Summer Studying Before Your First Semester of Med School

So, several of y’all have emailed me asking, “Hey Joey, what can I study the summer before entering medical school to get the edge?” My standard answer is what most medical schools want me to say, including mine, which is, “Don’t study anything because once you get in there you will have so much information thrown at you that it’ll be like ‘trying to drink water from a fire hose/hydrant’ and blah, blah, blah.”

But, I’ll go ahead and give you the real scoop, you gunner you. See, I know what you’re doing, and I respect that. I certainly didn’t write 4 publications, become a peer-reviewer for Lippincott, keep my grades up, form my company’s LLC, do research, and clock in more than 100 volunteer hours during my first year of medical school by NOT staying ahead of the game and NOT getting the edge on!

Time is of the essence, and for those of you who know me, you also know that I’ve got a wife in nurse practitioner school who works full-time, plus an 8-year old. Believe it or not, we still have time to spend together as a family – often! I only say all of this because I ALWAYS question the credibility of someone suggesting something for me before I apply to my life – especially something as important and vital as a change of study habit. So, I feel ya, and I wouldn’t steer you wrong.

Keep in mind that eBooks will be available for download pretty soon detailing how to do all of this in medical school and keep your head on straight! Remember, the motto is to “work smart, not hard.” Working hard only gets you tired and your brain can’t retain when it’s tired.

Anyway, the following is a list of items that almost all medical students (this includes osteopathic) must learn during their first semester (typically). I will release a second semester list before Christmas break. Remember to check out my other page “Medical Student Study Page” for links on the best resources I know of for studying much of the material. You may want to bookmark that page for future reference during you first and second years of medical school, as I will update it with material you will need up to taking the USMLE and COMLEX. Here’s the list, and good luck studying!

Learn all of the Cranial Nerves and whether they are motor, sensory, or both

– suggested mnemonics for this:

On Ooccasion¬†Our Trusty¬†Truck Acts Funny, Very Good Vehicle Any How”

olfactory, optic, occulomotor, trochlear, trigeminal, abducens, facial, vestibulocochlear (AKA auditory), glossopharyngeal, vagus, accessory, hypoglossal

Some Say Marry Money, But My Brother Says it’s Bad Business to Marry Money”

“S” stands for Sensory, “M” stands for Motor, “B” stands for Both

Learn the foramina of the skull and what nerve(s) exit each

Learn all the sutures of the skull

Learn all the lobes, fissures of the brain

Brachial Plexus – Draw it Out (trust me on this!!!)

Forearm Muscles and their Innervations

Sacral Plexus

Origin and Insertion points of:

– Upper arm muscles

– Forearm muscles

The Gait Cycle

All the steps (including the enzymes involved) of:

– Glycolysis (including the electron transport chain components)



– lipolysis

Familiarize yourself with the following:

– Cahill Cycle

– Cori Cycle

Learn the 5 GLUT transporters and where they are located

Learn all of the products of the pituitary gland and their releasing hormones:

– example: adenohypophysis produces Mi FLAT PiG (the “i” is for ignore) and the releasing hormones are CRH, GnRH, TRH, GHRH

– example: what two products does the neurohypophysis release?

-Extra TidBit: know that the RHs act on the “trophs” which release the products

– example: the CRH acts on the melanotrophs and corticotrophs to release MSH and ACTH, respectively

This should get you good for now. If you need any assistance, email me at:

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