USMLE TEST TAKING STRATEGIES
Being in a medical school brings a lot of hard work to one’s shoulders. And when it comes to USMLE preparation, you go to double the hard work. No matter how brilliantly you prepare for the USMLEs, anxiety and tension would always be at your side, during as well as prior to your examinations. But you know what; you can easily escape it just by taking in these USMLE test strategies sorted out to tackle the difficulties faced by one during the USMLE exams.
You will always hear from your mentors, seniors and teachers saying USMLE Step 1 is the most significant exam of all the USMLE exams. Although it may appear to you as an overstatement, reality is that the Step 1 plays a very crucial part in deciding your future in medicine and thus, holds a great importance. The score in the Step 1 will be the determining factor as to whether you will be able to get your desired specialty or not. And chances are that you may not be able to give an interview, provided your score appears to be less than a specific threshold. So make sure your USMLE preparation is thorough for your Step 1 Exam. However, if your USMLE preparation yields a ‘not so good’ score in your Step 1 Exam, then don’t consider yourself out of luck because there are other materials too for getting into residency applications. The letter of recommendation and the Medical Student Performance Evaluation also hold vital importance in such aspects.
Here, you will need to put a full stop to all your habits of ‘last minute studies before the exam’ and change your way of approach towards studies. You keep promising yourself that you will start studying from the next day and this goes on and on and ultimately it gets too late to start because your USMLE test dates have come too close. There must be a considerable time to be given to the USMLE preparations for the Step 1. This 8 hour long test is built upon a vast amount of materials. And to counter the same, you should start your USMLE preparation as early as possible. And better would be if you start your USMLE preparation from the first day of your medical school. So that 6-8 weeks prior your Step 1 examination, you can finally review your preparations and fill the gaps in your USMLE preparation, if found any.
While looking for a study resource, you will find plenty of resources available out there in the form of books, live lectures, recorded audios, smartphones applications, etc. However, it is nearly impossible to locate an all-in-one solution that covers every ingredient of the USMLE curriculum. Since every student has his own way of learning, you will need to look for resources that determine the way in which you study the material at its best. Physicians and medical students often recommend forming a study group while the USMLE preparation for the Step 1 exam. Although it could be of great help in some instances, chances are that it might go wrong as well.
Adhering to your study schedule would be of no significance if you aren’t studying the material thoroughly. So it is a must for every medical student to keep a track of their USMLE preparation. But, how can it be possible? Well, that can be done by taking not of your level of academics. Your rank in the class and your grades would be the determining factor of how much you have progressed in your USMLE preparation. And in case you are doing not so well in your academics, then you better take an action then and there itself for your USMLE preparation. Although there will be times when you have to take a break from your studies, maintain distance from as much distractions as possible. Believe it or not, you need to be careful while giving time to each activity as sometimes, you may indulge in activities that would pull you away from the final examinations.
One must devote a considerable time in taking USMLE practice tests as they tend to give you a feeling of how it would be to take the exam in real. Moreover, your focus should be on online USMLE practice test because the USMLE examinations have to be taken on a computer only. And so, the senior students in your medical schools and your instructor would always suggest you take USMLE practice tests and that too, the NBME practice tests (National Board of Medical Education). NBME practice tests because these are designed to match the specifications of the USMLE exams. And while you appear for these USMLE practice tests, always subtract about 15-20 marks as this is something you are obtaining while being within your comfort zone. As per the surveys that are being conducted on the USMLE data, the medical folks do not generally perform as good in the USMLE exam as they do in the NBME practice tests and the cause of this is nothing but anxiety and stress. So keeping this under consideration would be of great help to tackle the USMLE exam successfully.
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