How To Study in Pharmacy School – Best Tips
Nothing really prepares you for the madhouse that is pharmacy school. Straight out of high school, I thought carrying forward the same study habits I had perfected over the years was my sure ticket to securing my Bpharm degree. Boy, was I wrong! My first year whizzed past as I was really struggling to find my footing, trying to grip onto something to pull myself out of the whirlwind I was in.
I was basically trying to stay afloat. The content being taught was immense and the workload was more than I had ever imagined. It all hit like a ton of bricks. It did not help much seeing that everyone else had it easier or was handling it way better than I was. Being in a class with people as smart if not smarter than you, it’s given the imposter syndrome would kick in every so often.
It was a crystal that I could not copy-paste study patterns I had used before to ace pharm school. With those out of the window, I had to learn and I had to learn fast. Here, I’ll share with you the 5 best study tips on how to study in pharmacy school that work for me.
Having just completed my third year, I can say I steadied my boat, and sail to the graduation day is way smoother than it was 2 years ago. I found a study routine that worked for me and stuck to it, adapted study habits that I now live by. I will share what has been working for me in the hopes that I will come through for another struggling student in ways I wish someone came through for me then.
How to study in pharmacy school – best tips
I strongly believe if you know how to manage your time well, pharmacy school becomes a whole lot easier. You have to jungle your school work, your social life, your extracurricular activities, your mental health and pretty much everything else. Poor time management tilts the scales, offsets the balance and one if not more of these aspects of your life will take a huge blow.
Prioritizing and compartmentalization goes a long way in ensuring you give the needed amount of time to what you consider important. It is very possible to have a healthy social life, good grades and good state of mind if you manage your time well.
Self-discipline is key. Unfortunately, this cannot be taught and can only come from inside you. You are to adhere a routine, stick to a laid-out plan and to fight all temptations to stray from it. Some nights you will be forced to stay in to study for a paper or to catch up with notes instead of going out with friends and it will take every fiber in you to not slam the books shut and head out.
This starts by having separate notebooks for each of your classes and folders or files for your papers. Studying is easier when everything is in one place.
It extends to how you plan your day, knowing that I will wake up at this time to do A and B then proceed with C and D.
I have a friend who’d have little sticky notes at her work station of To Do Lists or what assignments are due. I have another who uses reminders on his phone to achieve the same. Keeping planners is a good idea for those into journaling.
Attending your lectures and actively taking notes is a given if you wish to make it through the semesters. Scribbling during lectures keeps you grounded especially during those afternoon classes you would consider somewhat boring. You are also likely to be more attentive. Remember, the chapter you are studying will save a patient in the future, so pay attention during your lectures.
After class you can update your notes using the lecturers slides or pdf if any or the internet. Also, find time to go through the notes before the next class, that way you are at per with your professors and it becomes easier to understand new concept if you have already grasped the previous.
Through your study time, it is important to attempt possible questions from the chapters you are studying. You could note down what you think is examinable as you go through your notes then attempt answer these questions to gauge how much you have really retained from that study session. You could find related quizlets in the internet and attempt them too. If you are able to access past examination papers, the better.
You never walk alone! Group discussions have come through for me in ways unimaginable. Finding the right group of friends might just be your saving grace in pharmacy school. You could go through lectures in these group discussions, compare notes and essentially learn from each other. You might have missed an important point in class that your friend caught and vice versa. These groups will keep you grounded, accountable and pretty much challenged.
Over and above, stay motivated!
Easier said than done, I know. There are mornings the bed will feel warmer and you will want to sleep through a class, there are afternoons you will feel too tired to lift your pen and nights you will want to throw your textbooks at the wall and tuck in, there will come days you will feel too exhausted to continue and it is ok. You are human and you can only take so much. Take 5 and have a breather. Go for a walk, rest a little and have some fun. And if you feel like quitting, think about why you started pharmacy school and the impact you will have on patients lives once you graduate.
These are the best tips on how to study in pharmacy school.
Don’t forget to check out our previous blog post – is pharmacy school hard? if you haven’t already and leave a comment on some of the challenges you’ve had in pharm school.
What are your experiences? Are there any unique study tips you have apart from the ones above? Please comment down below and share your thoughts.