Let’s be honest, this is not going to be like undergraduate academic work, unless your undergraduate was really long, difficult, and tedious. In that case, welcome home. Passing first year is not impossible, far from it actually. Your professors (and most of your peers) *want* you to pass and will help you as much as possible.
The key to passing first year seems to be staying on top of the material and being as organized as humanly possible. Cramming is not as feasible now as it may have been in undergrad. (Some can still get away with it for the unit exams, but it makes studying for final exams and boards much, much more difficult.)
Breaking the notes down into digestible chunks that you can memorize relatively easily really seems to be clutch. Most of what professors want you to know is important concepts and understanding relationships in the material. However, it never fails that a few questions on the tests come from the seemingly trivial “examples” that you would normally gloss over in undergrad, so just make a quick note that just because it’s in 4 point font doesn’t mean these vultures won’t test you on it.
“In teaching the medical student the primary requisite is to keep him awake.” - Chavalier Jackson
Disclaimer: Review this survival guide from your own perspective, and take away from it what you will. The Class of 2013 realizes that each person studies in his own way, using his own resources, and we merely hope this survival guide provides some insight to your first year of medical school. We’re defining some of the variables, but it is up to you to come up with your own formula for success.