This post will cover exam studying strategies. There are many exam taking strategies out there, but I want to add some much needed clarity.
1) Get the most out of your rotations
As long as your rotation is not just a pure observership and you are allowed to take part in diagnostic process you can quickly assimilate information necessary for your exams. I put this higher on the list than even question banks because of how powerful putting a face to a disease/condition is. Follow up by checking peer reviewed sources, such as UpToDate, so you can double check what you saw and get a good differential. This serves the double purpose of fact checking your diagnosis.
2) Use question banks… correctly
Question banks are great and you need to start them AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE. Do not wait to start them as they are a learning tool not an assessment tool. They primarily act as an interactive textbook and studies have shown they increase your retention of material; however, Qbanks like UWorld are PACKED with information meaning you must make notes AND study from them. Many students of mine forget the second part at first. Time consuming, but worth it. Be sure to use the timed mode and go through all unused questions first, before doing the question bank again.
3) Do not get discouraged
Remember that making mistakes and getting questions wrong is not just a part of the learning process, it is the primary component. You will always learn more from making mistakes. Anytime you feel like giving up or not studying just remember this post.
4) Get a tutor early if you need help
A good tutor will help you in more ways than one. To keep this article short, I will mention the important part. Exams test you on content and your ability to deal with questions you could not have studied for (ie. interpretation questions). A good tutor will help you in both of those areas. You can send me a message if you would like to know more on how MCCEE Tutoring Services achieves this goal.
5) Remember to have fun!
Medicine may be what you love and will take a lot of work, but remember to find healthy ways to reduce stress. Exercise, go out with friends, or go for hikes in places with more green than concrete and tell people if you are beginning to feel depressed/overwhelmed. The key is to prevent burn out.
Have any other suggestions? Let me know in the comments below.