• Question: Is it hard to study?? Do I need to be smart to be a doctor or a vet?

    Asked by hamsterstacey73 to Adil, Amanda, Gail, Jamie (GP), Jo & Lucy, Nicola, Philly, Tuxford on 2 Mar 2018.
    • Photo: Jamie Hynes

      Jamie Hynes answered on 2 Mar 2018:


      Studying is a personal thing, and yes you do need to get that information in somehow, and part of studying is finding something that really works for you;
      -Some people sit and read and that works for them.
      -Some people record it and listen back to it.
      -I found that I retained the information a little better by writing out the stuff I was reading, or drawing a picture of the things I needed to remember; that way when I thought of the ‘fact’ or the ‘treatment’ I would try and visualise what I wrote. This isn’t quite a photographic memory but I do recall where things are on a page after writing it out.
      -What’s been found to be the most effective way of holding on to information is to TEACH it to someone else- so you learn it and then teach mum/dad/sister/brother/family hamster.
      I wonder how I got into teaching other GPs!! I just needed to revise things!

      Intelligence is required to be a doctor or a vet but that isn’t just for facts and figures. Communicating and being aware of a patient’s feelings and behaviour is a huge part of healthcare. It’s not what you know but how you use that knowledge.

    • Photo: Gail Allsopp

      Gail Allsopp answered on 2 Mar 2018:


      Studying is hard especially when there are more exciting things to distract you like TV and social media. My top tips are
      1. Make a revision timetable and stick to it!
      2. Turn off your phone while you are studying
      3. Get lots of sleep
      4. Eat well and look after yourself

      You need to get good grades in your exams to be a doctor or vet so yes, you need to be smart, but not super clever. Being smart means, working hard, trying hard and believing you can do it. You might not like this, but listen to your teachers, the good ones anyway. Their job is to get you to be the best you can be, but most of all, believe in yourself. Only you can do the work, only you can pass the exams!

    • Photo: Catherine Harrison

      Catherine Harrison answered on 3 Mar 2018:


      I always enjoy studying, but the biggest challenge is making time and not getting distracted. Being disciplined to work hard is more important than being smart. And having common sense, and empathy are the most important factors of being a good GP.

    • Photo: Amanda Henchliffe

      Amanda Henchliffe answered on 4 Mar 2018:


      You do need to dedicate time for study, I find that trying to be structured helps to build in routine (especially if you are on a long study program), it keeps you on track and can help wit motivation for those not so good days.

      I also find that writing a plan -old fashioned spider diagrams work for me and writing out what you have read – or at least the salient points helps me to remember things.

      I agree also that teaching or pretending to teach something to someone/thing or recalling out loud really helps focus the mind.

      Healthy nibbles and regular walk away from the screen or paper helps re focus on long study days.

      Finding a study buddy can help both for theory and practical learning.

    • Photo: Philippa Horner

      Philippa Horner answered on 5 Mar 2018:


      Medicine is hard work, yes, but in my opinion it is completely worth the effort. You will need to work hard at medical school and afterwards but that doesn’t mean it’s a chore. I don’t just mean sitting down and staring at books when I say working – lots of the work you will do will involve going to lectures, seminars and – in later years at medical school – going to hospital/GP placements, all of which have the potential to be really enjoyable as long as you engage with them. I’ve never been someone who could sit and revise for hours and hours on end and, even when I was studying for finals, probably did no more than 8 hours of revision a day at the absolute peak of studying. The main thing to say is that, while you will have to work hard while you are studying and after you graduate, the fun you will have, the people you will meet and the work you will doing far and away outweigh the bad days that you spend cooped up revising! And yes, you do need to be bright to be a doctor but far more important than that is your drive, your ambition and your willingness to work hard.

    • Photo: Jo & Lucy Arthurs / Clayton

      Jo & Lucy Arthurs / Clayton answered on 6 Mar 2018:


      You do of course need to study at some point as this is how you gain essential knowledge that will help you be good at your job! But there are also lots of other interactive ways of learning such as going to lectures, seminars, bouncing ideas off colleagues, watching online videos and experiencing life in a GP practice or hospital! Medical school is a really great place to learn and study as you are around lots of other people with similar interests and can help each other out.

      In terms of whether you need to be smart….I would say it can be helpful but its is not the be all and end all! Enthusiasm and hard work get you a long way! A lot of medicine is pattern recognition and past experience, mixed with being inquisitive and being almost like a detective to get to the correct diagnosis!

    • Photo: Adil Rashid

      Adil Rashid answered on 9 Mar 2018:


      Studying to become can be challenging but with good time management is definitely achievable. When it comes to revision everyone learns best a different. For me, writing notes and reading them later is useful. I also keep a To Do list to help me keep on track.

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