When you’re in med school, you’ll have a lot of studying to do. Not only do you need to pass all of the exams required to earn your MD or DO, but you’ll also need to pass the United States Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE) and any other board and certification exams. This is why it’s so important to know how to study effectively. Here are five tips for studying in med school.
1) Take Practice Exams
When studying for your boards and other standardized tests, it’s important to take online practice exams. Be sure to use Question Banks (or Qbanks), which are databases of practice test questions, to your advantage. These will help prepare you for the style of the board exams.
When taking practice exams, focus first on answering these questions accurately first. Once you’ve mastered getting the correct answers, work on answering them quickly.
2) Focus on Self-Care
Self-care can make it or break it when it comes to being a successful test taker. Be sure to eat nutritious meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep. Taking care of yourself can help reduce stress levels so you can study more efficiently.
3) Consider Forming a Study Group
Study groups can be an effective approach to absorbing the course material. It can make studying more fun and tolerable as opposed to working individually.
When forming a study group, it’s best to stick to a small group. Aim to find a group no bigger than four students. Make sure you all share the same goals for success. While it’s important to take breaks when studying, the primary goal should be preparing for the exam.
One of the most effective study group strategies is quizzing each other. Print out practice exam questions or use the questions at the back of each section of your textbook or study guides.
Keep in mind that study groups aren’t for everyone. If you know that studying solo is a better option for you, be sure to stick to what works.
4) Know Your Learning Style
It’s important to know your learning style when preparing for your exams. Use this to your advantage when studying.
If you’re a visual learner, consider drawing graphs or printing out a study guide with graphics.
If you’re an auditory learner, listen to any recordings you may have of past lectures, look online for relevant YouTube videos or consider forming a study group.
If reading/writing is your learning style, focus on rewriting your notes, rereading your textbooks, and using flashcards when studying.
If you’re a kinesthetic learner, consider leading a study group. Teaching the course material can help you remember it better. Creating visuals can also help.
5) Create a Distraction-Free Study Environment
Studying in the right environment can make all the difference when it comes to success. It’s impossible to actually focus when your environment is full of distractions. Consider going to a library or a quiet park. If you choose to study at home, be sure to turn off your phone, TV, and any other potential distractions.
6) Study Every Day
It can be overwhelming to cram all of your studying into one or two days. To make sure you’re well prepared for an exam, be sure to review some of your course material every day. The more frequently you review and study what you’ve learned, the more prepared and less overwhelmed you will be when it’s time for your exam. This can be a great way to set yourself up for success.
These are just five tips for studying in med school. No matter how you choose to prepare for your exams, the important thing is to know what works for you.