How I Studied for My Step I

This is one of my most frequently asked questions via email & DMs. I thought it would be helpful to have a dedicated blog post on the topic so that people can refer to it whenever if needed! So here is an overview of how I studied for Step 1. I hope it’s helpful! (If you want general information on how I studied during first two years of medical school, it's here)

First, let's start with the overall schedule. I basically worked with my school's board exam prep office to come up with a list of all the topics for Step 1 & assigned the number of days I thought I needed for each topic. I have a video with all the resources I was using for Step I + an overview of my 6-week study schedule here. Here's an example schedule (46 days total):

Cardio- 4 days
Pulm- 2 days
Renal- 3 days
Neuro/psych- 3 days
Biochem- 2 days
Immuno- 2 days
Heme/onc- 2 days
Endo/Repro- 2 days
GI- 3 days
MSK- 2 daysPathology- 1 day
Pharmacology (principles)- 1 day
Micro- 3 days spread throughout 6 weeks

*Each system based topic was broken down into embryology, physiology, pathology, pharmacology + extra materials as needed 

NBME (practice exams)- forgot how many are available but one day dedicated to doing each NBME + going over the wrong questions. Helpful to do this with a friend so you can talk out difficult questions

Question days- At least 4-5 days dedicated to just doing UWorld Questions the week before exam day

Rest days- I took 1 full day off during 6 weeks & 1/2 day off per week to relax, go to church on Sundays, etc. Half day off often ended up becoming 3/4 towards the end of the study period and you should try to account for feeling burnt out.  

Special note about pharmacology & microbiology:
Pharm: I covered relevant pharmacology within each topic (e.g. cardio drugs during cardiology, etc) but I did take one day to cover the principles of pharmacology (pharmacokinetics, etc). I really liked Sketchy Pharm videos especially for psych drugs & antibiotics
Micro: I did a little bit of sketchy micro everyday but still had some dedicated days for micro. I made an excel spreadsheet of all the sketchy videos and checked off every time I watched a video to make sure I was covering all the videos- I tried to watch every video at least 3 times but I didn’t get to/didn’t feel the need for certain videos

How I split up my days
First half: I started each day with one 40-question block. Afterwards I went over each wrong question & made Anki cards out of wrong questions and any other questions I wasn’t 100% sure about. I found this to be extremely helpful because it guaranteed that I will at some point memorize the content that I got wrong & commit it to memory.  
Mid-day break: gym + lunch + usually a 30 min TV show (I watched Gilmore Girls because it somehow motivated me to study)
Afternoons: I did content review (should be review, not covering new stuff because you simply don’t have the time) using DIT videos, First Aid, and any of the other resources I listed below
Rest of the day: Dinner break at some point with some type of 1 hr TV show, Anki, Q bank other than UWorld, sketchy videos, etc

Here are my exact day-to-day google calendar screenshot:

How I split up UWorld Questions:
For first 3-4 weeks, I did 1 block of UWorld per day (40 questions), up to you whether you wanna do the topic you’re covering (e.g. cardiology only) or mixed questions
Week 4-5: 2 UWorld blocks per day
Last week: did nothing but 4 UWorld blocks/day + Anki cards

I stuck to resources I have used during the school year & have liked. Including but not limited to: BRS physiology, Pathoma, Sketchy Medical, DIT video lectures, Goljan Pathology Rapid Review (thick book- only used to look up specific stuff), Goljan Audio lectures + notes (both floating around for free online), Kaplan Q bank, UWorld, First Aid (should memorize pretty much everything in this book)

Towards the end of my study period, I dedicated at least 2 hours every day to going through my Anki card deck. Probably covered over 1000 cards/day. Step 1 is a memorization heavy exam so you just have to commit everything to memory. I found Anki to be the best tool for me. You can also use the Image Occlusion add-on for Anki to make flashcards out of tables, diagrams, etc I have a short tutorial on this in one of my videos here if you’re interested.

 There are also pre-made Step 1 Anki cards made by Brosencephalon that a lot of people like. I did few decks by him but eventually wanted to tailor my learning to my weaknesses so I mostly stuck to my own cards.

