Shelf Exam

17 Med School Studying Techniques To Study Smarter & Faster

Ace your exams with these proven med school studying techniques specifically designed for medical students. Study smarter, not harder!

Jun 21, 2024

Shelf Exam

17 Med School Studying Techniques To Study Smarter & Faster

Ace your exams with these proven med school studying techniques specifically designed for medical students. Study smarter, not harder!

Jun 21, 2024

Shelf Exam

17 Med School Studying Techniques To Study Smarter & Faster

Ace your exams with these proven med school studying techniques specifically designed for medical students. Study smarter, not harder!

Jun 21, 2024

woman working hard for Med School Studying
woman working hard for Med School Studying
woman working hard for Med School Studying

How long are shelf exams and are you looking for tips and techniques for studying effectively in medical school? Picture this: you're a medical student facing the daunting task of preparing for shelf exams. The pressure is mounting, and you're seeking effective study strategies to succeed. If this scenario resonates with you, fret not! This blog provides valuable insights to help you tackle the challenges of medical school studying effectively.

If you are searching for helpful tips and techniques to navigate how long are shelf exams, Otio's solution, AI research and writing partner, is a valuable tool to aid you in your quest. It can guide you in achieving your goals by offering valuable insights and strategies for studying effectively in medical school.

Table of Contents

What Makes Medical School So Hard To Study For?

man taking online classes - Med School Studying

Medical school is inarguably hard, and considering how long it takes to become a doctor, it seems even harder. Even for the most gifted students, it is a challenging and exhausting journey requiring discipline, passion, and hard work. But what exactly makes it so hard? 

Let’s go over what you will be facing as a medical student:

  • High volume of information and detail

  • Extremely complex subjects

  • Sky-high standards

  • Goals that seem unattainable

  • A lot of pressure

  • Fierce competition

It is no wonder that medical school is not for everyone. You may even wonder if it's the right fit. If you do things right and stick to a well-developed study system, you will not just survive medical school but even exceed your own academic expectations. The use of high-yield study techniques will play a big role in your exam performance, so try to find the ones that suit you best!

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What Are Some Common Study Mistakes Students Make?

man making notes - Med School Studying

Many well-known methods of learning have been passed down through generations of educators. We use them ourselves and teach them to the next generation—it's probably how you were taught to study! But it's not optimal for how your brain processes memories. Over the past 50 years, scientists have studied how the brain works, specifically how it processes memories. Based on the results of the empirical data, we now know that specific study techniques are not helpful for long-term learning.

There are six common studying mistakes medical students make:

  1. Reading and rereading the study material; highlighting and re-highlighting it until you know it.

  2. Studying one topic at a time. Move on to the next topic once you’ve mastered the first one.

  3. Studying at the same time and place each day, in a location free of distractions.

  4. Finding your learning style and studying accordingly.

  5. Writing way too many notes

  6. Cramming before exams.

Medical school is tough, and studying for it can be even tougher. This challenge is made unnecessarily difficult by medical students' common studying mistakes. Delving into these common mistakes is an essential first step in overcoming them, ultimately leading to improved studying practices and, consequently, better academic performance.

Otio: A Solution to Content Overload

Today, knowledge workers, researchers, and students suffer from content overload and are left to deal with it using fragmented, complex, and manual tooling. Too many settle for stitching together complicated bookmarking, read-it-later, and note-taking apps to get through their workflows. Now that anyone can create content with a button, this problem will only worsen. 

Otio solves this problem by providing researchers with one AI-native workspace. It helps them

1. Collect

A wide range of data sources, from bookmarks, tweets, and extensive books to YouTube videos. 

2. Extract key takeaways

With detailed AI-generated notes and source-grounded Q&A chat

3. Create

Draft outputs using the sources you've collected

Otio helps you go from the reading list to the first draft faster. Along with this, Otio also helps you write research papers/essays faster. Here are our top features loved by researchers: AI-generated notes on all bookmarks (Youtube videos, PDFs, articles, etc.), Otio enables you to chat with individual links or entire knowledge bases, just like you chat with ChatGPT, as well as AI-assisted writing. 

Let Otio be your AI research and writing partner — try Otio for free today!

