Starting again for the coming winter semester are a good 9.000 medical students spend their first semester. Excitement and joy are great. But what does medical school have in store for incoming freshmen and how do they best prepare for the challenges ahead?
There are still a few months left to take a deep breath, but then a completely new phase of life begins for many young people in Germany. The winter semester 2019/2020 begins and with it also start well 9.000 students their first semester of medical school. But what exactly awaits the future doctors and how can they best cope with the challenges??
A life with privations?
In most cases, students have to rely on parental support, BAfoG or student loans to finance themselves. Mini-jobs in cafes, supermarkets or warehouses offer the possibility to supplement the monthly available money a little, but studying medicine is very time-consuming. Preclinical, the first four semesters of medical school, in particular, have it all.
Students should therefore first of all occupy themselves with lectures, seminars, internships and learning, instead of going to work on the side. To still make ends meet, it is important to save properly:
Whether first-year bag or sponsored writing material from pharmaceutical companies. Medical students in particular are inundated with promotional gifts. Maybe the logos of the corporations may bother you, but the equipment is free of charge and serves the same purpose as pens and college pads from the stationery store. You can also find many free products on the Internet. Bargains can be found on Mein-deal, for example, as well as free samples of medicine .
Students who have moved to a new city for their studies can often apply for welcome money. Many German cities offer a so-called relocation bonus in the amount of 50 euros to 250 euros.
Most medical textbooks are very expensive, so it makes more sense to borrow them rather than buy them. Of course it's nice. to have my own home library to fall back on the material of past semesters, but carefully prepared transcripts from lectures and seminars are sufficient for the most important information.
Proper learning has to be learned
Histology, biology, pharmacy, biochemistry, physics, anatomy, physiology, psychology, chemistry and sociology rule the timetable in the first four semesters of medical studies. In addition, the material of an entire school year is taught in just one month of study. The amount of knowledge imparted is overwhelming at first, but it is by no means impossible to generate sufficient knowledge and pass the exams.
In order not to despair of the learning workload, it is important to create a clear and realistic learning plan. Here, the material should be divided into manageable portions that can be easily learned. Days for regeneration must not be forgotten, of course.
Many students do not sit down to their study material until a few days before an exam. This may often be enough to pass an exam, but this is associated with severe stress and the learned material is forgotten after only a few days in this "bulimic learning". Instead, continuous work should be done on the material. It is best to work intensively on a new subject at the beginning and repeat it over time. This ensures that the information is stored in long-term memory and can be retrieved in later semesters.
The questions students have in their first semester are often the same:
– What awaits me?
– What do I have to learn?
– What do the exams look like??
Fortunately, there are quite a few students of older age in the faculty who have already gone through all that awaits you and are often happy to help the newcomers with advice and support.
At the beginning of each lecture and seminar, the lecturers present literature that is suitable for the subject in question. At the top are usually 1.000-page tomes that are considered a reference for the subject, but are far too detailed to work through in the course of a semester. Textbooks are suitable for delving deeper into the material, but short textbooks are more useful for learning.
Not every place is equally suitable for learning. Especially at home, the opportunities to distract yourself are numerous, which at the end of the day not only limits potential learning time, but also its effectiveness. This is why many students go to the library. Here you will find the literature you need, pleasant workplaces and a good atmosphere for learning. It is also sensible to change the places again and again. The new environment stimulates neurons and helps to better store learned information.
Most preclinical exams are multiple-choice style questions. What may seem trivial at first is far more complex and, above all, more misleading than most students realize. The questions are complex and the answer options often differ only in very specific formulations. Even with good preparation, this will make exams an obstacle course. Therefore, students should especially learn how to solve multiple-choice questions in order to get used to the type of questioning.
Life not forgotten!
With all the workload that college has to offer, however, students shouldn't forget about their own lives. Free days should be planned just like working days in the library. Whether in the sun, on the sports field or in the cafe, leisure time is not only relaxing and makes life worth living, but is also necessary to replenish mental strength.
Students have here many possibilities, free of charge or against little money their spare time to arrange. Universities offer free language courses, through the university sports can be booked free sports courses and the tickets for concerts, theater, cinema, etc. are almost everywhere reduced for students.
Especially the first semesters of medical school will be hard, but they also have a lot of nice things to offer. The subject matter is more interesting and focused than in school, there are many new activities and places to go, and a new world opens up full of interesting people.