You’ve studied for years and spent countless thousands of dollars on an education that will allow you to become a doctor. Only one thing stands in your way of getting into a residency program: passing your USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Exam).
You might find the preparation for this exam to be incredibly stressful, but think of it this way: Dr. Lisa Marie Cannon and every other doctor practicing in the United States had to pass their USMLE in order to get where they are today.
If you want to join them, you’ll need to make the same sacrifices they did. In order to pass your exam with flying colors, be sure to keep the following tips in mind…
1) Pay attention during your rounds
During medical school, there will be classes and internships that will have you walking around in hospitals to learn about various concepts in a real-world setting.
It is here where you will learn basic medical knowledge related to patient health that will complement what you will learn in the classroom.
During your USMLE, you will be asked about many of these common situations; if you remembered what you learned while you were on the floor, you will be able to answer these questions better than those that goofed off during these outings.
2) Get your hands on Kaplan study materials
While the USMLE will test you on what you should have learned through your classes in medical school and in your internships, sometimes it can be hard to connect the dots all by yourself.
Fortunately, there are well-designed test preparation programs out there that communicate core medical concepts in a manner that makes learning about them much easier.
Kaplan is widely considered to be the best of the lot; it may cost a mint for the most advanced tutoring programs, but with a long list of current docs swearing by it, the cost involved in signing up for their services will prove to be a worthwhile investment.
3) Set yourself up for success with a conducive study environment
In order to adequately prepare for the USMLE, you need to put in your reps by studying for it on a regular basis. To maximize the amount of information that you’ll internalize, make sure that the places you choose to study fit your personality.
If you are social and enjoy learning in collaborative settings, try meeting with fellow med students in coffee shops and quiz each other on various subjects that will likely be on the exam.
If you are more introverted, pick a quiet spot (e.g. libraries) that allows you to focus, absent the distractions that other human beings provide.
4) Make a schedule, and stick to it
One of the most important hacks with regards to preparing effectively for your USMLE is develop and maintain discipline when it comes to study sessions.
Draw up a schedule, set the times, and show up ready to learn each time. Even if some sessions are marked by as much struggle as there is progress, simply putting in a consistent effort will yield exponentially better results than irregular studying over time.