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17 Med School Studying Techniques To Study Smarter & Faster

woman looking through chapters - Med School Studying

1. Make a Daily Study Schedule

Developing a daily study schedule is crucial for medical students to absorb the vast information required in their field. Students can keep up with continual learning by making studying a daily habit. This approach ensures you dedicate enough time to absorb and retain the vast medical knowledge you need to succeed.

2. Memorize With Mnemonics

Mnemonics are an effective learning technique that students can employ to remember complex medical information. Students can recall information systematically using creative devices like acronyms or phrases. This method aids in retaining significant amounts of physical and neurological details crucial for exams and clinical practice.

3. Use Visual Aids

Visual learners can benefit significantly from using diagrams, sketches, and other visual aids to understand difficult medical concepts better. Students can enhance their understanding and memory retention of critical medical knowledge by visually representing information.

4. Listen to Audio Lectures

Listening to audio lectures can help medical students retain information more effectively. Students can grasp information while engaging in other daily activities by taking advantage of recorded lectures or listening to audio representations of study materials. This method is particularly useful for students with busy schedules or diverse learning preferences.

5. Write Out Your Notes

Writing detailed notes and passages from study materials can significantly improve retention for medical students. Students enhance their understanding and memory of critical medical concepts by actively engaging with the information through writing. Written notes can be used to create flashcards for quick review and test preparation.

6. Take Practice Tests

Using practice tests is an excellent way for medical students to evaluate their retention of information and prepare for exams effectively. By creating question banks and simulating exam conditions, students can gauge their knowledge and focus on areas that require improvement. Reviewing incorrect answers and understanding the correct information for each question is essential for effective study.

7. Identify Your Ideal Learning Environment

Each student has unique preferences for an ideal study environment. Identifying the best environment with your learning style and minimizing distractions can enhance your study effectiveness. Medical students can optimize their learning experience and bolster knowledge retention by creating a conducive study space.

8. Schedule Self-Care

Ensuring self-care is essential for medical students, as maintaining balance is crucial for long-term success. Setting aside time for self-care, such as exercise, relaxation, or rewarding yourself for achievements, helps students recharge and stay motivated. Creating a vision board and setting goals can enhance student motivation and focus. 

9. Collaborate With a Study Group

Studying with peers in a study group can enhance learning outcomes for medical students. By collaborating with like-minded individuals, students can share knowledge, support each other, and divide study tasks effectively. Forming study groups with specific guidelines can ensure productive and focused study sessions.

10. Switch up Your Study Environment 

Varying study environments can aid in information retention for medical students. By changing study locations, students unconsciously engage their brains differently, improving memory recall and consolidation of new information. Interleaving study topics can further enhance connections between concepts and boost recall.

11. Use Spaced Repetition

Spaced repetition techniques can improve medical students' memory retention and learning outcomes. Students can reinforce understanding and make meaningful connections between diverse medical concepts by reviewing concepts at progressively longer intervals and interleaving study topics. Automating spaced repetition through apps like Anki can further optimize study efficiency.

12. Seek Counsel From School Staff

Leveraging the experience and expertise of school staff, counselors, and instructors can provide valuable guidance and support for medical students. Seeking assistance when facing challenges or falling behind can help students navigate the complexities of medical school more effectively. Proactive engagement with school resources can prevent students from feeling overwhelmed and enhance their learning experience.

13. Manage your time outside of class

Effective time management is essential for medical students to achieve their study goals and maintain a healthy balance. Prioritizing tasks, planning ahead, and establishing a consistent routine can boost student confidence and effectiveness. Students can optimize their study habits and performance by taking a day-by-day approach and incorporating breaks into study schedules.

14. Get quality sleep

Prioritizing quality sleep is critical for medical students to retain and consolidate information effectively. Pulling all-nighters can hinder memory retention and impact long-term learning outcomes. A regular sleep schedule and sufficient rest are vital for optimal academic performance and overall well-being.

15. Don’t Multitask

Multitasking can detract from effective studying for medical students. Students can focus deeply on study materials and enhance learning outcomes by eliminating distractions like TV, social media, or music with lyrics. Maintaining deep focus and avoiding multitasking can improve study efficiency and retention of critical medical knowledge.

16. Focus on High-Yield Information

Concentrating on high-yield information is essential for medical students to study more efficiently. Students can optimize their study time by prioritizing concepts that have a significant impact and focusing on frameworks, comparisons, and repeated concepts. Identifying high-yield information can help students streamline their study efforts and achieve better learning outcomes.

