How To Balance Multiple Classes in Medical School

How To Balance Multiple Classes In Medical School

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So how do you balance multiple classes in medical school? I get it, it’s hard to balance anatomy, biochemistry, physiology and who knows what.

In this post, I’m going to show you how to balance multiple classes in medical school. This post will be perfect for first and second-year medical students as well as pre-meds.

If you want a video version, check out the following YouTube video. If you enjoy it be sure to check out the YouTube channel for weekly tips and advice about med school!

But first, if you need help on how to study in medical school, check out our free video course. I show you a step-by-step way to study less than 5 hours a day in med school.

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Check out the free video course here.

Now let’s get to the tips on balancing classes in med school!

Perfect Your Studying System:

Before we talk about specific ways to handle multiple classes in med school, we first need to talk about how you study.

How good are your study methods? Are they leading you to the results and grades you want?

If so, perfect! If not, check out this post about my top study methods for medical school 

Want a better way to study? Learn exactly how I studied in medical school. Get this free step-by-step video course and guide here.

How To Study Free Guide

So once, again before we perfect how to balance multiple classes in medical school, ask yourself this. Is your study system good enough?

Use Batching in Medical School:

Batching in Med School

The concept of batching is unique to medical school but works wonders if you need to balance multiple classes.

Here’s what batching is – you designate each day to either a specific class or phase in your studying.

Here’s an example:

    • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – Read Syllabus Lectures for week
    • Thursday – Friday – Review Material From Lectures
    • Friday and Saturday – Practice Question

I admit this technique is unconventional but it has many benefits.

For one your schedule is predictable. You don’t have to worry about the hassle of doing learning and reviewing of all your classes on the same day.

Another benefit is that you front-load tasks which take the most amount of time – specifically reading the syllabus.

Batching is used by content creators (like me) to keep up to date with their blogs and videos. You can use the same concept to help balance multiple classes in medical school.

How To Use Mini Batching:

Just for fun, another way to use batching is to mini-batch.

Instead of designating a whole day for a specific task, you will just pick one class per afternoon.

Here’s an example of how you’d use mini-batching

  • Monday afternoon – Anatomy lectures
  • Tuesday afternoon – Biochem Lectures
  • Wednesday afternoon – Physiology lectures
  • Thursday afternoon – Anatomy lectures
  • Friday afternoon – Biochem Lectures
  • Saturday – Physiology lectures + review week’s lecture
  • Sunday: OFF

This system will prevent you from switching from class to class every day. Focus on just one class, get your review done, and feel confident that you’ll have another day to review for that class.

If you’re struggling to find balance as a pre-med or in med school, give batching a try!

The Flipped Approach:

Flipped Approach in Med School

Often the reason med school can be so hard to balance is that of the sheer volume. Check out hard med school is here. 

To help separate what’s important vs. what’s not try out the flipped model for med school.

Here’s how it works, begin your learning using a high-yield resource instead of your class syllabus.

Some great options are practice questions, a high-yield review book, or YouTube videos.

The reason this model works is we learn quicker when we are aware of what’s necessary to retain.

If you learn something in your high-yield review book (first aid“>first aid for example) and you also hear it in lecture – you better bet that topic is important.

To make this method even more effective, add in a sandwich!

No not a real sandwich, but the sandwich method!

Before you go to class, use your high-yield resource (First Aid, Qbanks, Sketchy, Pathoma, etc.) to learn the important concepts.

Then go to lecture and listen for similarities between your resource and lecture.

Finally, go back to the resource after lecture to solidify your understanding of the high-yield info.

This use of the sandwich method allows you to quickly spot what’s important. You can now spend the remaining time on trying to grasp the details from your lecture.

Give it a shot!

Use Different Work Hours:

Work Hours in Med School

Work hours is a term I coined when I teach students how to be more productive.

To learn more about work hours and how to use them, watch this video where I coach one of my students on how to better plan her day.

Work hours are a great way to segment your week into when you’ll be working and when you won’t.

You can take this concept and use it to help balance multiple classes in medical school.

For example, you may have 2-3 work hours dedicated per day. Each of these work hours can be anywhere between 1.5-3 hours.

You can then assign a specific class during these slots and get focused work done.

I used this technique a lot during my first year of medical school. During this semester I would have classes such as biochem, anatomy, histology, and pathology all at once.

