• Succeed in Medical School

TSR Wiki > University > Choosing a Subject > Medicine > Succeed in Medical School

Medical school is an intense 5 years of working to obtain all the knowledge and skills needed to be a physician. While you will undoubtedly need lots of tips and instructions along the way, here are a few general principles that will help you succeed in your pursuit to becoming a doctor.


1. Work hard. You will probably find you have gone from being a big fish in a small pond to being a teeny fish in a massive ocean. You will be told that you're academically excellent to have got to medical school... Don't believe the hype! In order to get into medical school, you have to possess some over-achiever qualities. Now that you’re in, you need to stay in! Believe in yourself, but remember you probably do need to work!

2. Create a schedule. Figure out at the beginning of a course what you need to learn, and schedule yourself specific time to learn it. Hoping to get everything done is NEVER as effective as making a specific study schedule and sticking to it. It really is a lot easier to motivate yourself to study anatomy every day from 3-5pm than it is to learn it all in the last few days before an exam. Remember that there is a lot to know, and if you don’t put in the time, you are not going to learn what you need to know! More importantly you MUST timetable some you time. All work and no play makes Jack a VERY dull boy...

3. Work with others. Whether it’s for regular study time or weekly review, working with classmates can help you focus on what’s important, motivate you, and keep your spirits up. Working with other people also gives you a chance to pick up bits of information that you really want to know.

4. Don’t get discouraged. After a lifetime of being number one, it can be hard to be surrounded by so many people that are smarter, more hard-working, or more talented than you. First, remember that if you got into medical school, that is evidence that you rock and you deserve to be there. Secondly, remember that there is more to learn in medicine than any one person could ever possibly remember, so don’t expect to be an overnight expert in all things human. If you need to, take the night off and focus on what’s really important in life, which, trust me, is NOT your grades, or even whether or not you become a physician. Be satisfied with doing your best, and get back to studying the next day with fresh resolve to learn everything you can in order to become the best doctor you can be!

5. On clinicals turn up and stay in! Needless to say, interesting stuff does not usually happen on a ward round, and junior doctors often do not have time to do things with you until late afternoon. Take revision/the Cheese and Onion/whatever in with you and if there's nothing to do by 11am, then sit at the nurses desk and revise a topic. That way when the fun stuff kicks off you will be around, and you're not wasting vast amounts of time standing there like a lemon!


Don't be afraid to seek help if your pursuit for success leads to symptoms of depression. Many, many a medical student before you has struggled with this disease, and you owe it to yourself, your friends, your family, and your future patients to get the help you need.

Keep a healthy lifestyle, this will help you stay positive and also in your studies. For example a lot of people go to the gym, keeping yourself healthy is vital - in terms of your study and future career, after all, being obese or anorexic doesn't inspire much confidence in your patients does it?

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