Last week’s 8 Pieces of Information Every Premed Should Know got great responses, so we decided to follow it up with today’s episode: medical school tips and, specifically, the 7 things you should know as you enter medical school.
We hope the discussion today will help you as you go along your own path into medicine. Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
7 Things You Should Know as You Enter Medical School
Medical school is a whole new level of smart.
- Don’t be discouraged. You can’t be the best at everything.
- You need to do well, but you don’t have to be the best in medical school.
- Don’t be intimidated by being surrounded by a lot of smart people.
- Don’t compare yourself with others. Your only competition is you.
Try different study habits until you find what works for you best.
- Know yourself and how you study best. Be willing to adjust as necessary.
- Try different study habits, and ask around to see what other people are doing.
- Your old study habits may no longer serve you in medical school.
- Find a study buddy or a study group to keep you motivated.
- Medicine is like drinking from a fire hose or eating 5 pancakes a day.
Expose yourself early to your school’s residency program.
- If your school has a residency program where you’re doing clinical rotations, introduce yourself early to the program director, and get to know the residents while you’re a med student.
- Start asking about research opportunities as a med student. Many residencies will expect research experience in a particular area, so be on the lookout early on.
Take care of yourself.
- Diet, exercise, and sleep all have profound effects on your cognition and memory as a med student.
- There’s an old expression in medical school: “Eat when you can, sleep when you can, and don’t f#$% with the pancreas.”
- Find a way to relax your mind and vent out your fears, anxiety, and frustrations.
- Build a support structure around you.
[Related episode: How to Focus on Your Health as a Premed Student]
Learn from your patients.
- When you start your clinical years, you’ll have so many books to read, but you can’t read them cover to cover and expect to learn them all.
- The best strategy is “just in time” learning, where you learn from your patients.
- As you encounter a patient, go learn about the disease your patient is being treated for to help you learn more.
- Read about the topic as you’re admitting the patient.
- If you’ve been reading about your patients’ conditions, you’ll have a better chance of answering questions when being pimped. (PIMP is an acronym for “Put In My Place.” It happens during rounds when the attending or resident calls you out and expects you to know things.)
- Plus you will remember your patients years later!
- USMLE Step 1 for MD schools. Listen to an episode all about the USMLE Step 1 here.
- COMLEX for DO schools
- These tests are the biggest factors on your residency applications, so you have to do well in them.
- Do well in your classwork and learn during your first two years.
Important things to consider:
- Geography makes things competitive.
- More medical students are graduating today, and residency spots are limited.
- Doing well with your coursework is a big factor.
[Check out our Board Rounds podcast for USMLE Step 1 and COMLEX Level 1 preparation.]
Residency Application Timing
- Apply early to residency.
- When you start getting interview invites, remember the same invites are being sent out to many people, so you need to race to get your spot.
- First come, first serve basis.
Links and Other Resources
- Check out my Premed Playbook series of books (available on Amazon), with installments on the personal statement, the medical school interview, and the MCAT.
- Related episode: 10 Traits You Need to Succeed in Medical School.
- Need MCAT Prep? Save on tutoring, classes, and full-length practice tests by using promo code “MSHQ” for 10% off Next Step full-length practice tests or “MSHQTOC” for $50 off MCAT tutoring or the Next Step MCAT Course at Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)!