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8 Traits of Successful Med Student

So you’re planning to go to med school.

Do you have what it takes? A successful medical student needs a solid educational foundation of course, but there’s a lot of dedication that goes into your preparation as well. We’ve studied the 8 most important traits of thriving med students to help you get ready – if any of these traits are ones you fall short on, be honest with yourself. You have time to focus on perfecting them!

Logical thinking 

8 Traits of Successful Med StudentNo one decides they want to be illogical, certainly, regardless of their field of study and work.

But can you actually identify what logical thinking looks like?

You have to be able to consider a chain of events, and the subsequent reactions for corresponding causes, and consequences.

Essentially logical thinking is the compilation and sifting through of information. 

This skill is required constantly during your studies and you’ll find it needs to be perfected before you earn the MD after your name. So be mindful, and think logically! 

Effective communication

This should be a clearly obvious one too; you need to effectively communicate with patients, with your nurses and staff, and the public.

Communication can be especially challenging with a sick patient – perhaps they are in pain, not feel well enough to pass on information, not thinking clearly – and may not even be conscious.

With this in mind, as a student, you’ll have a variety of examinations to go through in which you’ll need to demonstrate your capability to your professors.

A student who can communicate their thoughts, opinions, and feelings with their professors will also receive a higher quality education as they will be the ones to establish relationships with peers and mentors, asking for clarifications and seeking deeper understanding.

The art of communication is the language of leadership. -James Humes

Careful though, because this includes body language, both your own and the ability to read that of others.

It also includes listening!

The greatest mistake you can make when seeking to be a great communicator is in waiting for your place to speak without actually listening to what others are saying. Become a deep listener and communicator, it will benefit you in every area of your life. 


I understand that life is hard, and having ‘resilience’ is one of the key traits to a successful life. 

As a doctor and a student, you will witness some awful things, and deal with trauma on a daily basis. 

You can’t let those moments hold you back, perhaps allow them to inspire you. 

Instead, you learn from the situation and come back with more wisdom, and experience – and gain more empathy within the moments you feel have no control.

The art of communication is the language of leadership. -Phil Klay

This goes for your studies too.

There will be failures and there will be moments of feeling like a drop of water in a large sea, but you have to rise through those feelings.

With lots of self-care you’ll be the most resilient you’ve ever been, and in some of your toughest moments! Remember to love thyself! 

If you can’t pull yourself up and out, the problem will continue to grow, remember your a student with a resilient heart, on your path to becoming a doctor. 


8 Traits of Successful Med StudentSimply put, you need to show up. Be present. Literally..

What does this mean?

Attend classes and study sessions, events, and any other student and mentoring activities.

Engage with others.

Be present in school, within your community, and in life. 

But more than this, pay attention.

Be active and present in your experiences. In the stillness of your presence you will be able to absorb and retain more, as well as offer more. Your presence matters for others, as well as your wellness. So show up! At school and as a medical student. 

Self  Discipline

Surely it isn’t a secret that great discipline makes a great student, a great doctor, and a great whatever else you set your mind to! We also understand it doesn’t happen overnight! 

With self discipline you can work towards overcoming laziness, procrastination, and indecisiveness.  

Self discipline can be difficult, so be gentle with yourself. 

Who doesn’t prefer an immediate reward, to sweat with a delayed victory?

It can be exhausting to focus with no reserves as well, and that’s why self-care is vital for discipline success as well.

Self discipline is a habit, a learned skill, which means you have to train yourself to slay negative thought patterns or behaviors, and use your inner strength, and perseverance to take control of your life, decisions and hardships.  

With self discipline most anything is possible. -Theodore Roosevelt 

Start practicing your self  discipline and self control with good study habits, and sticking to the schedule you’ve made for yourself. Start by moving through the discomfort and be mindful of the goal. Self discipline is needed as a doctor, as a student, as a human being. You don’t have to be a monk or a long term meditator to achieve self discipline. Start with being kind to yourself, set goals and the steps needed to achieve these goals, and the rest will follow! 


8 Traits of Successful Med StudentIf you are on the path to be a doctor, you have drive, but drive is hard to create – you’ve got it or you don’t.

High drive means you have the desire to learn as much as possible and perform to your highest abilities, and if you are that person, your ability to achieve your goals will be just as high and often higher than someone who has a natural skill in an area you lack.

Keep that drive alive by surrounding yourself by people and places that inspire you.  Set goals, find an accountability partner so that you can support one another rise as doctors.  Continue doing activities that inspire you.  Be well in body and mind. Get rest, hydrate, nourish you mind. 

Use an affirmation that ignites the fire within! You’ve got this! 


Humility gives us the ability to lead from the heart and mind, vs the ego.  Humility is not a weakness, it’s actually a sign of strength, an ability that will help you to be an amazing leader in your field.  When you use humility properly, you are able to serve others, vs yourself alone. Humility is a beautiful characteristic, and something to work towards as you become a doctor, as well as within your daily living and giving. Being humble allows you to be a true change maker in the field of medicine and wellness. 

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. -C. S. Lewis


8 Traits of Successful Med StudentThis is not a contradiction from humility, we promise.

A healthy confidence and positive body language is a plus.  Of course standing up straight with eyes forward takes time to develop, having one’s feet planted firmly on the ground, with chest open and head up is a high body power, in which you claim space like an athlete, or  an influencer.  The super hero pose if you will! And it works! 

Moving out of your younger years where slouching with your head down was more common, no longer serves you.

Now is the time to embrace the humility I mentioned above, and walk forward with confidence in every area of your life. 

Becoming a doctor is an incredible endeavour, a path with obstacles as well as victories.

Learn the simple signs of respect that help exude your confidence like proper eye contact, avoiding question inflections, fronting: aim your body and toes towards the people you speak with, and embodying inner joy. Your confidence it also internal, not just an external experience. So make sure you work towards being confident from the inside out, this will become contagious! In a good way. 

When you’re a med student, there’s a lot to learn, but it isn’t all medical facts and data. Some of it is about character, personality, and integrity. Some of it is the journey itself. 

These 8 traits will help guide  you to becoming well rounded emotionally and physically.

Remember, as you embody these traits and ways of being, your end goals and focus should be on how you can serve as your best self, not just as a doctor. Good luck! Go and make your mark matter! 

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