Disclaimer: I was supposed to publish this post in February. Woops.
I am back! The past weekends I’ve been MIA have been spent studying for our comprehensive exams, which involved all our med school subjects since day one. Sounds incredulous, but after all the anxiety, it’s over! I am done!
No humble bragging here. Real talk only. LOL. Even though I know I’m not the smartest nor the most disciplined student in my batch, I was still able to achieve the “all-pass” on the first round. The secret, now that I think about it, was not my mind, but my mindset.
I stuck with my one and only mantra – “Pass all is possible!” Yes, I bravely declared from the start that I will pass all my subjects in one take, and that made all the difference. All my actions seemed to be motivated by that. But if you came here for actual tips, read on.
When Should You Start Reviewing?
Some will tell you to study during your benign rotations like Minors and Family Med. But really, what if like me, those rotations happen at the start of clerkship year? No use reviewing that early. What you can do early on is to collect and organize your study materials like old notes and sample exams, because again – real talk only!
It was already the last week of December when I realized I needed a strategy. I know that there was no way I’ll be able to read through all my class transcriptions or textbooks, so I relied heavily on review books and my own personal notes during med school. Just the same, I still knew I would never be able to finish reviewing the whole coverage, so I had to focus on the high-yield topics.
This is where my Coreon study group comes in! Hello, my favorite classmates to study with. 🙂
What is the best studying strategy?
Our group studying strategy was simple, and now I wish I had done this with them in all our previous exams during med school.
What we did was first, to study by ourselves on separate tables the whole day. We exchanged reviewers and notes and took study breaks together. By around 10 PM, we were ready to answer the sample questions and previous exams as a group. We studied the questions AND choices, ruling out the wrong ones before finalizing which one was the correct answer. This worked because we were able to determine which topics were high-yield and needed solid memorization, because most questions revolved around them.
Huhu, I really wish I did this group study thing while I was in med school. Oh well, there’s still the board exams!
What were the actual exams like?
Anyway, during the actual exams, I kind of had an idea which ones I would likely pass, and which ones I had to be nervous about. For example, we all thought none of us were prepared to take the Micro/Para exam, because hello at the crazy-long coverage, but we all passed it!
A lot of questions in Surgery, Internal Medicine, and Family and Community Medicine focused on patient management. I smiled every time I knew the correct answer not because of what I studied but because of what I experienced during my clinical rotations. In fairness!!! I love you my residents and senior interns and nurses. Thank you very much. 🙂
As for Physiology, Biochem, and Pharmacology – I found those exams impossibly difficult. Either we weren’t able to discuss those as a group or the things we discussed DID NOT come up. In my mind, “WTF are these questions.. This exam is too difficult..” I even started memorizing some questions in case they came up on the second take.
But then I remembered – SECOND TAKE? No.
I remembered my earlier decision that I will pass all my exams no matter what. And despite myself taking a nap every ten or so questions, I still had time to review. And so I “took” the exam again, read through the questions with a fresh mind, and prayed over every prior answer I changed or did not change. And then I prayed again and again after the exams and before the results were posted.
Pass all is possible, indeed. Kung kaya nila, kaya ko rin. At kung kaya ko, kaya niyo rin. It’s all in the mindset!
And that was the last time I ever studied for med school. I know, I know. Medicine is a life-long learning career. But still – WOW. That’s it for my life as a med student!