How to Study Effectively and Get Good Results?(Tips to Medical Students)

Med School provides perhaps the best substantiation for Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection. For here we see in its cruelest form of the survival of the fittest. Not the smartest, as one should expect. But the fittest to cope with the inhuman pressures, the demands made not only on the brain but on the psyche…”

—Doctors by Erich Segal, 1989

Having done fairly well in my medical graduation course, here are few tips for fellow students on how to manage themselves during the course, keep themselves motivated, and study. Some of things I did and things I wish I had done during my college days.

Step 1:

Decide if you really want to have a career in Medical Science. Not just good money and great deal of respect and recognition, there comes equally great responsibility to serve mankind. There will be many sleepless nights, lots of work, tons of mental pressure, and you will have to go through hardships which you would never come across otherwise.  If you are the lazy kind- this doesn’t suit you. Do something else. Don’t even bother going through hassles of entrance preparation. Or spend chunk of your dad’s money. This is the profession that demands profound knowledge, decent skill, great dedication along with utmost sensitivity and constant vigilance. Think you can manage that? Hop in!

Step 2:

Welcome to Med School

Find an appropriate place to live in. Somewhere you don’t get disturbed. Someplace with good food nearby. Place you can crash anytime and sleep tight.  A roommate you can get along with. Because this place will be your home for quite sometime now.

Look at your syllabus. In all Medical Schools, during the first and second years, you are required to study basic subjects- Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, and additionally Microbiology, Pathology and Pharmacology in some. Then Community Medicine and Forensic Science joining midway. Medicine, Surgery and Gynecology & Obstetrics along with their branches – Pediatrics, Dermatology, Psychiatry,  Ophthalmology, Head Neck and Otolaryngology, Orthopedics, Radiology, Radiotherapy, Anesthesiology, are reserved for final years. Clinical Skill requires a different approach(tips vide infra). For the theory part, its almost similar technique for all the subjects,

At the beginning of the each semester, just look at and make yourself familiar with what you got to study. The Books.

Weekdays

Then when classes begin, be very attentive in your classroom. Because what the they say is somehow important, be it for exams or clinically.  Jot down what your teacher says. Make your own short hand technique- so you could write fast enough. Try to write nicely. Don’t write on loose sheets that you’d lose the other day. Make this notebook your permanent one. One good technique is to write only on one side of the pages. Then when you study the topic by yourself- you can make your own notes on the other side.

At the end of the day, there’d be three or four new things you’ve learnt.  Go back to where you live-hostel or home. Don’t think about Study at all for next 4-5 hours. Take a little nap. Entertain yourself. Take your time to enjoy, relax. Play some sport. Exercise. Walk/ Run. Go on an evening date. Just make sure you still got 2-3 hours to go through what you’ve been taught during the day.

  1. Read the notes you took in the classroom.
  2. Open your text book. Read the related topic. Read everything like you’d read novels. DO NOT try to mug up. Just make an effort to understand.
  3. Read again. This time Mark and highlight the ‘things to remember’, the important points. Try to remember the definitions, values, names etc. Practice by writing down in your rough sheets.
  4. On the other side of pages of your class notebook, make your own note- try to write without looking at the book. If you can’t, its alright to take a peek.

(Do this, one topic at a time, in one setting. Take a break after you are done with one. Don’t haste just to get it over with. If you don’t feel like studying this particular day, its okay. Don’t study when you don’t want to. Spend your time charging up your spirits. But keep in mind, you got to catch up, the next day or on coming weekend.

This way, by the end of semester you will have a wonderful notebook for fast reading during exams. And a course book which you’d have familiarized yourself well with. Plus, you’d be fairly acquainted with all the topics. That’s more than half preparation for exams already done!

During weekends

You ain’t got a date to go out with? Okay. But You sure got friends to fool around. Hang out, go watch a movie, talk love, talk matches, talk politics, talk about everything on earth(expect studies). Find time to rekindle with your old hobbies. Read novels, jam up with your guitar buddies, write poems. Better, go home to see your mom, dad if that’s possible. These are feel good factors. Have a life every weekend, because that keeps you going  for rest of the week.

(During your final years, you will spend much time in the hospital. Doing evening wards and stuffs. Since you won’t get time to enjoy your weekday evenings like I said, make sure you have fun on weekends!)

But spare one weekend, one holiday  every month to revise everything read and written since the last. Don’t take trouble mugging up.  Just go through, one more time.