Additional tips & tricks (general tips on taking BIG exams here)

  • I kept a pretty regular sleep schedule throughout my study period & was mindful of my caffeine consumption (very Type A) so that I can get restful sleep at night. 
  • I spiral bound my First Aid book (makes it easy to flip through & take notes). Some of my classmates did the same for Pathoma for the same reason. It can be done at any Staples or other office supply stores. 
  • I also got my Sketchy video screenshots printed in color & spiral bound. Very useful investment- I found myself looking through these even as I studied for Step 2 CK. If you want you can type up notes for each video “picture” & print it out as well. This comes in super handy when you want to stay away from computers (to prevent procrastinating) but you want to quickly look something up from Sketchy
  • I uploaded all the Goljan audio into an old iPod & had that be the only thing connected to my car. I did a lot of long distance driving esp on weekends bc my church was 1hr away so every time I stepped into my car, the lecture came on. I basically listened to the whole thing on repeat throughout the entire study period.
  • Anki. Can’t stress this enough. I had the Anki app on my phone, iPad, and computer. I like the iPad version bc it is the least distracting of all modalities. I know  a lot of people also use Quizlet to make their own flashcards. Pick one that works for you & stick to it
  • If you feel burnt out and tired, take couple hours off. It’s better to go outside and take a walk than to sit in front of your books feeling miserable 
  • Simulate your NBMEs as closely to your actual exam in terms of time, environment, etc. If your exam is scheduled for the morning then take your practice exams in the mornings, wear comfy clothes, only use the restroom during designated breaks, just as you would for the actual exam

Exam day:

  • Bring lots of snacks. I took a break every 2 blocks but you can decide this based on personal preference & stamina 
  • Wear layers as it might be cold/warm in the exam room
  • Read about what you can/cannot bring into the exam room. I brought soft ear plugs which were pretty helpful

Lastly, plan something relaxing and fun to do after the exam! You deserve it! 

My Half Marathon Playlist 2017

Many of you know I just finished my half marathon. I got some questions about the music I listened to during my run so I decided to post my playlist! If you have/use Spotify, you can directly go to the playlist by using this link. For those of you using different music streaming/listening services, here is the list (in alphabetical order- I listened in shuffle mode) 

*asterisk next to songs that really gave me a boost during the run!

  • 1980- Kai Takahashi
  • Anchor Noisestorm Remix- Tritonal, Noisestorm
  • Another Day of Sun- La La Land Cast
  • *Awake- Tycho
  • Bellbottoms- The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
  • Booty Me Down- Kstylis
  • *Countdown- Beyoncé
  • Dance (A$$) Remix- Big Sean, Nicki Minaj
  • Dancing in the Moonlight 2001 Remix- Toploader
  • Despacito Remix- Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee
  • *Hands in the Air- Girl Talk
  • Hello (feat. Dragonette)- Martin Solveig
  • Hey Ma- Cam'ron
  • Hey Ya! Radio Mix/Club Mix- OutKast
  • *Hollaback Girl- Gwen Stefani
  • I'm the One- DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber
  • Love on Top- Beyoncé
  • Mo Money Mo Problems- The Notorious B.I.G., Mase, Diddy
  • Move Your Feet/D.A.N.C.E./It's A Sunshine Day- Anna Kendrick, Gwen Stefani, James Corden
  • Numb/Encore- Jay Z, Linkin Park
  • One Dance- Drake, WizKid, Kyla
  • One, Two Step- Ciara, Missy Elliott
  • *Overcomer- Mandisa
  • Party In The USA- Miley Cyrus
  • Peanut Butter Jelly- Galantis
  • Ride Wit Me- Nelly, City Spud
  • Run the World (Girls)- Beyoncé
  • Safe And Sound- Capital Cities
  • Sexy Back- Justin Timberlake
  • Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)- Stevie Wonder
  • Stronger- Kanye West
  • Suga Suga- Baby Bash, Frankie J
  • The Sweet Escape- Gwen Stefani, Akon
  • *Tequila- The Champs
  • That's What I Like- Bruno Mars
  • 'Till I Collapse- Eminem
  • *Treasure- Bruno Mars
  • Unstoppable FKJ Remix- Lianne La Havas
  • Uptown Funk- Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars
  • Wobble- Flo Rida
  • Work it- Missy Elliott

Total: 41 songs; 2 hr 38min

 A note on what I typically listen to while running (not on race day): During my weeks of training I realized that music can make a big difference in how fast I end up running. I had the most success with Spotify Pace Stations that you can create directly from the Nike Run Club App. I typically did 8'30" to 9' Pace stations in Pop genre. These were great for getting me going in the beginning but were hit-or-miss depending on whether I knew/liked the songs during long runs so I wanted to make my own custom list for the race. I have to say putting the time to make my own list really paid off on race day because every time one of my favorite songs came on it really got me going!  

