What I’m Taking into My 2nd Year of Med School

Hey guys!

Med school begins next week so I thought I’d share what I’ve done to prepare this week.

Story Time!

Embarking on second year means that it’s going to be harder than first year. This is expected. The bar always rises. In my final year of high school and last year, I very much enjoyed my lifestyle outside of school – aka not sacrificing everything to study hard. Keeping up with friends and family was the highest priority for me, even above studying.

I hope to keep the same lifestyle moving ahead this year but I’ve thought lots about how I’m going to make this possible. Yes, 2nd year will be hard but how hard? Really, I don’t know. I might find it harder or easier than the person next to me. But if I think about what’s really in my control, I know I can prepare which is why I have studied early. But I haven’t studied the content early, I’ve been looking more deeply into study techniques.

Active recall, spaced repetition and flashcards were a godsend when I learnt about them back in year 10. The thing is though, I quickly realised that this isn’t the end of the goldmine. It’s really just the beginning. There is so much more we know about how the brain most effectively learns and there are accompanying study techniques.

I’m personally not quite afraid to let go of things if I know there’s something better, which is why I’ve completely transformed my study system this holiday break.

I don’t know how hard 2nd year will be so I just need to make sure my systems are ready for whatever comes at me!

Here’s What I’ve Realised

  • I know very little about study techniques. After making videos about active recall and spaced repetition, I had no idea of additional learning techniques (it’s more about learning now than just studying) that can be used to create a cohesive and bulletproof study system.
  • There is still so much more for me to learn.
  • I’ve completely forgone my reliance on Notion and Anki for notes – these were where I stored all my notes back in year 12 and 1st year. In fact, my most popular video on youtube is how I studied in year 12 but that is no longer how I study. These notes were prioritising information as opposed to prioritising relationships between info (A very big difference)
  • Information in isolation is quite difficult to retain and is never long-lasting either.
  • Learning styles do not exist, only learning preferences. Writing notes does not activate all modes of learning, drawing is more effective (Sketchnote)
  • We have poor judgment about how much we actually know (Illusion of Explanatory Depth)
  • Understanding > memorisation where possible but even then understanding isn’t the pinnacle of learning. Building relationships between understood concepts are even more important.

More recently these are the themes that I’ve been covering in my video in order to share what I currently know is best.

So many students out there (including medical students) speak only about anki/active recall/spaced repetition. It’s definitely effective and efficient but only relatively speaking when we relate to other forms of learning. That group of techniques is what I care about now.

If you’re new to building study systems, active recall and spaced repetition is a good beginning but is by no means an end.

This is a long-term process of continual learning.

I’ll keep you guys updated!

See you guys next week