Coping With Deadlines In Medical School

April 22, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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3 Tips To Help You Cope With Deadlines In Medical School

Medical work experience student Ashleigh learning practical skills from her mentor in Thailand Attending medical school can be an exciting and interesting experience but it comes with its fair share of challenges, from dealing with a rigorous curriculum and a demanding work schedule to just being away from the TLC of home. For most medical students, one of the most stressful parts of the program is meeting all of those deadlines.

One of the things you’ll learn fairly quickly is that university is all about encouraging independence. You are solely responsible for your own time. Unlike school, university lecturers are not going to spoon feed you every single bit of information or keep reminding you to do your homework or complete your assignments on time. You are simply expected to do all of it without being coaxed, cajoled or reminded. However, procrastination brought on by poor time management skills and trying to pack too much into a day will more likely than not lead to inevitable delays and missed deadlines.

In medical school as anywhere else, making a habit of submitting assignments after the deadline has passed, will earn you the reputation of being unreliable and that’s the last thing you need in your assessment report. The below 3 tips can help you cope with deadlines in medical school.

Tip# 1 – Get all of the necessary information

To be able to submit your work within the deadline, it is essential that you have all of the necessary information on hand. Mark out the deadline on your calendar and keep it someplace where it will serve as a constant reminder so there is no way you can forget. Find out exactly what the assignment is about, what you need to do and how long you’ve got to do it in. After you’ve got all details about where and what time you have to hand your work in, you can plan your work timetable accordingly.

Tip# 2 – Plan ahead

Planning really is everything. Trying to get everything done and on time without a plan in hand can be chaotic and stressful. Although it is impossible to avoid exam timetables and hectic deadlines, you can reduce the stress they cause by planning ahead. Draw up a plan as to how you intend to complete not just your assignment but also your course studies so you know exactly what your goals are. Don’t just focus on one day – focus on the whole week. Do your best to meet each one of your goals so that you are always on top of things instead of struggling every single day.  

Tip# 3 – Break it down into bite-size pieces

The assignment on the whole may look so overwhelming that just knowing where to start can be daunting. A really good lesson to keep in mind at times like this is that most large tasks can always be more easily completed when broken down into smaller segments and worked on over a longer stretch of time. If you have to complete your project in the next two to three weeks, the right time to get started is the same day it is assigned. Study the assignment, break it into 4 or more spaced segments and give yourself a mini-deadline for each part. Then work hard and make sure you meet each of these mini-deadlines. Compromising on your self-imposed mini deadlines will almost certainly result in failure to meet the final deadline.