I’m in the middle of finals right now, but it’s nice to take a step out of the library and enjoy the beautiful fall in New England. Since the only thing on my mind right now is drugs (we have our pharmacology final tomorrow), I figure I’d talk about some study techniques that have been very helpful in preparing for exams.
- Listen to lecture. Just don’t go. I’m not a normal fan of lecture, or waking up anytime before 10am if I have to, but I still make an effort to follow lectures. Since our professors write the tests, and many have written for the Step 1 exam itself, they tend to highlight the key points within the lecture itself. So, rather than go to lecture, I watch our lectures on double speed, and concurrently read the lecture notes. This helps concentrate down the information to the most important points.
- Concentrate the topic onto 1 page. After lecture, I go back through the notes and I consolidate the 100+ slides and references onto 1 page, single sided. It’s color coded, full of mnemonics and pictures, charts and graphs. The only requirement is that it has to be less than 1 page. This helps me focus on the bigger picture of the topic, and ensure that only the pertinent material is learned.
- Teach. They say, “See one, do one, teach one,” is the adage for medicine. After going through the notes, I get to the white board and teach to a pretend class. Speaking out the topics, drawing them, and trying to explain them to others helps me solidify the topic itself.
There are plenty of other great resources out there, but as a former teacher, I’ve seen the most successful learning happen when the student becomes the teacher of the material.
Good luck to everyone studying for their own exams….