Is Med School Hard? A Medical School Survival Guide

December 17, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Is Med School Hard? A Medical School Survival Guide

What is medical school?

How does medical school work? A medical school is an educational institution that offers courses that students can complete to earn a doctoral degree in medicine. Due to the length of learning involved, some people would think, “is med school hard?” Teaching, conducting research, and providing care to patients are the three pillars that make up the mission of every medical school.

All schools of medicine have the same overarching objective: to educate their students in the art and science of medicine while equipping them with the foundational knowledge required to continue their education in graduate medical school. A student will typically complete preclinical and clinical training during the four years of undergraduate medical education that come before graduate medical education.

Although clinical rotations are a required part of the curriculum for all four years of medical school, the first two years are typically referred to as the “preclinical” phase. After enrollment, the first two years are typically devoted to the preclinical phase of the process.

Anatomy (both gross and microscopic), biochemistry, physiology, behavioral science, and neuroscience are all disciplines that educate students about the normal structure and function of human systems. After that, students will take different classes. Some of those classes include microbiology, immunology, pharmacology, and pathology classes to learn about abnormalities in the structure and function of the body, disease, and general therapeutic principles.

A female med student looking into her laptop while 2 more med students are studying at the desks behind her

Throughout the program’s first two years, an emphasis is placed on the clinical relevance of the material covered in the basic sciences. During the preclinical phase, students are required to take a class that teaches them the fundamentals of conducting interviews and performing physical examinations.

During their first clinical medicine exposure, students frequently interview “standardized patients.” Standardized patients are individuals who have actual physical findings or individuals who have been trained to simulate particular cases or findings.

Why is med school hard?

The age-old question: how difficult is medical school, and how competitive is the admissions process for medical schools? These are questions that come up frequently when talking to students. This question evokes strong feelings of scholarship, rigor, success, and difficulty. When contemplating medicine, it is not uncommon to experience many emotions.

One of the reasons why people think “is med school hard” is because of the time it will take. It is going to take a very long time and be very difficult. Measures are taken to reduce the number of applicants by half, including taking your SATs to get into an undergraduate program, your MCAT to get into medical school, and your USMLE to get into residency.

medical students studying in the top medical schools in the US

An examination awaits you at each new level, and your performance will determine whether you advance to the next level or fall behind. This is just one of the many factors contributing to how difficult it is to get into medical school and succeed once you are there. Students frequently find themselves preoccupied with these preliminary aspects, so they frequently forget to ask themselves, “Is med school difficult?” in the process.

How to prepare for med school?

How do you get yourself ready for medical school? Does one have to put in a lot of effort? Absolutely. However, it is not impossible to accomplish. If you were accepted into medical school, it means that you are an intelligent person:

  • You did well academically during your first degree.
  • You did well on the MCAT.
  • You were accepted.
  • You unquestionably possess the necessary skills.

Now, all that is left to do is prepare for the next race. Develop beneficial study routines, strike a healthy balance between your academic and personal responsibilities, and locate study aids that are most effective for you. You will have a better chance of graduating from medical school if you take these steps.

Pay careful attention to all of your college classes.

One important thing for those who ask themselves, “is med school hard?” to pay attention to. When it comes to organizing your college course load, you will find that making the decision early on to pursue a career in medicine is of tremendous assistance. Because there are many requirements before entering medical school, it is best to start making preparations as early as possible.

It can be very beneficial to work with the pre-med advisor that your university provides. Because pre-med classes can be difficult, you’ll need to plan your schedule carefully to have plenty of time to study to succeed in these classes.

However, this does not mean that you should allow the prerequisite course requirements for pre-med to prevent you from taking any other classes that pique your interest. Many future physicians earn their undergraduate degrees in fields unrelated to the biological sciences.

Establish productive patterns of study.

If you ask most physicians, “is med school hard?” they will tell you that medical school was a significantly more challenging experience than their undergraduate education. For this reason, it is essential to make use of your time while you are attending college to figure out how to learn new information most effectively.

It will be much easier for you to adjust to the rigorous academic standards of medical school if you have already determined how to integrate your preferred learning method with diligent study routines that are effective for you.

Developing effective study habits is not only necessary when transitioning to medical school. Effective learning strategies can help set the stage for success throughout your career. This is especially important for physicians, who must participate in continuing education.

Always make it a point to arrive early.

When applying to medical school, one of the most helpful strategies is to plan as much as possible. It would help if you prepared for things like writing your statement and getting strong letters of recommendation.

It takes time to build relationships with people who know you well enough in academic, professional, or volunteer settings to write letters of recommendation. These letters are heartfelt and impressive and can only come from people who are not your family or friends but who know you extremely well in those settings.

Another good idea is to take the MCAT when you have plenty of time to spare. This is especially true if you are dissatisfied with your initial score and want to retake the exam only after a significant amount of additional studying. Even though it is possible to send in your application before receiving your MCAT scores, most admissions committees would rather see a complete application from applicants.

Explore the possibility of other opportunities.

Although medical schools are looking for students with strong backgrounds, they are also aware that the most successful doctors have a variety of other strengths. As such, if you think, “is med school hard,” you should try looking into other passions and activities. Studying medicine doesn’t necessarily mean you’re stuck in the hospital forever.

Five medical students wearing scrubs as they walk inside the lobby of a medical school

Candidates who demonstrate strong leadership skills, tenacity, and other passions outside of medicine tend to stand out to admissions committees as desirable applicants. In addition, having experience in research can look very impressive on a resume.

Experiences gained through participation in clubs and providing service to the community are also valuable. They should be included as this will build character, which can be invaluable when studying medicine. You should, however, be ready to elaborate on any of the components that you list.


After you have handed in all of your applications and, if you are fortunate enough to receive one or more acceptance letters, your initial inclination may be to keep going with the momentum you have gained. At this juncture, however, it is probably a good idea to take a few steps back and give yourself a break.

Being accepted into medical school is a tremendous accomplishment; therefore, you should celebrate everything that has gotten you this far in life. You can begin preparing for your first year of medical school once you have had some time to rest and recuperate.

As you learn more about medical school, it is wise that you also prepare for your college admission. If you wish for guidance in your journey, AdmissionSight will help you through the competitive admissions process. With their team of top experts, you can surely get accepted to the top medical schools in the world. Set up an appointment today and get the best help getting into university.


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