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Why Students Fail Medical School

March 13, 2023
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Once accepted into medical school, you rightfully feel accomplished. Many people dream of earning an education in medicine. However, only a fraction of those people succeed. After your acceptance, the real work begins. You must learn how to balance your personal life, course load, and other aspects of a healthy life. Doing so involves successfully navigating the infrastructure of your medical school. Although most med schools make many resources available to their students, many students still struggle to succeed among the rigorous assignments, studying requirements, and standardized tests. At Saint James School of Medicine, we strive to help as many of our med students succeed as possible. Read on below to discover better ways to navigate your studies.

Why Students Fail Medical School

One of the main reasons why students fail medical school is a lack of a solid plan. The earlier you develop a plan, the more likely you are to succeed. Many students think no further than the application process. Once a med school accepts them, they don’t know where to go from that point. Your plan should first involve a growing support network of family and friends to encourage and motivate you. You should also have an idea of your preferred field of study. While you might switch certain aspects of your plan later, creating a strong foundation supports your continued success. Next, consider building better habits around daily motivation and approaches to studying. These habits will vary depending on you as an individual. Motivation and effective studying techniques are keys to any medical student’s success. After building a strong foundation with a reliable support network and a general plan for your studies, start working on daily habits that embody the keys to success in medical school. Students who fail or drop out of medical school generally don’t adhere to these strategies and quickly become overwhelmed.

Keys to a Med Student’s Success

Since motivation and studying techniques can make or break your experience at medical school, how can you properly implement them as building blocks for your overall plan? Medical school requires extensive studying periods and an intense workload. Once you’re in the thick of it, you can easily get overwhelmed. While many students measure their success in grades and test scores, these quantifiable measures don’t necessarily define your success. They may tell a story about where you began and your final destination. However, passing grades still mean that you passed. Low grades don’t necessarily mean a lack of success. They can indicate that you need to adjust your approach to certain courses. Below, you’ll find an outline of how to make motivation and strong study techniques a way of life.

Student Motivation

Motivated medical students often accomplish more within a shorter time frame. But motivation varies depending on the individual. What does it look like for you? First, find a reward-based system that you can implement during your studies. This technique might mean turning weaknesses into strengths. For example, someone who becomes distracted by their mobile device might use it as a reward for good studying techniques or improved grades. Embrace overall progress while rejecting perfectionism. Perfectionism can cause you to neglect your well-earned progress, which demotivates you. You don’t need perfect scores to enjoy the progress. Prioritize self-care each day. Establish a routine that keeps you nourished, enjoying the fresh air, and getting exercise. Such a routine may also improve your time-management skills while keeping you healthy and alert. Use your plan and support network to improve your mindset. Your plan serves as a map that demonstrates your overall progress. Your support network can help you keep moving forward when you struggle with a course.

Knowing How to Study

Apply what you learned from your motivational habits to your studying techniques. A reward-based system coupled with a consistent plan will keep you moving forward with fewer surprises. For example, you have around 100 questions to cover in preparation for an exam. Cover them thoroughly in blocks of ten to avoid feeling overwhelmed or fatigued. After completing ten questions, reward yourself in some way. Remove your mobile device and other distractions from the equation. Use these distractions as rewards to motivate you. This technique allows you to turn a weakness into a useful tool. If you can’t efficiently absorb information, take a break or switch study topics. Focus evades even the strongest medical students. Forcing focus wastes time and energy that you could better spend on other productive activities. Think ahead instead of living moment to moment. Study for tests well in advance when possible. Doing so helps your brain to soak up information in finer detail while preventing avoidable stressful situations.

Implement Methods That Ensure Your Success

By reframing your lifestyle around motivation and a proactive daily studying habit, you’ll avoid the prime reasons why students fail medical school. Create a flexible plan that grows with you and your coursework while attending Saint James School of Medicine.
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