It's time to get out my trusty no. 2 pencil and put on my thinking cap. Our first week of block exams is already here.
Test masters know that you must fill in the Scantron test sheet very carefully to avoid mechanical errors. Don't let your mark leave the box or bubble, erase any changes completely, and above all else get your identification number right.
Mastery of the Scantron is crucial if you expect to succeed. More importantly though is the time and effort dedicated to acquiring the knowledge behind the answers. I thought the transition from high school to college was significant. I guess I simply had nothing to measure it by because I was mistaken. Moving up the ladder from college to medical school has been ten times more intense than my last educational leap of faith. We cover more material, in less time, and we are expected to know it well enough to heal the patients we see. You had better believe I am going to be studying more.
Just like MCAT preparation, these exams have consumed the greater part of my daily routine. It goes something like this:
- 8:00 Get to campus
- Study and review materials
- 12:00 Partly study, partly eat lunch, and partly get away from it all (thanks Youtube)
- 1:00 Back to the grind
- 5:00 Break for dinner
- 5:30 Plant my nose back into the books
- 8:30 Prop my head up to avoid falling asleep
- 11:00 Leave campus
One of the problems I have noticed is that there is so much information it is hard to limit yourself to the study aids. Certainly, if your course is using a text or Power Point presentation those would be the optimal resources. Other helpful ideas include:
- Computer flash cards - Flashcard Machine or Flashcard Exchange
- Study group - Two heads are definitely better than one
- Review sessions - Too many will eat up study time, whereas some will highlight important information
- Application settings - An example of this would be the cadaver lab for anatomy
- Websites - Wikipedia is your friend though it may not be perfect, don't get too carried away with the rest