5 Ways to survive Med School on Zoom

We’ve all been in quarantine for a whole 8 months. Most of us thought that by now, we’d be enjoying a mask free Thanksgiving, breathing in each other’s faces with little to no personal space. I don’t know about you, but right now, a noisy lecture hall and annoying classmates is beginning to sound really nice to me- basically, anything that reminds me of life pre-COVID19 and Zoom University would be heaven sent. Alas, as far as forecasts go, we may be stuck inside on our PCs for yet another term of online learning next year. If you’re anything like me, these past two semesters were rough, but I survived thanks to 5 simple strategies. Keep reading to find out more!

1. Pomodoro

Before this semester I would have asked you what fruit that was  (ironically, it means tomato in Italian). But Pomodoro is simply a method of increasing focus and productivity by sectioning your study into timed sections with frequent 5-15 minute breaks to reward your concentration.  Layman’s terms: Study WITHOUT DISTRACTIONS for 30 mins or 1 hour, relax for 5-15 minutes. But hey- this only works if you stick to the study and relax times- don’t slip, or the next thing you’ll know is you only studied for one hour and the 5 minute relax time has turned to 5 hours, which equals failed exams.

I prefer ambient/ jazzy music with my study sessions, and a few of my favourite Youtube Pomodoros with music are Strive to Fit’s 2.5 hour study session with 5 minute breaks,  and The Sherry Formula’s 2 hour study session with 5 minute breaks.

2. Playlists

As I mentioned, jazzy/ ambient music helps a lot to get me into the zone. Note: do NOT, I repeat, do NOT select playlists with songs you know and like as background music for your study sessions. If you love music like me, before you know it, even a saxophone arrangement of Celine Dion’s greatest hits will have you singing along like you’re on the Titanic, which equals time wasted- and did I mention FAILED EXAMS??? One playlist that is upbeat enough to keep me in the zone but prevent me from sleeping are DCQ Beats’ Tropical Beats. 

3. Free cam App

Lisssttteennn. This one is a life saver. You owe me for telling you about this one, you do. Ever had the issue where you can’t really focus on the Zoom class, but you know the lecture about the Kreb’s Cycle is super important and you need to revise it later? Or maybe you like to study by reviewing what you did in class, but your school has prevented you from recording the zoom meeting.  I have the solution! Two Words: FREE CAM. It’s really free, and you can screen record videos on any part of the screen for any length of time without watermarks or pesky viruses. LEGAL AND FREE. How many times am I going to say free before you download it? Get it now

Zoom University…

4. Questions

This one has less to do with external apps or help and has more to do with how you study. Personally, sitting for 6 hours in front of a screen hearing someone talk and then ending class just to stare at words in a textbook doesn’t make Zoom University any easier. During this last semester, I found that my brain was more actively engaged and I was able to retain more information if I studied the material assigned in Q&A form.  Simply put- it was easier for me to remember that the answer to “What is the normal duration of Benign Prostatic Paroxysmal Vertigo?” is “less than 20 minutes” than it would be to remember it if I had simply tried to memorize that same information by reading or jotting some notes. 


Call me the napping queen. When the body tells me it is time for a nap, I heed it’s call. Napping has proven to be a simple way to keep my sanity in this quarantine. If you feel tired, it’s ok to take a 10 minute nap, just as long as you don’t make that 10 minute nap turn into a 2 hour nap. Why, you ask? Well, my friend, that is a sure way to *ahem* FAIL YOUR EXAMS! Remember that we are not living through “normal” times and the body needs rest. Give it what it wants, so your brain and body can be ready to participate in just one more zoom class and online exam. 

Take a nap, sis!

These are my top 5 Zoon Medical School tips, but everyone has to do what’s right for them. Drop your Zoom survival tips below in the comments, and tell us what has worked best for you! Remember to follow us at @medcuteonline for more med stories, tips and opinions! 

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  1. […] of you sitting in a classroom, or if you’re like the rest of us pandemic/post-pandemic docs, in front of a computer screen learning about body systems and diseases as well as techniques for physical examination. The […]

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