Well, the first thing you need to develop in medical school is a very good study habit. You will spend the majority of your time in medical school reading mountains and mountains of material and there’s so much to learn in a short amount of time, so you will have to learn how to study well especially on days when you don’t want to study.
There’s two kinds of information you will learn in medical school: the high yield must-know information (or as one of our faculty likes to call it “doctor knowledge”) and the low yield information that’s also important, but is just ‘nice to know’. If you want to be successful in medical school, you need to learn the difference between these two. You should focus a lot more attention to high yield information. Try to use resources that will give you more high yield information.
Yes, you should also read your textbooks, but aside from your standard textbooks, throw in some high yield stuff to supplement your learning. You can get books or high yield notes from the upperclassmen. You can even get high yield resources online in the form of video lectures. Sometimes in my break time, I try to squeeze in a video or two from Lecturio while I am eating a meal or drinking coffee. They’re not that long, so you can squeeze in a video before your class starts or when you’re waiting for the bus.
If you are having a hard time focusing on the material in front of you, try studying with a pen, a pencil or a highlighter on hand. Underlying or highlighting the material as you read forces you to focus on the words that are currently on the page in front of you. I also read aloud from time to time to help me focus on the material. I also try to pause between paragraphs and pretend like I am discussing the material to somebody.
Another tip is using techniques to help you memorize and master information. For me and my classmates, we use a lot of mnemonics to memorize information. Mnemonics are fun tools. They come in the form of a rhyme, a phrase, an acronym or even an image to help make unfamiliar concepts easy to remember and recall. For a concrete example, you can watch videos from Sketchy on Youtube. They are a great resource to help you recall information for Microbiology. There is also this technique I learned recently from Lecturio called spaced repetition. Spaced repetition is trying to review concepts at increasing time intervals between review sessions. Eventually you will be able to master the information if you repeatedly review it.
Lastly—this is something a lot of medical students I know take for granted—you have to get adequate sleep. I mean, it’s great that you are willing to spend the entire night reading, but if you are tired, your brain will not be able to function well. It will be too tired to process all the information you are reading. In medical school, you should not be after the amount of time you spent just studying, but you should be after the amount of time you spent studying efficiently. Loss of sleep will make you tired and it will be hard to focus on the material properly. You will realize that you didn’t really understand it, so you will read it all over again. Instead of spending an hour on the chapter if you had been well-rested and more focused on the material, you will end up spending double the amount of time, since you had a hard time focusing.
Tldr; study well, rest well and of course, read, read, and then read some more.
Florlin Yrad, studied Medicine at Silliman University (2020)
Source: Quora Digest