What are some of your favorite songs to listen to during a long run? 

How I studied during first two years of medical school: resources, strategies, and the big picture

Hi guys! I've been getting a lot of questions about how I studied in medical school. Studying during first two years of medical school is quite different from 3rd and 4th year so I will mainly focus on the first two years in this post. 

Starting medical school is probably one of the most exciting and daunting experiences of my life. Many people describe the learning process in medical school as trying to drink out of the fire hydrant: unrelenting and impossible. I was told that ultimately I should come to terms with the fact that I will not know everything. 

 It took a bit of adjusting but when I actually started my classes, I was pleasantly surprised to find that studying it medical school felt a lot more natural and cohesive than it did during college. At my school, the curriculum was designed in systems-based blocks (e.g. cardiology block, pulmonology block, etc) which meant that at all times we were studying different facets of the a single subject. For example, instead of having a separate class in pharmacology, histology, embryology, we had a block of cardiology where all relevant information regarding the heart was covered. This approach to learning made a lot of sense to me and it was certainly very nice that I only had to study for one exam per block. My school had a pass/fail system for the first two years of medical school so it took a lot of pressure off as well. It was freeing to shift my focus from getting a "good grade" to really understanding the material.

So with that background, here is how I approached studying in medical school in general & later on, Step 1: 

MS1: One of the most frequently asked questions is how to incorporate Step 1 studying early in medical school. I didn't really give Step 1 much thought during the first year of medical school. I focused mainly on my lectures and doing well in my in-class exams. I tried to do as much deep learning as possible but frequently incorporated fast memorization tools (e.g. Anki) right before exams. I also had a copy of First Aid but the book honestly didn't make much sense to me during MS1 because I had no idea what would be important vs. not important (turns out, everything in First Aid is important and needs to be memorized). 

  • For more physiology heavy blocks (e.g. cardiology, pulm, renal, endocrine) I tried to do as many practice questions as possible. If there weren't any readily available, I reached out to the professor, deans, previous students, etc for question resources. You can find my personal favorite physiology resources here, here, and here
  • I used Anki for memorization heavy subjects like biochemistry combined with lots of drawing out pathways and forcing the material into my head any way possible. This means something different for everyone. For me, it was simply brute memorization with frequent draw-from-scratch as my way to test myself. 
  • I did a lot of group studying/mock lab practicals for anatomy & physiology and neuroanatomy. I spent a lot of time in the lab, pointing things out and talking about the function of each structure with my classmates. I soon found out that not every structure in anatomy is equally important. Certain structures have more clinical significance. For example, brachial plexus has many related pathologies that are frequently tested (vs. one of many small muscles in the forearm that extends the fingers). Figuring out what structures have more clinical significance can take some time and practice. Review books and practice questions may come in handy in deciphering what to focus on during A&P. 
  • For microbiology, I pretty much watched Sketchy Micro over and over again until I knew all the videos inside out. I printed out screenshots of each video and made a booklet out of all the pictures and took notes in them so I can always have them with me. I referred back to them as recently as September of my 4th year when I was studying for my Step 2 CK. The videos are extremely high yield and now they have a great pharmacology section as well which will be more useful in 2nd year. 

MS2: first half of the year was pretty much the same as first year-- focusing on classes and doing well in exams. I incorporated some longer term study tools like Firecracker (you can check off the current block/topic and do short flashcard-style questions during your spare time). Firecracker can be pricey but they do hold sales every so often so I would look out for those. If you're on a budget, I recommend Anki cards made by brosencephalon and doing them throughout the year. Towards the end of my second year, I supplemented my studying with board prep questions from Kaplan (not the prep course, just the Q bank). I got through most of the questions before my dedicated Step 1 period started at which point I transitioned over to UWorld. I won't go into too much detail about what I did during my dedicated Step 1 study period (another post!) but basically my main focuses were content review (review, not learning because there isn't enough time to learn new material-- which is why it's so important to do a lot of deep learning during first and second year), UWorld questions, and content memorization (often via Anki). 

