As you already know, vet school involves an incredible amount of learning. Even if you enter vet school with a lot of enthusiasm and motivation for studying, you’re likely to experience a slump at some point during the four-year curriculum.
What’s the secret to studying effectively through all four years of vet school?
How can you avoid falling into a rut?
Changing your study focus yearly, as you progress through your education, can keep your mind engaged and ensure that you’re studying as efficiently as possible.
The first year of vet school is typically a big adjustment. You might find that the study methods you used in undergrad are less effective in vet school, sending you on a search for new, more-effective techniques. Flashcards, group study sessions, creating quizzes for yourself, and other methods might help you master first-year material, even if you have never used those strategies before. Spend your first year of vet school experimenting with different study methods, learning which techniques give you the best results.
By your second year, you will probably begin to settle into a routine. Vet school may (hopefully!) seem a bit less overwhelming. You’ve found study strategies that work. At this point, it might be tempting to ease up and relax a little bit. Second year, however, is where you really need to force yourself to push through. Allow yourself a bit more time for self-care, if you have determined that you can afford it, but make sure that you attend all of your classes and study consistently. Don’t fall behind. Continue using the study strategies that you developed in first year, mixing it up as needed to keep things fresh and interesting.
At most vet schools, third year is the last year of didactic coursework. While the thought of another year in the classroom might seem daunting, third-year courses are typically more focused on clinical applications. Use this to your advantage! Focus on the practical implications of what you are learning and how you might use this information on clinical rotations or in your career. This practical focus can keep your mind engaged and cement your memory of what you are learning in these courses.
In fourth year, you have likely finished your classroom education. At this point, your focus is on clinical rotations and the NAVLE. Rotations are often time-consuming, with long hours spent at the vet school and preparing for rounds, so effective time management is essential. Schedule yourself time to study for the NAVLE on a regular basis, even during challenging rotations. Keep study materials with you, so that you can take advantage of any downtime during the day. Schedule extra study sessions during “easy” rotations, to take advantage of free time you may have in the evenings.
Vet school is a marathon, not a sprint. By changing your study strategies with each year of the curriculum, you can ensure that you stay motivated and that your studying remains as efficient and effective as possible.
Interested in knowing more study tips? Download our eBook “2019 Vet Student Study Strategy: How to tackle studying in the new year for veterinary students”.