminders. Keep all paperwork related to your studies in one designated spot. Use a note-taking and organizational app like Evernote. Prepare for the first year by investing in highlighters, notebooks, notecards, and page tabs.
Determine Your Study Style Early On
It’s important to get an idea of your study style early on. Once you’ve come to term with how much information you’ll learn, you need to figure out the most efficient and effective way to tackle it. Do you need to read the lecture before class starts? Or, do you need to rewrite your messy notes?
Are you someone who’s a solid note taker and can keep up during lectures? Or, do you need a recorded version so you can slow it down or pause it to take notes? Do you learn better by reading books, notes, and other materials on your own?
Do you study best alone, in peers, or groups? This question will help determine who you’ll study for the duration of medical school. If you rather study alone, then skip ahead to the next tip. If you want to find a study partner or two, choose them wisely.
Study time is not the time to socialize or gossip. If you’re not studying effective with your partner, do yourself both a favor by ending your studies with them. Find someone who would be a better fit. Answering these questions ahead of time can prevent you from wasting valuable study time.
Don’t Limit Yourself to Med School
Every note that’s taken or word that’s spoken during a lecture could become a question on the med school exam. Don’t assume that you’ll receive all of the information you need by showing up for class and taking notes. On the other hand, don’t assume that all of the information will be found within your notes and slides.
You have all of these materials for a reason. You will need to include a combination of lectures, mnemonic study aides, question banks, and review books to get the information that you need. Find out what works for you and commit to it.
Remember What Brought You Here
There will be times when you’ll want to give up and quit your dreams of going to medical school altogether. Remind yourself why you wanted to become a doctor in the first place. Whatever the reason was that inspired you to get into medical school, study for the med school exam and pass it, and get into medical school.