USMLE is short for the United States Medical Licensing Examination. This exam is taken by university graduates who are pursuing the field of medicine and wish to become medical practitioners. This examination aims to assess the physician’s ability to help the patients that come to him/her for medical assistance. This is a three-step examination that is spread over five days and aims to test the knowledge of the examinees in depth and detail.
Sounds heavy, doesn’t it? Tiring, almost! Well, not if you follow the correct strategy, a step-based approach that allows time for both testing and recovering your drive. Read through the following lines to discover the perfect plan for tackling and trumping the USMLE.
Set a baseline for yourself
Either you would have taken the test or this is going to be your first time appearing for it. In any case, you need to set a minimum limit for your score, the target that you want to achieve. Having already given the paper once, you would have a better understanding of how to set your goals. If this is your first time, then try not to do everything at once and handle it one step at a time. It is alright if you lack the experience of USMLE, there is a first time for everything! Look online for the experience of other students and jot down what they did right, the parts of their strategies that you can utilize in your preparation.
Have a study plan
Having a study plan does not consist only of having a timetable with earmarked hours for study. It also means that you analyze and evaluate the exam pattern based on the previous year’s questions papers and trends. USMLE issues practice material that can prove to be of great help in this process. Your study plan should consist of a systematic strategy to evaluate and address each part of the exam. The benefit of taking it slow is that you do not overwhelm yourself with the sheer load of the syllabus that you need to cover. Take breaks at regular intervals to evaluate the direction in which you are going.
Make a dry run of the test
In this segment, you take the test without the time limit. In the dry run, you are not testing your efficiency or the quantum of the syllabus that you have completed. Here you are only interested in familiarizing yourself with the test. You want to get the feel of the test and become comfortable with the pattern of the examination. At the end of this test, you will get to know the shortcomings that you have. You will be familiar with every area that you need to improve upon. Having received firsthand feedback on your performance, you now have a list of everything that you need to work upon. Repeat this dry run every once in a while to get a real evaluation of where you stand and the weak areas that you have.
Mock Test Papers
After the dry run comes the real deal, having worked upon your strategy and preparation it is time to test your skills and knowledge on the level of the USMLE. Here, the test will be timed and scored. At the end of this evaluation, you will get an idea of where you stand in comparison with your goal. You need to be within 90% of your targeted score, otherwise, there has been a major loophole in your strategy. Be honest while evaluating yourself, a strict evaluation will lead to better results. Another benefit of these timed tests is that you can gauge the amount of time you need per section and then work on your speed.
Online tests and revisions
These are the two things that you need to take time out for. It is understandable that you have other jobs to do too but to not lose focus of your preparation, take online tests at frequent intervals and continue with your revision. Getting overconfident and not going over your notes is a sure-shot way to come up short on the day of the examination. Also, to prevent burnout, take short breaks at regular intervals to recharge yourself. You can turn to various apps or outdoor activities to unwind and relax your mind. Remember, a stressed mind is never an efficient mind.
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