Clinicals

By clinicals I mean the clinical skills. You need to have sound clinical knowledge- the theory. Watch carefully and imitate in the wards. Learn the techniques. Keyword here is practice. Practice in patients, practice in mind. One particular thing I’d do was, I used to imagine I am with a patient and imagine myself doing the procedure. Step by step.

You can also write down all the steps and the manners they should be executed in a notebook- and while you practice on one friend (or patient) and ask another friend to watch with the notebook on hand. And mark the mistakes you made or steps you missed. Practice until it comes naturally to you.  Do this and you will save a lot of time during exams.

 

Holidays

We love holidays. Major holidays define our engagement by themselves, be it Dashain, Tihar, Eid or Christmas.  We do what we are supposed to do. Its wonderful being with the family, after pretty long intervals. For me, every time I used to go back home, I used to feel huge sense of responsibility for the hopes and dreams my mom and dad saw had me. It made me feel guilty when I was living a careless/carefree life, not doing what I was supposed to do, not living upto their expectations .  This sense of remorse, caught me hooked me up with devotion dedication stuffs. For how happy my mom and dad were to hear my good results- all the trouble I took, every efforts I made, all the time I spent with books- it made it all worthwhile.

Work hard, get good results. One sure shot way to make your parents proud of you. Now, you want that. Don’t you?

Plus, religious holidays give us time to foster our faith. To make promises to that Deity we believe in, and to ask for Good lucks. Goodluck’s good.

On other holidays that come scattered. Some you can relax.  Some you got to keep your head down and study. Revise class notes. Make more notes. Clarify few topics by going through text books again and again. Try to remember the things to remember. Practice techniques. Just be loyal to yourself. You will know which

Exams

You can’t prepare well for exams right before the exam. Its preparation throughout the year. But the final touch matters. Prepare mentally for exams. Realize how big and important this is, and how sincere you have to be, but don’t get intimidated. Keep your cool. Did you do like I said all the time, last semester? If you did, I think this exam is going to be a piece of cake for you. And even if you didn’t (I myself did not, though I wish I did) there’s no reason to panic. Now don’t waste your time. This one month or something, eat book, sleep book , drink cocacola(trying to sound worldcup- such is the magnitude). Ignore things that disturb you, avoid thoughts that make you sad, bid farewell to activities that gulp your time. Still keep your feel good factors, like talking home or to your good friends.

Read every topic. Read notes you’ve made. Talk with seniors about important questions and discuss answers. Everyone have their own style of study. I like to sit on chair with ‘related’ books piled up on the table. Everything I might need to check out, within my range. I like reading and trying to remember the points while I scribble down on paper. And I start a topic and finish it. I make notes on pieces of paper and paste them all over my table and walls. ACRONYMS is something everybody is fond of and I like them too. I’d share some on my future posts. I like to study in a silent room. I’d like coffee too. This is my style. By now, you’d have your own preferences. Choose the style that suits you.

Just Before Exam

Eat good clean food. For the dinner night before, not much calorie but protein (yes I had googled it out). As for breakfast, I couldn’t go to exam hall on empty stomach. But some prefer to eat nothing. Suit yourself.

Sleep. At least four hours. Or at least sleep some.

In viva formats, its sometimes possible to know what questions examiners tend to ask. What patients  are provided for short and long case examinations? Who’s the external? What has he specialized in? Internal? Good idea to go through his lectures one more time.

While you can take your time, think and then write for written form of exams, for viva and practicals, the reaction time is too little and often it so happens that you fail to tell something you know very well or blurt out something stupid. So your mental workout is got to be strong. When you walk down the hall towards the examiners, when your heart is thumping hard and fast, tell  yourself  this, ’I am going sit in front of them, they are going to ask me questions, and I’m gonna do ******* good.’ Confidence

 

And one more thing,

Goodluck!


41 comments on “How to Study Effectively and Get Good Results?(Tips to Medical Students)

  1. angela says:

    great tips! will try to follow it for sure:)

  2. Prince says:

    Very nice and practical tips with all funs included bro…. Thankx alot
    Will follow some of them

  3. sudsa says:

    good tips… will try to apply it..

