If you have questions or concerns related to managing the volume and pace of material in medical school, you're not alone. Explore the resources below, which have been selected based on the research of successful medical students and common challenges faced by College of Medical M1 students.
To find learning and study strategies focused on specific topics (e.g., note-making, creating study aids, developing a study plan, test-taking, or time management) and relevant research, visit the content in Learning and Study Resources.
Effective strategies for learning and studying in medical education
- Study Without Stress: Mastering Medical Sciences by Kelman and Straker (2000). I highly recommend this book as one of your "go to" resources for tips and strategies related to time management, study schedules, prereading, reading and note making, creating study aids, self-testing strategies, and more.
- How to Excel in Medical School by Saks and Saks (2007). This book provides an overview of effective study strategies, and then offer specific approaches to studying content (e.g., anatomy, biochemistry, pathophysiology, genetics, microbiology, pharmacology, neuroscience, and physiology).
- How to Study Video Series. Access this video series developed by Dr. Stephen Chew, Professor and Chair, Psychology Department, Belmont University, to learn how to develop a mindset for learning, correct misconceptions about learning, learn how to learn, optimize learning, and respond to a bad grade on an exam.
- Study Less Learn More. This ebook was developed by Michael Wiederman, Ph.D., Director of Faculty Development, University of South Carolina School of Medicine – Greenville, and focuses on strategies to enhance learning, attention, memory, motivation, and more. Shared with permission granted by Dr. Wiederman April 24, 2015.
- How to Study for Standardized Tests by Sefcik, Bice, and Prerost (2013). This book offers practice, easy to implement strategies focused on understanding test blueprints, strategies for obtaining high scores, identifying resources, managing time, practicing skills, enhancing performance, managing the clock, minimizing test anxiety, and more!
Strategies specific to success in medical education
- Starting Strong in Medical School. Access this handout to learn more about the importance of Student Learning Objectives(SLOs) and pre-reading to set yourself up for successful learning experiences.
- Develop a " High-Impact Approach to Learning." Access this handout for a systematic approach to learning.
- Frequently Asked Questions/Frequently Heard Comments. Visit this site developed by UC San Diego School of Medicine to learn strategies for active learning, benefits of attending lecture, strategies for making notes, how to practice for course exams, and more.
Reading and note-making
- Organizing Notes in Medical School and Residency. This blog, by medical students at Baylor College of Medicine, overviews various apps used to help organize notes, effective tools in apps (e.g., find), and offer tips for studying using notes.
- Reading – Creating and Consolidating Notes. Review this PowerPoint to learn more about the SQ3R method of reading, examples of ways to turn notes into study tools, tips for taking and organizing notes, and examples of note organization in OneNote.
Enhancing your approach to clinical thinking
Check out this recorded webinar series to enhance your approach to clinical thinking and to learn effective strategies for reading, analyzing, and answering NBME – and board-style questions.
- Foundational Strategies Webinar Series: (The password is "step1method". Please do not share the password.)
M2 tips for M1s: What learning or study strategies helped you enhance your performance this first year? (June 2016)
- Prepare for the week
- Read the text
- Go over lecture slides the day you have the lecture
- Go to lecture
- Ask questions
- Complete the SLO's
- Organize notes using the SLO's as a guide
- Doing anything active with the PowerPoints (mind maps, flow charts, etc.)
- Make flashcards
- Work practice questions alongside coursework
- Stay on top of material
- Organize group study sessions
- Go through PBL and CBL cases on your own and take notes
- Do something every day
- Schedule "Me" time
- Make sure you sleep