REAL STORIES: Four Top Medical Students on How To Survive Medical School


Four Medical Students on How To Survive Med School

         Study Hacks to be a Successful Med Student. I’m really excited and proud to feature 4 prime future doctors, on how they battle the tedious roller-coaster life in Medicine. This feature is a bit lengthy, but definitely  a MUST READ***, particularly. for the aspiring ones. Learn a technique or two, from these inspiring beings. Now grab your coffee, and let’s all yield the unveiled secrets of the masters.

Bev Yu, Top Student, Alto 2, President-DLSHSI- Saringhimig 

            Our reasons for going into medicine may vary, but one thing’s for sure… We all want to survive and get through this in one piece The only people who are probably truly qualified to give tips regarding survival are the ones who already graduated and are already doctors… However, I’ll still do my best to write about some that may probably help at least in the 1st 2 years of med school

1. Know yourself.

– knowing your needs and wants would greatly help in finding out the kind of med student (& eventually the kind of doctor) you want to be, and especially in finding the most effective study habit for you  Finding the right study habit would involve a lot of trial & errors (& it will never really stop) but basically, finding the right one will help you structure your review schedule better & study more efficiently

Ex. Are you good at all nighters? Or are you a morning person who absorbs info better in the mornings? Are you good in study groups? Or better at studying by yourself? 

2. Learn and review as much as you can.

– For me the ideal study plan would be to review all my lectures at the end of the day and to read & prepare for the next day’s lectures. I say ideal because there’s never enough time for me to review as much as I want to :)) but I believe that trying is more than enough, It helps you retain the must knows at least and it helps to sensitize you and hopefully lessen the resistance come review week. At least when you review (the week before evals?) you’ll literally just have to REview and not have to study everything from scratch 

 3. Make use of your time well.

– If you have time, try the mirror technique for example you have patho-micro-pharma-IM-OB, try to review starting from OB followed by IM – pharma – micro – then patho I’m not guaranteeing that it will work for you, but I think it’s at least worth a try (unless you’ve already tried it & found out it’s no good for you )

– maximize your free time: even the small breaks between lectures may be enough to do something productive! Like scan through a tranx or take a nap haha. For me, breaks are good for studying for quizzes & I love working lunches.


4. Set your priorities straight.

– we have to remember that we’re privileged enough to be here… To have the resources and the opportunity to learn how to save lives! (And hopefully be able to do so in the future). You don’t have to place med over everything else (that may be unhealthy…) but just place it in your top 5 at least. Enjoying life is highly encouraged (if you want to stay sane), but always weigh the pros and cons before prioritizing going out w/ friends or watching a few episodes of the new k-drama you’re into, over preparing for quizzes/projects/exams/etc  just maybe take note of the consequences before you make your next move and don’t let peer pressure get to you (you’re more than old enough to know what’s good or bad for you #TrustYourself).

5. You don’t have to be an achiever to be grade conscious.

– being conscious of your grade is never a bad thing (as long as you don’t get too competitive about it). Just be aware how your average goes up or down and be prepared to take action whenever a specific subject starts to signal an S.O.S #beastmode

6. Don’t let go of the things you love/ you’re passionate about.

I’m “married to medicine” but I turn to music whenever I feel my colors fade.

In our chosen field, there is very little time for anything else. But it’s nice, healthy even, to have something else to distract you from too much worrying… To help you relax & refresh your mind, or help you escape from the bulk of studying you still have to do Never let go of the things you love… Sports, music, arts, family time.  Staying happy more than helps w/ studying medicine and it will also help shoo away burnout!
To be honest, I don’t think I’d be able to stay sane if I didn’t have a sort of escape from med and of course family time helps me to not forget how to talk about non med things

7. Surround yourself with the best people and don’t be afraid to ask for help

– There are a lot of times when med school will seem too heavy a burden to lift on your own. At those times, knowing you have great people to support you and help you make it through will feel like a gift. If you think you don’t have them yet, don’t be afraid to go out and find some! I believe every batch is diverse enough to have at least one person to fit your qualifications (#pangFriendsLangAta’to)



8. Stay positive & Never lose faith.

– Always look at the silver lining and hopefully be the refreshing optimist in a sea of pessimists. No matter what your faith is, I believe the one up above is more than loving enough to give you strength, wisdom, and everything you need to go through all these obstacles. You just maybe have to look closely to find such gifts
P.S. These may or may not work for you, but I hope at least some would  The world needs more awesome doctors, let’s all strive to be one.

May God Bless us all & #Laban2019

P.P.S. I have a love & hate relationship with PastEs, but it really never hurts to go through them before exams… Just don’t solely rely on them (#PrayYouReadTheRightPastE #RatioYourPastEs)



  •  2019’s Trinity.


