Dental school is certainly a place where some serious learning takes place. I describe it as partly fun, partly stressful, and some extended periods of studying effort before exams. Everyone is different in terms of how they remember the material and recall the information for their exams. I am a procrastinator and a crammer. I rely on RedBull or more recently an affordable alternative known as coffee to pull all-nighters before exams. It does the trick. I am an excellent student in my class and I am surprised by how well I did in my first year. This article isn't for someone who just wants to pass dental school and get by with a dental degree and become a general practitioner. This advice is for students who want to see results on their scores for whatever their reasons may be. So heres my advice to students just entering dental school who want to be at the top of their class.
Top Ten Nation Feature Article: Tips And Tricks For Success In Dental School
- Figure out how you learn, and learn in your most optimal manner. Use one of those quizzes online or contact one of your student advisers to determine your learning style and more about your habits. Know your weaknesses, and get ready to bounce past them.
- Right. You got your learning style. Now you must know your studying weakness. Do you procrastinate? Then start scheduling in study time, and switch off the TV and internet, and just start studying. I cram the few days before the exam. This works for me, I've figured out my perfect balance. If you study just fine, then keep up the good work!
- Stick to the main study material. I know so many of my classmates that study such extraneous information. Some study textbooks and books they just find on their own at Chapters such as anatomy atlases and condensed texts. My advice is just stick to what is presented to you in class. There is enough detail there already!
- Use old exams. They are always floating around somewhere. The upperclassmen at some schools pass these down. I find that a decent amount of questions are always repeated.
- Avoid problems by not getting yourself tangled into conflicts. Be it classmates, professors, or whoever, just avoid arguing! Arguing won't help you at all, so just suck up the bad grade or bad comment or whatever came your way and just go with the flow. Don't take anything personally.
- Set your goals in the right place. Focus on doing the best that you can do. The reason I want A's in my classes at dental school is because I want to know how to properly do my job as a dentist in the future and because doing well gives me a rush. I aim for an A and this way, I have a comfortable margin from the failing score, and I never have to worry about potentially failing a class.
- Use upperclassmen friends to gain knowledge about specific classes and labs. They can give you tips and hints, but don't rely on their knowledge as absolutely correct! Information and examining styles sometimes change year-to-year. What the professor presents in class is what trumps everything else!
- Attend all lectures as best as you can. A lot of students tend to become a bit lazy and they quit attending classes. Go to your classes, there's always a benefit (however small it may be) in doing so.
- Be persistent. Certain simulations or clinical procedures can be difficult to master. Be relentless and practice until you are good at it. This is easier said than done. I have my own way of practicing... Everyone comes up with their own personal style. Talk with friends once in a while to pick up on tricks that they've learned. Sharing techniques is a great way of becoming more accurate, quicker, and more efficient.
- Figure out how to de-stress. This is important. If you can't handle stress, you will have other problems as well. I tend to watch Star Trek and play video games. Yeah you know where it's at. Find out what you can do to immediately relax and forget about all your other stressors in the world.
- I am a strong proponent of being frugal as a dental student. This means I constantly strive to save money. I find that doing this will lessen my debt into the future. I want to point out that you have to pull back a little bit once in a while and actually spend money to treat yourself.
- Exercise if you can. It makes you feel good, and refreshes you! I try to do it as much as possible but it gets to be tough at times. I try my best to go for a run at least once a week.
I hope this list helps a few dental students out there to maximize their dental education experience.
Until next time...