Friday, July 4, 2014

How to Honor Your Tests in Med School

Someone posted the following on SDN.  I thought I would catalog it here for future reference.  It comes from a thread where people are arguing about how people manage to get 100s on tests in med school.  Suddenly this guy pops in really late to the discussion and drops a bomb.  It was the only good advice given, and I intend to follow suit.

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I had a horrible go of it in first year and failed four courses despite working long hours studying. I looked around and was in disbelief that anyone was getting or could get 100% or near that on these tests. 

When i was blessed with another chance at the year, i went to each member of the top 10% of my former class and took them to lunch to pick their brain.

They told me consistently the same thing...and it worked for me the next year to get near 100% all the time...you should plan to review the testable content a minimum of five times before the exam. This seems very daunting but each subsequent trip through is much faster because you have seen and understand the interrelationships of the content sections. I struggled to do this at first, and had to set a time limit per page and set a timer. When the timer went off, regardless of how far down the page I was, I turned and started on the next page. I also had to limit the number of sources I used to study from to a dictionary, anatomy atlas, and the recommended syllabus (it was a bound set of provided pages back then). At the top of each page I made a hash mark each time I had reviewed the page. By the fourth, fifth, and sixth time through, I could flip the page at about a ten second clip and recite the core material per page. As others have said on SDN before, its not hard to know how to achieve success in these classes, it is hard to do it though. In my experience repetition is key. 

This was my experience…yours may be different:
Barely one time through the content = barely pass
two times through = pass to slightly above average
three times through = above average to high pass
four times through = high pass to honors
five times through = honors to top three scorers
six plus times through = top three scorer