Advice for Third Year Medical Students
Third year of medical school is a challenging but rewarding time. It is when you will finally start to feel like a real medical professional, as you rotate through different clinical departments and begin to see patients on your own. However, it can also be a very stressful time, with long hours, difficult exams, and the pressure to start thinking about residency.
Here is some advice to help you succeed in third year of medical school:
1. Be prepared to work hard.
Third year is arguably the hardest year of medical school. Expect to be tired. You will be working long hours, both in the hospital and at home studying. It is important to be mentally and physically prepared for this challenge.
And if you have loved ones at home, make sure they are prepared as well. Have a conversation with them ahead of time so they know what you’re going through. This will make it easier to plan around your upcoming year, together.
2. Be organized and efficient.
With so much to do, it is important to be as organized and efficient as possible. Develop a study routine that works for you and stick to it as much as possible. Use a planner or calendar to keep track of your assignments and deadlines.
- Keep a notebook or journal to track your progress. This will help you stay on top of your assignments and deadlines.
- Use a planner or calendar to keep track of your appointments and commitments.
- Develop a study routine that works for you and stick to it as much as possible.
3. Prioritize your time.
Not all tasks are created equal. Some things are more important than others, and it is important to prioritize your time accordingly.
- Focus on the areas that will have the biggest impact on your grades. These are usually your shelf exams and clinical rotations.
- Don’t neglect your other responsibilities, such as your extracurricular activities and your personal life. However, if you need to make sacrifices, focus on your grades first.
- Don’t be afraid to say no to commitments. If you are feeling overwhelmed, it is okay to say no to new commitments.
4. Use your resources wisely.
There are many resources available to help you succeed in your third year. Talk to your classmates, faculty, residents, and attending physicians for advice. Use your school’s library and other resources to access study materials.
- Talk to your classmates, faculty, residents, and attending physicians for advice. They can give you valuable insights into the clinical rotations and shelf exams.
- Use your school’s library and other resources to access study materials. There are many textbooks, review courses, and practice questions available.
- Join a study group. Studying with friends or classmates can be a great way to stay motivated and learn from each other.
- Upgrade your question bank. You need to start preparing for your shelf exams. Get a question bank subscription specifically for NBME and/or COMAT shelf exams.
5. Be a team player.
Third year is a team effort. You will be working with residents, attending physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to care for your patients. Be willing to help out and learn from everyone.
- Be respectful and professional to everyone you work with.
- Be willing to help out wherever needed.
- Be open to feedback from others.
- Be willing to learn from your mistakes.
Plus, the relationships you form will be invaluable when you need recommendation letters for your residency application.
6. Ask questions.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The best way to learn is by doing and by asking questions. If you don’t understand something, ask your classmates, residents, or attending physicians for help.
- Be specific in your questions.
- Be open to different perspectives.
- Be respectful of others’ time.
7. Take care of yourself.
It is important to take care of yourself both physically and mentally during the third year. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly. Take breaks when you need them, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you are feeling overwhelmed.
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
- Eat a healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
- Take breaks when you need them. Get up and move around, or do something that you enjoy.
You’re going to be around patients with various diseases and ailments. Combined with stress and anxiety that naturally comes with medical school, it could be easy to succumb to medical student syndrome. But you’ll more easily stave off those fears if you take proper care of yourself.
What is medical student syndrome? It is the hypochondrial experience of symptoms associated with life-threatening diseases medical students learn about, often during clinical rotations.
8. Be proactive.
Don’t wait for your residents and attending physicians to come to you. Introduce yourself and offer to help out. Be proactive in learning about your patients and their conditions.
9. Be respectful.
Treat your patients, residents, attending physicians, and other healthcare professionals with respect. Be polite and professional at all times.
10. Give feedback.
Don’t be afraid to give feedback to your residents and attending physicians. Let them know what is working well and what could be improved. This can often lead to productive conversations where everyone learns something new.
Bonus Tip: Start Preparing for Residency
Your third year is going to go by quickly. It’ll be time to apply for residency programs before you know it. And the residency application process can be very competitive, so it is important to start thinking about it early, if you can.
- Consider your interests and goals. These rotations are intended tohelp you choose your medical specialty. What type of medicine do you want to practice? Where do you want to live? What kind of work environment are you looking for?
- Start researching residency programs. Learn what they are looking for in their applicants. Do they value exam scores or research more? What do they want to know about you in your personal statement?
- Take a hard look at yourself. Start assessing what you might need to include in your experience to be competitive. Do you have the right research experience or academic history to be considered for the residency programs you’ve found? If not, what can you do to improve your standing?
Third year medical students have it rough. Keep your goals in mind, take care of yourself, and trust the process. You got this.