For any aspiring student of medicine, pathology will be an essential topic during their school years. The subject, however, involves memorizing large amounts of information about diagnosing conditions and diseases. Thankfully, pathology is often found much more interesting to young medical students than pharmacology or microbiology – mainly because it deals with diseases. But just because the subject is interesting does not mean it is easy to pass, as pathology is often regarded as one of the harder subjects in the medical curriculum. To make your studying easier, we have prepared this short guide that will show you a couple of tips and tricks about how to study pathology.
Keep your resources at hand
One of the best things you can do to help you get a grip on pathology is get a good textbook! Before even beginning to study pathology, make sure you find at least a couple of recommended books to study from – don’t just study at random from the internet, and especially not from Wikipedia!
A good textbook on pathology is the famous Robbins & Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease. While the size of the book might be daunting to many students, and the small text inside of it even more so, this book is still one of the best textbooks on pathology you will be able to find anywhere. While going straight through review books might be enough for other disciplines, it won’t work with medicine – whether you like it or not, you will have to go through the Pathologic Basis of Disease at least once or twice during your studies. As you read through the book, grab a pencil or a highlighter and mark the most important points. Moreover, if you are often studying from your own notes, you can check what is missing from your notes in the book and add that information.
ngthy notes without running out of space constantly and making your handwriting unintelligible. The book, however, is a review book – a concise one at that. Fundamentals of Pathology are best used together with Pathologic Basis of Disease, using the latter to complement the review book.
Spend enough time
While senior students of medical schools definitely know already that medical studies require a lot of time from the student, if you are just beginning you might not realize that. Every day, you will need to spend at least four hours each day studying – with one of those being pathology. Don’t work yourself too hard, however – stress can easily reduce the effectiveness of your learning session! Instead, make a monthly plan where you take some time every day to study a given subject, or a couple of them. You don’t have to study every subject every day, but make sure you allocate enough time that you won’t be lacking in any field.
If you have a habit of going to sleep after your classes are over – get rid of that! The first thing you should do after your classes are over is to eat a healthy meal. After you’re done eating, it’s back to the books – it’s better to do your at-home learning immediately after you get back. This way, you won’t distract yourself with other activities and the whole evening will be yours to relax and have fun. Remember about your homework!
An important aspect of your learning time is also where you are learning – make sure you are in a comfortable space. Have a regular place in which you read through your notes and textbooks. While it may sound a bit cliche, we highly recommend a library – there aren’t many things to distract you there and you will be able to dedicate yourself to studying. It may not sound fun, but it will definitely pay off. Try to choose one desk at the library and stick to it – it creates a pattern, which our minds like to follow. If you go to the library right after your classes are over, you can be sure there will be empty spaces all around and you will be able to study in peace.
One of the best ways to revise before an examination is to test yourself. You can create your own personalized quizzes and tests with QUPI – an extensive database of medical questions with over 10,000 entries. The database is constantly expanding and contains a number of questions about pathology you can use for revision.