FM Student’s Game Plan For Your Clinical Years

Feeling a little nervous about starting and/or doing well on your clinical rotations? Check out FM Student’s game plan for your clinical years!

Your third year (and early fourth year) of medical school are your chance to figure out what field you want to go into and to get a general idea of where you want to do it. Try to learn and take away as much as you can from each of your rotations, even if you happen to be on a rotation that’s the furthest thing from what you want to do with your life.



  • Talk to people! Speak up during grand rounds. Contribute to educational days + noon lectures. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know, but I’ll look it up,” and look it up. Let the preceptor know you looked it up. Never BS anything.
  • Gain exposure. Spend time with the director of medical education, program director, interns/residents, medical education office staff.
  • If you want to know how you’re doing and you’re not receiving any feedback, ask for it.
  • Follow the rules.

Be a team player.

  • If you can’t be on time, be early. Stay late.
  • Clinical education = volunteer faculty. Time teaching = time away from family + business pursuits. Don’t make your preceptor wait for you.
  • Smile, show enthusiasm, and offer to help wherever you can!
  • Strive to be confident + competent.

Establish consistent study habits.

  • Study + read every day. A little studying each day is much less daunting than consecutive nights of cramming the day before your shelf exams (or before boards), and you’ll feel a lot more prepared when you’re being asked questions on your rotations.

The last tip has less to do with your clinical rotations than it does with making the start of your fourth year a lot easier. (It also makes it easier for you to hand your CV and/or personal statement to the people you want recommendation letters from–find out more tips on securing great recommendation letters here!)

Develop a CV + personal statement.

If you work on this periodically throughout your third year, it’ll be a lot less painful when spring comes along because it’ll only be a matter of transferring it all onto ERAS, instead of feverishly throwing together your CV whilst trying to study for boards and prepare for audition rotations at the same time.

  • Be honest, but not overly modest. (“There is no one you-er than you.” If you don’t tell your own story, who’s going to do it for you?)
  • Include the following in your CV:
    • Name, contact info, education, honors + awards, publications/research, school-related activities (service, clubs, community service, leadership positions), work experience
  • Be sure you have the halo effect (character ethic, honesty, reliability, motivation towards learning, professionalism).



Farrah has a background in exercise biology and music. Her passions include food, sports medicine, working with the under-served, blogging, food and cats. She’s a good cook, too.

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