How to survive the first year of medical school and pass the first exams?

In any new area, everything starts with terrible stress. Higher education is a synonym of “terrible stress” itself. But when it deals with the first year in a medical school, the entire idea of stress reaches the next level of horror.

Okay, it is not as frightening as it seems. If you are a first-year student of a medical school, congratulations, you are already someone deserving nothing but praise. Passing through the first year of medical school is indeed tough. But you have already overcome so many challenges, and you are on the path to becoming a doctor. 

So, let us talk about being a first year medical student. It will require much, but it will also let you make the most of your abilities and dedication. 

How to get through med school during the first year of study 

Medicine is a very complex and dynamic area. As new knowledge is added every day, demands in medical schools grow accordingly. Thus, it is much more complicated to be a medical student this year than a couple of years ago. 

The school designs the schedule itself, and it is obligatory for every student. The first year is packed with the studies of human anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and histology. There will be lectures and anatomy lab courses consuming all the student’s time, even on weekends. 

There is no one method of coping with all such complications. However, many guidelines are explaining how to succeed in medical school. With their help, you can develop your individual approach to studies and use your strengths:

  • Understand your personal style of work. Evaluate whether you absorb the knowledge better in a group or alone, and which format suits you best of all. It is essential. When you know yourself, you can apply the most beneficial learning techniques. You won’t waste your time and energy doing inefficient activities. 
  • Select the partners to study medicine. It happens frequently that first-year students tend to choose study partners from their friends. However, it is often unproductive. The key is to learn the new information and apply the newly-created things best of all. Thus, your study partners should be those you can learn from and get support. 
  • Never skip classes. Even when your school provides you with recorded lectures, attend them in person. It is helpful during the initial weeks in a med school. You can do important networking and understand the course specificities better. Besides, you can clarify certain issues during the lectures.  
  • Ask for help. You aren’t the only one dealing with all pitfalls of the first year of med school. There are resources where other students share their experiences. Also, you may need more practical help like finding an essay writer for some problematic assignment. Such platforms are also available, for instance, Though others’ tips might not be universal, you can find those matching your specific case. 
  • Organize yourself. Work on your time management skills, work by schedule, develop personal studying routines, and follow them. Pay attention to organizing your notes to make them a valuable source of information. There is the best way how to succeed in medical school with its tremendous load. Use Google calendars and other digital means to stay alerted about all the important events. Self-discipline is vital during these years of studies. 
  • Don’t take on too much. The med school offers a lot of activities to participate in, and you may want to join them all. Also, you’ll have obligatory classes. You need to realize that it is impossible to take it all. Be very selective. Evaluate all the potential activities you consider, and decide if they are necessary for you. Choose several ones that attract you most and focus on them. Therefore, you can have a well-balanced schedule. 
  • Care about yourself. The tremendous stress of the first year in a medical school often causes students to abandon some things that they should not. It may involve visiting doctors, doing exercises, being on a diet, or having rest. All problems caused by missing these factors will never vanish or get resolved themselves. Instead, they tend to accumulate and turn into severe consequences for your health. Thus, stay cautious about your well-being. 
  • Don’t rely on pre-set plans only. The student’s life always involves lots of changes. Define your goals and plan your work, but don’t turn it into tunnel vision. You will face unplanned challenges and have to react to unknown conditions. Consider them as opportunities to enrich your experience. And, of course, don’t isolate yourself from other people. 
  • Make sure to get supplemental resources for classes. It is excellent when you receive all the necessary materials during lectures and practical classes. However, it will never be enough. You need to educate yourself continually. Use the school library, refer to the latest publications in specialized magazines. And make sure to purchase textbooks to have them in possession and turn to them whenever you need them. 

All the above recommendations might seem general and obvious. But you’d be surprised to know how often they are missed. However, they help you to get accustomed to the med school demands and regulations, and thus understand how to succeed in medical school starting from the first year. 

How to prepare for exams in medical school 

In most institutions, the first exams take place in December or January. The purpose of it is to check how you are progressing with your medical studies. You have to get prepared well, and there are also special methods for that. 

  • Start early. Revising the course materials overnight before the exam won’t work in med school because of too much information. Review the materials regularly. You may schedule certain days and hours for revising. The key is to always follow that schedule. In this manner, you can review all materials several times and feel 100% confident before the exams. 
  • Always make notes. You do it according to your preferences, but make them clear and organized. These notes will be your priceless sources of information, containing the most essential data and specific issues you’d research. Here, you can also use the digital means for notes and online services like Google Drive to save them and access them from anywhere. 
  • Reduce stress. The primary factor is having good rest. Another essential aspect is prioritizing the tasks. If the situation demands focusing on some topic only, delegating the less important tasks can be a way out. Professional “do my essay” services can give you the necessary time to concentrate on the exam materials. You won’t need to spend hours writing some irrelevant but necessary pieces.  
  • Test your knowledge. There are plenty of quizzes, you can also refer to the questions from the past-year exams. Do it regularly, so you can make sure that your knowledge is actual, and the question format is familiar. A convenient method is to make such “test exams” with other classmates or friends. 

The first year in a medical school is always tough. You will be struggling because of the huge amounts of data and numerous new activities. Still, you will get used to this load. 

Careful planning, the possibility to get professional assistance, and even the opportunity to turn to for help with writing and editing will be helpful. Besides, talk to seniors when applicable, as their real-life experiences can be the most beneficial for you. In any case, you are starting to build your career from the first day in med school. Use your opportunities. 

Author Bio:

Rebecca Carter is the holder of the Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism who is now working as a content writer in a company providing expert essay writing services. Her passion for writing articles about her experience and life helps her deliver materials both helpful and interesting to readers. When Rebecca has some spare time, she helps animals’ shelters and attends cooking courses.