Angel, Jd, and Bren. (c): daniella bulquerin 

JD Belmonte, University Honor

Tip #1
The Economy of Energy. The rule is simple – when studying and delineating tasks to be done at certain times, you have to match your physical energy level with the task that you are performing. For example, after class, you favor taking power naps to get ready for a night of studying. The power nap acts like a shot of caffeine that gives you energy after you wake up. You have to be wise in using this energy by performing difficult tasks like studying the hardest subject or reading the most confusing chapter after waking up because this is the time when you have the most energy. You leave the easier tasks like writing an assignment or sending out emails for later when the beneficial energy from your power nap has already waned.
If for example, you only have six hours to both read the confusing chapter and write emails – you then chose to write the emails first and it takes you three long hours. Three hours of work in itself leave you tired default without the task being necessarily mentally taxing. You are left with latter three of the six hours wherein you are already worn out but have to take on the confusing chapter. Had you read the confusing chapter first, you would have done it with a clearer mind and a better affect. But you could have done the emails even if you were on the brink of falling asleep at the end of your six-hour session.
This rule, albeit simple, has many implications for its maximal efficiency. First and foremost, you have to be correct in determining which task needs the most energy. This suggests a continuous process of self-assessment throughout your tenure as a medical student on how well you can manage different types of tasks for different subjects. The next implication is that you absolutely have to be working when your peak times hit. Getting lazy during your energy crests carries more consequences than getting lazy during your physical down-times. The third implication is that you also have to be aware of your actual physical limitations – it’s different for everyone. You essentially have to undergo multiple trials to know your physical self more and adjust your usage of time and energy.
Tip #2
When setting goals and planning how to study, it is important to stay true to yourself. Too often students are heavily influenced by the goals and patterns of study of other people. For example, you have already set the goal of studying for 10 hours on Saturday – after which you plan to watch 2 movies before sleeping. Overall, you have a good and admirable plan to be able to catch up on lectures in class but still have some fun. Your classmate then tells you that he will study for 3 hours only but will watch 6 movies for that same Saturday. Will you be dissuaded? You had a good plan to study for 10 hours but you feel that it’s fine to cut it down to 5 hours because your classmate only plans to study for 3. You have already lowered your own standards because you feel comfortable knowing that your classmate planned so much less time for studying. At this time, you need to stay true to yourself, if you were motivated to get a lot done in 10 hours of study then you mustn’t let others keep you down. Stick with it and do not compare your time management to others – set your own pace, own goals and own expectations for yourself and with this, you can strive to continuously improve against the increasing difficulty of medical school. Do your best because you want to.
Jd Belomonte
            Likewise, if another classmate says he plans to study for a crazy-coffee-driven 16 hours for the whole Saturday, you must also not be pressured to increase your study times. Are you competitive and will be worried that he might get ahead? You realize yourself you probably will get too tired when studying for 16 hours but still try to study for 16 hours because you were influenced by your diligent classmate. 16 hours of non-stop studying stressed you out and left you worse for wear. You probably needed the 2 movies after all. Again, you must not compare yourself to others – so what if he studies for 16 and you studied only for 10? All medical students are different in terms of study pattern and you have to set your own goals at your own times to meet your own expectations in order to keep improving. Unnecessary external stress from comparison with other people can be taxing on your self-belief and your personal drive. Do your best because you want to.

Angel Caldo, Top Student, Point Guard, President-Human Biology Association

         Most, if not all, would definitely agree with me when I say Medical School is one huge roller coaster ride. There are some ups, downs, sideways and whirls but in the end it’ll be a pretty awesome journey go through and tell people about.


First of all, know what you’re doing here and why you entered med school. Whether it be a childhood dream just like me, for your parents, for your future, for your future patients or for the sole reason na “IDK”. For whatever reason you may give or not, know what drove you to get into med school in the first place. From there, you’d be able to at least try to push yourself into overcoming whatever challenge med school has to offer. Take it from me, sometimes the frown on my face or the frustrations I would often feel from having a long day of class would get erased when I try to remember the reasons why I got in this career track in the first place.


 This may be petty, but it works. Just in case, here are other stuff that I suggest you guys to do:


 Know the type of study habit you have. The study habit suitable for others may not be suitable for you. Whether it be highlighting a lot of times on your transes or books, making your own transes, or re-reading your notes 3 times prior to an evaluation. Your study habit is what works for you, you don’t need to copy someone else because it may not be suitable for you. An example would be, if you see someone highlighting almost all the words in their transes and then you wanted to copy them just for the sole reason that they get high in the exams, then that may not be a good plan. Although I’m not totally saying that this might not work, but most of the time it doesn’t. Try to look for the perfect study plan for you because you know yourself better than others, and you know the best way how you would learn and how to retain knowledge. 


 Learn to say NO sometimes. Med school will definitely take much of your time because of the mental, emotional and physical demand it has. Whether it be going out on parties or simply playing tiny tower, know when to stop and say “NO, I have to study.” It’s all about prioritizing and looking at the long term effect your choice will bring about. Sometimes you have to contemplate on doing what you BOTH need and want (which is passing 2nd year and going to AUDI 3), than just doing what you want.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy doing what you’ve been doing previously. It just means that you have to use your time wisely and weigh the pros and cons into doing something. For example, going to a party would entail studying more on a different day to compensate for the time spent going to the party.


