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10 Study Tips to Implement During Your First Semester of Medical School

The first semester of medical school is a great opportunity to get ahead of the game and start preparing for your next few years of study by building good habits from day one. In this blog post, we will discuss 10 study tips that will help you throughout medical school. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to academic success!

Tip 1: Get Organized

The first step to success is organization.

During your first semester of medical school, you will have more free time, relatively speaking, than you will later on as you get deeper into the medical school pathway. Use this time wisely by creating a study schedule and sticking to it. This will help ensure that you are making the most of your time and not falling behind in your studies.

Tip 2: Create a Study Space

One of the best ways to stay focused while studying is to create a dedicated study space. This can be anywhere in your home where you feel comfortable working, such as a spare bedroom, office, or even just a corner of your living room. Make sure your study space is well-lit and free of distractions so you can focus on your work.

Tip 3: Join a Study Group

One of the best ways to study well during your first semester of medical school is to join a study group. This will give you the opportunity to discuss difficult concepts with your peers, and learn from each other. If you would prefer to stay in your own space but still want the benefits of a study group, you can always try joining an online study group.

Tip 4: Find a Study Buddy

Another great way to stay on track during your first semester of medical school and beyond is to find a study buddy. Having someone to study with will help keep you accountable and motivated.

Tip 5: Take Practice Exams

One of the best ways to prepare for the all-important USMLE (or alternately the COMLEX) and its many steps is to start taking practice exams early. This will help you get familiar with the material and the format of the exam. Plotting out regular times on your calendar when you will take practice exams throughout your first year will help you feel more prepared and confident when it comes time to tackle the USMLE or COMLEX. There are many online resources that offer practice exams, so be sure to take advantage of them!

Tip 6: Make Use of Study Aids

There are many study aids available to help you prepare for the rigors of medical school. These include flashcards, books, and online resources. Be sure to make use of these tools to help you memorize important information.

Tip 7: Get Plenty of Rest

It is important to get plenty of rest while you are studying for medical school. If you can implement this all-important good habit (or rather a collection of good habits around sleep hygiene and prioritizing rest) when you study during the first year of medical school, you will be doing your future self a huge favor that pays off for the entire next decade. 

Getting good rest will help you stay focused and alert while you are working. Be sure to set aside time each day for relaxation and sleep so you can be at your best when it comes time to study.

Tip 8: Eat Healthily

Eating a healthy diet is important for both your physical and mental health. When you are studying for medical school, you will need all the energy you can get. Be sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to help keep your mind sharp.

Tip 9: Take Breaks

It is just as important to take breaks while you are studying in medical school as it was during your pre-med years, if not more important due to the sheer volume of material and the potential for burnout. This will help you avoid periods of burnout and stay fresh. Be sure to take a few minutes each day to stretch, take a walk, or just relax.

Tip 10: Have fun

Last but not least, don’t forget to have fun!

Similar to the last tip on taking breaks, having fun is an important part of creating mental white space so you can absorb all the information you cover when actively studying. Your mind enters a different state when it is in rest and play mode, which helps clear out any worries or fatigue that can be brought on by being in constant study mode. Consider this a passive but important step in building good study habits!

Follow these study tips and you’ll be well on your way to success in medical school! Good luck!

Do you have any study tips of your own? Share them in the comments below! 


Working together to help you achieve your medical school dreams. MedSchoolCoach provides pre-med and medical school admissions consulting services, MCAT and USMLE/COMLEX tutoring, and unique experiences that help students become physicians.

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