Quora, Med School and the Best Study Habits for PreMed Students!

For this week’s post, I’ll be trying out something a little different. I like to punctuate my serious study guide posts with occasional light-hearted and fun posts. When browsing the internet for topics to write, I had a brilliant idea. In case you’ve never heard of it, Quora is a website where people ask questions and anyone in the community can answer. It’s a pretty cool forum and you can find a multitude of topics. Since I’m signed up to Quora, I also get their newsletter of sorts every week or so and I am forced to admit that I’ve spent a lot of time reading the featured questions and answers (I’m sorry, I’m a sucker for stories). This gave me an idea: what if I wrote a post where I answered some of the questions on Quora? Sounds like a good idea, right?

After searching here and there, I finally made a list of five questions that I would like to answer on my own blog. I’ll spoil the surprise beforehand: they’re all med school related. Whether it’s general questions, fun questions or study related questions, I tried including various topics all under the umbrella of med school, since that’s really all I’m qualified to answer. Are you ready for it? Well then, let’s get started.

What do med students do on weekends?

I’m not exactly the typical med student, but if there was one thing (for sure) that I knew med students do, it’s sleeping. Most med students don’t get their usual eight hours of sleep during the weekdays because there’s just not enough hours in the day to study. Students usually end up compromising hours of sleep for hours of study and decide to make up for it on the weekends.

What medical students do on the weekend otherwise depends on what kind of person they are. I know plenty of med students who spend their weekend out with friends and doing fun things. I know other med students who use the weekend to go home and spend time with their family. Yet other med students spend the two days trying to catch up on studying they missed out on the previous week as well as to step forward with the studies for next week. We also have some students who like to indulge in leisure with binge-watching shows and playing video games that they couldn’t do during the weekdays.

And then you have med students like me. Once I’m done catching up on my hours of sleep, I usually plan to write blog posts. My goal for every weekend is to write and publish a post as well as do all the promotion for it (schedule tweets and post updates on Facebook and Reddit). This is my primary goal for the weekend. The secondary goals are centered around my monthly goals, which are all related to studying. For example, I will be studying Neuro-anatomy, physiology, and pathology this weekend as well as doing a couple of questions.



I also wish I could go through the things I’m studying in school right now, like my surgery clerkship and all of that, but it’s hard to juggle so many things and since the clerkship isn’t relatively that important, I’ve decided to let it slide in favor of the USMLE. I also wish I could do some more art and painting, but that also has become difficult to adjust. I have quite a few mini-projects that I’ve been hoarding for a few days now that I should probably get to.

Essentially? The average med student will agree that the weekend is never enough for all the things they want to do.

Can the average medical student make it through med school just by working hard?

Pretty much! Hard work is the only thing that can get you what you want. I’m an average medical student; I’m not super smart, I’m not able to answer all the questions asked of me and I also manage to score perfectly in the average marks of the class, which all sound like the classical hallmarks of “average” student if you asked me.

I work really hard, yes. I make a lot of notes (pretty ones) because I can’t just read and remember things. If I write things down, I remember them a little better, but not enough as most people would, so I have to read my notes over and over until the repetition hammers concepts into my head. If writing notes for everything and reading them over and over doesn’t count as hard work, then I don’t know what is.

It probably depends a lot on your learning style though. Some people learn by writing, others learn by drawing, yet others learn by watching and hearing. As long as you figure out what your style is and put genuine effort into what you do, you can definitely get through med school. Being a doctor isn’t just about intelligence, it’s also about persistence, patients and staying motivated.

Are med students boring?

They’re actually not! They just appear boring because it’s been forever since they’ve talked to someone who isn’t a med student, so if you let them take the conversation, it’s definitely going to go down the boring path of medicine and studying (although a couple of med students have passions in things so strong that it leaks into any and all conversations they ever start) which is why you should be the one picking the topic to converse on instead!

Bring up the latest Marvel movie. Talk about the cricket match. I guarantee that once you get started, you’ll realize we’re not boring! We love to talk and party as much as you do. It’s just that meeting new, different types of people outside of a professional setting causes us to appear a little awkward and perhaps to some people, even boring.



How do med students study?

I’ve mentioned this before but everyone has their own styles of studying. I’d also like to add some subjects also require their own style of studying. For example, anatomy cannot be written out. It needs to be drawn and looked at and explored and correlated. On the other hand, there’s not much drawing that you can do on a subject like biochemistry, which is pretty much cold hard facts and reactions.