You can watch my videos on how I set up my Anki decks here. I also have an entire video describing how I took notes and used them to study in medical school here

I want to stress that none of the things I did as MS2 would have been all that helpful in MS1. I think it's easy for people to get caught up on Step 1 prep and totally miss out on the things you're actually supposed to learn as a 1st year medical student. For example, you can totally memorize all the biochem pathways written out in First Aid book but that would simply be a review or an abbreviated version of everything you were supposed to learn in lecture during 1st year. It might help you answer some questions but ultimately you will not have the complete picture. I would look to First Aid as a guideline of what is stressed or considered "important" in Step 1 exams but it definitely should not be your only resource. From what I can tell, most of my friends had almost all of First Aid memorized but the true differentiation between a great Step 1 score and an ok score is how much you learned and retained from the first two years of medical school lectures. 

Lastly, I can't emphasize how important it was for me to have a great group of study buddies who eventually became some of my best friends in and out of medical school. I was lucky enough to form a very functional study group with my friends early on in medical school, but I understand that group studying doesn't always work for everyone. Regardless of whether you are actively studying with your friends or independently studying, having a good emotional support system is incredibly important. I think I can safely attribute my academic success in medical school to having a solid support system inside and outside medical school. No amount of studying will help you if you are constantly feeling emotionally exhausted and burnt out. Find your people. They will carry you through the highs and lows of medical school.

That pretty much summarizes how I studied during the first two years of medical school. Hope you guys found this post helpful! 

Men's Fashion Tips on A Budget by @TheStylePrescription

Good morning everyone,

My name is James, a medical student and creator of the blog TheStylePrescription, a lifestyle blog about my career as a medical student and my hobbies outside of the classroom. In addition to writing about food and cooking, I also know a thing or two about fashion ;) Jamie graciously asked me to share some dos and don’ts for dressing nicely for outpatient rotations or student clinic while also being mindful of your med student budget. While my advice will focus on menswear do to the dearth of style guides for gentlemen, many of the same tips apply to ladies who like menswear as well!

Do have a set of staple pieces in your wardrobe

 Oxford Cloth Button Down

Oxford Cloth Button Down

Sometimes, the best advice is to keep it simple. For those who are making the transition from college to medical school, it’s hard to break the habit of wearing a closet consisting only of hoodies, jeans, and yoga pants (although you will most likely be able to get away with that through most of your preclinical curriculum). If you’re having a hard time making the transition to the professional world, start off with basic pieces and basic colors. Plain white and blue collared shirts will be your workhorses. One of my favorites is the oxford cloth button down from Uniqlo. OCBD’s are great for young professionals, as they can serve both as workwear and other occasions. Although it’s important to have dress shirts for more serious occasions, I find that OCBD’s work well in the hospital and clinic setting because they are easily washable, most importantly. Which brings me to my next point…

Don’t make the mistake of having only one nice shirt

You may want to buy a few to have on rotation, as the inevitable pen or mystery fluid stain will find its way onto your clothes. You will become very close to your dry cleaner for this very reason. Find a brand that has a cut that fits your body type and your price range. If you can help it, buy 2-3 plain white and plain blue dress shirts. For dress pants, go with something like navy blue and charcoal gray. It’s a mature upgrade from khakis/chinos. Other interesting colors are wine/merlot and olive! These colors will pretty much be safe bets for almost all occasions, so it’s good to have them on hand. If your budget allows, try adding a shirt with small stripes or a microprint pattern. These are subtle ways to add variety to what would otherwise be very boring. Next point!

