Much like getting married, having kids, or striking out on your own are huge life events that you can’t really prepare of – succeeding in pharmacy school can feel similarly unpredictable.
To make sure you’re as prepared as possible, I’ve put together a list for you! Keep reading to see my best advice and top 7 tips for studying in pharmacy school.
Get into the right mindset for pharmacy school
For many students, their study habits have been in place for years. That can make it even harder to look at what you’re doing and improve it from an unbiased position. Based on my experience, here are some things you can start thinking about now.
take a close look at your study habits – now
Very early on, it was pretty clear that I could not longer “wing it” in pharmacy school. I knew I’d have to study more, but I didn’t completely understand the time + energy commitment I’d have to put in.
Gone were the days that I could just read the material once before moving on. So, I had to take a really serious look at my study habits and figure out the best ways to study and balance my downtime with.
make efficiency a top priority
While you can absolutely have a life while you’re in pharmacy (or medical) school, it’s important that you are always being efficient with your time.
Make sure that you’re minimizing distractions. For many students, that means leaving your phone in another room or reserving a study room in the library. And, while many people love group studying, make sure that you’re still staying on-topic and not getting into any distractions!
Every day, you should be taking steps toward your goals. Make efficiency a priority and you’ll find that reaching your goals and maintaining your social life won’t be so difficult.
dedicate more time than you’d think to studying
It’s hard to put a number on studying; some people are going to need less hours and some may need more. Many people will fall in the middle. Don’t compare yourself to your fellow students! This means that you should try to work quickly and efficiently, but not at the expense of your education.
Put in the work. Spend the right amount of time in advance. Flying by the seat of your pants, or waiting until the last minute, is not going to help you reach your goals. In pharmacy school, the material really builds on itself so, when you spend the right amount of time studying, you’ll find that things will get easier.
My top 7 tips to successfully studying in pharmacy school
Now that you have a good foundation for how you should be improving your study habits, here are my top 7 tips for studying successfully in pharmacy school!
- Stop Playing Catch Up: Instead of always playing catch up with your reviews, read over your notes from a class on the SAME day – either after class or before bed!
- Rinse and Repeat: The more times you see something, the more it will sink it! Make flashcards for drugs, mechanisms of action, etc, and use repetition to your advance.
- Chunk Your Work: You aren’t going to master the whole pharmacology chapter on cardiology in an evening, but you can really understand the first few pages of the chapter, or ten drugs – make some microgoals and you’ll have the chapter mastered by test time.
- Be Prepared: Read the chapter BEFORE the lecture! No matter how busy or tired you are, you’ll want to make the time to read the chapter before you sit down in that class to discuss it.
- Get Rid of Distractions: Turn the TV off, don’t study on your bed, put your phone in a different room. There are even apps that you can use to blacklist websites like Facebook from your computer for a set time so you can work on your computer with no distractions either.
- Schedule Some Downtime: Give yourself time to refresh yourself by going out to dinner with friends once a week guilt-free, going for a daily walk, and exercising.
- Connect to Your Support Group – Throughout pharmacy school, stay in touch with your family and friends! You’re going to be busy and it’s hard not to get buried; connecting to your support system will help ease the stress and make you feel more supported.