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Succeeding in Medical School, Part 1

by Alfred Neuhoff

For the unorganized, the unprepared, and the undisciplined, medical school will prove an impassable obstacle. If you want to succeed, try to incorporate the following tips into your daily routine.

1. Stay Fit and Healthy

When not attending class, you will be studying. When not studying, you will be in class or taking exams. In order to stay focused and mentally sharp, you must take care of yourself. You will be tempted to binge on junk food as a means of quick sustenance during prolonged study sessions, but resist the urge and maintain a proper diet with regular exercise. Also, stay rested. There will be nights when sleep will seem impossible in light of all you have to do, but exhaustion will inevitably creep in, and all your studying will amount to nothing.

2. Answer Practice Questions

Notes and reading assignments are important, but so are the practice questions found in many textbooks and given to you by professors. Those questions resemble what might await you on an exam and will help identify areas for further study. Be sure to set aside time to answer practice questions.

3. Study with Peers

Medicine is not a solitary field. You will be working with teams of doctors, nurses, and other qualified individuals, so acclimate to group work early by forming study groups in medical school. One useful group strategy is to take a practice test as a group and then compare and discuss answers, helping each other understand incorrect responses and why correct responses are in fact correct.