Do show some personality with your accessories

Wearing the same kind of clothes every day can get a kind of boring, so I think it’s important to find ways of wearing something creative to show off your style. One hobby of mine is going to thrift/vintage stores and flea markets to get accessories like pins and brooches for my white coat, and ties and tie bars/clips. Everyone knows that ties can be downright filthy, so after you take them to your dry cleaner, add a tie bar to your look to keep it from dangling everywhere! My favorite tie bar is shaped like a saber – such a unique flea market find! Some other med students and attendings have pins that adorn their white coat lapels or their lanyards. The pins can either represent a cause you care about, or can be there just to look fashionable. Either way, they’re a conversation starter. Another easy way to punch up your outfit is to have lively socks. You may not think about them much, but socks are such an underrated accessory. Whether you wear microprint patterns, stripes, or some crazy color, if you decide to do none of the other aforementioned tips, socks are where it’s at.

Don’t have your pant legs dragging around everywhere

It may be my personal opinion and this might be nitpicky, but I really believe that the pant leg is an overlooked aspect of one’s outfit. Gentlemen, please buy pants that are the appropriate length for your legs, if anything just so they don’t drag behind your heel along the floor of the hospital. Ideally, have your pants “break” just so they don’t pool around your ankle. If you currently have pants that are too long, it’s an easy and cheap fix that many dry cleaners/tailors can do for you. And again, do it for the socks!


Final tips

The internet is a marvelous thing! While I don’t advocate being on reddit during classtime, I do advocate for being on reddit to save some money. I use r/frugalfashion to scout out deals and online coupon codes. You can also use sites like Gilt and Spring to snag more discounts on clothes and accessories.

Shop during off-season. You’re likely to get great end-of-season deals on pants and shirts that you can save for the next year.

Have fun with it. Fashion doesn’t mean squat if you’re not true to yourself and comfortable with what you’re wearing!

Best of luck looking sharp on the wards!
James, @thestyleprescription

US vs. Korean Med Schools


 Lena is a 3rd year med school student from Korea

Lena is a 3rd year med school student from Korea

Hi everyone! My name is Lena and some of you may know me as ‘twinklinglena’ on youtube. I’m so honored to be here as a guest blogger for Jamie’s awesome website. So many of my subscribers/viewers have been curious about the differences between Korean and American medical schools. I talked about most of them throughout my videos but Jamie and I thought it would be a cool idea to write a blog about it.



The most frequent question I get is ‘how much Korean do I have to know in order to study at a medical school in Korea?’ (By the way, if you’re curious about how foreigners can get into Korean med schools or get a doctor’s degree as a foreign doctor, check out this website for more info: First of all, I don’t know about all the other schools but in my school and most medical schools here we learn in 100% Korean. Therefore you shouldn’t have any problem speaking/writing in Korean. We do use English-based medical terms but we also learn them in Korean as well so when you take the Korean Medical Licensing Examination(KMLE) to get a doctor’s license, all the exam questions will mostly be in Korean rather than English.



In the states, medical students have to take 3 steps of USMLE(United States Medical Licensing Examination) test in order to be a doctor. On the other hand, in Korea, we have KMLE(Korean Medical Licensing Examination) but we only need to take it once(one written exam and one clinical exam) at the end of our senior year which is in the beginning of January. Also, unlike US med schools, we don’t have ‘Shelf Exams’ that students take at the end of their clinical rotations. Instead, we have finals covering all the rotations we finished during that semester.


MCAT, Suneng(Korean SAT)

American medical schools are normally graduate schools(which means you need an undergraduate degree to be eligible to apply) whereas Korean medical schools are mostly undergraduate schools. All Korean high school students take the ‘Suneng’ at the end of their senior year which is sort of like an Korean SAT but way way way harder and more competitive than American SAT. So after graduating high school, students go to medical school directly. Being a doctor in Korea is considered to be a high privilege so it’s not easy to get in.


School Curriculum

In Korea, most medical schools take 6 years to graduate whereas in America it’s normally 4 years. As I mentioned above, medical school here is undergraduate school (In contrast, I am currently in graduate school but now our school changed the curriculum to only accept undergraduate schools. It’s confusing I know, there was a big change during the last few years)  So for the first 2 years we take general required courses in university. After that during the last 4 years we focus on medical related subjects. Third year students learn basic science such as biochemistry, physiology, anatomy etc. On fourth year we start to learn clinical medicine. Finally during the last two years we rotate every department in our school hospital in small groups(6-8people each) and actually get to observe clinics and surgeries.


