As any medical student knows, the ONE recommended resource to get when starting medical school is the First Aid for USMLE Step 1 textbook. This book is known as the “Bible” for Step 1. In my review course, we utilize this book every single day. I’ll be honest – at first, I didn’t really know how to use my First Aid book. I didn’t really understand the format and the concise content. After a few days of repeated exposure, I finally got the hang of it.
During basic sciences, I used a PDF version of the book for quick reference. When I got to my review course and learned that we would be using it every day, I decided to get a hard copy. I am a person who takes many detailed notes while learning/studying, so I decided I wanted to spiral-bind my textbook. I was planning to flip pages a lot and make notes in every possible blank space. I also got a great set of non-smudge highlighters (in different colors) for my note taking and studying. Color helps me remember, and allows me to visualize the most important concepts.
I also added colored tabs corresponding to each chapter in the textbook. Oftentimes, I need to jump around to different chapters during study sessions, and this makes it SO MUCH EASIER to find what I need. It also saves me time, instead of having to go to the table of contents each time to figure out what page I need to go to.
I am a very simple person. If I use additional resources for studying or clarification, I write everything in my First Aid textbook. I think that keeping all my information in one place helps tremendously because I am not overwhelmed with many resources and extra material.
What are some of your First Aid hacks that help you study better?