It’s okay to LET LOOSE & CHILL SOMETIMES, especially after a major exam or a week long full of exams. Let loose and reward yourself as long as it’s not too much.


 Lastly, have a little bit of confidence. The fact that you got into med school will already suffice as evidence that YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH FOR MED SCHOOL. Sometimes all it takes is a little push ,“Hardwork beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” – Taras Brown




There are a lot more I would want to say, but these are the ones I think are the most important of them all.





       Think positive and keep that head up high because sometimes the impossible things become possible when you set your mind to it.




Bren Dela Cruz, Top Student, Vocalist-aBANDoned

Nicole was a group-mate of mine only a year ago when we were in our first year. She witnessed what kind of student I was of back then. She knows how anti-social I could be, and that how I could easily get along with people given the opportunity (huh?). Well you have to ask her about more on that, or me, whichever.

Now on what I can contribute to this content, let’s get to it.

MED SCHOOL ALSO HAS ITS BASICS, know that you will have an entirely different experience each year, in your first year you’re gonna be dealing with the basics. Warning! This year will serve as the foundation that will decide your readiness for newer difficult concepts in the years to come, and you will have to believe me when I say that you wouldn’t want to be put on the spot with nothing to give for an answer. Why? Remember that a patient can always ask for the specifics, and before them, the consultants who may or may not be as forgiving as the lecturers in class. As a second year, I realized that you can do more with your time by going over the basics once or twice rather than dozens, so master as many as you can because you will the need the brain room for memorizing.


Which leads us to the second tip,

TIME MANAGEMENT is and will always be the key to your success in med school. While I may be poor at it, I happen to be friends with a handful of students whom I look up to with utter awe at their capability to set aside unproductive activities and procrastination for actual studying. The following is what I learned. Admit it or not, somebody’s paying for your stay, be it your parents, some sponsors, or what have you. So, during the period that you’re in med school, think of it as the job you landed after earning that undergraduate degree, and that someone’s paying for it (which they actually do). Meaning, you’re going to have a significantly large slice of that in your pie chart of time allocation. You just got to make sure that you create a doable, reasonable, and well-timed study ethics, so that you don’t end up poorly committing to it and cram or work with an overloaded plate leading you to a burn out.


Like most jobs, you will need a SOLID SUPPORT SYSTEM to keep you from burning out, an important matter that’s entirely up to you. Still, I highly suggest having a company of people whom you can maintain a healthy relationship with, ones who you feel comfortable intellectually and emotionally. You’d want people that will push you up to speed and be there for you at your worst, or just simply be there. Medical school is no easy feat, there will be down times, there will be frustrations, but it doesn’t have to lead to vicious despair, loathing, and inactivity. You can always have your well-deserved rests, no one’s going to keep those from you.

I wish I could say more than these general knowledge tips, but they actually work. Just focus on your prioritization and you’ll be at your best. 



I have always wanted to ask questions to this bunch: “Paano ba nila nagagawa? Do they sleep? What are there drives and motivation? How do they survive and excel in this gruelling toxic environment of Medicine?” Now that they have answered, I hope it has not only helped and motivated me, but everyone else who  will be able to read this.

Thank you to our featured authors, for spilling their coveted top secrets. This content will forever be in the web, that I know for sure will help many aspiring future doctors. Thank you! 🙂

I just want to say thank you to everyone around the world who reads this blog. Thank you for the conversations I had with some of you, the help, encouragement, and understanding you have given me since I first started!

Hope you find this helpful, while I plan to continue to bring you the best content and article possible! Till next blog-post!





Justin Legaspi, John Gonsalves and Christopher Mayuga for the Photo Header. Check out Justin’s  youtube vlogs and instagram account.
The authors are all included in the Anatomy Top 30 of  S.Y. 2015-2016, and  Academic Honor Awardees of the De La Salle Health Science Institute College of Medicine, Batch 2019.
  • I'm not a medical student, but you have some great advice for anyone to follow 🙂

  • Med school is such tough process! Having that group of supportive friends and students is so important. Good luck!

    elizabeth |

  • Although I'm not a medical student those tips are great for any student especially if you wanna achieve something at Uni etc. There were so many points made that would have helped me in the beginning of Uni. Now in my final year I actually do so many of these tips to get me through.
    Lea, xx

  • Liz

    Medical school is so tough! I admire you guys. This is great advice.

  • These tips seem applicable to students in many different fields. Time management is vital!

  • These are the exact same things I tell my son who is a college freshman. Your advice is great and will help a lot of students survive college.

  • Exactly! :)) thaaaank you soo much! Glad you liked it! 🙂

  • thaaaank you soo much! Glad you liked it! 🙂

  • huhuhu, thaaaank you soo much!! 🙂