6 Study Strategies that Work for Medical Students

6 Study Strategies that Work for Medical Students
6 Study Strategies that Work for Medical Students

Studying can be stressful as the exams start nearing. If you are a medical student, you will feel
more pressure due to the sheer amount of information you need to remember. Therefore, you 
need strategies to ensure that your efforts reflect good marks. Here are 6 study strategies
for medical students that prove to be helpful.


1. Take Practice Tests

Young woman taking test in job assessment center
Young woman taking the test in job assessment center

Practice makes a man perfect.’ You can apply this proverb as a study strategy. You can take several practise tests to prepare better for the main exam. Use these practice tests to
familiarize yourself with the material and format of the test. This will boost your confidence for
the exam and ensure you won’t feel as nervous.


2. Study in Short Bursts

Study in Short Bursts
Asian businesswoman looking at work on laptop computer with satisfaction and stretching arms in the air.

Cramming a week before the exam is highly ineffective. You won’t be able to focus as
effectively in one night and forget most of the information by the next day. You
certainly won’t retain the information after the exam. Instead of cramming, aim to spread 
your study sessions across multiple short sessions instead of ‘binge-studying.’ Limiting these
study sessions to 30 minutes will ensure maximum attention span. Anything more than that, you
will start daydreaming.


3. Change Study Areas

Change Study Areas
Change Study Areas

It wouldn’t be unusual for you to stick it out behind your study desk for the entire preparation
period. However, numerous cognitive researches show that when you study in the same place all
the time, it will affect your memory recall. The new exam setting might even catch you off-guard
on the exam day. Therefore, try switching the study areas so that it will help you recall the
material irrespective of the environment.


4. Explain to Someone Else

Student Student Talking
Student Talking

This is a very efficient method to prepare for USMLE step 1 and remember what you study. You
may require a second person to help you out with this strategy. Pick a study buddy and explain to
them everything you know about the material. Doing this will help you remember better, and
answering your study buddy’s doubts will help with critical thinking skills, help you gain a new
perspective about some topic or bring to your attention in case you missed a crucial topic.


5. Consolidate Notes

Student Note Taking
Student Note-Taking

Making notes is a widespread activity; however, you can further consolidate these notes to
help improve your analytical skills. Determine which concepts you can group and how
you can concisely express them. Keep the information in one place to help you
grasp the material better. Don’t try to fit in all the concepts on one page, as some subjects will be
more complex and will lose important information if you focus on just cutting it down to one


6. Map It Out

Map It Out
Map It Out

If you are a visual learner, you can ‘map’ out the study material instead of just writing it down on
paper. First, plot each element of information with the details pertaining to it. For instance, if
you are studying Pathology, write down all the possible symptoms. Then, visually mark the clusters of
symptoms that indicate different diseases. Doing this will help you see how the information
relates to each other. In addition, the visual aspect will help you recall the information in a better way.

There are numerous study tips for medical students, but you must study based on
the strategies that suit you. For example, every student seems to overlook the most significant end of getting enough
sleep in the months leading to the exams and the night before. This helps retain long-term memory and helps you recall everything you studied on the exam day.