Tips for med school courses

Today I’m going to go a little in dept on how I studied for my courses in medical school and what helped me to raise my grades. There are a few things I tried and those of you who have been following my journey have noticed that I definitely try a lot of different things. So far I’ve tried re-watching lectures, trying to grasp as much as I could but I’ve noticed that just learning how to study is a struggle on it’s own. Today I wanted to share my top tips, divided per subject hoping that this post might help some of you (pre)med students out!

1. Anatomy

A lot of people have a love hate relationship with anatomy. I must admit that with the wrong study technique I had the same issue. Anatomy can be very very overwhelming in terms of the quantity of information you need to know.
How I tackle this? Lectures and slides.
I go to anatomy class, even if I don’t find it very useful, just because I type out notes during class and it keeps me focussed on what the professor is telling me. After class I print out my notes and try to revise them as quickly as possible. Making sure that I look at all of the pictures and the information found on these slides.

2. Physiology

I use the same technique as anatomy to study physiology. I find that in class terms are explained a lot more than in a textbook and it’s easier to understand certain concepts. Physiology used to be the class I struggled most with because you have to understand what you’re learning and then the memorization will be logic, if you try to memorize without understanding what you’re learning it’ll be a lot more difficult.
For cardiology and respiratory physiology I read every chapter 4 times in a row. I found that in respiratory and cardiology there were so many terms I didn’t quite understand the first few times and by the fourth time I was able to kind of anticipate on what was coming and I could focus on understanding the topic a lot more.

For those of you who watch videos: re-watch videos as often as possible to repeat what you’re learning. Try to recall what you watched to make your study session as active as possible.

3. Histology

What I did (a little too late though) was to print out the slides on powerpoint and make little flashcards and repeat these on the bus in the morning or when I’m early in class. I found that learning all of these layers only really comes along when you look at the picture and kind of try to find them yourself.
If you’re able to somewhat differentiate these layers, you should start looking at “Shotgun histology” videos on youtube. Though not every layer is mentioned in these videos you get an image of how to look at different histological coupes and differentiate cells.

4. Biochemistry

Another class that’s often given in one block is biochemistry. We get a maximum of 3 lessons and I often find that these lectures are rushed a little too much. There is little time to actually understand a concept. It’s important to understand key concepts here! Differentiate things that are more important from those that are not.

5. Cadaver dissections 

Every year we have to do cadaver dissections in some blocks. It’s kind of odd to say this but I love these dissection classes. I find that you learn so much more from looking at actual structures and asking questions to the dissection assistents. Definitely if you have cadaver time, go there, check out as much as possible. Be prepared preferably take a list with you.
I was advised a great book named ‘a photographic atlas’ where there are great pictures of perfect cadavers.

6 Radio anatomy

Another course within our block systems is radio anatomy. We get a few examples in class and then use net anatomy. A great site if your university provides this one too! Should you want to learn radio-anatomy I’d suggest that you’d actually make some online quizzes. Make mistakes and learn from them.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know what your tips are to study either one of these courses in the comment section down below.

Lots of love!
-Mavis

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