Medical Terminology Study Tips and Resources

Reviewed by AIMS Education Staff  

January 19, 2020

Learning medical terminology is often referred to as mastering a new language. This is true because as a healthcare student, there will be quite a few classes that require you to memorize a lot of theoretical material and tongue-twisting medical terms. For some students, the amount of memorization needed may seem overwhelming. Thankfully there are a number of tips and resources available that can help you out.

Prepare Your Own Medical Terminology Study Guide

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The process of becoming a successful student is about trying new things and finding what works best for you. Some students prefer to use physical note cards while others are more comfortable using digital tools. Good study habits are essential as well. You need to study in a way that adequately prepares you for tests and quizzes and ensures that you'll remember new terms not only in a week but at the end of the semester and onward.

What grabs your attention and can put you in a study mood? Knowing this will help you prepare a study guide especially crafted for your needs and goals. Making one will facilitate the learning process and help you find the right approach to training your memory and mastering medical terminology. 

Use a Medical Terminology Dictionary

Using a dictionary of medical terms and abbreviations is always a good starting point for med students and healthcare professionals who want to build a good strategy. A dictionary is considered among the most important tools for anyone who is learning a new language or subject matter. Based on your preference, you can either use an online medical terminology dictionary or a printed one.

Make a List of Basic Medical Terms

Writing down the essential medical terms is another good practice. You can create lists of words you already know and those that you still need to learn. Making your own dictionary of terms by rewriting the ones you’ve come across is also a great idea. Writing by hand is proven to improve your memory and help you remember new words. 

Get Into a Study Routine for Medical Terminology Tests

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Regularly testing your knowledge of terms will get you into a routine that will be very beneficial in the long run. Several sites offer advice for students to get into the groove of regular, productive study habits. Most of them offer resources free of charge which vary in format and type. This medical terminology exam is a good example. You can access it easily and do it while you are on social media or having a break from other studying activities. 

Note-taking, organization, and effective reading are skills that will help you become a successful student. You can test them as well by browsing for specific tests and quizzes. Like this note-taking quiz and set of exam prep guides.

It's worthwhile to regularly commit time to test yourself before you see the results. 

We suggest you allow at least thirty days to evaluate how effective these tests are for you. After 30 days, the new method will become a habit and will no longer feel like a chore. You can then see whether it works for you. released a great study habit guide. Among the most useful tips you can borrow are:

  • Be sure not to study longer than an hour without taking a break.
  • Wake up a half-hour earlier and read from your textbook or rewrite key concepts in a notebook.
  • Mark out times to study every day to prevent the need for cramming.
  • Seek help from your instructors; they and the school want you to succeed!

More Medical Terminology Resources

As you study, be aware of the resources you can access. Quite often students feel that making hundreds of note cards is a daunting task. While the act of making them is a great first step in memorization, you don't necessarily have to reinvent the wheel. You might be able to borrow note cards from a fellow student who's already finished the course, or you might purchase ready-made note cards. Also, know that the internet is full of sites that can help as well. Healthcare is, after all, one of the biggest and fastest-growing job markets!

Study guides from other professors' classes

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Generally, there are a number of resources that institutions and professors have provided online that have remained open-access. Feel free to take advantage of these types of resources when you find them. For instance, this professor's class breaks medical terminology down into prefixes, roots, and suffixes, as is relatively common, so his online activities are similarly structured. His site, and others like it, can be a great resource for you. To find them, search for terms like “medical terminology online” or “medical terminology activities” in your preferred search engine.

Online Medical Flashcards provides an online flashcard tool, which lets you sort words into 'correct' and 'incorrect' piles so that you can focus on the terms you don't yet reliably know. It also lets you play games and take quizzes with word lists for further practice. If you take a closer look at available lists you'll most likely find some that are relevant to you now or down the road. If you create an account, you'll be able to make your own stacks of flashcards for individualized practice.

Test Your Memory With Online Medical Terminology Quizzes

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Testing your knowledge of terms is a great approach to learning. As we already mentioned, there is a wide variety of free online tools and resources available to everyone. They are a good way to evaluate your knowledge and confidence easily.  

ProProfs quiz hosts a 113-question test on medical terminology. You can find even more quizzes related to medicine and medical terminology.

Sporcle is an addictive quiz website that hosts timed exercises; its medical terminology section allows you to practice hundreds of words.

Videos are another great type of online resources that can help you prepare for upcoming exams. Here are 20 of the best medical YouTube channels that can make learning medicine a bit easier and more engaging. 

Play Medical Terminology Study Games

Playing medical terminology games is a great way to have fun while studying. It will not only make the experience more pleasant but will give you a bit of break from your daily learning habits. It is also useful to keep you on track and motivated when you can only spend a little bit of time studying medical terms. 

Take Online Medical Terminology Tests to Track Your Progress

Taking medical terminology tests is a great way to keep track of your progress and learn while practicing. The variety of tests and quizzes available will help you evaluate different areas and also revise what you’ve already learnt. For example, you can test how well you know medical prefixes and suffixes. This strategy will help you get into continuous learning and keep you always prepared. 

If you are interested in a deeper dive into the subject, explore our super easy tips to learn medical terminology.