How to Study in Medical College: A Student’s Guide

Studying in medical college can be challenging when you don’t know how to prioritize your time and how to effectively use your study time. However, learning how to study in medical college can be easier than you think with these simple tips that students have found effective over the years. You’ll soon find that studying in medical college doesn’t have to be stressful and, when you start studying effectively, it can even be fun!

What Is Studying?

Studying is a process by which we learn, retain and recall information. Studying involves three steps – reading, notetaking, and reviewing. The first step is reading the material and taking notes on key points. The second step is taking time to reflect on what you have learned so far and form new questions about the content. The third step is reviewing your notes or textbook while questioning yourself on your understanding of the content. You can use different strategies to help you study including flashcards, mind mapping, mnemonics, and acronyms. However, it is important that the learning material be fresh in our minds when we study because if it has been too long since an event occurred then our brain will remember less information.


Why Is Studying Important?

Studying is important for many reasons. For one, it will help you become a better doctor by expanding your medical knowledge base. It also helps you prepare for your exams and make sure you know what to expect on test day. Studying helps you learn the material and retain the information, which will be important when questions come up on rounds or during patient care. It will also help build your confidence as a student and allow you to feel prepared for any challenge that may arise. Lastly, studying makes you more of an active participant in your education process, rather than just passively absorbing all the material.

There are so many benefits of studying; some people might even say there are too many to list! Studying not only makes you a smarter doctor but allows you to take control of your own educational process and play an active role in becoming who you want to be.


Setting Up a Good Learning Environment

I found the best way to study was to find a quiet place where I wouldn’t be distracted. I created a study area that has very few distractions and is well-lit. In my room, I put away all of my belongings so that they would not distract me. I also used the Pomodoro technique which allows for breaks every 20 minutes for about 5-10 minutes. This helped me stay focused and productive during my study sessions. Whenever I became distracted, I simply re-focused on the task at hand. If you are struggling with studying or don’t know how to set up a good learning environment, try some of these techniques!

When you take a break after every 25-30 minutes, you can maintain focus and your energy level will increase. With such small breaks, it is easier to come back after each one without losing your flow. Some people like to listen to music while studying but I think this can make it harder to concentrate. You should definitely find what works for you but these tips might help get you started if this is your first time trying something like this. Here are three more things that have helped me with staying focused:

1) Getting enough sleep
2) Eating healthy
3) Setting deadlines and completing assignments before adding more work to the pile.

Try taking it one step at a time, tackling the tasks in order of priority, and soon you’ll see an improvement.


Getting Organized

The first step is to create an organizational system that works for you. I prefer a physical planner, with sections for classes, appointments, and activities. While there are digital planners that can be great too, I find them distracting when they pop up on my phone while I am studying or reading. If you want to go paperless, try using a list-making app like Evernote or Google Keep. These apps let you save notes, images, audio recordings, etc. in one place so it’s easy to access everything at once.


Practicing Time Management

Practice time management skills. Start with the most important task of your day, and work your way down. Keep a time log for one week to see where your time goes. You may be surprised by what you find! The key is to identify areas that need improvement. Once those are identified, try some strategies that have worked for other people or have been suggested by your advisor.
In addition, set realistic goals for yourself that can be met without sacrificing sleep or family life. Finally, create an environment at home or at work conducive to studying. Do whatever it takes to avoid distractions such as social media and email. Put away any objects that might distract you like television sets, computer screens, etc.


Creating Effective Study Habits

Create a study routine that works for you. Creating a routine that is tailored to your needs will help you feel more organized and focused during your studies. The key to building effective studying habits is finding the right system for yourself, so experiment with different routines until you find one that clicks. Consider what hours of the day work best for your schedule and make sure those are the hours where you are most productive. Some people prefer mornings while others prefer evenings; some students may be able to focus better on their studies when they break up their time into blocks, while others may need larger chunks of uninterrupted time. Try different things out and see what works for you!



Successful medical college students have a variety of study methods. Some students will utilize flashcards, others might find more success with online quizzes or tests. There is no wrong way to study for these exams, but there are plenty of ways for you to get the most out of your preparation. Regardless of what method you choose, it is important that you remain consistent and set a schedule for when and where you will be studying. The key is finding what works best for you as an individual and sticking with it!

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