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Getting Ready for Medical School

The best thing you can do before medical school is relax and get excited to embark on this new adventure! You will be given a little bit of pre-reading for the first course, but don’t feel like you need to have a super academic summer unless you want to. Two other important things to do over the summer are to submit all the required records and paperwork on time and to confirm your housing. This may also be a good time to plan ahead for airline tickets and hotels, particularly if you have family or friends who are planning on visiting you for White Coat Ceremony.


START@Yale is a program that allows you the option to do a paid research rotation the summer before first year classes begin. It is completely optional and open to both MD and MD/PhD students. No prior research experience is needed, as it is meant to be a learning experience! Students will be matched with a research mentor in either a clinical or basic lab project, and will work on that project for 8 weeks over the summer. Students will be expected to work full time in their lab throughout the summer, attend all and give one presentation at the weekly journal club meetings, and give a final presentation at the research symposium at the end of the summer. In addition to the research activities, START also offers social events and orientation resources that help students to get to know New Haven and some of their fellow classmates.

Applications are due in late April-early May. For more information about the program and application, visit the START@Yale website.


One thing you may be considering is the technology you will invest in as you begin medical school. The Yale curriculum is essentially paperless, as all lecture presentations, workshop handouts, and required resources are given electronically. As far as computers go, any operating system you prefer is fine. During the first week of classes, all students will receive an iPad, which will be highly utilized throughout the rest of the curriculum. For some courses, such as Introduction to Physical Exam and Anatomy Lab, the faculty have created iBooks as the preparation material that have a combination of text and videos and are very helpful learning tools. These can be downloaded straight to your iBook. Most other resources and textbooks are also available electronically through the Yale Medical Library database. All lectures are also recorded and podcasted online so you can watch the lectures later or go back and review anything you missed. Most online resources require you to be on the Yale network, but if you are off campus you can still access the Yale network through a VPN. Many students invest in Apple pencils so that they can use their iPads to take notes during classes. Popular notetaking apps include OneNote, GoodNotes, and Notability.