Eight tips to ensure you pass your medical exams

Are you working hard for your medical exams? Here are eight tips to help make sure you pass them.

There is no doubt that medical students must study diligently to excel in their field of study. And there are many concerns and perspectives about how long to study every day, what subjects to study, and how to recall the massive quantities of complicated material expected of medical students.

However, there are efficient study techniques and strategies you may utilize to prepare yourself for how to study in medical school. As a medical student, you must learn the best study strategies to prepare for one of the most challenging tests in medical school.

To pass medical school tests such as the USMLE and MCCQE, you must not only acquire and remember a great amount of difficult material but also be able to apply that knowledge in your exams.

The USMLE and MCCQE examinations are among the most difficult and grueling tests you’ll ever take. They cover various medical topics and challenge students to acquire and apply sophisticated material to hypothetical circumstances.

Here are some tips you can employ that will help you ace that medical exam, including strategies to tackle the challenging MCCQE and USMLE exam questions effectively.

1) Review your work daily

The first step toward improved studying is to evaluate what you’ve learned daily. Avoid cramming as much as possible before your examinations! Cramming in the days leading up to your exam increases your chances of forgetting what you learned during test prep time. 

Regularly reviewing your notes, absorbing the material, and interpreting it helps to consolidate the ideas in your long-term memory and makes it easy for your brain to access it when needed. This is an example of active recall. Rather than depending on memory, you will know and grasp the knowledge on a deeper level.

Regularly reviewing your notes relieves tension, making the test less unpleasant in your thoughts. You’ll feel more secure coming into your tests if you actively absorb the content, review it, and now utilize active recall to remember it.

2) Make use of visual and audio aids

Some students learn best using visual or audio resources to help them recall knowledge. Diagrams, charts, sketches, images, and flashcards are examples of visual aids used to boost memory. Auditory learners may benefit from remembering aids such as films, lecture recordings, reading notes aloud, or rhymes.

Whatever your learning style, reviewing your study materials in several active methods is essential. By presenting the same content to yourself in various ways, you exercise your brain significantly more than just re-reading your notes.

3) Take more detailed notes

The most significant barrier to actively learning your study material is that most students do not take excellent notes. Whether you believe it or not, there is a strategy for taking better notes that will help you understand your study materials more efficiently. And it may be quite useful when studying a discipline as complicated as medicine.

Walter Pauk, a Cornell education professor, created the Cornell note-taking method. Pauk’s technique is taking genuinely helpful notes to help you learn and remember knowledge rather than just repeating what is spoken in class.

Divide the pages of your notebook into three to utilize Cornell notes. Create the “cues” column on the left. The bulk of the right-hand side of the page will be kept for your remarks. Your summary will be at the bottom of the page.

Students are encouraged to utilize acronyms or diagrams to speed up the note-taking process in class or rotation. Write down just the main ideas and facts, not every word uttered in class. Make a note of any queries or keywords in the cues column. These will help you recall the essential ideas you wrote down in your notes and remind you to ask the lecturer questions about any subjects you don’t grasp. The summary portion should be prepared shortly after class ends and address the question, “What did you learn today?”

4) Do practice exams

Practice exams are an excellent technique to determine how well you recall material. After you’ve studied the content, set it aside to see how well you remember it. This way, you’ll be able to identify any knowledge gaps or areas that need more research. 

Question banks, practice exams, and flashcards are all excellent resources to utilize on your own or in a study group.

5) Use mnemonics

Medical students often use mnemonics and other memorizing techniques, such as flashcards, to strengthen their memory. These strategies undoubtedly aid active recall, particularly given the vast quantity of knowledge medical students must maintain. 

Medical school tests involve a wide variety of medical disciplines. Thus, having a collection of flashcards or mnemonic devices for each subject is a good idea.

6) Create a good environment for learning

The setting in which you study is as significant as how you learn. You cannot retain knowledge if you cannot focus on the review. As a result, you’ll need a place free of outside distractions and disturbances. 

Find a peaceful, clutter-free workstation. To minimize eye strain, make sure your location has enough light. Set up an ergonomic chair and work area, and bring all required resources, such as your computer, notepad, paper, pencils, and textbooks. Everything you need should be nearby, and everything that could be a distraction should be stored. Prepare to study by becoming comfy.

7) Study mindset

Like your physical surroundings, your mental environment must be pleasant and optimal for learning. As a medical student, you will have long days of learning and studying, which may quickly become stressful and demanding.

Divide the massive volumes of knowledge you must learn into digestible chunks. Create a study plan and study a small bit every day. You are not required to study for a certain number of hours daily. What’s important is your understanding and capacity to apply the material you’re learning, not how much time you spend studying.

After checking your notes, take a little break, then return and test yourself to determine whether you recall the content. And remember that it’s alright to take pauses when studying. Taking a breather from studying an idea allows your mind to comprehend it.

If you start to feel tired, get up from your chair and do some physical exercise, or prepare yourself a snack. Avoid burnout and tiredness by engaging in an activity or giving your brain a break from studying.

8) Seek professional assistance

Medical students might also benefit from expert study assistance. Several online tools and services, such as Ace Med Boards Medical Tutors, are available to assist students like you with test preparation, creating a study plan or timetable, and maintaining healthy study habits. 

Professional study support services differ in offerings, but many focus on medical students and how to study for medical school exams.