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Before the school starts! Necessary steps!

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I still have several months to go before I start my classes ? Can you guys suggest what should I be   Studying or honing my skills so that later I don’t feel like I wished I had studied or did these when I had plenty of time ? Or some of the useful PA websites where I can learn efficiently ? I see an expensive book “Pre PA Kick Start Package – Get A Competitive Advantage Before PA School Starts”. I don’t want to buy this but some what similar since I’ve been out of  studying habits! 
Your inputs would be much appreciated! Thanks!! 

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This has been covered a lot and I think you'll learn a lot by doing a search of the topic.

The general consensus is "less is more." Relax now, because you definitely won't later. PA school will teach you what you need to know, so there is really no need to do anything beforehand. That said, there might be some program specific stuff you could do, and for that, reach out to faculty or a student there to find out their recommendations. 

Here is what I would recommend:

1. Figure out you're study habits. Save your money and don't buy that book. I'd recommend reading "Make It Stick" (here: https://www.amazon.com/Make-Stick-Science-Successful-Learning/dp/0674729013), which discusses the science of learning (what works, what doesn't). It is a quick read and pretty fascinating. 

2. My recommendation for studying is using Anki, which is based off of what is taught in "Make It Stick", which is spaced repetition. This is a free flashcard app that has spaced repetition built into it. There are tons (literally many thousands) of free, pre-made cards for med school or PA school.

3. Learning leisurely can be helpful too. Keep it low stress. Listen to some medical podcasts. Read some non-textbook medical books. I recommend "Every Patient Tells A Story," by Lisa Sanders, anything by Atul Gawande, "When Breath Becomes Air," by Paul Kalanithi. Others I liked were "Do You Believe in Magic," by Paul Offit. Abraham Verghese is good as well. There are plenty.

4. If you must review anatomy and physiology:

5. Other options:

  • Osmosis (plenty of free content, very affordable premium content, don't recommend their notecards though). 
  • OnlineMedEd (free videos, awesome paid content, but the videos should be plenty, also recommend Dustin's QuickTables book).
  • Once school starts, Sketchy is awesome (I especially like it for pharm). Bonus is there are pre-made Anki decks based on the videos. (https://sketchy.com/)

6. Relax. Seriously. You'll regret it if you don't.


Best of luck!



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TFM give great studying advice on know your skills and approach - you don't want to find out your existing method won't work for PA school.

JD has the flip side of the coin.

Both are important - however my advice is spent time with Friends, Family, birthdays, weddings and events.  Spend the time with those who you want to be there after the 2 years....Expect to miss events during PA.  During my first semester had 4 weddings....Attended 2 (one which I was in) and that was still tough.   Felt bad but you have to set priorities so let those around you know so they don't feel like your abandoning them once you start school.

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Definitely don’t study! If you didn’t take medical terminology maybe get a book and glance through it. If money is tight, pick up some extra shifts now so you have a buffer for unexpected expenses. Relax, get away somewhere (covid compliant of course), spend time with friends and family and let them know during school you are going to have to turn down their invitations. Figure out your living situation (whether you want roommates or not) connect with your cohort mates. Find out your school’s dress code (you may need to buy more business casual clothing). Make sure your car is utd on maintenance. Good luck!


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