I am about midway through board studying, and I must say, it is hard to balance everything. Studying for class, board studying, and making time for all of my other school and life commitments is really a challenge. I have learned a lot more about prioritizing study habits and what I need to do to stay on top of things. The first year and a half of med school have been a constant learning curve as I updated the way I study the whole time through. When I finally felt like I had things figured out, board studying came into play. There is definitely less time for things I enjoy, but I just keep the end goal in mind to get through it.
One thing that I have learned is that I am better at some subjects than others. This means that I typically need to study different topics in different ways. I really need to master big picture concepts in areas that I am weaker in, and can focus on memorizing details in the systems that I have a better understanding of. I have also discovered the importance of practice questions. Not only do they help you to see the material presented in the way you will actually see it on the boards, but it helps me remember the information I need to know better. If I can see a real life example put in a clinical presentation, I have a lot better time remembering what I need to know.
Overall, I feel pretty comfortable with how I am doing so far, but I know it is going to get a lot harder. I haven’t taken a practice test to assess my knowledge in a while, so I am sure I will have to tweak my study habits when that comes around. The one thing that gets me through it is knowing that my classmates and other med students are going through the same thing. With the support of others, we can do it!