How much do medical students study each day during med school?

Hey yall!

I am hoping to get a good picture of exactly what life will be like in med school and wanted to know how many hours med students typically spend in a day. I realize, this may fluctuate depending on exam schedules but any information would be helpful. But what has everyone heard? 6 hours? 8 hours? Please excuse me if this is not the best place to post this question – I am premed but it might be better suited for a med student forum list.

Thanks much!

I think the only accurate way to answer that question is “More than you think”. I heard an analogy to drinking from a firehose, and I think that is accurate. I know that for me and for many of my classmates, it was a real balancing act to try to steal a few minutes for family, while trying to drink enough of that knowledge to feel good about our preparations for the future, not to mention the substantial investment we are making in our education. I attended class every day and studied about 8-10 hours in addition to the class time. There are some students brilliant enough to do well with less time, but for myself and for the majority of the students I know, studying long hours, and trying hard to find innovative ways to make the most of that time is essential.

jeanybean - how much class time did you have? I’m finding that we have between 6 and 8 hrs of lecture or lab time per day. So, I put in about 3 hrs on top of that per day plus 8-10 on Sat and Sun. Of course, this ramps up as exam week approaches.

campkel -

Our schedule is similar although closer to 6 hours/day than 8. I’d say we do in addition enough hours to make it up to 8 hours, + 3 at least more. And the 8-10 hours on the weekends. That’s me. I take time out for supper generally (get subway and eat in the classroom before a test), and knock off at between 10:30 and 11 if there is no test. I have a friend who studies till 1 am every night and only sleeps 5 hours a night. I can’t do that. He’s probably getting A’s, I’m getting B’s and an occasional A. I do study very late before a test although I try to get at least 4 hours of sleep then - though I frequently find myself pulling all-nighters.

But to be honest, I watch TV, almost every day. I do that when I have my meals and break from studying - for about 1 or even 2 hours a day. Wouldn’t have to pull the all-nighters if I did less of that. I exercise most days too, but almost all my class-mates do as well. Getting in 1/2 an hour is very do-able.


I’d say we had an average of 5 hours of class per day, depending on what quarter we were in. I’m at AZCOM (Midwestern University) in Arizona, and I know that my brain is not as fast as when I was young (I’m 52 now, in my 3rd year), but I know that a lot of the young kids studied really hard, too. I feel like the time spent studying was totally worth it. Maybe there are programs organized more time-efficiently, but my brain really takes a lot of immersion to absorb things. I know that towards the end of our first quarter, they had a session with a learning strategist for those students who were interested, and there were quite a few of us there, looking shell-shocked, and discussing how to flourish in an environment where we were working really hard to get average grades, when we had been used to getting outstanding grades because we worked harder than anyone else. Good luck to you on your journey!


I am not a medical student but adding my two cents, the pancake analogy may give you a humorous way to think of what is like.

Link Pancakes Every Day

Thanks, Richard.

Have loved this video and showed it to family members so they would understand what it was like. So true, but at the end at least you are left with something better than a bellyache!


Looking past the humor, it is a simple way to really imagine. You gotta eat your 10 pancakes everyday at every meal no matter how you feel like. It grinds, it fills, it becomes repetitious. You gotta do it whether you have a headache, you’re tired, your wife or kids want attention, the plumber or cable guy is coming.

It also leads to that if you always just eat the pancakes without doing anything else, you just become bloated. So you have to have something other in your schedule of the day to get away. Maybe its the gym, maybe its the kids playtime, whatever. But be as rigorous and discipline in that as well as eating pancakes.

The other item I suggest to write a short note to yourself why you are becoming a doctor. Not for anyone but you will read it. Write it like you are trying to motivate yourself on a bad day. Keep it handy as I am sure 3 months into medical school, you’ll need to read that note to yourself.

Oh I am so changing my signature line . . .

Thanks for the feedback everyone – especially those who have a packed schedule studying and took some times out to read and respond! It all helped me gauge what to expect when I get here. I definitely agree with the letter strategy suggested so I do not forget why I am doing this. I actually started one a few months back, to look over during unfavorable times. Loved the pancake video! ‘Are those pancakes from last weeks lecture?’ Good luck and thanks everyone!

  • RxQueen Said:
Loved the pancake video! 'Are those pancakes from last weeks lecture?' Good luck and thanks everyone!

Wait until you have advanced courses in french toast and waffles. The final exam for the section on buckwheat pancakes, slathered in blueberry compote and whipped cream is not a pretty sight.

MS1 here. My normal schedule is class 9-12:30 and anatomy lab 1:30-4. Study 6-8PM weekdays. Somedays I skip the 6-8 all together if i understood the lecture and dont need to review. Study a total of 12 hours per weekend. normally study10-12 hours per day the two days before exams.

OMG, LOL. I knew it was coming. . .test day–nasty bucket day. LOL

That was great.

Hey guys, I had a few question. 1.) How many classes per block do you take as a MS1?
2.) How many classes do you study for per day?
3.) Lets say you study a certain amount of classes on Monday. On tuesday do you study another set of classes?
Thanks for helping me out.