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How To Pass Medical School Exams! | Revision Tips | Study Tips and Tricks

How to Study Effectively: A GP's Guide to Mastering Medical School

Hansel MTS raises a common question on Instagram: how much do GPs remember from medical school? As a practicing GP and university tutor, I understand the struggle. In this guide, I'll share my proven study techniques that helped me ace my exams and navigate medical school without failing, even though my success with driver's license tests took a few attempts.

1. Know Your Chronotype

If you read the amazing book “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker, you will be familiar with the terms Lark and Owl. Are you a morning person? Or are you a night person? I am definitely a morning person so that’s when I plan my most labour-intensive revision activities, which is basically learning new material or new guidelines. If I have the day off, my mornings will typically be with a book, but if I’m driving to work – I’ll use an audiobook. And if only there was an excellent audiobook with cross-referenced guidelines that I could listen to in the car…. ;) in the evenings though I’m happy to practice cases and do some online test questions for example.

2. Work and Breaks

Pomodoro is a great idea. 25 mins work and a 5 mins break and then repeat. And that works quite well for a lot of people. Personally, my ratio is an hour and a half and then a 30 minute break and I will typically do 4 of those in a day. But what’s important here is to avoid doing what I would call “fun” things in your 30mins break – so that means no computer, no phones, no Nintendo. You are pretty much so bored, but not studying, that you can’t wait to get back to your next 1.5h. Nonetheless, I feel that that period of inactivity as it were is crucial for your brain to recover.

3. Sleep

Back in the day, there were these romantic notions that the only way medical students could survive med school was by working in the day and then staying up all night studying. I personally have never pulled an all-nighter and I have also never failed any of my medical exams. And trust me, I’m no genius. Sleep is by far one of the most important things when it comes to consolidating knowledge, and you need to make sure you get plenty of it. In this video I talked about resources that I send to patients as a GP and one of them is a 1 pager with the basic sleep hygiene principles. If you don’t know these already, please follow the link in the description below and your mind, body and soul will thank you.

4. BONUS - My Most Controversial Tip

Here's a controversial tip: avoid alcohol, especially before exams. Not because of drunken escapades, but because even small quantities can disrupt your sleep—hampering the vital knowledge consolidation process. The Polish phrase "zakui zdai zapi zappomni" highlights this crucial order.

If you found these tips helpful and want more insights, hit the subscribe button. Feel free to reach out via email for further discussions. Studying smartly is key; let's ace those exams together!

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