10 invaluable tips for teens wanting to study medicine

It’s no secret that a medical degree is a challenge, but there are things you can do to secure your success

When you first start a medical degree, it can seem like an impossible task. Not only is the course difficult, but it also spans a much longer timeframe than most degrees. But there are secrets to success when it comes to studying medicine. All you need to do is take it one thing at a time.

To help you get to grips with medicine, here are ten tips you should take note of.

Avoid cramming

Last minute studying can be beneficial, but not if it’s the first time you’re picking up your books. The best route to success is to start building up your knowledge now so you don’t feel the pressure to cram the night before a big test.

Find the perfect balance of group and solitary study

There are good things to say for studying alone and studying with others, so it’s important to discover your perfect balance of the two. While studying with others allows you to bounce ideas off each other, you’ll probably find that you’re more focused when you work alone.

Focus, focus, focus

Do whatever you need to do to stay focused when studying. Turn off the TV and put away your phone. Some people prefer background music, others like silence. Some people work best in their own bedroom, others like a more studious library environment. Find the surroundings that work best for your productivity.

Stay positive

The transition from school to university is always a tricky one, especially with medicine. As you are starting off at the bottom of the medical ladder, you may find that your first few sets of results aren’t as impressive as you are used to. But don’t let this make you think you aren’t good enough. Staying positive is absolutely crucial to working hard and getting the results in the end.

Hunt down old tests

If you’re nervous about your first written medical exam, one of the most effective ways to revise is to practise with past papers. Since many of the questions today have the same concepts as past exams, it is recommended to dig up resources such as Free UCAT exams practice papers and start preparing.

Start with the basics

Don’t just study the one thing you’re learning about that week in lectures. Having a firm understanding of medicine as a whole is key, so find journals, articles, blogs and news stories to read and digest. This will make trawling through a textbook chapter less of an ordeal.

Know your limits

Remember, simply studying medicine does not make you a medical professional. What you don’t know is just as important as what you don’t, as this will highlight the areas you need to improve on. No matter how knowledgeable you feel, you should never feel too proud to learn from those around you.

Set aside some downtime

We are not robots, and we all need some time to unwind. By spreading your studying out throughout the week, you should be able to give yourself a significant amount of time to chill with friends, indulge in an episode or two of your favourite Netflix series or actually read for pleasure.

Make time for friends and family

Similarly, you should also be making time to see the people you’ve left behind when heading for university. Every so often, head home for the weekend and spend some time with family and friends. Not only will they like seeing you, but it will also give you a nice break from the pressures of university.

Before you go, consider a summer school

A two week summer programme from Cambridge Immerse will give you the chance to understand more about a Cambridge medicine summer course. During the programme, you’ll get a head start in the subject and learn a bit more about university life in general, all while making new friends and new memories.