  4. Great tips but u didn’t mention what to do if u have to study the same thing again n again bcoz ur exams have been postponed for like indefinite days…:( and when u sit to study u get alchi saying lots of time left and when u are having fun,you feel a strong guilt for not studying…

    • chirayur says:

      haha.. hai? I used to suffer from that back in Bangladesh, when we had exams and long gaps in between. din bhari khelyo, beluki thakai lagne- couldn’t study- ani raati rati guilty feel hune- but next day same thing happened!
      Until I told myself- her bhai esto tal le hudaina.. and I pledged myself.
      So my tip to you is- Take a break- dui tin din- dont even touch a book or worry about studying- but in the mean time- commit to urself- yo din dekhi padchu bhanera- write it down, and sign it! Plan- make a list of things u got to emphasize on- commonly asked/things u r weak at and work accordingly.
      About being alchi- wake up early- go for walks. Stay active- give urself positive reinforcements- like I’m so much more than this procrastinating manche.
      About repeating study materials- u’d have to if u want to remember. But bujhera padhne ho. Ani if u make little notes with essential points- they come very handy in revising!
      Good luck wid exams Shradha🙂

  5. syafika says:

    i found your post very late. only one week left to my pro exm. feel like dying😥 nway thnx for those great tips but it wont beneficial till i practice it.

    • chirayur says:

      Don’t know if that is just a form of an expression, but I find ‘feel like dying’ very disturbing. It doesn’t matter if u haven’t prepared nicely, results tend to give happy surprises. I’m sure you will do good, and remember its JUST an exam. Life is much much more than that.. keep faith, and take it easy. All the best.. do tell how it turns out to be 🙂

  6. da59 says:

    thank you very much for this article it will really help some of us in the near future.

    • chirayur says:

      thank you, its great that you find it helpful!

      • Stanley Jr Kaundula says:

        So what books are particularly outstanding for first year medicine? And can you please notify me on websites were i can download free ebooks.

      • chirayur says:

        hey! sorry for being so late to reply. About good books for first year med school, Grey’s anatomy is outstanding. For physio,Ganong is short and concise, while Guyton explains things elaborately. Harper’s biochemistry is a good book, I recommend lange series of medical books, which are very readers friendly. You might get these books on torrent,but I don’t think thats legat. Most books come with a dvd containing a soft version, something you can share among friends. Good luck!.

  7. medicwannabe says:

    Awesome tips!! thanks so much for posting this!

  8. Silky Neha says:

    i am in MBBS final year.please can you give me some tips for final year..

  9. Shanta Kumari says:

    I am a student of kmc…I failed in paper 1..now i have my paper 2 exams in a month.. i had studied but i don’t know what went wrong..please help..

    • chirayur says:

      hey there! sorry for replying so late. First thing first, med schools is not just about passing, its about learning, learning from failures too.
      Reflect, reflect on the whole thing. Might be a little depressing but you have to try and find out what went wrong. Evaluate yourself, is there any room for improvement? Consult with seniors/friends- its good to know other people’s point of view as well, on exams/questions.
      Still, if you think you were just unlucky last time, I bet you will pass flying colors now. Goodluck!

  10. nidhin jayesh says:

    i have just passed my 12th exam.i like to go for medicine.i think ur tips will work

  11. Jibril says:

    Nice tips. I’ve not tried them yet, but I know they’ll SOOO work. Thanks.

  12. Shivani Mankar says:

    This article is great!
    How about you write another one on best books to study from?I am planning on pursuing medicine too. X_X I am sure a lot of students will look forward for it!

    • chirayur says:

      Ohh Shivani! Thank you for the appreciation. I will surely do that, when I find time. As a practicing doctor- I don’t have much. But soon I will be back to studies- preparing for PG. I will come up with something useful🙂

  13. Sharon says:

    thank you so very very much… you’ve saved a life, even by reading the comments and replies that were given I feel enlightened. .. thanks a bunch

  14. Sharon says:

    well, I’d like to be your friend on Facebook, I don’t know how possible that would be, I’d really like to converse with you a lot. so, if there’s anyway, maybe you can give me your full name so I can add you .thanks
    ps.. in case you are worried about me having ulterior motives… am 16..and nice (like that would help)…

  15. Anveshna says:

    Thanks sir,
    this article was really inspiring. And your tips are very practical & helpful, especially the notemaking technique- taking class notes on only one side of notebook. Great!🙂 I wonder why this never occured to me before..i used to get lost in piles of notebooks( & even lost them sometimes😛 ). THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!

  16. L@ZY says:

    you said the course is not meant for lazy peple…..but if you are that one in a 100 people where your super lazy but manage to grab a seat in the entrance exam….how can a lazy person go about mbbs…or at least how can he become non lazy??? the person tailor made for the mbbs course

  17. sujan says:

    but m lazy and already started mbbs😦

  18. athera says:

    i am in my second year of mbbs and dint realise how to study til now.. i will follow these tips right now and will try to rock just like i did in my school days🙂 Thanks loads and loads for giving me the answer i wanted:):)

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