Medical school is not for the faint-hearted. Once you’ve gone through the daunting admissions process and obtained that hard-to-come-by seat in med school, you will be faced with an ever-bigger challenge – getting through the extensive curriculum and finishing all of your assignments on time. There are certain attributes that every medical student should possess, without which it would be very difficult to rise to this challenge and be successful in med school. Here are a few essential attributes every medical student should possess: The ability to grasp medical concepts quickly The ability to grasp medical concepts and understand how to apply them is crucial in med school. If you consistently find it difficult to pick up new concepts or keep up with the pace of the coursework, you will find yourself struggling to catch up, leading to a lot of frustration. There is a lot of theory to be learnt in med school and you should be able to pick up concepts quickly and easily to keep up with it all. The ability to study efficiently With the amount of coursework that needs to be covered, time is precious in medical school. You cannot afford to dawdle or take it easy when working on projects or studying for your exams. Different students have different study schedules and systems that work best for them. Identifying what works for you and setting up a study schedule that helps you maximise your efficiency is the only way to be able to cope with it all. Good time management skills Time management is essential to get you through med school. It is important to get your priorities in place and put your medical degree above everything else. Allot time to study, time to attend classes, enough time to sleep and time for recreation. For these few years, cut back on your hours spent watching TV or shopping. Instead spend your free time with family and friends who will help you relax and unwind and get back to your coursework refreshed and recharged. And even there, you should know when to draw the line and miss a get together if you have an important paper due the next day. Good money management skills Medical school can be very expensive and if you aren’t careful enough you can quickly find yourself with a major financial crisis on your hands. Good money management skills will help you make it through this period without falling further into debt. Look for scholarships and grants that can ease your financial burden. Even if you find yourself with some extra money in hand, hold off on any unnecessary spending and save the money for emergencies instead. You will likely find yourself sacrificing a lot of great deals but stay firm on your ‘if I can do without it, I don’t need to buy it’ mantra. When and if you have an emergency on your hands, you’ll be glad you did. Eye-opening hospital work experience International hospital shadowing for school and university students Find out more You might also be interested in ... The 10 fears of (almost) every medical student Gap Medics Alumni: Getting into medical school How long is medical school and what will you learn there?