How Many Hours Do Doctors Study?

Med school is known for being a challenging mountain that the aspiring doctor has to overcome if they want to live their dream at any point. Students that make it out of med school are usually a huge inspiration for many other students that are looking to graduate and find a job that pays well.

This post will answer a question that I recently ran into on an online forum which basically inquired into how many hours doctors study.

With that said, let’s get right into it…

How many hours do doctors study?

After multiple interactions with student doctors, the average student doctor studies 25 to 45 hours per week however this answer is the AVERAGE and not FACT because the numbers of hours that medical students study are quite varied depending on things such as class schedule, year of study etc. However, it’s common for the average student to spend at least 3 hours a day studying.

Student doctors preparing for exams can even study for longer hours and one study found that the average medical student studied for around 10 hours a day during exam period.

1st Year

According to most doctors and med students; the 1st year of med school is the most challenging because there is a quite a lot of challenging courses a student needs to overcome. Studying every day is an absolute must.

Most 1st year med students may study for 4 to 6 hours every day.

The first year is really the year that most med students figure out there study routines, get acquainted with what works and understanding what is required of them.

2nd Year

In the second year, medical students have a more complex schedule because this is usually when clinical postings start and students are expected to practice medicine and talk to patients effectively.

In the second year, medical students may study for at least 3 to 5 hours every day but then again depends and may differ student to student. But 3 to 5 hours is a good estimate because aspiring doctors have to study around a very challenging and new schedule.

3rd year

In 3rd year of med school, aspiring doctors have to become accustomed to learning out of a classroom. Most students I talked to for this article basically expressed that 3rd year of med school is difficult because you’re constantly working with new people, meeting new patients, required to us and apply different skillsets whilst also learning on the job.

Students in 3rd year of med school may study between 2 to 5 hours every day because study time is usually not available and they basically every little chance they get. Studying is generally difficult at this stage because students can’t stay up too late and risk showing up late for work.

However, studying is necessary this is why the dedicated student will study for at least an hour or two after a long exhausting work day.

4th year

In the last year of med school, students have to effectively manage their time. They not only have to study for practical work but they also have to study in advance for their final examinations. This could easily mean studying 5 hours day and over 40 hours a week to stay prepared and have enough time to review all studies.

The last year is the make it or break it year because you have to manage your time well and know the field well enough to be ready for residency.

Studying strategies employed by Student doctors

Reviewing Material

Med school is a unique school because it is not only involving but also highly complex. It is for this reason that medical students I spoke to about this article really emphasized the importance of reviewing study material. You can’t skip over stuff just because you read it a week or month ago. You have to consistently review to ensure that you understand the core principles that makeup the area of study.

 Relying on memorization is really not effective because students don’t only need to know their stuff theoretically; they also need to practice it. This changes the rules of the game and the player has to adapt or their lack of learning will easily reflect in their practical work.

For students outside of the medical field, my advice is that you take this advice and utilize it in your own studies. Begin to not only understand things theoretically, start striving to practice whatever you study and directly apply it if you can.

Test yourself

One of the most effective ways of testing your knowledge is through assessments and most med students usually form groups and quiz test each other to stay on top of their game. Of course there are many other ways to test your understanding i.e. remembering specific things, answering exam questions, taking online tests etc.

The goal in self-assessment is to assess whether you actually understood what you’ve studied and can explain it using your own analogies, conception and expression.

Therefore it’s wise to pay attention to how you come up with answers. Do they come naturally? Do they come off memorized? Are they your own answers or they your exact study material?

Make learning creative

The best way to make studying an enjoyable process is to make it as much a part of you as possible. This means creating an environment that is effective for learning.

If you intend to study in your room ensure that you make time to clean it up and make it as minimalistic as possible so you naturally get rid of distractions. Distractions come in all shapes and sizes, sometimes a simple magazine laid out on your studying desk can easily become distracting and make you zone out to read something that catches your eye.

Identify your distractions and eliminate them, once you do that it’s time to make a comfortable studying environment.

Ensure you have a good desk or table and chair that is comfortable enough not to irritating or make your waist numb.

Study groups

In med school study groups are an important part to success because doing things alone can be not only difficult but nearly impossible. You have to learn how to study and work with groups of other students as early on as you can because the practice of medicine is a collaborative one and having study groups not only keeps you accountable but it also helps you develop good working relationships with your peers that can help you when it’s time for clinical practice.

Uncomfortable Studying

One thing that med students have to get accustomed to is studying uncomfortably because their schedule continues to tighten as they advance from year to year. This could mean learning how to study whenever and wherever.