Grand Rounds

SMHS Student Affairs & Admissions News

Academic Support

There is one thing that we can be pretty sure about—medical students are intelligent. They did well at school (they most likely were even near the top of their class) and some of them will have relied on a good memory, but not always a great deal of study, to pass their exams. Unfortunately, medical school is not like their undergraduate (and for some unlike their graduate) programs. The volume of work is huge, too big for even the best minds to hold without excessive effort, and each block contains far too much information for anyone to cram into their head the week before the exam. The type of knowledge might be different too; and they might have been told what to learn at school—memorize information and do the routine homework—but not how. In medicine one will not be taught everything they need to know to be a good physician, and yet they will still be expected to learn it.

Below are some key points to learning in medical school that academic support can help students develop for their success as a life-long learner:

  • Learning to learn effectively and efficiently, like any other skill, requires deliberate and reflective effort over time. If you want to learn a new way of learning, it will take some time and practice.
  • There is no end to what one can learn in medicine, but one will need to learn what is important and when to know one has learned enough about a topic.
  • The only way to survive the load of learning at medical school is through regular, active, self-directed learning. Academic support assists students in developing these skills.
  • Spend time not only thinking about what you are learning, but also how you are learning – what works for you? How could you improve your learning?
  • Learning in medicine is a lifelong process, medical school is just the start, you might a well try and get the foundations right.

Submitted by Val Becker