Divide and Conquer
Like any great undertaking, half the battle begins with the plan. You recognized cramming is a reactionary practice and chose to cast that out from the beginning. Good work.
Next, reflect on the past two years of your education, separating subjects into “mastery” and “existing challenge.” In dividing the two, you are able to address your weaknesses and establish healthy study habits to familiarize yourself with the lesser known material and revisit your staple knowledge throughout.
Continue this process throughout your studying as you delve into the tiniest details about diseases and conditions. The Picmonic system allows you to mark each card with a Confidence rating so you can come back to the ones you’re weak on.
Set a Pace
Instead of buckling under the magnitude of the studies and procrastinating, you chose to designate one-hour blocks of uninterrupted study evenly throughout the weeks leading up to the USMLE.
This approach keeps your mind agile, sharpens your focus, and preconditions your mental drive to the hour-long windows of the actual Step 1 test. Cramming for 10 hours straight becomes ineffective, as your brain is far less likely to retain what you’re studying. That’s why Cramming is #2 on our list of 7 exam day mistakes you don’t know you’re making.
And your immune system appreciates the steady schedule that allows a healthy sleep routine that many of your peers will sacrifice in pursuit of perfection by way of procrastination.
Realizing Step 1 would consist of multiple choice questions, you equipped your studies with an array of mediums. Black and white text only fills so much of your conscious mind, so your curriculum utilizes a full arsenal of auditory, pictorial, and eccentric cues to play off of the Von Restorff Effect, the kingpin of which is Picmonic.
Picmonic’s crazy characters and wacky graphics are built into thorough, detailed, and unforgettable slides, making studying both fun and scientifically proven to be more effective. Any time you hunker down with a topic that feels a bit shaky, you’ll find yourself associating Picmonic’s imagery with the process to combat the complexity. Such tactics create natural slideshows in your mind which you can play, pause, or repeat at a second’s notice.
Strength in Numbers
Study partners succeed. There’s no way around it. You humbled your pride and asked for accountability from other responsible peers.
Together, you will meet over lunch and on the weekends to bounce ideas and practice questions off of one another and to pop quiz from time to time. Whether in person, via email, or even text, correct answers are your camaraderie and confidence was contagious. Though each of you will face Step 1 alone, this was a battle you’d win together.
Just be sure to not only study in groups. Check out our advice on how to make group study as effective as possible.
An Apple a Day
Well, it’s supposed to keep the doctor away…but your well-rounded diet, careful pacing, dedication to rest and healthy Step 1 study habits will prove the ultimate victor: You will look Step 1 in the face and smile.