The United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) is a three-step examination required in order to obtain a license to practice medicine in the US. Physicians having an M.D (Doctor of Medicine) degree are required to pass this exam in order to practice medicine in the US. Each step of the exam is equally important and will be scrutinized by the examiners in an unbiased manner. Step 2 has two stages called step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge) and step 2 CS (Clinical skills). The step 1 and step 2 CK exams can be taken worldwide in Prometric test centers, but the step 2 CS and step 3 exams can be taken only in the US.
The USMLE tests a physician’s ability to apply the medical knowledge, skills, and principles gained during his/her M.D course. Through the USMLE, physicians have to demonstrate their fundamental patient-centered skills which are mandatory in order to work in the healthcare field in the US.
Since the USMLE is a very important examination for many medical students aspiring to be a practicing physician there exist many helpful suggestions and tips for students to do well in the exams.
This tip can apply to any exam or test. Preparing for an exam earlier gives a student a lot of time to prepare. It allows the student to prepare in a calm manner without rushing through books. A calm and patient preparation can help the student to understand concepts better and also help in retaining concepts/knowledge in the memory for a longer period of time. Reading USMLE step 1 exam related topics that are similar to first-year medical school modules will help in beginning early USMLE preparation.
Setting goals and finding a unique study style
While students can get tips from friends, colleagues, and seniors with respect to USMLE preparation, it is advisable that students find out the study routine that they are comfortable with. For some, studying for a few hours every day in a focused manner does the trick while for others studying longer hours may actually be more comfortable. To find out your own style of study, you must know what your goals are and what your strengths and weaknesses are. If one can know these aspects, they can set up a study plan for each step of the exam. Another important aspect of setting goals for USMLE is to identify what score you would like to achieve. Identifying a score can also help in formulating a plan that you can adhere to.
USMLE resources include previous year questions and textbooks. Including these resources in your study plan will prove to be of great help but one must not overdo it. Ideally, a student can try to read and study from a few book sources and solve previous year questions after completing a particular module/concept. This can help the student to know where he/she stands in terms of mock tests.
Rest, relaxation, and distractions
The continuous study is never advisable. Taking appropriate gaps while studying is imperative in order to not be exhausted during the actual exam. A day off after a week of study can be comfortable for most students, but it is not the only method to relax a bit after intense study. At the same time, too much rest or relaxation can turn into distractions. Students must try to avoid spending too much time on social media or computers or mobile phones. Scheduling a specific time in a day for such activities can help one be less distracted and at the same time keep necessary minimal social contact.
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