Thursday, January 26, 2006

USMLE preparation tips 1

What to read?
1, Choose right books. Consult with factulty members at your medical school, and also the senior medical students. They are very experienced with the exam preparation.
2, Do NOT read textbook from cover to cover. Rather read review books.
3, Choose one review book, and stick to it. Every books has its strength and weakness. But one has to finish one book before using other books as suppliment.
4, Recommend books/course. Kaplan live lecture and its note have been considered gold standard in preparation, especially step 1. First Aid for Step1 was very good last-week review book. Crush the board step 2 and First Aid for step2 are both good for last-week review for step2. I can not give list of recommended books for step3, because I have not finished it yet.

How to read materials?
Simply actively read books.
1, Propose questions. Ask yourself what the exam would ask about the subject? When you can write questions, you have a deeper understanding of the subject.
2, Chart and graph. Photographic memory is the key for most medical students. So use it, and you will recall the whole picture!
3, Recite or rephrase the subject. When you are able to describe the subject with your own words, you will have put the subject in your mind again, more likely deeper.
4, Summary. Focus on the key differential features of the subjects. You do NOT have to understand the subject completely, which is the goal of residency and subspecialty training. For exam purpose, it is sufficient if you can differentiate those options/subjects from the given info.

Hard to remmeber those?? Easy, the last piece of advice.
Use mnemonic: the about case. I use QCRS=Qaulity Control ReSearch!

Best of luck with your exams!

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