Third-year is great because you are out in the hospital, seeing real patients, and you technically aren’t ‘studying’ as much as you did first and second-year. In reality, you probably are studying more. And retaining more. But it definitely is a whole lot less book time. All day long you are seeing patients and seeing the things that you read about during first and second-year. You don’t realize it at the time, but when you go sit down to do questions in the evenings or on the weekends, you realize that you know answers to the questions based on what you saw that week.
You definitely still have to study third-year, but it is very different. My favorite way to study is to read up on cases that I saw that day at the hospital. That way you can come in the next day knowing how you would manage that patient, and it will stick in your mind better. This seems like common sense, but we have totally all gotten caught up in all these fancy new ways to study and ace medical school exams. Medical school is supposed to be teaching us how to be doctors, not how to take tests for the rest of our lives (although it certainly does that as well…and we certainly will have tests for the rest of our lives).