External checks are people who help you “check” your knowledge base of the course material. They are typically in the form of a study partner or a peer tutor. If you feel confident with course material get an “external check” to check you that you are on track.
Proactively, tutors are in the position to give you a lay of land of a particular course and help structure your studying. Reactively, tutors are available to help you overcome any difficult areas you are having with course material as evidenced by exam performance.
Schedule a time with a tutor to make sure you are on track. Don't dribble away valuable time.
See submenu “Peer Tutoring”
You say, “I always study alone.” Well, that was before medical school. The point of a study partner is as an “external check” and having someone to help motivate any study inertia. It is also someone to be accountable to when you're not studying.
Often students say, “I can't find someone like me.” The idea is not to find someone “like” you, but someone with whom you can feel vulnerable and where minimally you have amicable personality chemistry. It can be someone who is also looking for a study partner, but not necessarily. Be prepared to plant this seed in another student's head as a study strategy. Sometimes you can meet potential study partners in a tutorial session.
Friends as Study Partners
Sometimes a study partner is a friend, but not always. Enlist a classmate/friend and study that possibly dreaded subject together. Know that however you define the relationship, make sure you study. You and your study partner are willing to hold each other accountable to the task of studying. You will agree on what you'll be reading alone, and agree on a time to meet to review, to study the material together. If you're not spending the time loving the subject, at least you'll be spending the time with someone you at least like. Be accountable to that friend when you're not studying with them. For example, tell them if you call them up to just chat, they should ask you if you've done your reading first before you commence to chat. Be prepared to anticipate any potential distractions and have a mutually supportive plan to circumvent them when at all possible.