Pre-Med Motivation: Tips to Help You Survive the Pre-Med Path

April 25, 2024


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 4/25/24

Looking for some motivation as a pre-med student? Look no further! This article will teach you how to keep your pre-med motivation high, as you take your first steps to become a doctor.

Pre-med motivation can be a difficult thing to find. Each step of the medical school journey is stressful in its own right, so it is important that students keep up their incentive to achieve their goals.

In this article, we’ll give you five tips to help you stay motivated as you move through your pre-med program.

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5 Tips to Keep Motivated as a Pre-Med Student

As a pre-med student, the road ahead is long, and it can be hard to keep track of everything you have to do for school. But don’t let this discourage you! To help you stay motivated, we’ve come up with a few key tips to make sure you persevere.

Tip #1: Do Something Small Each Day

When attending pre-med, you want to remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. In total, doctors will spend at least ten years in school, meaning you have a long way to go as a pre-med student.

To help you keep up with your classes, without getting overwhelmed by how much work you have to complete, try doing something small towards your studies each day. Even reading five pages every night before bed will help you stay on track and avoid pre-med burnout.

Another way to avoid burnout is to give yourself one or two small goals to work towards each week. Having smaller goals will help keep you motivated as as a pre-med student. Remember that achieving goals feels good; being able to check things off your to-do list inspire you to work even harder towards your long-term goals. 

Tip #2: Bring Yourself Back to Why

Most pre-med students have a specific reason for wanting to study medicine. It could be that they love science, or that they have a need to help people. Focusing on whatever it is that brought you to the program can help keep you motivated.

Participating in a shadowing program or volunteering at a local medical clinic can remind you of why you want to be a doctor in the first place. Interacting with patients, for example, may allow you to recall the passion you have for helping others. These interactions can be a key motivating factor for any pre-med student. 

What type of experiences brought you to study medicine? Once you’ve answered that question, you can find an activity that will enhance your pre-med motivation.

Tip #3: Build a Community

Building a solid community with other pre-med students can make all the difference when it comes to staying motivated. As people, we need to connect and feel a sense of belonging in order to survive. This becomes important when pursuing a program as challenging as pre-med.

Having other students around can help you see that you’re not the only one struggling. At times, it may seem like others are doing great while you're struggling, but there will also be times when you're thriving and can offer support to those in need of a bit more support. 

Leaning on your community in these times can help you get a firmer grasp on the coursework you don’t understand, but also be extremely beneficial to your mental wellbeing. A good way to do this is to find a study partner or group you can join. Studying becomes easier when you can rely on each other in times of difficulty. 

Having a motivated pre-med student around when you are feeling low can help raise your own motivation. They will remind you of what it is like to feel excited about your studies, and soon you’ll be feeling the same way, too.

Tip #4: Spread Out Your Coursework

When looking at the courses you need to take for your pre-med program, consider the difficulty level of each one and try to balance the workload in your schedule. Taking too many challenging courses at once can lead to feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

You may also want to consider which courses are your most difficult and try to spread them out over the four years. For example, if you are not the best at chemistry and math, try not to take both courses in the same semester. 

Bringing some balance into your schedule will help you feel less stressed and your pre-med motivation should stay high.

This tip also applies to the extracurricular activities you might want to do to enhance your medical school application. Do not feel pressured to “get them over with” quickly. You can participate in them at different times, like work in a medical lab over the summer, and they will still make your medical school applications look good.

Tip #5: Take a Break

Give yourself permission to take breaks when needed. Even if they are just short five-minute intervals, make sure you take them. It’s easy to become overwhelmed if you do not allow your body and mind to have the rest it needs from your intensive school work.

No one can work all the time, so make sure you make room for things you enjoy outside of academics. Finding small ways to rest can reinvigorate your motivation for your pre-med school work; you will feel rejuvenated and ready to conquer your studies!

Allow yourself at least one day a week where you don’t do school work, it can help increase your pre-med motivation to work hard throughout the long road.

FAQs: Motivation for Pre-Med Students

Here are some common questions about pre-med motivation:

1. How Do Pre-Med Students Stay Motivated?

The key to staying motivated as a pre-med student involves finding a healthy balance between academics and non-academic pursuits. Make sure you take the time to rest, explore hobbies you enjoy outside of school, and connect with a study group to help keep you motivated throughout your pre-med program.

2. How Many Hours a Day Do Pre-Med Students Study?

The number of hours students take to study depends on a number of factors, including the time of year, their schedule, and study habits. 

During exam season, for example, pre-med students may dedicate up between six to eight hours a day. During other times of the school year, this may be reduced to between three to five hours. Meeting these demands is difficult, which is why staying high is so important.

3. Is Pre-Med as Hard as They Say?

Pre-med programs are challenging, but can be worth the extra effort once you get into medical school. Make sure to stay organized so your work does not become overwhelming. 

4. How Can a Pre-Med Student Avoid Stress?

Try to do at least one thing every day that contributes towards your studies. By breaking up your work into smaller goals, you’ll feel they’re easier to achieve and avoid unnecessary stress.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining balance is crucial for staying motivated as a pre-med student. Taking breaks, finding a balance between academics and personal life, and prioritizing self-care all contribute to not only maintaining motivation, but also improved performance. 

Pre-med is the beginning of a long journey, so it is important to keep the motivation as high as possible.

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