A Doctor of Medicine (MD) programme is very different from any other professional degree. Unlike other degrees, medical students need to go through comprehensive, quality, practical training, so they can face any healthcare challenges that their patients may face in the future.
But don’t let that scare you. While a medical degree does require passion, commitment, and determination, there are things that students can do to make the most out of their educational experience. Therefore, St. George’s University, School of Medicine Grenada, in the Caribbean, shares some tips that will help you simplify and optimise your journey as a medical student.
It’s critical to remember that your peers and classmates aren’t your competitors, and what works for you might not work for them
- Having a well-planned schedule is essential
During college, many students can get away with cramming before a big exam or simply skimming through a weekly reading assignment. Cutting corners like this just won’t work in medical school. Being a medical student requires you to absorb a substantial amount of material in a short span of time, so diligent study habits and prioritising tasks are essential.
- Do not compare your study methods with peers’ methods
It is not uncommon for a medical student to feel slightly lost at the start of medical school. As a result, it can be natural to look around and compare yourself to your peers – but this impulse can be counterproductive to your medical school performance. It’s critical to remember that your peers and classmates aren’t your competitors, and what works for you might not work for them. The goal is to figure out which learning tactics work best for you.
- Making time for self-care is a must
A day in the life of a medical student inevitably involves a lot of studying, but you can’t, and shouldn’t, spend every second hitting the books.
Making a point to reserve time for things you enjoy remains important long after medical school as well. Maintaining a work-life balance is an essential part of avoiding burnout down the road. Instilling these habits in medical school can help set you up for success throughout your entire medical career.
- Start preparing for licensing exams from the beginning
As a pre-med student, it can seem like medical licensing examinations are way too far down the road to even be thinking about it at the start of your medical school journey. But that’s exactly when you should start thinking about it. Preparing early can help ensure you fully grasp all the necessary material by the time your exam dates are around the corner.
Learning to ask for help in medical school will also set you up for success as a resident physician
- Ask for help when you need it
Medical school is one of the most rigorous educational paths out there. Many students find themselves struggling academically for the first time in their lives. And if that happens to you, the worst thing you can do is isolate in your struggles. Learning to ask for help in medical school will also set you up for success as a resident physician. For example, the Department of Educational Services at St. George’s University is used by nearly 100% of students to obtain help with a variety of things, such as note-taking, time management, and exam preparation.
- Have a wider perspective
While medicine is a scientific discipline, it’s also quite nuanced. As a practitioner, you must learn to look at the big picture to accurately identify medical concerns and prescribe the right course of treatment. The sooner you accept that concept, the better off you will be in medical school and beyond. It is also important, as a student, to allow yourself to mingle with other pupils from different cultures and, exchange knowledge and ideas with each other. That will help you develop a sense of cultural competence that will grow with you as you become a physician.
- Choose your medical school wisely
As you evaluate different medical programmes, it’s important to remember that not all schools train their medical students in the same way. Curricula, faculty experience, research initiatives, and education methods can all vary, resulting in differing levels of graduate success at times.
The best ways to get a firm grasp on a medical school’s graduate experience are to speak with alumni and to evaluate the institution’s student outcomes. Connecting with former students will allow you to ask questions about the medical student experience specific to that school.