My name is Desiree and I’m halfway through my 3rd year. During my medical education, I’ve utilized my knowledge and teaching experience to become a tutor in various subjects. I’ve assisted students before medical school as well, and I bring my passion for teaching outside the classroom into the wards. Some of the most common questions I get when I sit with students are:

  • How do I prepare for Subject X?
  • I’ve got X books, which ones are good?
  • The last test didn’t go so well, what do I do?
  • How did you get such a good grade in X?

The answers to these questions are varied per individual, but there are some common themes I feel could be stated here to help you all.

One of the most difficult tasks when entering medical school is adjusting to the academic demands.  In undergraduate education, students follow a particular study method allowing them to succeed.  However, when coming to medical school, the academic demand is similar to the wave scene in the Interstellar movie.  The workload is large, and it’s coming quickly without stopping.  That being said, those who dedicate themselves to working with the material rather then against it will succeed. Below are some tips and tricks I’ve told students about various courses, Boards, and the clinical years.  Before delving into each particular subject, let’s pause for a moment for a few universal tips:

Know yourself

How and where do you best learn?  Do you enjoy working in groups or by yourself?  Do you prefer visual information, video guides, textbooks or diagrams?  Do you benefit from lecture hall or independent study?  The answers to these questions will vary per subject, don’t think this is a bad thing. Some classes I deeply enjoyed attending lecture for, others required my own time where I could be in a quiet environment to think.  What matters in the end is your performance in the subjects, not how you achieve your knowledge in them.

Know others around you

Say you feel solid on information in a particular class, see if you can teach that same material to a colleague who may be struggling with it. This is where my tutoring came in handy immensely.  Students may not have ever been exposed to the material you’ve learned, give them the knowledge and refresh your own by teaching them.  Not only could you get paid for doing this, you also are assessing your true mastery of a subject by giving its knowledge to another. You also prepare yourself for the day when a patient sits in front of you, and the knowledge you obtain is vital when explaining a diagnosis, laboratory studies, prognosis, or physical exam.

Know what’s coming for you

There is an excellent quote in one of my favorite books, “The Art of War” that states, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” Do not be afraid of not knowing, take this as a chance to find out what you need.  Do not become prideful or egotistical about what you do know, remember you were once without that knowledge. Use your mastery for good, apply it for your dreams and where you see yourself.