IT’S NO SECRET THAT getting into medical school requires proper planning. Often premeds get so bogged down on what they need to do to get into medical school that they lose sight of what they can be doing to prepare in advance for the rigors of being a medical student.
While premed courses, clinical experience, and MCAT preparation can help a student develop valuable skills for medical school, actively considering what characteristics make for a good medical student in advance and seeking to acquire those characteristics can increase the chance of success once you are in.
The following are qualities that every successful premedical student should acquire in preparation for their medical education:
- Independent learning.
- Time management.
Clinical medicine is changing rapidly and physicians are being encouraged to rely more on guidelines and research evidence to make clinical judgments. In response to this change, medical schools have adapted their curricula, encouraging students to be more self-driven in their learning.
It may seem obvious that any aspiring physician should develop empathy. After all, you will be spending much of your time in medical school involved directly in patient care. But empathy extends beyond interactions with patients and will help you greatly as you interact with peers. In medical school, you’ll spend a significant amount of time with classmates.
Effective time management skills are key for balancing a medical education with personal life. One of my peers in medical school would wake up at 4 a.m. and study up until class so that he could devote his afternoons to his young children.
It may seem overwhelming to think about all that you need to do to succeed in medical school when you haven’t even been accepted. But taking these measures will allow you to accomplish more and make you a more impressive candidate. In the process, you will also acquire a set of habits that will help you in medical school, residency and beyond.