Tips for Learning Medical Terminology Fast

Whether you’re a future or current medical student, you already know that memorization is crucial for passing exams. Though it might seem totally overwhelming, we’ve compiled a number of study resources that will help you on your journey towards a med school degree.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” approach for remembering medical terminology, but there are definitely tips and tricks that will help you on your journey!

1. Develop Good Study Habits

“Cramming” might have worked during high school, but it’s not going to do you much good in medical school. In fact, it might actually hurt more than help since cramming only tends to result in short-term knowledge.

Study for about an hour at the same time each day – you’ll be far more likely to sit down and focus once you’ve cemented a routine.

Discover Your Study Style

As we covered in our previous blog about successfully completing medical school, it’s important to learn methods that work best for you. Some students respond better by writing flashcards while others might listen to recordings of lectures.

Log Off and Log Out

We can’t stress this point enough: When your device is out of reach and you’re logged out of social media, you’ll be amazed at how much more studying you’re able to accomplish.

Set a Goal Each Time

If you try to tackle four different medical book sections at once, you’ll probably hit a wall. Instead, choose specific, related topics (e.g. urology, anatomy of the hand) that allow you to keep your brain on a single track.

2. Ask Your Instructors Questions

You can write down every fact about Guillain Barre syndrome and appendicitis, but it won’t make any difference if you’re missing crucial pieces of information. Professors are there to guide your academic experience, so always be sure to consider them a valuable resource.

3. Take Excellent Notes

No one expects you to write every single item down. This takes up precious time you could be using to focus on more valuable information. Abbreviations, color coding, and

Create Mind Maps

Developing a mind map is a great way to retain and apply information – especially for visual learners. The center of your “map” will be your main subject, connected to multiple elements. Feel free to use your artistic skills to create doodles instead of writing – or whatever else works!

Mind map

Consider Using Mnemonic Devices

Though the word might seem foreign, we’ve all used these tools in elementary school. Mnemonic devices like the acronym PEMDAS assisted us with equations and the rhyme “Never Eat Shredded Wheat” helped us remember our cardinal directions. And who could forget the Quadratic Formula song?

If you’re faced with a monumental list of terms to memorize, see if you can develop a unique way of remembering them with a song, rhyme, or acronym.


4. Learn Your Latin/Greek Roots

The sooner you learn Latin and Greek medical roots, the better your chances of graduating pre-med classes.

For example:

Root Word                           Definition Example
ONCO- mass / tumor                             oncology = the study of cancer


Because most medical terms are derived from these “dead languages”, you’ll have a much easier time deciphering a word’s meaning.

5. Play Games and Download Medical Apps

When faced with a massive list of medical definitions and terminologies, it’s easy to feel completely overwhelmed. That’s why it’s important to take a break from the monotony and play various online medical games whenever possible.

Here are a few of our favorite medical apps for students:

Med Calc

It’s not easy to keep all of your calculations straight. That’s why MedCalc is such an awesome affordable medical app. With more than 300 scales, formulas, and classifications, it’ll save you a lot of time.

Muscle and Bone Anatomy 3D

This app is perfect for visual learners. Every component of the human body is revealed in incredible detail and interactive bone and joint movement. Best of all, you’ll have professionally-written quizzes that provide excellent challenges.

Essential Anatomy 5

Though pricier than most apps, Essential Anatomy 5 has a near-perfect rating for its incredible capabilities. Fully 3-dimensional, this program allows you to view any anatomical structure in isolation – from nearly any angle – and combines it with quizzes. It’s no wonder that it’s the #1 most-used medical study app!


With over one million real medical professionals using this medical app every day (and a super-high rating), it’s clear that Epocrates is onto something huge! Constantly updated features like pill identification, alternative medication monographs, medical dictionary, treatment guides, and even ICD9 codes mean that you’ll always be at the forefront of developments.


If you’re a student who responds well to flashcards, consider downloading Brainscape. This app lets you create and share personal flashcard decks, as well as review MCAT materials.

6. Stay Organized

Unless you plan on filing it, there’s not much point in scribbling notes on a wadded-up receipt or loose piece of paper. Keep your notes in one place and consider backing it up to a cloud-based network. If a future course is covering a specific pharmacology topic, you’ll be able to review it – and create a killer study guide – by the next class period.

Consider Applying to Med School in the Caribbean

Have you thought about attending medical school in the United States, but are put off by long waitlists and exorbitant medical school loans? Consider a top Caribbean medical school instead!

With personalized instruction, an ultra-modern campus, and affordable courses, there’s no reason not to check out the American University School of Medicine Aruba (AUSOMA).