As you approach the end of another year of medical studies, your mind will undoubtedly be turning to thoughts of the summer and how best to spend all of that well-deserved study free time. So, just how can a medical student make the most of the long summer holidays?

Before you decide what to do with your summer, you should perhaps ask yourself a few questions about what you need from your summer break. Do you want to relax and spend quality time with your family? Do you need to earn some money to help you with costs during your studies? Do you want to spend time volunteering or doing research?

Relax and recharge

Your first thought will probably be that it would be great to finally have the opportunity to relax and unwind after all those long hours of study.  Given that the study schedule of a medical student can at times be quite grueling, it is important to take some time to wind down and relax. You might choose to spend a little time with family and friends and give yourself plenty of time to recharge those batteries.

All work…

Most students, however – regardless of their chosen area of study – feel that the summer holidays are an ideal opportunity to look for seasonal employment and earn a little money for the next year of studies. There are two distinct directions that holiday employment might take. The first would be to take on work with the sole aim of earning some money to put aside. An example of this would be working in a restaurant or in retail; neither job is very taxing, but if the main reason for doing summer work is to save some money then these would be ideal. The other alternative would be to look for a summer job in a lab or a medical environment – something more in line with your studies. This could give you the opportunity to gain some very valuable career-orientated experience, something that could certainly stand you in good stead in the future.

Many medical students use the summer break as an opportunity to do research in a field that is of particular interest to them. In a very competitive market where jobs in some areas can be hard to come by, having that little extra boost on your application could mean all the difference when it comes to taking your future career in the direction you want.

Why not volunteer?

For the student who does not need to spend their summer earning money, perhaps voluntary work could be the way to spend some of that free time. Volunteering in an old people’s home or perhaps at a hospital could be a great opportunity to really see the human side of medicine, and it doesn’t do any harm to practise that great bedside manner for the future.

Keep up to date with your studies

Of course, everyone is different and for those of you who are a little more studious, you may wish to get ahead with your studies and make sure you are ready for the new academic year to start. Using online revision could be a great way to study on the go and still enjoy yourself in between revision sessions.


Of course, every student is very different and the right choice for one student on how best to spend the summer holidays is not necessarily the correct choice for another. So make the decision that is best for you and remember, above all, to enjoy the summer however you choose to spend it.

If you’re looking for online revision and revision apps to keep your mind occupied through the summer break, check out PasTest.

(Featured image credit: Student’s mind vector, designed by Used under the Creative Commons Licence.)