How My Days Are Like

Attendance time for every department is different but normally it’s around 7-8 o’clock and sometimes earlier than 6. Right now I’m rotating the ER(Emergency Room) and it’s a bit different from other departments considering the department’s uniqueness. For our first week in the ER we have to do day shifts, which means we’re there from 7am to 6pm to help doctors(mostly interns) when they need a hand and often professors give us lectures in the conference room and during our rotations we almost always have to give presentations about patient cases. Today I got a chance to insert a foley catheter which is a flexible tube that is passed through the urethra and into the bladder to drain urine. I was so nervous before doing it but after finishing it I felt so accomplished and excited. Next week we have to do night shifts that start from 6pm to 7am in the morning. Although I am super exhausted and tired right now and had absolutely zero weekend time for myself, I feel happy and delighted to be able to learn and observe and even participate in the actual medical field.



I live at home which is about 5 minute car ride from school/hospital but most students live at a dorm because a lot of them are from different cities. Many students also rent houses near school especially senior students who enjoy the independence.


Study Place/Time

Our school gives us individual study cubicles in our school’s medical library. Every student gets a seat and it’s big enough to stack books and other stuff on it. Each class has a separate room full of desks and for senior students(meaning 6th year students, which is us) who have to take the KMLE at the end of the year, our room is located in a more secluded area with better desks and chairs to help us study more. When there’s an exam, most students study at least 6 hours a day when we have class and when we don’t, at least 10 hours a day. But for seniors like me, our study time depends on our rotation schedule. Some departments give us more free time while others do not. Basically we have to study everyday for the KMLE but it’s up to every individual’s study style and pace.


These are some of the characteristics and differences I found while attending medical school in Korea and watching a bunch of American medical student youtubers such as Jamie;) Hope you got some insight and found them somewhat helpful. If you’d like to see more in depth life of a Korean medical student, check out my youtube channel!( Lastly I’d like to thank Jamie for inviting me to her online home and I’m very happy we got a chance to collaborate.


Time Management Tips from Amanda (@coffeeandscrubs)

 Amanda is this week's guest blogger. Amanda has an awesome Instagram and an awesome blog as well. Check her out @coffeeandscrubs at Instagram

Amanda is this week's guest blogger. Amanda has an awesome Instagram and an awesome blog as well. Check her out @coffeeandscrubs at Instagram

Thank you so much, Jamie, for allowing me to write about this topic of time management. It’s funny because if you asked me 2.5 years ago as a first year if I would be able to balance school, work, a blog, and a social life, I would have laughed and then frantically gone back to studying for my class exam. But I remember one faculty telling us that first year that we will get better at studying and time management as the years progress.

I would 100% agree with this. Having good time management is part experience, part strategy. While I can’t give you guys experience, I can definitely give you guys some tips that I have found successful!






Make a mental list of priorities and stick with it.

During the first two years of medical school, studying was always my number one priority. But I learned very quickly that I wanted to prioritize things that made me healthy and happy. So, I had to do away with Netflix, crafting, playing music, and oftentimes sleep. But I knew I wanted to keep working out (3-4 times a week), relationships, a leadership role, and social events with my classmates.

The key was mentally laying out my day first thing in the morning and not allowing myself to sway away from this schedule. For example, I used to have days where we would have class, leadership meetings, and lab and even thought I was exhausted, I still forced myself to work out because it was on my list for the day (sometimes I swear I’m trying to drive myself crazy)! I believe this tip is what helps me the most with time management.


Removing barriers to having a successful schedule

 Amanda is a third year medical school student. 

Amanda is a third year medical school student. 

Okay guys, you know how it goes when you have to work out. It’s a huge process sometimes! Changing into workout clothes, doing the actual workout, showering, getting ready, and eating can all take up quite a bit of time when you don’t have a whole lot of time to spare. Things like grocery shopping and cooking can be a similar ordeal. Here are some of the ways I cut out the barriers to having a successful schedule:

  • Wearing work-out clothes to class and going straight to the gym afterwards

  • OR if I didn’t have class, I would go to the gym right before a big meal (i.e. lunch or dinner) so that I would do the whole gym-shower-food thing in a row and leave a chunk of time to study before and after

  • Buying groceries in bulk on Sundays and meal planning for the week

  • Making “overnight oats” (Google a bunch of awesome recipes) so that I could grab one for breakfast to eat in class.

