Summer Before Medical School: What Should You Do?

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You got into med school. Yey! Congratulations. I know you’re all excited and ecstatic. But the question is, “What should you do during the summer before medical school? Should you study?”

Based on my experience, I would say that the direct answer is “no”. But why?

As you read further, I’m going to break it down. I’m going to tell why not and what you should or shouldn’t be doing to basically help anyone on either side of the fence.

Ready? Let’s get started!




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Why shouldn’t you study the summer before medical school?

As I mentioned above, I highly recommend that you do not study during vacation or the summer before medical school. But why?

First of all, I know some of you guys will think, “Great! That’s awesome.” And then you go and enjoy the rest of your vacation after.

But I’m sure there are many of you guys who are thinking and would say the same things I said when I was about to start medical school. So, what was I thinking?

Well, in my mind, I wanted to get ahead or at least not feel behind when I started med school.

There’s just a lot of tough classes that will make you feel that way on your first year of medical school.

Hmmm…let me name some of them. You have Bio-Chem, Anatomy, and a bunch of other classes that you just dread to be left behind.

You’ve probably never even heard of them. Just a bunch of terminologies and I get it.

The main reason, why it’s not appropriate to study the summer before medical school begins is because your intensity to study is just different.

summer before medical school - Study

Your determination when you’re preparing for tests versus when you just have a summer to like skim over things is different.

When you have an anatomy test this coming Friday, you tend to remember very complicated words quickly.

But when you’re just kind of going through the motion of trying to freshen up on anatomy or learning for the first time summer before med school, it just doesn’t stick that same.

So honestly, the amount of rewards you would get from that review just doesn’t pan out.

And you know, if you don’t believe me, ask any fourth-year medical student.

Ask them should you or would you have studied before medical school started?

If they were successful med student, if they did well, you know that’s who you should go to.

Not the person who looked like they struggled because that person is going to tell you stressed out answers.

And it’s going to make you stressed out. But you want to go to the person that you want to emulate.

Ask them, “Would you have studied the summer before?”

Almost 99% of them will say do not study. Instead, let’s talk about what I think you should do.

So, what should you do the summer before medical school?

Tip #1: Perfect Your Study System

summer before medical school - study system

One of the things that I do recommend doing the summer before medical school that does deal with studying is perfecting your study system.

The process that worked in college is not going to work in med school. That’s because often a lot of us rely on techniques that are just inefficient.

We do a lot of re-reading. We write our notes out loud and we do a lot of highlighting.

It’s important for you to reflect on your college experience and realize what worked and what didn’t.

Think about what you can take with you and what you should probably leave in your college days, among many other things.

To help you out, here’s a studying worksheet that you can use, to begin with.

Basically, it’s going to have you fill out all the study techniques you did.

Then, it lets you estimate how many hours you did per day, per week and give it a score.

So, this worksheet is going to let you see visually which techniques leads you to have your high grades and which ones you’re probably doing just because.

You could take the ones that really worked and try them out your first few weeks of medical school.

And then, you can feel like you’re already ahead because you’re not still figuring out a good study process.

You’re coming with a good game plan.

Perfect your study system first with what you’ve already done.

Then you can go online and look at my website, look at other people, and try to figure out what study methods they use.

You can mix and match and create one that’s perfect for you.

So, creating your perfect study system is something I’ve totally down for.

But this doesn’t require you wasting long hours during your summer. It can be quickly done in about a day.

It’s going to help you, not necessarily now, but at least when it’s time to do it.

Tip #2: Look up Top Resources for First Semester Classes

summer before medical school - top resources

During your first semester in medical school, you’ll know how to essentially begin.

The second thing that you could probably do during your summer before medical school is just to look at the resources for the classes that you’re going to have at the start or when medical school begins.

In your first semester, that includes anatomy, your biochem, cell bio and such.

So, just look at what other people have used for this.

Yet, this doesn’t mean go read them or buy them. This will just help you avoid being overwhelmed when that class starts.

Now, this might get a little confusing as the internet is going to look like it’s going to give you 101 different options.

So, you’ll get to read about the different resources you can use for biochem.

Then, you see different flashcards, different books, and different video courses.

So, it might get overwhelming.

What you can do is to look into reviews of each one of those.

Then, figure out which one would be the most appropriate for you.

So again, check out my website and other YouTubers who have done a great job explaining different resources you can use. Then have a running list for your first couple of classes.

That way, you’ll avoid doing resource overload and buy everything under the sun because you see your classmates also doing it.

So, check out your resources.

Again, you don’t have to buy them, definitely, don’t read them. But it’s important to just kind of be aware of what your options are.

Tip #3: Spend Time with What and Who You Love

summer before medical school - spend time with what you love

The last few things that you should do the summer before med school is about just enjoying your summer and making sure it used optimally.

Number three is to go on vacation or just spend time with your loved ones.

You’re not going to have very many summers after this one.

In fact, if you’re in the US, we’re probably just going to have one more.

That’s the summer between your first year and your second year.

Find the people you care about.

The hobbies that you want to be participating in and make sure you dedicate time to do so.

Taking a vacation, finding the time – you make sure you do that.

Tip #4: Optimize Your Health

summer before medical school - optimize your health

Number four in the list of things you should do summer before medical school is to make sure you’re optimizing your health.

One of the best things that I did coincidentally is I really got to working out that summer before medical school started.

I had just quit the job that I had during my gap year and then I had like three months.

I didn’t know what to do with. I had moved in. It was nice.

So, I went on runs a lot, learned about lifting, and improved my health and my nutrition.

I was able to take that when medical school got crazy and made sure that my body didn’t take a hit.

So, make sure you’re optimizing your health now.

Don’t become a couch potato, watching Netflix and a lot of movies and TV shows.

Make sure you just kind of doing a little thing active here and there to help you because you’re going to be in a chair a lot when medical school starts.

Tip #5: Read outside Medicine

summer before medical school - read outside of medschool

Then the last thing, that I recommend doing the summer before is this reading and learning about things outside of medicine.

I think one of my biggest strengths is that I had learned about almost everything under the sun aside from medicine.

I learned about personal finance because I knew I’d be either broke or making money as a doctor. I’m broke right now but I’d be making money eventually.

So, it’s important to understand kind of how to deal with that.

I learned how to fix my car because I was going to be alone for the first time.

All these things.

Read about them.

Find books that are interesting because then you can develop those life skills as hobbies, outside of medicine.

That way you can enjoy yourself outside of medicine.

So, all of these things combined obviously is going to prep you for a great medical school start.

Aside from that, it will give you a lifelong habit because medical school is definitely going to take chunks of time from your life and attention.

It’s going to require you to be able to prioritize yourself, your free time, and just understand how to be efficient.

So, all these tips, if you combined them, guys, I promise you medical school’s going to start off on a good note. You’re still going to have your rough patches but DO NOT STUDY.

As I’ve mentioned above, you may think you’re going to get ahead.

But I promise, if you ask anybody, including your future self in about a year from now, “Was it worth to study for this class? “. You’ll probably say, “No”.

So, if that’s the case, enjoy that two or three months of summer before medical school.

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). 

I hope you enjoyed this article about how to spend your summer before medical school.

If you did enjoy this post, check out the following posts for more content.

How To Study in Medical School [Ultimate Guide]
How To Survive Medical School is Not Good Enough (3 Tips On How To Thrive)
5 Proven Study Methods For Medical School
5 Effective Study Habits of Medical Students
How To Stay Motivated In Med School – Even When You’re In A Slump
A Typical Day of a Medical Student
How Many Hours Of Volunteering Are Required For Medical School?

Thank you so much. Until next time, my friends!

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