The 2 most important skills needed to do well in medical school

Many pre-med’s ask me if they will be able to academically prosper in medical school. I have identified two skills that one must posses in order to do well. Those that have been through the process of medical school should feel free to add more. This list is no way comprehensive. It represents my humble opinion.

1.)         The ability to memorize vast amounts of material is crucial. Medical school is the memorization Olympics. Memorizing minutiae will be your life. Mnemonics will be your best friend. Learn to love mnemonics! Much of the minutiae is about molecular biology. The memorized information may or may not be clinically relevant but it will show up on exams. Memorization was so important that i knew students that would play online memorization games in order to get a better memory. These students often scored the highest on exams.

2.)           The ability to associate symptoms presented with a memorized disease is the 2nd most important skill to have. What you memorized is like a pond with fish. The more information you memorize, the more fish will be in your pond. Your ability to associate clues in a question to a pathology is your fishing rod. This is a horrible analogy but i hope you get the picture. You need a good pond and a good fishing rod in order to catch the most fish. A medical student has to be able to make split second associations based on context clues. Many times a buzzword will trigger an association. The hardest questions have no buzzwords. Those type of questions are what separate the great students from the average students.


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