Becoming a successful healthcare provider takes years of hard work and a quality education. The school you attend plays a role in your ultimate accomplishments, but statistics show that how you study matters more than which medical school you attend.
Students with effective study habits are more likely to succeed regardless of where they went to school. These habits will segue into your job as a physician, helping you learn the nuances of your career.
Whether it’s handling credentialing and billing or learning how to choose the right disability insurance policy, your ability to absorb and disseminate knowledge is a lifelong skill. (For more on disability coverage as a healthcare provider, check out this article by Physicians Thrive.)
So, if your goal is to be the best medical provider possible, it’s time to double down on your studying strategies. How can you ensure you get the most out of your education wherever you go? Start implementing these three learning strategies into your study time, and you’ll be on your way to a beneficial medical career.
1. Make Learning Your Priority
Just as your profession will be your priority one day soon, studying is your current career and should be your main focus until you graduate. You need to learn to manage your time effectively for that to happen.
This strategic step involves more than time management techniques, although those can be helpful, too. But even the best organizational strategies won’t work if you’re always distracted. If you truly want to optimize your learning, you should pay attention to what gets you off focus and then eliminate that issue.
For example, if you start reading your textbook and suddenly catch yourself unexpectedly scrolling social media, you should keep your phone in another room or set a lock for specific apps.
Another time management strategy is to set your goals and prioritize them based on the most important activities. Include long-term projects, like research papers, each day so that you’re working on them steadily. That way, those deadlines don’t creep up on you at the last minute.
2. Schedule Your Study Time
Is a schedule second nature to you? You’re going to need to learn how to stick to a structured routine, and scheduling your study time now can help you do that later.
When you include a set 1-2 hours into your day for studying, it can be challenging at first. But if you adhere to it consistently, it can actually make it easier for you to avoid distractions.
Your friends and family will learn that no means no when they try to call you or get you to join them in activities, so they’ll stop asking you for events during those times. You’ll know your routine, and your body will be used to it even on days when you don’t “feel like” studying. Show up during that time, and you’ll absorb more than you would otherwise.
Your set schedule may have to change based on the day and your work or class time, and that’s okay. Having a dedicated chunk of time each day to put towards your studies will pay off, even if it’s scattered.
3. Know and Use Your Learning Style
If studying your textbook tends to put you to sleep faster than you can get through it, or you don’t absorb anything, that may not be your learning style. There are various styles we, as humans, use to acquire and retain information. When you learn what yours is, you’ll be able to use your study time more effectively.
Just because reading a textbook or taking notes works for your classmates doesn’t mean it will work for you. You can try to push yourself to do what you think you’re “supposed to do” during your study block, or you can do what you know works.
For instance, instead of reading your textbook, you might be an aural learner, which means you process things when you hear them better than when you approach them in other ways. Kinesthetic learners need to be active to absorb info. Consider hitting the treadmill with your Bluetooth earbuds and listening to your textbook that way until you can get into the lab for some hands-on work.
Other learning styles include visual, logical, solitary, and social. There is no wrong way to study if it’s giving you the information you need — but there is a wrong way if you’re not actually retaining any info.
Studying habits can make or break your medical school experience. These three strategies are research-backed to be effective, and you can use them to improve your grades and your future starting today!