Getting into medical school is an exciting prospect for aspiring doctors. You will study many interesting subjects, interact with different patients and become equipped with various medical treatments.

If you plan to pursue an MD abroad, you can also look forward to studying in a new environment and meeting people from around the world. However, the first year of medical school can be challenging and an adjustment for many students, which in turn may lead to mistakes being made. Read ahead to explore some common mistakes that you should avoid in your first year of medical school.

  1. Focusing on only one subject

The first year of medical school involves basic science subjects like microbiology and physiology. Naturally, some subjects might interest you more than others. While it is acceptable to take a particular interest in a few subjects, it must not be at the expense of dedicating time to studying for your coursework in other disciplines.

Most medical school curriculums are designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of medical concepts, spread across different subject areas. Therefore, only focusing on one topic and ignoring the rest can lead to inadequate knowledge of other topics. This might have negative consequences later in your medical studies.

  1. Ignoring your mental and physical health

Medical school will require you to put in a lot of effort both mentally and physically. However, taking regular breaks to maintain your physical and mental health is essential for working at an optimal level and maintaining the necessary stamina to endure the rigors of medical school. Ignoring your mental and physical health can have a lot of negative consequences. Overworking will most likely affect your energy levels, meaning you’ll be less likely to put in long hours of study and may begin to feel overwhelmed.

Getting adequate sleep, eating well and making time for exercise and recreational activities can help you maintain a positive mindset and mental clarity. It will enable you to perform to the best of your abilities at medical school.

Want to be surrounded by a beautiful and serene environment during your medical studies?? St. Matthews University School of Medicine (SMUSOM), located on the Grand Cayman in the Caribbean is an ideal spot to both study hard and enjoy the beauty of nature while you take those all-important breaks from your schoolwork. The Cayman Islands are extremely popular as a tourist destination. You will find every modern convenience on the island of Grand Cayman, along with the charm and vibrancy of a Caribbean Island.

Studying at SMUSOM gives you multiple opportunities for recreational activities and a lush tropical beach to kick back and relax on while recharging mentally and physically. You can check out different restaurants, hotels and beach activities like diving and snorkeling in your free time.

Recreation aside, SMUSOM is known for its high-quality education as evidenced by the high first-time USMLE Step 1 exam pass rate. SMUSOM maintained a first-time USMLE Step 1 exam pass rate of 95% from 2015 to 2019.

Click here to apply for an MD program at SMUSOM today.

  1. Studying alone

Many first-year medical students often study alone because they feel group study sessions might be unproductive. However, self-study can rob you of emotional support and camaraderie from your peers.

Studying in a group allows you to explore innovative ways to learn and retain your knowledge. The spirited discussions in a study group can also help you understand complex topics and subjects and improve your communication and interpersonal skills.

  1. Skipping lectures

Some students take up part-time jobs in their first year to cover their living expenses or help with their tuition fees, leading them to skip some classes. Often, students mistakenly believe that the workload will be less in the first few semesters and thus it will be easier to catch up.

However, skipping lectures can take away valuable interaction time with your professors that should be used to clarify your understanding of the complex topics you are learning.

  1. Relying on the same study methods as your undergraduate degree

Often, students will bring their old study habits and learning techniques from their undergraduate days into medical school.

This can be a grave mistake. The medical school curriculum will be very extensive, which leaves you with limited time for absorbing multiple topics.

Rather than sticking to old study techniques, try to experiment with new ones like digital flashcards. You can also ask those in classes ahead of you for their study techniques and any guidance that they can offer you.

Other common mistakes in medical student life can include limiting yourself to standard textbooks, and not asking for help when you need it.

Avoiding these common mistakes can help you to overcome some medical school challenges and put you on a path to your best performance possible. These tips will be sure to enrich your educational experience and ensure you make the most of your medical school journey.


This article was written by Sweha Hazari.