Time Habits of a Medical Student, MS1

Chris Hornung
4 min readJun 28, 2021


1963 hours later and I have successfully finished my first year of medical school. As has been tradition after finals week. I took some time to generate charts quantifying how I used my time. The background for the project is here.

Total Time by Term

I spent the most time dedicated towards medical school during the fall term for absolute hours and average hours per week. I have not definitively determined if this was because the fall term was the most rigorous, that I learned to be more efficient with my time after the fall term, or potentially a mixture of the two.

Left: a refresher on categories. Right: Average time in hours of category per week by term.

As I progressed throughout my first year, I spent less time watching university lectures and more time using third-party study resources to learn the course material. I also spent less time in Self-study (mostly from not making my own Anki flashcards), and less time studying Anki cards. I spent more time Volunteering, Research, and Other.

Comparing categories by term

Anki is a flashcard software that utilizes an algorithm to show users cards at graduating intervals to aid in memorization. It was a staple for me during my first year and I used it for nearly 500 hours (~21 days). I made many of my own flashcards during the fall semester and as a consequence, studied more cards and spent more time using Anki during the fall semester. The amount of time I used Anki decreased during the spring and summer terms because I was studying fewer total cards.

A year of Anki statistics (I began using the software before starting medical school)

Each term was a bit different in terms of how classes were structured during the week. The graphs below give an idea of my busiest day of the week across the entire school year. I lived by classic Minnesotan principles and have thus far made the most of my summer weekends.

Bottom left: Busy Mondays and Wednesdays with lots of prep time on Sundays. Bottom middle: slow climb to a busy Thursday. Bottom right: Easy Monday, busy Tuesday, decreasing time per day the rest of the week, chill weekends.

Finally, I wanted to get a pulse on my performance classes as my time dedicated to school changes over time. I had the best grades during the fall term. My average percentage for my courses dropped a bit in the summer term, but my “GPA” (my school is pass/fail for pre-clerkships) remained the same. Overall, I am satisfied with my academic performance.

MS2 marks the transition into studying pathologies. For me, it will also mean becoming busier with research and student interest groups. I have some time off between now and when courses resume and I look forward to the time to recharge my batteries and get a better understanding of which specialties I am interested in pursuing.

Find me

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chris-hornung/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChrisHornung

Github: https://github.com/ChristyHorn14



Chris Hornung

A twin in the Twin Cities. I used to write a lot. University of Minnesota Medical School. I really like tracking things.