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  • 4 Tips to Survive Medical School

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    Medical school is like the "iron man" of education. It is physically and emotionally demanding.

    The weight of your workload will seem overwhelming at times. But you will succeed if you budget your time, remember to relax, seek support when necessary and maintain a sense of perspective.

    Here are four tips to help you keep going when the going get tough:

    Pace yourself

    There are two types of med students: those who study for several hours every day, and those who cram like crazy in the days before a test. We recommend the former, especially once you hit your second year and have the added pressure of preparing for boards. You'll feel less stressed and remember the material better if you have a constant, steady study schedule. Studying with peers is also a must before exams.

    Take a break

    Like everyone else, med students need time to veg out, reconnect with friends, or catch up on sleep. Set aside a few hours each week to relax and enjoy yourself, whatever that means to you. Taking a break (even a short one) from your med school responsibilities will improve your focus when it's time to get back to work.

    Get help when you need it

    If you are concerned about your performance or are feeling overwhelmed by stress, discuss the situation with your dean. He or she will be able to advise you on the best course of action. For some students, the individual attention and support of a tutor is enough to get them back on track. Other students who are really struggling choose to lighten their course load or even repeat a year. Most deans will be happy to help arrange a schedule that allows you to earn a degree.

    Don't sweat the small stuff

    If you are struggling, you are not alone. Many med students feel overwhelmed at some point (or many points) during their education. You would not have been accepted if you didn't have what it takes to succeed. And remember—the measure of success in med school is not whether you feel stress, but how you choose to deal with it. Learning how to perform under difficult and demanding circumstances is an important part of becoming a doctor.