After I was accepted to medical school I spent many hours looking up everything related to med school. One of my favorite topics to look up was what a typical day in medical school was like.
I know many of my readers are not in medical school and there may be some who are which are interested in how I structure my day.
Here I talk briefly about what a typical day in medical school looks like for me during my second year.
If you want a video format, check out my YouTube video below!
My Typical Day in Medical School:
4:00-4: 30 AM: Wake Up
Since starting this blog, one of the most often asked questions is whether I’m still waking up at 4:30 because of my previous challenge. Yes.
That challenge showed me how efficient I can be if I get up a few hours earlier. I hope you can see the flexibility and freedom it allows me by the end of this post.
4:30-5:45 AM: Morning Routine
I discussed my morning routine in a earlier post. Sometimes this changes when I have more tasks to get done.
The most important part of my morning routine is planning the day.
Regardless of how busy I am, I will take 5-10 minutes to plan the day on a piece of paper and on my Google Calendar. I’ve shown an example of my to-do list here.
6-7:30 AM: Workout and Shower
Having my workout early in the morning make it much easier to wake up. If I knew that the first thing I would do when I got up would be study, then I’d probably never wake up as early as I do.
Getting a great hour long workout oddly gives me energy instead of taking it away. With this energy, I’m ready to attack the day.
I’ve talked about how you can have an efficient and quick workout here.
Working out is important to me that I still go to the gym even on mornings of an exam or quiz. Usually, my examinations at my school are usually at 8:30 or 9. Thus I’d have very little time to study if I choose to go to the gym. This forces me to stay on top of my material and to be ready the day before.
7:30-9 AM: Do Flashcards
Now I’m ready to attack my academics. I’ve talked about how I study here if you’re interested.
If I’ve done a good job of staying on top of the material, then I will just have the flashcards from the day before.
This is usually 3 lectures, with 10-15 flashcards each. Even with a break I usually am able to get through my flashcards within an hour and a half.
9-10:30 AM: Read Lectures for the Day
In the past, I stayed away from the syllabus. However, we just started our Neuro block and I absolutely love this field (it was my major!).
So for this class, I’ve made myself read the syllabus material which I’m enjoying thus far.
While reading I’ll make my flashcards for each lecture (10-15 per lecture). I will do these cards the next morning.
10:30-11 AM: Break
I allow myself a break to serve more as a time buffer.
If I wake up late or my flashcards or reading taking longer than usual happens then I have this time to make it up.
11-1 PM: Step Studying + Lunch
If you’re not familiar, one of the most important tests a medical student will take is their first board exam known as step 1.
Now my actual test will be in late March and I will have 6 weeks to study for it.
Currently, I leisurely go over material that I struggled with during my first year and a half. These topics included cardio, pharmacology, microbiology, biochemistry, and anatomy.
My goal is to casually review material now so I can feel better at the start of my dedicated study time.
I will also have my lunch that I packed myself the night before.
1-2:30 PM: Watch lectures
Yep it’s true, I don’t go to class. My school records all lectures and allows me to play them back at accelerated speeds. I’ll hold off in sharing how fast I speed up some of my lectures at times (maybe in the future). 😉
Since I’m recently read the lectures and made the flashcards, I’m mainly listening for anything new that I don’t recognize. I’ll add this material to my flashcards to be done the following morning.
3-4PM: Innovation Hour
Read about how I use this hour on personal development.
4-5:30 PM: Work on Research Projects
I’ve gradually joined a few research projects during my time in medical school. During this time I will work briefly on each of them.
Sometimes this consists of writing a specific section of my paper. Other times it’s a simple as doing some chart review on 3-5 patients for a specific project.
It can be daunting to have a few projects going on at the same time, but having designated time to work on them makes it more manageable.
I will talk more about how to get involved in research in a future post.
5:30-11 PM: Free Time
I’ve said many times before but I love having my evenings free. So once the clock hits 5:30 or 6, I put up the books and focus on myself.
I can use this time to watch TV, play some Madden on my Xbox, jam on my guitar, or read.
For me, it’s worth it to work hard during my early hours to have these hours to myself.
Now if I have a quiz or test coming then I will usually add an extra 1.5-3 hours study into my evening.
11 PM: Bed and Evening Routine
Prior to going to bed, I will do my evening routine which I will talk about in the future.
If time and my energy level allow it, I will try to read a few pages of a book before calling it a day.
So there you have it. Yes, there will be some variations from day to day, but 80% of my days have this structure.
Even on days that I’m not successful in keeping this flow, I can sacrifice a few things to stay productive and efficient.
So now I ask you – what’s your daily routine? Even if you’re not a medical student, do you structure your days or just go with the flow?
I’d recommend having some sort of structure your day regardless of your occupation or how busy your day is.
Hopefully, this post has been insightful for you. I’ve found a schedule that works for me and now it’s your turn. Try tinkering around and draft a typical day in medical school for yourself.
If you liked this article, you may also enjoy these other posts about productivity, scheduling your day, and succeeding in medical school:
If there is something specific you’d like me to address in a future blog post, comment below or email me at [email protected].
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If you’re a first or second-year medical student wanting guidance on how to succeed in medical school, read my book, The Preclinical Guide. I provide all the tips I wish I knew day one of medical school. Check out the book here.
Until next time…