17. Stay encouraged

Maintaining motivation and perseverance is key for medical students facing the challenges of medical school. Despite the rigorous coursework and demanding curriculum, students should stay focused on their goals and initial motivations for pursuing a medical career. Students can navigate medical school's complexities and succeed academically by staying encouraged and resilient.

7 Useful Apps For Med School

woman finding apps - Med School Studying

1. Otio: AI Research and Writing Partner

Knowledge workers, researchers, and students often face content overload, leading to fragmented, manual, and complex processes for managing information. Otio is an AI-powered workspace designed to streamline research workflows. 

With Otio, users can collect data from various sources like bookmarks, tweets, and books, extract key takeaways using AI-generated notes and source-grounded Q&A chat, and create draft outputs swiftly. The app also offers AI-generated notes on all bookmarks, AI-assisted writing, and the ability to chat with individual links or entire knowledge bases. 

Otio serves as an all-in-one AI research and writing partner

2. Headspace: Daily Meditation Made Easy

Integrating meditation into your daily routine can be challenging, but apps like Headspace simplify the process. This app compiles meditation tutorials led by expert Andy Puddicombe, a trained Buddhist monk known for his soothing voice. 

Users only need to dedicate ten minutes daily to the app, selecting goals like better sleep, general mindfulness, or increased attention span. Meditation also offers proven effects on improving physiology and body chemistry. Both Headspace and Calm offer a 30-day free trial and monthly subscription plans.

3. Forest: Gamified Digital Health Experience

Forest is an app designed to reduce phone usage by gamifying digital health routines. Users start by planting a seed in a virtual terrarium, which grows as they spend less time on their phones. Users can grow communal forests with friends and family, fostering accountability. The developers have partnered with an environmental non-profit, promising to plant real trees if users grow enough virtual ones.

4. Pomodoro.cc: The Pomodoro Technique Online

Pomodoro.cc is a website dedicated to the Pomodoro technique, a productivity tip invented by a college student studying for finals. This technique involves working for ten minutes without breaks and then taking a five-minute relaxation break. The website lets users customize focused time blocks and breaks, aiding in efficient and productive study sessions.

5. Human Anatomy Atlas: 3D Anatomy Learning

Anatomy is a crucial part of medical education, with Human Anatomy Atlas providing a 3D atlas of the male and female body. The app boasts over 10,000 3D structures that users can explore from multiple viewpoints. Detailed definitions, pronunciations, Latin terms, and functionality explanations are included. The app also features a question bank with over 1,000 anatomy-related questions for study purposes.

6. Anki: Optimal Flashcard Studying

Anki is a flashcard app that optimally uses spaced repetition for effective study. It is a favorite among medical students for its flashcard feature and study benefits. Anki leverages flashcards and spaced repetition methods for maximum potential to enhance memorization and learning. 

7. Quizlet: Flashcard Testing App

Quizlet is a free app that helps test knowledge through flashcards. It connects users to a user-friendly website for flashcard creation. Users can generate, review, and test flashcards with many publicly available sets for MCAT and medical school study materials. Quizlet provides an efficient method of creating and sharing flashcards for seamless studying.

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Supercharge Your Researching Ability With Otio — Try Otio for Free Today

You grapple with enormous study material and information overload as a med school student. Keeping track of all the important information can be overwhelming, from textbooks to research papers, articles, and videos. Otio is your perfect AI research and writing partner who helps you in multiple ways. 

Effortless Information Gathering

It allows you to collect various data sources, including bookmarks, tweets, books, and videos. This feature can significantly streamline your note-taking process, helping you compile all the necessary information in one place. 

Extracting Key Insights

Otio can extract key takeaways with detailed AI-generated notes and source-grounded Q&A chats. This is a game-changer for med school students, distilling crucial information from multiple sources much more accessible and efficient. 

From Research to Writing

Otio can assist you in creating draft outputs using the sources you've collected. This feature can be a lifesaver when working on research papers, essays, or presentations. by offering AI-generated notes on all your bookmarks, Otio can help you better understand and remember essential information. Its AI-assisted writing feature can help you write research papers and essays faster and more effectively. 

Let Otio be your AI research and writing partner — try Otio for free today!

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