November 19th, 2015, (0 Comments)
Question banks are surely one of the most helpful and used methods to prepare for USMLE examinations, it is a great way to test yourself while preparing as well as finding out those subjects you missed or for those where you are having a hard time remembering, using a question bank is surely a great way to increase your understanding and retention of all that material that needs to be covered.
The following tips are meant to improve the results you will get from using question banks:
Get used to the format:
It’s important to get used to the format in which questions are made, using question banks will help you understand how the software works, and this will give you at least 10 mins. More during the real exam since you can skip the tutorial, also is important to learn to use the lab data tab to be able to find quickly reference values.
End of session questions:
The best way to review and increase your retention of a given topic is making questions at the end of the day, at least one hour a day you should take questions of the material revised that day, and this practice will increase your understanding and retention of the material for that day. Taking questions at the end of the day will make your last review of all the material faster and more thorough.
Questions all the way:
There is no reason to wait for the last month to start using question banks, in fact you should start as early as possible, in many question banks you can select the topic you want to review making it easier to test the areas you have reviewed during the day. You should start doing question in the first month of your preparation, this practice will help to increase both your knowledge as well as the way some material will be used in questions, it is important to remember that the way topics are used in a question needs practice as well.
Take 46 question blocks:
Most question banks can be set to emulate real blocks of 46 questions, this setting will help you in getting used to answer each question within a minute of time and leave the rest of the time to review the questions you leave in blank, also it will help you asses the time you are taking for the whole block. If you practice this way the exam will feel easier and you will have more resilience to long periods of questions.
Read the answers carefully:
Most question banks have their answers with detailed explanations including images, cycles, etc. Explanations are an important part of using question banks, it’s not just about doing a lot of questions, it is better to do less questions and read their answers because this is the way you learn new information, explanations are as important as having the questions wrong, read carefully each answer and their explanation, don’t assume you knew it and skip their answer, sometimes many new information lies in their explanations some may be helpful for the real exam.
Once you know what an answer was about, it’s important to do your own notes, also remember to write it down in your own words, explaining something increases your understanding and your retention of that subject, so explaining it to yourself is a really great way to remember important details as well as cycles and mechanisms.
Follow a study guide:
Using a study guide can help you in organizing your study and keeping track of the questions you have to take for a given week, also it can help to focus on important subjects and high yield contents.
Test your weaknesses:
A great way to increase your retention of confusing or hard to remember material is to test yourself against question banks, it doesn’t matter that you have them all wrong, the fact that you tried will make pay more attention to the answers and will increase your retention of that subject, and also many explanations are detailed and easy to understand.
Your final month:
During your last month before your exam, try to take as many 8 hour question sessions as possible including all subjects, and making it as real as possible to get used to the long hours sessions, during this month you should review your notes as well as answers you are getting wrong.
Hopefully these ideas will help you improve your use of question banks to start tackling all those facts and improve your knowledge, remember that the sooner you start the better your odds will be, as always check our tutoring guides at www.usmleprepguide.com for detailed guides on every step, Our tutoring guides will provide you with guidance during your preparation, helping you keep track of important topics, it has a design from the most important to least asked topics and also includes tips and hints of how some topics may be asked and when you should memorize formulas, diagrams and images.
if you have other experiences and ideas, please share them with us in the comments,