Guest Post Written by: Nate Jackson | Ohio State, Class 2017

Time management is the biggest asset for a dental student.

Whether it is managing the time you spend studying for an exam, maintaining a healthy relationship with your significant other, having a life outside of dental school, or simply trying to stay on time with a patient you are seeing, they all are controlled via time management. I’ll show you a couple of examples of different approaches students use to manage their time. While I won’t get deep into the details and hacks you can use to manage your time (that’s a later post!) Before we get started, I want you to know that each student has their own way of making time to get things done.


Dental school is like a wild roller coaster ride! One minute you receive an A on your anatomy midterm and the next minute you are failing a competency in pre-clinic.

via GIPHY The people who are the most successful are the ones who prioritize their life and manage their time the best! Every student has a different way of managing their time in dental school, but it is crucial to always be working ahead and not chasing your tail!

The dental program does not slow down for anyone so if you’re constantly trying to make up for something you won’t have time to get ahead.


You have to make time for the things you love, and the only way to do that is by staying on task and utilizing your hours for every minute they are worth. Some students are night owls and other’s are early risers, if you’re a combination of the two, well then go you! Let’s take a look at two examples, neither right nor wrong, that I see students use when it comes to time management.


Example Student 1: This student treats dental school like work. From 8am-5pm they are at the dental school either seeing patients, studying, working ahead in preclinic, or preparing themselves for the week. These students will not go home early, even if they are able to, and will try to work ahead if possible. These students will go home at 5pm and will not touch a single book, talk dentistry, work on lab work, etc… until the following day at 8am.

Example Student 2: This student will show up for class/appointment when needed and will have the flexibility to leave whenever their work is finished for the day. This student will study at home and use their “twilight hours to get much of their work done. These students have more “freedom” during the day, but spend many hours at night preparing for the week.


In both cases, the students have to utilize time management! Student 1 has to make sure to manage their 8am-5pm to the best of his ability so that they can get through all of the material. Whereas Student 2 must make time for the work later in the day. I have seen students excel in both ways, but it is not possible without the right preparation and time management.

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