The First Year of Medical School: What to Expect

For years, you have been focused on gaining admission to medical school.  For some of you, this has been a dream since high school or even earlier.  You have gone through your undergraduate schooling, taken the MCAT, completed the interviews… and now you are finally ready to begin your first year of medical school.  If you are like many of my students, you have no idea what to expect.  Below is a brief taste of what to expect during your first year of medical school:

1) Studying, studying… and more studying. Yes, you really will be studying every bit as much as you have been told you will be.  Your pre-med courses, such as human anatomy, should have given you an idea of the type of attention to detail that is required to succeed in medical school.  But the classes you are about to begin will take this focus to another level.  You will learn about the human body in breathtaking detail.  There is simply no way to succeed without hours and hours of studying… so be prepared! 

2) Frequent exams. For most courses, you will take exams every five weeks or so.  This means that it is important to stay caught up with the class material, as you simply won’t have the time to catch up before your exam.  Exams will be a much bigger part of your medical school experience than they were of your undergraduate degree—so if your test-taking skills need work, do whatever you have to do to be ready!

3) Competing demands for your time. Medical school is stressful and time consuming.  Between attending classes, keeping up with the reading, and preparing for exams, you won’t have much time left in the day for anything else.  Unfortunately, many medical students develop bad eating habits, fail to regularly exercise, and often don’t even have the time to keep up friendships.  Time management is a critical skill for any med school student—if you hope to succeed, you need to be discipline when it comes to your time!

Your first year of medical school is going to be difficult, no question about it.  But if you are prepared to put in the work and are ready to manage your time efficiently, you will excel.  If you would like further information or help preparing for your first year of medical school, please get in touch with me today!

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