I know that at the beginning of the second-year I posted about wanting to study for boards in conjunction with my classes. Now, since we are just about halfway done with second-year, I wanted to give you all an update regarding what’s been working, what I can improve, and my overall feelings toward my schedule. First, I should mention that our school taught the majority of the blocks (Cardio, Pulmonary, Renal, and Gastrointestinal) during our first year so this year we are doing more of a review and continuing with Genitourinary, Hematology/Oncology, and Dermatology. In addition, I am also pursuing a master’s in Public Health, and seeing patients with my preceptor once a week. Yes, it’s a lot! But studying for boards slow and steady has been my mindset so I made a schedule and managed to stick to it.
My main goal is to pass my classes and learn the material since it will be helpful for the boards. Therefore, I divide my days and use the first half of the day to listen to lectures and the second half for board review. So I will wake up around 5 AM and from 5-12 PM I will listen to lectures and review the material for my class. From 12-5 PM I will do board review (more on the material down below). The rest of the night I will go to the gym, grocery shop, or meal prep for the week. There are days that I am busy with school or patients but I will still fit in some work in between breaks using flashcard apps on my phone or charts I make on the go.
My goal from the beginning was to start with blocks that I felt uncomfortable in. I also wanted to spend about a week on each block give or take since some are longer than others. But I make sure to spend no more than 2 weeks on a block. I start with anatomy, physiology, and end with pathology. I will also throw in relevant bugs and drugs here and there but I mostly review those in bulks during my “break” days when I have mandatory classes or patients. Finally, I will follow-up my reading and reviewing with questions because I believe that questions are the BEST way to learn the material, especially HOW it’s presented.
To be honest, there are days when I feel tired and exhausted, this schedule is not easy. However, when do start to feel that way I will make sure to spend time with family, watch a movie, or go for a walk. I think that balance is key and when I look towards my ultimate goal, studying becomes a lot easier. I am also lucky because I have supportive classmates who are willing to review and make studying fun.
If I had to sum up my advice into a few words it would be to: make a schedule, follow it, and do questions! I hope that this summary was helpful for those of you wondering how to fit in board studying with your schedules. For those second-years also studying for boards, what does your schedule looks like?