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Med schools attract the best and brightest. But in every class, some students struggle. It isn’t for lack of intellect or ability.

To make a smooth transition to medical school, you need to prepare according to Sciencemag.org.

You’re going to need to adjust to a fast pace because you’re going to learn more in a shorter period of time. The knowledge needed to be a physician is massive and complex, requiring intensive concentration and study. Mastering it requires more flexibility and commitment than you needed to excel as an undergraduate.

So, how do you successfully make the transition? Here are 8 suggestions to start with:

1. Make the emotional and psychological adjustments to deal with four extremely tough academic years. You’re going to have less time for family, friends, recreation and social life.

2. Start studying in the months before med school to get used to the workload.

3. Take an active role in your teams and study groups. Youll need to know all the material, so focus on the contributions of others as much as your own.

4. Limit distractions. It’s fine to volunteer and participate in extracurricular activities but remember that schoolwork always comes first.

5. Take advantage of mentoring and other support services. And periodically review your progress with your assigned mentor.

6. Close friendships and relationships can develop at school, and that’s natural. But it’s vital to maintain stability in your personal life.

7. Don’t spend time worrying what you’ll be doing four years down the road. The curriculum will give you the experience and information to make an informed decision about specialty choices, residencies, and fellowships –when the time comes.

8. Eat well, sleep sufficiently, and exercise regularly to stay healthy and sharp.

The first two years of medical school provide the foundation for your medical career. The health and well-being of your future patients depend on the preparedness, skill, and hard work you bring to bear your first two years. Make them count!

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