This post is mainly for my M1s, but it can totally be helpful to any M2-M4s reading!
It’s very easy to get ~lost in the sauce~ in medical school, and by that I mean the load of information coming at you each and every day! I get it — it’s a lot! It’s like nothing you have ever had before and there is no training that will ever truly have you prepared. Every medical student is on the same boat of feeling overwhelmed, so do not feel that you are alone! I felt this way a lot as an M1 since there were many students that seemed they had it all together, but in reality, some are just better at hiding their anxiety than others. With that being said, I want to share with you some really awesome tips I received as an M1! I encourage to you use any of these strategies if you feel they will help you.
- Create your daily study plan. Try to create a weekly study schedule as best as you can! Make this schedule reasonable. You know what you can handle and you know when your deadlines and exam dates are.
- Plan around important dates. Have a calendar with all important dates (exams, assignments, etc.) so you don’t have to constantly remember what you have going on or feel uneasy thinking you’re forgetting something. I liked using the calendar on my laptop since it is synced to my phone, so I always have access. Many students liked using a mini paper calendar they keep in their backpack or purse. Some students have huge calendar whiteboards placed in their living quarters. Do whatever works best for you!
- Quality vs. Quantity. It is really important that, in the time you are studying, you are really using that time to understand the material and giving it your full attention (or at least most of your attention). If your attention span will not go longer than an hour, then study for 50 minutes and take a 10-minute break. If you can only study for about 30 minutes at a time, then take shorter but more frequent breaks. There is no right way to do this.
- Studying Alone vs. Groups. I typically prefer to study alone. Studying with others can sometimes have me distracted. So if you enjoy studying alone, then do it! But I found it was beneficial to run through material with a small group of classmates closer to exam dates. There was always something I learned studying in groups that I may have glossed over when studying alone, so definitely utilize your classmates and feed information off one another. If you enjoy studying in groups, be sure it is quality time spent! Again, there is a lot you can learn from your peers.
- Make time for yourself. More information on this in my next post!