Being in dedicated right now and procrastinating out of my mind, I’m sitting in the corner of my room with a fluffy blanket over my head thinking ‘why didn’t anyone tell me these tips before starting dedicated?’. Well, obviously I have to bestow my hacks and resources that I wish I knew sooner to my fellow colleagues taking this exam too. (This uworld block can wait for another hour.)
- Uworld: Check the percentages option, it tells you exactly which topics you missed and how many time you missed them:
This might be obvious to some, but I didn’t know about this option until the 3rd week of dedicated. Lo and behold, I realized I got almost every thyroid-related question wrong from the statistics bar. I immediately had to stop and reassess by writing a checklist and going back to First Aid and videos to supplement my knowledge.
- Youtube: Genetics is all about imagining DNA and protein synthesis
If you’re like me, a person who barely remembers what DNA/RNA is and only studied it well during my A-level/pre-med years, you might have to set your ego aside and go back to reviewing the basics by watching youtube videos. I know, I know. It seems like going back in time to high school/college years. However, this exam is all about basics. Know your fundamentals well to build from ground up. Youtube is a great, often neglected, resource. You’ll be surprised how well a topic you’ve been struggling with is explained.
- Physeo: Physiology videos are gold, let me tell you why…
I tried watching every single physiology-related video on the internet, but nothing comes close to Physeo videos. And no, I’m not promoting their products because I work for them, but because they genuinely deserve the recognition. The videos are 20-45 min long on average with an easy to follow narrator and integrated text. What I particularly like about them is the last video of each chapter which teaches you integrated approaches to physiology questions that can come up in Step 1.
- No one tell you this, but TURN UP YOUR SCREEN BRIGHTNESS
This might be a silly one, but I spent weeks staring at my computer screen and would wake up with awful headaches only to realize I’ve been straining my eyes this whole time. Get physically comfortable, you’re already suffering enough.
- First Aid and Pathoma PDFs instead of textbooks:
This may be debatable. However, when you’re in a time crunch, flipping through First Aid to read that one line from a question you missed sounds like a waste of time. Instead, search through your soft copy of First Aid with CTRL+F for quick referencing.
- Stretch your back and legs with resistance bands in your breaks
Typing this will sound sad to an outsider who doesn’t have to study for this exam. But get your exercise in. We sit for a month and a half, 10-16 hours a day studying for this exam…it can’t be healthy to not move around. I personally use resistance bands to stretch my arms and legs as often as I can. Others may hop on the treadmill or walk around their block. Do what you have to do to move these muscles.
- Don’t drink coffee past noon
This is another debatable topic. Caffeine has a half-life of 3-5 hours. So drinking more than one cup a day, especially during the afternoon, will mess up your sleep quality. You may fall asleep from exhaustion, but your sleep quality will not be optimum for your brain to function properly. Instead, drink one cup of coffee as soon as you wake up. If you need a pick-me-up after noon,, drink a small amount of green tea,as it has less caffeine but will do the job to keep you awake.
Finally, remember, get comfortable, get your exercise in and buckle down. You’re everything you need to ace this exam, so go get it!