So I would use work hours and dedicate Tuesday morning for histology review, Tuesday afternoon for anatomy, and the evening for biochem plus additional review.

Again it’s just a more structured way to plan out your day and your classes. This way you know what task you’ll be doing when.

So if you’re someone who is finding themselves becoming overwhelmed by how much you have left to do – try out work hours. Then you can just sit down and get to work!

Note: Want to learn how to study in medical school? Check out this post – Ultimate Guide On How To Study in Medical School. 

Break Into Smaller Tasks By Segmenting:

Let’s take the work hours concept to another level.

Work hours are usually 1.5-3 hours long. But if you’re going to assign an entire class during each of those blocks, how are you going to decide what exactly you’ll do?

The common approach amongst pre-meds and medical students is to assign a large task for all 3 hours.

You’re likely not going to complete the task this way.

This is where we can add in segmentations into our days. It’s a perfect way to balance multiple classes in medical school.

First, ask yourself – what exactly do I want to get done during this time?

It may be as simple as finishing a lecture or doing some practice questions.

Next, ask how long that task will take.

The ideal goal is to break the task down into something which takes 30 mins to 1.5 hours. Tasks longer than this often cause anxiety and usually never get done.

But once we break our goal (ex finish syllabus lectures) into smaller goals (finish lecture 21 in 35 mins) we can start assigning those tasks into our work hours.

The final product is work hours with smaller segmented tasks. Now you can visualize what exactly you’ll be doing and have a start and end time.

So if you’re someone who always struggles with inefficient studying – give segmentation a try.

I’m sure you’ll find yourself much balanced among all your classes in medical school.

Divide Based On Your Weakness:

You can’t learn everything at once. You know this.

But after we accept this fact our approach is often flawed.

We don’t correctly dedicate our time between what we know and what we don’t.

There are two levels to this problem.

First you have students who struggle in anatomy but still spend equal amounts of time amongst their classes.

Then you have students who struggle with specific topics in anatomy but spend equal amounts of time amongst all topics.

This is a flawed approach.

The ideal goal should be spending more time on our weaknesses. So if you struggle with a specific class – dedicate more work hours to that course.

Next, within your work hours, dedicate specific time to work on your weak topics. If you’re good at both lecture 1 and lecture 2 but struggle with lecture 3 – spend a majority of your time on that lecture!

Combine these two approaches and you’ll definitely be able to balance multiple classes in medical school.

Note: Want to learn how to study in medical school? Check out this post – Ultimate Guide On How To Study in Medical School. 

Have Realistic Expectations:

Trying to make all A’s in all your medical school classes?

This is a great goal, but if your school is pass/fail, I encourage you to question that goal.

If you need someone to tell you that it’s okay to not get all A’s – I promise you it’s okay.

After 4 years of medical school, I promise you that my grades during my first two years in medical school didn’t make the difference in where I went to residency.

In fact, the time I spent doing other things (research, this blog, etc.) were more valuable to my final application than a few extra hours of studying.

It’s all about balance. 

So question if those extra few hours are necessary.

In fact, I’d encourage you to challenge yourself to spend as little time as possible. While your workload won’t drop to zero – you will find much more time for yourself.

So there you have it. Now you should have a better understanding on how to balance multiple classes in medical school.

Is it easy? Nope. But can you do it? Of course!

Need more help? Shoot me a comment down below or send me an email at [email protected] and I’d be happy to help!

Whenever you’re ready, there are 4 ways I can help you:

1. The Med School Handbook:  Join thousands of other students who have taken advantage of the hundreds of FREE tips & strategies I wish I were given on the first day of medical school to crush it with less stress. 

2. The Med School BlueprintJoin the hundreds of students who have used our A-Z blueprint and playbook for EVERY phase of the medical journey so you can start to see grades like these. 

3. Med Ignite Study ProgramGet personalized help to create the perfect study system for yourself so you can see better grades ASAP on your medical journey & see results like these. 

4. Learn the one study strategy that saved my grades in medical school here (viewed by more than a million students like you). 

If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy the following!

Here are some blog posts that will also help you with your studying:

Top 5 Study Methods For Medical School
Ultimate Guide – How To Study in Medical School
How I Studied Less Than 5 Hours A Day
How To Perfect Long-Term Retention in Medical School
How To Study Effectively in Med School
My Morning Routine in Med School

Hope to talk to you soon!

Until next time my friend…


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