The first two years of medical school are a brutal journey of trying to master medical concepts as they are mercilessly piled on top of you, all culminating in the USMLE Step 1 exam. As you are well aware, Step 1 is the single most important test that you will ever take, as it will largely determine what kind of residency you can get and your future as a clinician. Bearing that reality in mind, it is worth noting that besides being all-important, Step 1 is also quite possibly the most difficult test that you will ever take.
Between now and when you take your own Step 1 exam, your only job and primary focus is going to be to do well enough on it to be competitive in your choice of residency. Below are a few tips that might be able to help.
1. Preview Each Lecture and Take Your Own Notes in Class
In lecture, many med school professors still use PowerPoint presentations and they stand in front of the
screen. That combination isn’t a great recipe for memory recall. It’s also the reason so many medical
students prefer to skip classroom lectures and learn the material in the library.
However, you can enhance the classroom lecture experience with a little bit of preparation. Take 15
minutes to scan the topic your professor is going to cover. Highlight new and unknown words and subjects.
This light reading exercise will help you look out for things you need to absorb during the lecture.
When you sit down in the lecture hall, choose a place where you won’t be distracted. Put your smartphone
on airplane mode and don’t check it.
Jot down notes throughout the lecture. For some students, they prefer to take incredibly meticulous notes.
Others prefer to outline the lecture more broadly. By now, you already know which note taking method works for
you. Make sure you do take notes consistently and during every lecture. Read over your notes for about 15
minutes after the lecture ends. This small review will help you understand what you’ll need to study in the
2. Reread Your Lecture Notes and Reorganize the Information You Learned
A few days after the lecture, go back to your notes and review them. Reorganize the information and
revisit the topics and words that you didn’t adequately understand.
Next, write down questions you have about the lecture. Go through the information from your notes and
answer each of the questions thoroughly. This exercise will help you retain information from the lecture and
deepen your understanding of the information. It will also bring up the areas you need to address study more.
3. Create Strategies to Maximize Your Focus Throughout the Day
As a medical student, your job is to study. It’s a round-the-clock, in-depth experience. You have to play
to your strengths and find ways to maximize your focus. If you’re a morning person, for example, utilize that
time of day to study the hardest material. Reserve the afternoon and evening hours for tasks that don’t
require as much focus.
4. Sign Up for a Physeo Membership and Use Our Materials to Study
Physeo offers full access memberships for
students studying cardiology, nephrology, endocrinology, pulmonology, neurology, reproduction,
gastroenterology, musculoskeletal systems, and general principles. We specialize in teaching cardiology,
nephrology, endocrinology, subjects for which we’ve developed a uniquely effective curriculum.
Our program allows you to use a combination of video lectures and PDF documentation to boost your recall
of each subject. We provide you with a digital copy of your USMLE and COMLEX Step 1 tests. Use our program to
prepare, and you’ll be delighted with your results. For more information about our products, contact our team today.
In addition to using our materials, you can also take practice tests as you study. Most test prep
exercises are specifically designed to help you ace your exams. Use the tips here and you’ll be well prepared
for your coming tests.