It is so, so easy to get distracted. You pick up your books and settle down to study with all of the best intentions in mind but before you can start, the phone rings and you cannot resist picking it up. It’s your friend with the latest news from home and by the time you put the phone down your focus has already shifted. You decide to check your Facebook page for a while and see how everybody else is doing and…some more time goes by. By now you’re hungry and you walk into the kitchen for a snack. On the way back you pass the TV and decide to surf a few channels and see what’s on while you eat. Oh yeah – your favourite show is on so you settle down comfortably in front of the TV. By the time the show is over, half your day is gone and you haven’t got any studying done at all. Almost all of us have gone through this scenario in some way or the other so while it is not at all unusual, when you are medical student, this could spell disaster for you. There’s no two ways about it- studying medicine is tough and if you want to make it through your final year you have got to stay focused and avoid all distractions. Here are a few tips that will help you. Understand Your Body Clock Most people and even your instructors will tell you that studying in the morning is best because you are well rested and most alert at that time. While that may be sound reasoning, it is only a generalisation. It does not hold good for everybody. Every individual has a different time when they are most alert – for you the best time may be late at night. Recognising your body clock and working with it will always produce the best results. Keep your more difficult subjects for those times when you are most focused and alert and keep the easier subjects for other times. Choose A Place That’s Conducive To Studying The basketball court may be your favourite place in the whole campus but it is not really conducive for getting any studying done. Choosing a comfortable, quiet place where you can concentrate without getting distracted is critical. If you find that you get too easily distracted at home or in your dorm room, use the special study unit in your college library. Avoid using your bedroom or the couch for studying. It’s hard to stay alert when you’re all snug and comfortable. Stay Away From All Distractive Elements The phone, computer, television, iPod, iPad and all other similar gizmos and gadgets can be so tempting. Shutting them all off and keeping them away from sight is the best way to avoid the temptation. Most important – switch your phone off. Phones have a habit of ringing at the most inopportune moments and there’s no emergency that can’t wait for a couple of hours. If you HAVE to check your mail and messages, do it before you sit to study and then shut everything off. Make A Schedule Without a schedule how will you know if you are on track or not? Making a schedule and sticking to it come what way is the most effective way to stay on course and ace your exams. Eye-opening hospital work experience International hospital shadowing for school and university students Find out more You might also be interested in ... My personal journey to medicine What Area of Medicine to Specialise in?