8 tips for the last 6 months
As you get closer to your USMLE Step 1 exam, it can seem like time is slipping away from you. This is one of the most comprehensive tests for medical students, and the last 6 months of Step 1 preparation can often be tiring, frustrating, and stressful.
Here are eight study tips and techniques that will help you beat the stress:
✅ Know Your Baseline
This is a fundamental stepping stone to students’ success. Take USMLE practice tests or self-assessments to determine your strengths and weaknesses, comparing what you know against what you will be tested on. Understand where you stand before planning how to reach your goal.
💠 Pay Attention
Instead of just cramming before the USMLE Step 1, try to understand what you’re learning in classes as well as independent study. Seek out extra help if you’re struggling with specific topics. Remember that If you pass, you can’t retake the test even if you don’t like your score!
🤔 Review Your Goals
You may have set a target when you first started med school, but that could have changed by now. For instance, if you want to do more than just pass the USMLE Step 1 exam but scored much lower than your goal on a practice test, you may want to consider delaying it.
📅 Set a Daily Schedule
You need to create a routine for study, sleep, exercise, and meals, and stick to it over the next few months. This enhances mental focus and discipline, improves time management skills and allows you to stay on track with your Step 1 USMLE study plan before the test.
🥕 Fuel Your Brain
Endless cups of coffee or energy drinks will just leave you jittery and unable to concentrate; so, do your body and mind a favor by eating right. Healthy, balanced meals with plenty of brain-boosting nutrients will help you study more efficiently. Stay hydrated too.
A place to study
🎼 Get Enough Rest
One of the most popular med school hacks is using artificial stimulants like caffeine or energy drinks for all-night study sessions. However, your brain needs rest just like your body does, and you’re more likely to retain what you’re learning when you’ve had 8 hours of rest.
⚽ Exercise Regularly
Who has time to hit the gym when USMLE board exams are so close? Well, any smart student does. Regular exercise is the best way to keep your energy levels up as well as reduce the stress; it also boosts mental function, concentration, and attention spans.
🎯 Avoid Distractions
Switch off your phone or put it on silent during a study session, and sign out of social media and personal email accounts as well. Find a study space where you can work in peace, whether it’s your room, a coffee shop, the park, or library. Go there only to study.
Finally, take your time with Step 1 preparation. After all, your whole career depends on it!