OMG THE FIRST OFFICIAL EXAM WEEK OF MED SCHOOL IS DONE.
Last week was definitely not one of the greatest weeks of my life….i spent 99% of it cooped up in the library staring at a computer, wondering how I was going to cram all that information into my head.
But guess what?! We made it through and I learned a TON about how to properly prepare for exams that are at this level of difficulty.
- GET STARTED EARLY
Alright, first off I thought that I was “preparing” for these exams as the unit was underway…I would go through powerpoints while laying in bed and I thought I was doing the right things. NO. NO I WAS NOT. And I realized that I hadn’t gotten in good, efficient, valuable studying…the week before the exam. TALK ABOUT STRESS.
Don’t do what I did. If you are an undergrad or medical student…start studying the day the unit begins. Everyday after class sit down and make sure you TRULY understand and comprehend what the lectures were about that day. It is so much easier to do a little bit of work everyday, rather than CRAM the week before the test.
2. Find out the study style that works for you and DON’T change it. I know that it can be difficult to stick with what you’re used to if all the people in your class do things a different way. But I promise- it doesn’t matter what the heck they are doing, FOCUS ON YOU. I study best when I’m alone sitting in the corner of the library with my big ole’ headphones on. I also study best by looking at videos and drawing pictures…so that’s what I do. I don’t force myself to use study styles that don’t feel natural to me.
3. Use resources that you jive with. In medical school especially, there are SO MANY resources that you can use to study. Hundreds of websites, thousands of text books and just so much information. You need to find the tools that help you study best and focus only on them. For me, reading through lecture slides and watching review videos helped best, so that’s all I did.
I didn’t make flashcards or write my own book of notes because that just isn’t my learning style.
4. Make time for YOU. I got my workout done every single morning before trekking to the library to study. I also took some time to do my coach work, relax, watch FRIENDS and eat dinner. Obviously it sounds like all this stuff would be easy to do. But I’m telling you, when the stress of studying hits and you feel guilty taking 30 minutes to do what YOU want…it gets hard. So I’m giving you permission right now….TAKE AT LEAST 30 MINUTES TO RELAX. Your mind and body will thank you!! And it will definitely help to prevent burnout from setting in.
5. EAT HEALTHY FOODS.Exam week is NOT the time to binge on fast-food because you don’t have time to cook. You can find fast & healthy food at the grocery store or whip up a big pan of chicken and veggies on the Sunday before exam week so that you can reheat it throughout the week. I promise that properly fueling your body will help to get your mind running smoothly. And then at the end of exams you won’t feel lethargic and guilty for slacking off so much.
6. FORGET ABOUT IT. When the exam is done…FORGET ABOUT IT. There is nothing you can do to change your score, you can only learn how to improve it for next time. There is no use fretting about what answer you should’ve put or what else you should’ve studied. Once it’s in the past, it’s staying there.
7. When you’re finally done, CELEBRATE