Admitting you cannot always do it on your own and you are not always right
I am going to forgo one of the usual blog posts about a particular medical topic or a direct strategy to tackle questions on your exams and talk about what can hold you back. The answer to this question is being a lone wolf. You need to learn that most people cannot excel on your own, at least not completely. From my own experience this almost hurt my USMLE Step 1 score.
I will begin by saying that even when I was in university I was told I was smart because I could pick up on concepts quickly. This label ultimately hurt me as I was so desperate to keep this label I rarely sought help or worked with others. I felt that asking someone for aide was admitting I was not as clever as people thought I was. I majored in biochemistry and minored in math, so sometimes I would spend hours working through a problem that I could have understood faster if I would have sought a colleague or friend out. Does this sound like a smart person to you?
What I learned is a wise person learns from their mistakes, does not care about labels, and also knows what they do not know. Even though I am saying this the struggle of learning a new concept is crucial to success. This makes asking for help a balancing act. It is generally best to work through tough areas for a specific amount of time and then ask for help. How much time? That depends on how much studying time you have, but generally do not spend more than 15 to 20 minutes on a single concept. After that point you need to seek someone out or come back to it later.
I know some of you may be on your own and that is where my service can help you the most. At MCCEE tutoring services we will help you learn difficult concepts, how to apply them, and teach you study techniques so you do not repeat the same mistakes I made in university and early medical school. As a final thought, this post was primarily about studying, but it does apply to residency and beyond. Never be afraid to admit when you need even a little help.
That is all for this post, so if you want a free and non-obligatory consult on how to study for the USMLE, NBME exams, or MCCEE or any other medical exam check out http://www.mcceetutoringservices.com/contact and send me an email! If you liked this article or have experiences of your own you want to share just say so in the comments below!