There are, however, a couple of things that I think every med student should be using while they are studying:
– Youtube videos. There are absolute gems on Youtube like khanacademymedicine, Osmosis, and AnatomyZone.
– Lecture videos like Kaplan, Dr Najeeb, Goljan, and Pathoma.
– Flashcards, more specifically Anki for constant revision.
– Review books

And of course, if you are interested in reading up more about how med students study, be sure to check out the complete guide on how to study pathology, microbiology, pharmacology, and medicine. I have a post about histology coming up soon!

What are the best study habits of pre-med students?

If you asked me, pre-meds have it tougher than med students since they have to score the very best they possibly can in order to get into a field which is highly competitive. You need fantastic grades and even better MCAT scores to be able to even have a chance of getting into med school. Medical students have it a little easier- we don’t have to stress out as much. The bar for performance is significantly lower (all you have to do is stay afloat!) and there are no flaming hoops to jump through.

Which brings me to the point that if pre-med students have good study habits that are helping them achieve their goal of getting into med school, the chances of them doing well in med school is fairly high. But what are these good study habits? Here are a couple of them:

Read things up before class. This is a piece of advice that teachers keep giving to students, but it’s actually really useful. Read things up before class so that you have an idea of what you’re about to learn and it will also help you figure out the tough parts of the topic that you are going to want to ask questions about! Double points there, cause now you’re also going to look good to the teacher for taking an interest!

Consolidate information. There are a variety of ways that this can be done, from watching additional lecture material to writing notes to making flashcards. All of these are different methods of getting information to stick in your head. A good student shouldn’t just read, understand and then forget! Go through the topic every now and then to keep things fresh in your mind.

Do your assignments as early as possible. I really wish I had this study habit going on, but I am, unfortunately, an extraordinary procrastinator. We all know how beneficial it is to do assignments early- there’s less stress, more breathing room and also a generally better performance. Despite knowing all of this, I still procrastinate, which has lead me to believe that doing this early is a study habit that should be inculcated into students as early as possible and made into a very strong, unbreakable habit.

Have a healthy study schedule. Studying all the time without any breaks is a great way to burn yourself out and make yourself irritable and also make studying an absolute chore. It’s much better and efficient to study in sessions of 45 to 15 minutes (45 minutes of studying for 15 minutes of break) so that you have blocks of studying with absolutely no distractions (yes, that means putting your phone away and also being strict with internet browsing) and breaks to help put your mind at ease before starting to study again. It’s also a good idea to keep a glass of water and other light snacks (that aren’t messy) nearby so that your brain is getting glucose for all the work you’re putting it through!

 

Well, that’s enough Quora questions for this post! I hope you found some of these useful. If you did, please let me know in the comments or tweet your opinions at me! I love getting feedback on how I’m doing! If you’re interested in getting similar content like this, subscribe to the newsletter here for a quarterly update. Have a nice day!

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Author: Kanra Khan

I'm a Pakistani American student of medicine, or more precisely, an almost-graduate of MBBS Class of 2019. I like to write about my experiences in med school and my adventures in life, which range from traveling, to art, to blogging and photography. Like what you're seeing so far? Consider exploring a bit more! The Lunar Descent is endless.

5 Replies to “Quora, Med School and the Best Study Habits for PreMed Students!

  1. Hi, came here from Twitter! Glad to find a blog of a med student. Been looking for some med student blogs to follow! Looking forward to read more posts like this!

    – Najmah, 1st year Med Student from Philippines.

  2. There’s actually some really helpful advice here! I also thought it was super interesting to hear more about the med student life. I follow some vloggers on YouTube that are in med school and they sure work HARD.
    I’m currently a social work student but I’m thinking of going to law school when I have the sufficient amount of credit, and I’m a little scared of the workload haha. I do find that reading up before class and taking notes during lectures is suuuper helpful for retaining information!

  3. This is a really interesting post Kanra . I totally agree with you – hard work and pretty notes is the key to learning . I am studying Medicinal Chemistry with the Open University and have tons of colourful notes and flash cards which are so helpful. These are great tips! I wish you all the best with your studies xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

  4. Even though I am not in school anymore, it’s pretty cool to see how med students live their life! I feel like med students do the same thing as most students, I am like you with the blog posts XD. Either way, I am glad you guys get to have some life balance. Yes! Working hard gets you through! I am jealous of those who can make little efforts and still do really well on exams.

    I like the way you study! Thanks for the tips!

    https://exquisitely.me

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