  • Locating all the fridges on campus nearest my favorite study areas so that I could pack lunch and dinner. This allowed me to eat healthy and remove any travel time to eat.


Making a weekly and daily to-do list

This one seems pretty obvious but sometimes it really helps to make sure all your ducks are in a row before you sit down for a solid study sesh. This list may also include your life stuff too so that you can be aware of all that you need to do over the week.


Tip: use one sheet of paper a week and label Monday-Sunday across the rows. Leave some room on the side for your “weekly” goals. Under each day, lay out things that must be done and each morning, write down your tasks for the day. I like to be extra and draw a checkbox so I can be super satisfied checking that task off. I try and keep this sheet of paper on my desk whenever I studied so I could be aware of what I needed to do.


Complete tasks without distractions and use “self-care” as a motivation to use your time well

I think this is the hardest tip but one that I believe is the most helpful. Whether it’s grocery shopping, working out, studying, blogging, etc. etc., I try to complete that task without moseying around too much. I always like to tell myself that if I complete this task within two hours, I’m going to give myself 3 hours to watch Friends on Netflix later (this actually happens every day lol!).

Self-care is also something I didn’t realize was important until the middle of 2nd year. I think we often forget to “treat ourselves” in fear of wasting precious study time but I think that mental, emotional, and physical health should be equally as important as doing well in school. So, my biggest advice is to allow yourself time to do what makes you happy and use that to motivate yourself to get through the other important things in your life.

I hope these tips help some of you guys out there. Time management is always a work in progress but with time and practice, you can perfect your own rhythm. I sometimes wish we were Hermione Granger and had a Time-Turner for all of our tasks but one can only dream!




Debunking Med School Myths


I recently went to my five-year high school reunion. Beyond the awkward small talk with that guy I took to prom and commenting on how much people had changed, the most common topic of conversation was how medical school compared to what my former classmates had seen on T.V.

"Do people hook up as much as they do in Grey’s Anatomy?"

“Do you have any time to shower, eat, or sleep?”

“How many heroic, life-saving acts do you do each day?”

People always wonder if medical school is like TV or the movies. I’m gonna say for the most part, NO.

First of all, there are very few movies or shows that actually depict medical school itself. That’s probably because, at least for the first two years, there isn’t a lot going on. We mainly sit in a lecture hall, take notes and listen, go home and study. Maybe take a nap. At orientation right before we started class first year, a fourth year student described the first two years of med school as “a monotonous hell.”

I would say the T.V. show that most accurately depicts the first two years is “Survivor”. Maybe “Naked and Afraid” if you’re really unlucky.

However, once you get beyond those first two years, your life starts to move a little closer into “Scrubs” territory. You actually get to see patients, although you rarely (if ever) make any life-saving decisions or stick your finger in someone’s aorta to stop the hemorrhaging.

I’m not sure if people actually hook up in the on-call rooms, but most likely if you’re in there you’ve been working for about 20 hours, have coffee breath and Cheetos-fingers, and just want to sleep. But I do have to say that my roommate found her awesome boyfriend in our medical school class of 156, so miracles do happen.

Patients don’t always have some obscure disease that only one doctor has ever heard of or seen before. I’m pretty sure I watched an episode of “House” one time where the patient ended up having the plague. Like the Black Plague- the disease that killed off like half of Europe in the 1300’s. Usually patients have an asthma exacerbation or a broken bone or something else that one of your friends in third grade got to skip school for.

Overall, I would say that medical school, while vital and fascinating for those actually interested in being a doctor, has only 4-5% of the drama and action of medical TV shows or movies. I am still looking out for Dr. McDreamy, though.


Erin is a second year medical school student. 
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Maintaining Relationships in Med School

I’m currently a third year in medical school and my boyfriend and I have been together for a little over a year and a half now. We met during the summer after first year, and it’s funny because I was pretty keen on not starting a relationship back then. My focus was on school and doing well in my second year. Long story short, it obviously all worked out :)

Medical school is a huge thing to take on by itself, with all of the material that needs to be mastered and then regurgitated for exams. Add a relationship and that’s more time you need to carve out, because it wouldn’t be a great relationship if you didn’t spend time together. If your significant other is not supportive or asks for more time than you can (or are willing) to give, then it makes it so much harder. On the flip side, most people our age have much more time than medical students so it can be lonely for the partner who isn’t in school.

