Okay, so you’ve decided to or perhaps already are studying Medicine. This would mean that suddenly you’d be supposed to cram massive amounts of information in a short period of time with extended studying sessions.
This is nevertheless expected since the doctor’s profession requires in-depth knowledge in a lot of different areas so that the proper decisions and actions are made. No one said it would be easy so it’s best for you to come up with a strategy to ease the process as much as possible. The good thing is that I’ve already been through this and I can share my experience and tactics when it comes to studying.
When I first met this monster called “Medicine” I made all sorts of mistakes and wasted a lot of time to find the best studying method so I figured that this article might help you big time. I certainly needed it back in the day.
Tip Number #1: Set your goals.
This is the first and most important part of the process. By setting your goals as to what you want to achieve in terms of studying you’d be much more productive. Some people study only to pass their exams, other studies to get high grades to please teachers and relatives while on the other hand there are those that do it for themselves – to be knowledgeable and get a better understanding.
When you set your goals properly as with any other thing in life you’d be more motivated and even obliged to fulfil your expectations. It means you care about what you do and even if you fail you’d get better instead of staying ignorant.
Tip Number #2: Plan when to have a rest, not when to study.
Now, I can’t emphasize enough on this, you needn’t plan when to study but when to have a break, walk, meeting with friends, go shopping, go to the cinema etc. This would mean that during the other time you are supposed to STUDY. This tip usually applies during the end of semester exam period but it’s still relevant if you’re a tryhard all the way.
By doing this, you’d actually be more motivated while studying and would better comprehend information because you know that after that you’ll be doing something fun. Trust me, it works. Before I started using this method I was imprisoned at home all the time and my studying productivity was no good. What I could’ve gotten through for 5 hours I spent a whole day on because I didn’t set myself resting periods and I was actually trying to rest while studying if that makes sense. Everyone needs dopamine and endorphins in his life, even medical students!
Tip Number #3: The Pomodoro Technique
Now I can’t say that I’ve used this technique that much but it’s working for a lot of my colleagues. It basically means that you break down the process into studying sessions. After 25 minutes of studying you have a rest for 5 minutes (a real rest! like closing your eyes) and then the cycle repeats. This would keep you motivated for longer since it’s scientifically proven that every human brain has a different attention span although it’s usually around the 30-minute mark. This would mean that when you get exhausted you have a break and then continue again – fresh and determinate.
When you get the hang of it, you can break down the sessions into 45 minutes studying to 15 resting or 1hr 30 to 30 minutes. The last one is what I currently do. You see, the more you study, the better you become at it. That’s why it’s important to work as hard as you can in the preclinical years of your course. For example, what I had studied for 5-6 hours in my first year now I go through for just around an hour and a half.
Those are my tips for the first of a series of 2 or 3 articles about how to increase studying productivity as a medical or dentistry student. Stay tuned.