USMLE Study Strategy by Successful Students (Part 2 of 6)
What was your everyday schedule like once you began to study? How did you prevent exhausting?
- I started studying around 8 am everyday. I am a morning person and like to study in the morning. I do not prefer studying at nights. I used to have a mini nap in the afternoon or took rest or exercise so as to relax myself. I didn't study late than 10 PN. However I think This is body metabolism which differs in every body. Hence this is very individualized and I think people should do whatever they are comfortable with:
How did you plan your schedule?
- I planned my overall schedule as per the instructions given by the people whom I trust and the persons who got success in this exam. Apart from this I feel that you do not have single plan for success. There are multiple plans which work behind you. This depends upon you, your background, environment and many other factors. You should work out your schedule as it suits you.
How many time did you dedicate to each subject? What was the breakdown?
- I gave more time to learn things of which basics I wasn't clear about and those topics which I couldn't remember easily. Do not try to grasp each and every detail. Focus on the larger parts of the topic. Information related to pathology, physiology, pharmacology, and generally information from Organ Systems will the most tested information.
What did you do a week before the exam and the night before the exam?
- I reviewed and revised all the important topics as well as from the notes that I had taken in my book. I went to get back to the facts from First Aid information and reviewed pharmacology (it is every easy to forget drug names). The last day, I just relaxed, had exercise and watched a movie. I felt great taking that break and was absolutely ready for the test next day.
How did you deal with difficult questions? What are your thoughts on changing your answer?
- Do not stick to the questions you find difficult. Skip them for the end and move on to next. Do not struggle with them as you won't get more marks for answering the tough questions. Uworld will give you statistics on how many questions you get right by changing your answer. They will show incorrect to incorrect, correct to incorrect, and incorrect to correct. As far as I am concerned, I trusted myself when changing my answer because most questions I changed, I changed to the correct answer.
How did you avoid fatigue? When did you take your breaks during the exam?
- The exam consists of 7 sections having 46 questions each. I took a break after completing two blocks and before my last block. I don't think this matters in your performance. You may take the break anytime you want.
What was your strategy at reading and answering the question in the allotted time/dissecting a question stem?
- For long questions, I moved on to browse the answers firsts. Highlight the important information so that it may lead to useful clues about the answer.
- For shorter questions, I would read highlight and pick my answer.
- I always crossed out answer choices that I thought were blatantly wrong.
If you had to redo it all over again, what would you do differently, and what would you keep the same?
- I probably would not do anything differently. If you introspect yourself after doing, you will come to a realization that all the studies is just for getting the practical training of clinical work. Once you get upto it, there is no need to go through over it again. So keep working hard because you only have to do this once!
- Do not get worried if you did not feel the above answers matching upto your expectations or style. This is a very individualistic view and is to be taken casually. Apply what you feel like applying and leave the rest.