Medical school is academically rigorous. Often, the term “drinking from a firehose” is used to describe what it is like to be a medical student. It is not uncommon for students who have never experienced academic difficulty to face new challenges.

We have an extensive system of services, resources, programs, and events to assist students with transitioning to medical school.  All students are welcomed and encouraged to meet with their assigned Learning Community Academic Advisor to discover more about their learning styles, time management, and study strategies to help maximize academic success during medical school preclinical years and beyond.  We are conducting on-going research on factors that contribute to student academic performance and provide support to help students enhance their academic performance. The Academic Success Team exists to provide advising, support and resources that empower students to achieve their goals.

Services & Resources:

  • Individual Academic Advising:We offer a holistic and developmental advising approach when working with medical students. Each graduating class is divided into advising groups by learning communities. Please see the Academic Advising syllabus for further information about our advising services.
  • Assessments: We have identified a few key factors that relate to a student's academic performance and can provide access to evaluation instruments on these factors. The assessments provide insight that is beneficial in designing individual academic success plans that incorporate a student’s strengths and addresses potential areas for growth. Assessments include:
          VARK Learning Modality
          MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator)
          LASSI (Learning and Study Strategies Inventory)
  • Test-taking strategies: Strategies to approach multiple choice test items and especially test items in USMLE format are discussed in Individual Advising and Tutoring sessions.
  • Study Groups:  Are you new to Alabama or just want some help meeting other students who study similarly and/or have the same interests as you?  Contact our office to get assistance with forming study groups outside of ICM and LCs.
  • Free learning resources: There are many free resources available to students of the SOM. These include on-line and paper-based test banks, library links to multiple learning resources, personalized study skills handouts, access to Kaplan QBank and other resources. Individual and group peer tutoring is also a free resource for students and can be arranged as needed.

Programs and Events 

  • PRIME: Students participating in the pre-matriculation program are all assessed individually and provided in-depth instruction in their individual learning strengths. They are also given structured opportunities to practice and perfect the learning strategies that will most benefit them.
  • Lunch & Learns: We provide periodic lunch and learns as a means for delivering information to large groups on timely topics that impact academic success, such as time management, learning styles, study strategies, preparing for board exams, effective use of Q-banks, and others.
  • Stress Relief Oasis: The Academic Success team offers a stress relief event 1-2 times in the fall and spring to first and second year medical students. At this event, students are provided with various outlets to relieve stress, such as hand massages, Hand in Paw pet therapy, sweet treats, chair massages, hula hooping, games/puzzles, and more!

Any of these resources may be accessed by contacting Tammi Taylor or your academic advisor:

          Maija Braaten: Finley, Lyons, and Pittman learning communities

          Caleb Rotton: Barfield-Carter, Hirschowitz, Kirklin, and Opral learning communities

          Jill Sharp: Hamilton, Harrison, Hill, and McCallum learning communities