5 Tips To Help You Succeed In Medical School
You have always wanted to be a doctor, and you’ve planned your academic career accordingly. Now that you are ready to attend an accredited medical school—such as the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC)*—you have a sizable challenge ahead of you. You’ve probably heard horror stories about how hard medical school can be. It will certainly be demanding, but with some advanced knowledge you can prepare yourself for the tasks ahead. The following tips for new medical students offer suggestions on how to excel in medical school.
How To Be Successful In Medical School
You are a smart and dedicated student—you wouldn’t have been accepted to medical school otherwise! Although the increased workload and responsibilities may be intimidating, these tips will guide you in how to excel in medical school.
- Study smart
Cramming isn’t the answer. Stuffing your head with knowledge the night before the exam isn’t a successful long-term learning strategy. Likewise, studying all day and night, skipping meals and sleep, and never taking a break may seem like ways to prove your total dedication to your studies. But those approaches will leave you tired, unfocused, and prone to burnout. Pace yourself, take study breaks, and allow yourself time to relax. Time management is one of the main components of how to succeed in medical school. Plan out a study schedule and stick to it. Studying for a few hours every day and then giving yourself time away from your school work will help you process the information, stay grounded, and keep you from getting overwhelmed.
- Find a mentor
A mentor can help explain difficult ideas, give you professional guidance, and generally give you advice on how to succeed in medical school and in your career as a physician. A mentor could be a professor, a staff member at a local hospital or clinic, or a senior student. In addition to the benefits of their professional guidance, it’s always a good idea to cultivate relationships with people who can give you great letters of recommendation when the time comes. The Association of American Medical College (AAMC) page Finding and Working With a Mentor can give you more specific ideas on what a mentor is and how they can help you in your educational and professional pursuits.
- Connect with your peers
Medical school can feel isolating at times. AUC has numerous clubs and organizations that can help you make personal and professional connections. In these groups, you will meet others with similar cultural backgrounds, interests, or professional goals. Use these groups to network, make friends, participate in study groups, and motivate one another. Having a social and professional network will allow you to make the most of your time in medical school.
- Be proactive
The more you put into your med school experience, the more you will get out of it. You will have many opportunities beyond scheduled class sessions to improve and reinforce your knowledge. You can attend tutoring sessions led by teaching assistants or take practice exams. These offerings can be incredibly valuable. Teaching assistants are upper-level students who can give you an insider’s perspective on what is expected of you, and after-hours sessions will allow you extra time to get personal assistance with difficult material. These optional sessions can give you new insights and tools for how to succeed in medical school. Also, seek opportunities to participate in research projects, volunteer at hospitals and clinics, shadow a physician, and otherwise get real world experience in your chosen profession. In addition to demonstrating your motivation and dedication, these activities can help you network and could lead to more opportunities down the road.
- Help is available
Lastly, a very important med school tip is to ask for help when you need it. Medical school is demanding, and there’s no shame in asking for help—you won’t be the first or last med school student to need assistance. Don’t wait until you have fallen behind to seek academic assistance from friends or mentors. For personal difficulties, consider contacting AUC’s Wellness Counseling Center.
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions for how to succeed in medical school. You need to find what works best for you. Many students find group study sessions helpful, but you might prefer to study alone, and that’s okay too!
Consider video or audio study aids, flash cards, and 3D models in addition to your textbooks. Some students find copying lists of medical terminology helps them memorize key vocabulary and concepts. Stay flexible and revise your methods as needed. Do what’s right for you!
Now that you know some necessary skills for success in medical school, take the next step in your journey toward a rewarding career by applying to the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine!
- AUC Medical Sciences Curriculum
- AUC Clinical Science Curriculum
- How to Prepare and Succeed in Medical School
*American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Commission on Colleges of Medicine (ACCM, www.accredmed.org), which is the accreditor used by the country of St. Maarten.