American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

Goals and Study Tips

Science courses dominate the first year of osteopathic medical school. In fact, the first two years of medical school are largely devoted to the basic sciences. You will learn the basic functions of the human body and a core set of clinical examination skills.

Some Goals for Your First Year 

Here are some suggestions to help establish a firm foundation for your medical education:

  • Preserve a balanced schedule that includes work, relaxation, rewarding relationships and varied interests

  • Be receptive to new concepts without forming definitive judgments. Remember, answers are not always logical.

  • Obtain a foundation of knowledge during your clinical years. You will build on this foundation throughout graduate medical training.

  • Accept that practicing medicine requires certain personal sacrifices in terms of the hours you work, the locations at which you train, and stresses on your personal life.

  • Maintain an interest in health care and the communities that you intend to serve.

  • Understand that medical education is a continual learning process with constant advancements and changing technologies.

Strategies for Studying and Time Management

Studying the human body is an intense undertaking. Here are some tips to help you study the basic sciences:

  • Start every study session with a list of goals and tactics. For instance, you may want to convert notes on blood component synthesis into a diagram or you may develop a chart of chromosomal abnormalities.

  • Review questions from old exams or medical board review books to keep you sharp.

  • Summarize information to help remember only what is necessary. Expressing the information in your own words makes it easier to understand and remember.

  • Consolidate notes to a short format to facilitate studying during short breaks. Rewriting notes will help you remember the material.

  • Create your own study tools like flashcards to make the material less intimidating.