Taking standardized exams has become a norm now that I am a second-year medical student. From SATs to the MCAT and medical school examinations, I feel less nervous every time I walk into my next exam. Now, I am not a professional at exam taking but I thought that it might be helpful to some of you who struggle with standardized exams, especially in medical school to see my approach. This is a method that my tutor shared with me my first year and it has been extremely helpful in the boost I have been in my grades. Keep in mind that our school has been implementing board-style questions since our first exam so my classmates and I have had a lot of practice…and we all know practice makes perfect so even if your institution doesn’t provide board-style questions on your exams make sure to do as many as you can on your own time. Alright, let’s get to it.
- READ THE LAST SENTENCE FIRST: Often times test writers will ask you the question in the last sentence and it might have NOTHING to do with the questions stem. If that’s the case, you just saved yourself A LOT of time and brain power. If that’s not the case when you go back to the stem you have a better idea of the clues to look for since you already know what the question is asking for.
- DO NOT LOOK AT THE ANSWER CHOICES: This tip is 90% relevant unless the question requires you to look at the answer choices. BUT most of the time if you really know the material you can answer the question without the answer choices. If you look at them prior to making your own choice, you might be caught off guard with the distractions and pick the wrong answer choice.
- PICK A CHOICE AND MOVE ON: This last tip is self-explanatory. It is VERY important not to spend too much time (more than a min) on a question. There are easy, medium, and hard questions. If you find yourself stumped do no worry because there will always be questions that will require you to pick the BEST choice and move on even if you are not 100% about your answer.
I hope that these tips were helpful for you when answering board-style questions or just taking a standardized exam. Please feel free to comment down below with your suggestions!