Day 24: I think I may be slowly going insane.
Studying for Step 1 is a pretty monumental task. For one, you’re studying for probably the most important test of your life, one that could potentially determine your future career path in medicine – no pressure. Secondly, you have to put aside friends, family, a personal life, and maybe even proper grooming for several weeks in order to cram all the material required. Needless to say, it’s a little daunting. Now that I’m a few weeks into it, here are a few tips for staying sane, healthy, and on track:
Have a flexible schedule: Everyone makes a study schedule for Step 1, but almost no one ends up adhering to it faithfully. Build in extra time here and there in case you fall behind on the material, or if something unexpected pops up. It will prevent a lot of unneeded stress down the road.
Schedule in breaks: No one can study 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, for indefinite periods of time. Make sure you take half or whole day breaks at least every week or so. The occasional night out won’t hurt you, and it will prevent you from forgetting how to socialize with people.
Step 1 study time is for consolidating, not learning, the material: One of the worst feelings is flipping to a First Aid page and encountering a topic you’ve never heard of before. To avoid this, take the time to skim through First Aid, Pathoma, and other study resources before your dedicated study period in order to familiarize yourself with the material you’re expected to know.
Don’t forget about yourself: In the midst of Step 1 stress, its easy to say you don’t have time to cook or go to the gym (I’ve certainly told myself that). However, its incredibly important that you don’t neglect your personal health. Taking the time to stay healthy gives you more energy, helps clear your mind, and stops you from becoming a pale library hermit.
Good luck in your studies!