When it comes to studying for the USMLE Step 1 exam, it isn’t just about spending as much time as possible staring into your books, it is equally about using the right tools and tricks to get the most out of everything you do. You have to learn how to absorb the most information possible in the least amount of time, as you are fully aware that as medical students we don’t have a lot of free time.
So here are 6 tips that will help you get the most out of your Step 1 prep, and ultimately give you the most benefit from the time you spend studying:
1. Short and intense study periods
By studying for short and intense periods of time, such as 30-45 minutes, you can ensure you absorb more and forget less. Follow this short period by 10 minutes of rest in order to refresh the mind for the next session. This requires quiet and zero distraction for ultimate results.
2. Rest adequately
Resting adequately is essential for moving all new information you learn into your long-term memory. Memory consolidation occurs when you sleep, so be sure to take naps and sleep adequately when you are in the middle of intense step 1 preparation.
3. Take notes when doing your question banks
Doing the same questions over and over is a waste of time, instead be sure to go through a qbank thoroughly and take excellent notes. Once you’ve done this, you have learned how to answer board-type questions and you’ve extracted tons of valuable information you will likely encounter on your exam.
4. Use the basic sciences to start studying
The basic sciences portion of medical school is the time to start creating notes for your board exams. Many people focus solely on their course exams, but you can easily incorporate board prep into the mix, giving you that extra boost that none of your peers will have.
5. Stick to 1-2 study guides max
Use your basic sciences to build study notes, use your qbank notes, and get 1-2 good study guides in order to know which high-yield topics are most commonly tested. From here, you have all of the material you will need in order to score well.
6. Book your exam based on sleep schedules
You can get an early exam in the morning or an early afternoon session. If you are a night-person and do not think well in the morning, then book an afternoon session. The Step 1 exam is not something to be taken when you are not at your best, so don’t worry about whether you will be ready or not, book the test based on your lifetime of habits and you’ll be sure to be fresh and ready to write.
Do you want a top quality, high-yield study guide written by someone who has scored above average on the USMLE Step 1 exam?
Grab a copy of The USMLE Step 1 BIBLE by clicking HERE
Jeff Anderson is a medical doctor and medical educator.