The first thing to say is that Medicine is so vast that you’ll never truly know everything. From my first year content there’ll be huge chunks of information that I just don’t know and that’s okay. With pre-clinical medicine a lot of the things you learn are there to build background and build a general understanding of basic Science – they’re not all directly relevant and all the knowledge won’t be needed when it comes to practising as a doctor.
It is easy to get overwhelmed so try not to place pressure on yourself to learn everything. One of the best pieces of advice I got from older med students when I was in first year was to get good at knowing what you really need to know and what you don’t actually need to know – that way you can learn the most important things because learning it all isn’t possible.
In terms of study tips to memorise content for long-term retention, the best method by far is spaced repetition. I used to create summary pages for my PBL content and put all my anatomy notes into flashcards and I tried to be consistent in going over them regularly. I didn’t manage to keep up with going over all the content as often as I would have liked, but the topics that I went over the most are the ones that I still remember now – spaced repetition really works!
Use the forgetting curve as a guide to how often you should review the content you learn. However…before you start creating material to memorise, remember to cut it down to the bare minimum. If you have too much content it’ll be impossible to attempt to memorise anything.