Here are some tips for what has really worked in my relationship. My boyfriend has a career in software development and we have been doing long distance since last summer.


Set aside dedicated time for one another.

My boyfriend is big on planning and it really worked well for us to have a deadline. Aside from exam weeks, we would agree on a time that was good for the both of us to just put our work down and be together. Sometimes it would be a proper date night and other times it was just catching up on the latest episode. It was great because it forced me to focus and maximize my study time instead of “studying” with Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat open. If I was more stressed than usual, we would set a start and end time. It seemed silly to me when he first suggested it but having the break was refreshing and I wouldn’t feel guilty about taking too much time. Even a 15-minute break just chatting on the couch about our days helped so much!


Prioritize your partner when you can.

Time will be limited and a good chunk of it will be dedicated to studying. Even though they didn’t have a huge exam to worry about, it was still time you took for yourself that you didn’t have together. After each exam block, I always made it a point to spend that day with my boyfriend. He was the one who would bring me food at the library when I studied late, so it was a clear choice for me to be with him instead of going to the class social, for example. Even if he didn’t, I would still choose to spend the evening with him because he patiently gave me the time I needed when I was cramming. This doesn’t mean that I spent all my free time with him but a good portion of it includes him because it’s important to me to share the time I have with him.


Don’t compromise when it comes to your schoolwork.

This is an absolute must. I entered medical school with an ex-boyfriend who didn’t understand how much studying needed to be done. I really struggled with balancing schoolwork and the relationship, and ultimately my grades suffered and we broke up. Your partner should understand when you need to study and not pressure you to pick schoolwork over them or make you feel guilty. Yes, it sucks that you can’t take the night off because of pharmacology but both of you need to understand that it was your decision that landed you in this position, and both of you have to be okay with it in order for it to work.


Remember that your partner is just that - your partner, and he/she also has needs.

I’m getting ready to apply for residency soon and my list of things to get done seems never-ending. My boyfriend has been incredibly supportive and listens to all of my frustrations and worries, until one day I unloaded a huge list of stressors and he stayed silent. We had barely talked all week because I was on my Surgery rotation and the first thing I did on the phone was fret about paperwork for audition rotations. I felt like a terrible, selfish girlfriend when I heard him describe his rough week and realized I knew nothing about what he was dealing with. It can be easy to get caught up in the bubble that is school but try not to forget about everything else. Even when they’re not stressed out, there are still parts of their lives and stories about their day that they want to share with you!



How to support a significant other who is in medical school (boyfriend’s POV)

Supporting a significant other who is in medical requires understanding, flexibility and support. I was amazed at the sheer amount of information my girlfriend had to consume on a daily basis and the vast amount of time she had to commit to studies without distraction. It’s a completely different lifestyle than I have ever encountered from someone who was in a project oriented major going into a 8-5 job. There were many times in her second year where she would wake up at 6AM to review lectures and study, come home at 5PM, eat a quick dinner, and head right back to the library. I knew I had to be understanding and supportive of her studies because they were important to her. So I would try to plan date nights around her study schedule to create nice interludes and help her pace herself so she wouldn’t burn out. She and I both enjoyed doing work at coffee shops so we would often have study dates and buy each other lattes or the occasional pastry. She would have her laptop and all of her notes out while I would do some coding or online coursework. Come exam time, the stress was palpable.


Though we lived in the same apartment, I would almost never see her the week prior because the amount of studying I described above just got a huge exam multiplier. Sometimes I would go to bed and say goodnight to her while she was still studying, and wake up for work to her already on her third cup of coffee and still going strong.As you can tell from my little anecdotes, having a significant other in medical school requires much emotional support and encouragement. Here’s a list of things that my girlfriend said she appreciated:

  • Lend an ear, let them rant a little about their exams, teachers, or grades.

  • Take them out to fun & spontaneous, yet time-sensitive dates to create an intermission between the books.

  • Double check with their workload before hanging out with them. Most of the time they will prefer to hang out rather than study and the temptation is quite the time killer.

  • Feed them. Sometimes they forget to eat. 


Yang is a third year medical school student. 
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