What did you or are you going to write down for quick reference at the beginning of the exam? All of these details seem important but they also take up a lot of valuable space. What would you add/scratch?
So in Med 1 I tried to do the cheat sheet thing on CAS 1. I remember attempting to draw the entire brachial plexus, but midway through I couldn’t remember anything. I continued to start the exam frustrated and worried I didn’t really know the content like I thought. I shortly realized that once I calmed down a bit and focused on the questions being presented I really did know it, and I was really only just working through the nerves. After that experience other than using the scrap paper to quickly calculate or draw a quick diagram (spirometry), I never used it again. Everyone os different in their test Taking strategy, that’s why we have a strong group of coaches to share their experiences as to what worked for them, and what they would’ve done hindsight.
What are some unique ways you prepare for an exam?
I love that you said you just use your scratch paper for scratch. I definitely like writing things out if I need to. I think my biggest deal is, if it’s important, then just know it. But, I also like the idea of writing some things down that I know will be important later. Sometimes, on equation questions, it’s nice to see your options of solving just right in front of you. So I totally agree, in that this is going to look totally different for everyone on exam day! Is there anything you would have changed about the use of your scratch sheet during your exams? Or something you wish you had memorized just a little bit better?
Unique ways? Oh man. Although it’s not “unique,” the biggest thing that has changed my score from a low 70 to higher 80 has been making a hard topics list. At the beginning of prep week, I try to have all of the required learning objectives at least covered once so my last week can be dedicated to only MCQs, flashcards, and review. By then I usually have a pretty good idea of what is bringing me down but they will stick out during MCQs and flashcards. I write down things that are continuously stumping me (for example, brain stem lesions have really been kicking my butt so I wrote them down to be sure I spend some time ensuring that I have this topic right). Three days before the exam (earlier if I can), I try to direct my focus and knock off as many of those points as I can. Usually, I make myself a little study guide and some flashcards by hand specific to these topics — nothing beats old school pen and paper at this point. This now becomes my daily review for the last 2 days along with some light MCQs and plenty of rest. I think we are all too good at putting ourselves in situations of fatigue before exam day so I’ve been trying to be mindful of how I’m feeling leading up to the exam mental health-wise.
If you could add or change one thing about your step prep what would it be? Did you find one thing that was a must do or must don’t?