Tips & advice for new dental students

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A pre-dentistry student on her dentistry work experience placement in Tanzania Getting through dental school involves a lot of hard work and perseverance but before you can even make it to the final year, you have to make it through the first few months. For most new dental students, the first few months in dental school can be completely overwhelming with a rigorous curriculum and numerous assignments to be submitted within short deadlines. The good news is, many dental students have gone through it all and succeeded in graduating and if they can do it, so can you. The trick is to inculcate good habits right from day one in dental school.   

 

Organise yourself and your work right from the start

At dental school you will be expected to handle multiple assignments within a very small time frame and the only way you will be able to juggle classes, assignments, tests and all your extracurricular activities without compromising on any one aspect is by improving your organisational skills and managing your time well. Start on your assignments as soon as they are given to you so that you don’t forget about them and have to sit up all night just before your submission deadline. Keep at least a couple of hours every week to study what you learnt in class during that week as well as reading up on the next week’s lectures.

 

Work smartly

Getting through dental school is all about working smartly and efficiently. Instead of blindly mugging up subjects, take time to understand the subject matter. Go through all your subjects and try and identify your weak and strong points. A lot of students like having a study partner so that both partners can keep each other in check. This will help because you will end up studying more and you will also be able to ask your partner for help when you do not understand something. If you are weak in a subject, keep practicing it. It is the only way that you will be able to get comfortable with it. If working with one study partner is not helping, join or start a study group. Study groups do much to encourage students to share their knowledge and learn from each other.

 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

In dental school, most classes build up on earlier material that was taught in the classroom. If you have not understood the basics, the next class, which is likely to be more complex, is going to be even more frustrating. To avoid getting into this situation, get help from your teachers immediately if you do not understand something. That’s what your teachers are there for and you will find that they are always willing to oblige.

 

Above all, take care of your health

Amidst all of this, it is important to remember to take care of your body too. Irregular meals, unhealthy meal choices and lack of exercise will have disastrous consequences on your health. Ensure that you maintain healthy eating habits and keep enough time to take a break from your work and do something that you enjoy. If you plan your time well, you will find that you do have enough time to sleep, maintain a good friendship circle and still be able to keep up with those all-important assignments and projects.

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