*Deperately Needed Advice*

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    Hello All,

    I need some help – some advice. I have just returned to school after deciding two years ago that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine. My problem was that I never had done consistently well in school, sometimes I got A’s sometimes I even failed. So I decided I would fight this battle head on and tackle the academic demons to the ground. It is six weeks into my first semester and I am feeling immense frustration already, getting upset and angry at myself and discovering that I don’t know how to study very well – hence I waste a lot of time. I got in a big argument last night with my bf cause I was mad at myself and took it out on him. :guilty:
    I want so badly to win this one… so I am wondering:

    – What are some study techniques that you find really work/worked for you?
    – What keeps you motivated and focused when you feel hopeless?
    – How do you direct your stress elsewhere?
    – What would you consider to be the most important attribute of a pre-medical student?

    Your advice and thoughts are appreciated more than you know!

    🙂 Elliott


    What are some study techniques that you find really work/worked for you?

    I have to make sure that I prepare with enough days prior to an exam. What works well is if you have an exam covering 9 chapters then try to start studying 10 days out (one per chapter) and one day to review or maybe two chapters per day depending on your abilties. The notes only approach does not cut it for many science classes. Often times (I tutor a lot of science so I speak from experience) many students just rely on the notes and they end up not doing so hot on the exam and then wonder why. The notes are just “highlights” of the information, there is no way that a professor can possibly cover all the material in each chapter thoroughly so the student has to pick up the bits and pieces on their own at their own time. Yeah this takes more time and often times students are just plain lazy (not including you of course) and want the easy way out so they just study the notes and then they bomb the exam. Also to gain a better understanding you just may have to read the book. So, read the chapters if you can prior to class, then read the notes you took, then read the chapter again (this is to be done all the time if possible, not just for exams). Then by the time exam time comes you will more than likely know most of the material. But for sure give yourself enough time to study do not do a cram session.

    – What keeps you motivated and focused when you feel hopeless?

    Right now I am in the senioritis mode with a ton of interviews and it is hard. Taking 12 credit hours and missing most of my classes is tough. But I keep thinking of what lies ahead, med school. Just keep your eyes on the ball.

    – How do you direct your stress elsewhere? I workout all the time if possible. Cardio does the trick.

    – What would you consider to be the most important attribute of a pre-medical student?

    Diligence, ability to adapt quickly to different teaching styles, and just pure hard work. There is no easy way to get into med school and to survive med school. Compared to medical school undergrad is a walk in the park as far as volume of material and how fast they expect you to master it. So get used to the hard work early on. It can be done, but many things will have to be sacrificed at some point. I barely watch tv period and I do have down time but not a lot. I stay extremely busy all the time with school, volunteering, family, president of a campus organization, etc. I come home cook, spend time with family and study. If I have an exam I do not cook, just study the whole day/night whatever I have to do to succeed in that class and learn the material well. I guess there is no easy answer, but you have to dig deep inside and find out if you are willing/wanting to put in the time…..


    Hi, Elliot.

    I have been “going back to school” for about 6 years. First, I went back to do pre-reqs for my RN degree; then got my RN; took a year off and began my MS in Nursing. A couple of things that are KEY for me:

    1. Make flashcards. :goodvibes:

    Like efex101, I try not to get behind in my studying. It’s much easier to stay current than to cram at the last minute. It also helps the stress level before exams! 😎

    Remember, we all have been given 24 hours each day to use as we choose. Try to grab the MINUTES when you have just a few, and they add up to HOURS over time! 😉

    Best of luck to you. I hope thinks will be looking up soon! :yes:


    Thank you so much for both of your replies, definetly helpfull. I went to my lab exam and did well last night, I didn’t hesitate to answer any of the questions. It’s just a waiting game now to see how I did… :crossfingers:
    I think I am just not used to knowing things for exams so I assume I don’t and I panic, which was what happened yesterday – hence my incorrect spelling in the topic for this thread… totally out to lunch.
    I am making the best of the situation, having this support network sure helps!

    Thanks again,



    Hi Elliot!
    I plan out my studies like crazy and give myself an extra day or two in the schedule in case “life happens” and I get sick, etc.

    That way I don’t get freaked out by all the material I need to learn when I sit down to study.
    I just start with the next section I marked off and go from there.

    I also keep telling myself, “I can do anything for 15 minutes!” if I’m having trouble getting myself to just sit down and study. I use a timer and set it for 15 minutes then go!
    Usually by the time the timer rings, I’m so engrossed that I re-set it for 30 minutes!

    But if I feel the need to get up and do somthing after the timer rings, I just set it again for 5 minutes and do whatever I want/need until the timer rings again.

    Before I know it, I’ve both studied and done some laundry, washed a dish or two, made my bed… and feel like I got a lot done.

    Good luck- I’ll be thinking about you!


    EM momEM mom

    My best advice is to find somewhere other than your house to study-I always did best in the library or at a coffee shop. If you are your house you will undoubtedly find something else that “needs” to be done! Also, definately give yourself enough time-drsoon is SO right that you should plan for a “sick” day, whenever you need to study the most, it is inevitable that something will happen! Good luck…you CAN DO IT!


    Hi. I haven’t taken my science classes yet so I can’t give you any advice for them. I’m taking a math class now and it’s one of those things where I just have to study–do ALL the homework problems. I do them on the bus/metro. on my way to/from work and at home. Sometimes, I go to a library or Starbucks if I need a change of scenery. I try to work in 2-hour blocks. After about 2 hours, I start to “fade” so then I switch to something else. My personal strategy is to do a little bit each day. I count up the # of problems I need to do and then divide by 6. (I don’t do any problems the night of class). It’s a little anal-retentive but it keeps me organized.

    For stress, depending on how severe it is or what I’m in the mood for: I either work out to “work it off” or slow down to “chill.” Slowing down usually means watching TV or reading a book (for fun) or even sleeping if I can squeeze in nap.

    I hope this helps.


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