Surviving & thriving in the first year of medical school

Hey, Congrats! You got accepted to medical school! Nice! So now that you’re in – how do you succeed? They say that learning in med school is “like
drinking from a fire hose” – it can be overwhelming. But don’t worry! There are four basic ways to make sure that
you’re in control – you can work on your study skills, create healthy habits, manage
your money, and avoid getting overloaded with your options. Let’s start with study skills. In short, how you study is just as important
as what you study. You might have made it through college by
cramming the night before a test, but that’s not going to get you through med school successfully. Unlike different subjects in undergrad, in
med school the information builds upon itself – meaning that just because you finish a class,
you can’t forget what you learned. So there are some proven learning strategies
that you should take advantage of – like interleaving, where you mix up the order of what you learn. As well as spaced repetition, where you study
material over different periods of time depending on how well you know that information. Both of these strategies help you retain information
and maximize the effectiveness of your study time. It so happens that the Osmosis learning platform
incorporates these strategies to make them an automatic part of how you study. Now, in addition, some students love studying
in groups initially, and then splitting off to work alone, whereas others like to do the
opposite. The key here is to figure out what works for
each class, and be willing to experiment until you feel like you have an approach that works. Alright, so next, you should make sure you
develop healthy habits. Days will get busy when you are in medical
school, so it’s important to get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat healthy food to
keep you performing at your best. Also, you can’t study all the time and not
expect to burn out. Make sure you have a support system that you
can turn to for help or when you need a break. Spending time with friends and family, talking
to a trusted mentor, or getting outdoors are great ways to reduce stress and can help recharge
those batteries. Now – it’s impossible to talk about medical
school without discussing money management. Unfortunately the costs do add up quickly
– tuition, housing, textbooks, medical tools, board exams, and all of the other costs of
day-to-day living. The median debt of a US medical student after
graduation is close to $200,000. Every dollar you take out now you will have
to pay back with interest later. So be savvy about your spending. Look for ways to reduce your expenses, like
living with a roommate, or choosing more affordable housing and cooking at home. The bottom line is that every dollar counts. Finally, it’s easy to get overloaded by
options. You may be tempted to immediately dive into
a lot of different activities, like research, advocacy work, clinical work, sports, or community
service – it’s really hard to fit everything in. So, don’t be afraid to take your time and
figure out what really matters to you, and don’t feel bad about saying “no” to
someone or something, even if it seems really rewarding. Your time is precious, and you should save
it for the things that you value most. So congracts again on your acceptance to medical
school! As you prepare, just remember to think about
your study skills, forming healthy habits, money management, and avoiding option overload,
and you’ll have an awesome first year!


  1. Great Video! I love the holistic way you approached this question! It is really cool at UBC medical school they have radically changed the curriculum to build in those effective study techniques you mentioned in the video. Also, I am a huge advocate of healthy sleeping habits and eating and exercise. Love this keep it up. I come to watch all your videos every week in preparation for CBL.

  2. Can you please tell me how do u make such wonderful videos?? Any particular software? Please let me know. I'm too damn curious!!! Love your videos😊

  3. Hi thank you! Really useful information. Our's russian school is not so hard like a lot of western, but these rules (every) help us too. I tried to cram on the 1st year – but it is dead trick. My friends help me with understanding anatomy and histology. It was very important for me to work in groups with my friends. Thanks them a lot 🙂

  4. I guess the first and most important step in self-improvement is being able to reflect on yourself. Without self reflection, many students will keep repeating the same wrong methods while studying as they don't pay attention to what works for them and what doesn't.

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