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USMLE Forgetfulness Syndrome!
by Sabio 02-19-2010, 03:48 PM

I and most of my friends have suffered from this syndrome. It's the feeling that you don't remember anything after reading all those piles of books and that huge amount of information and medical knowledge.

It's more common during in the middle of your preparation for your first step whether it's Step 1 or CK. And it's specially common among graduates; particularly old IMG grads.

It might be associated with all sorts of mental and physical symptoms. Frustration is a leading feature. You will start to think that you are not going to pass or you are not going to get that high score that you dream of. You will start jerkily flip through the pages that you've been doing and you'll say Oh My God I just can't remember anything

Guys, this is absolutely normal.

In fact, it can be a healthy sign!
Because:
1) it indicates that you are concerned about the exam and a moderate amount of anxiety is required for top performance.
2) it means that you really read a lot so that your brain is now filled with Zillions of information bits.

Nobody, on the face of earth, can swallow the vast amount of medical knowledge during the course of the entire life of a medical professional person, let alone a few weeks or months of USMLE cramming.

The USMLE question makers are fully aware of this fact and that's why they test you on concepts rather than mere factual info.

How to minimize the impact of the USMLE Forgetfulness Syndrome?

Two things:
First: Read again. Your second reading will solidify your knowledge and will let you inter-correlate the information from various disciplines.
Second: Do questions. As you do your blocks you'll see that in fact you do remember most of the information that you have been reading. This will give you a great sense of comfort and will stimulate you to read more and more.

With regard to the second point above. Keep in mind that USMLE questions are multiple choice questions. So nobody is going to ask you to "write what you know about G receptor signaling pathways or list the 11 criteria of SLE diagnosis" They'll just present you with a problem and a list of solutions to that problem. You'll remember the materials from the list of options (See what Rasheed said about this here). The question itself will trigger your hippocampus and your cortex will do the math.

Rest assured, that whatever you read and whatever knowledge you accumulate in your medical school and the years thereafter will pay off at the exam day and nothing is going to be totally lost and forgotten.
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Total Comments 28

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Old 02-19-2010
 
Steps History: 1 + CS
Posts: 33
Threads: 5
Reputation: 27
thanks

thank you v. much , I really calmed down when I read this
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Old 02-19-2010
 
Steps History: 1+CK+CS
Posts: 333
Threads: 61
Reputation: 400
Thanks

Thanks for the encouraging words ,,
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Old 02-21-2010
 
Steps History: 1 + CK
Posts: 19
Threads: 6
Reputation: 46
Thx for your words...

Make me feel better
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Old 03-10-2010
 
Steps History: Not yet
Posts: 25
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Reputation: 15
Thank you for inspiration! It is very important.
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Old 04-10-2010
 
Steps History: Not yet
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agreement to above artilcle

Yes it is a normal phenomenon for every average person.
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Old 05-05-2010
 
Steps History: Not yet
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Reputation: 38
Thanks alot.........

Thanks alot for such an encouraging info
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Old 05-14-2010
 
Steps History: Step 1 Only
Posts: 11
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Reputation: 63
Great

This is a great article
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Old 05-16-2010
 
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All of us

All of us need to read this article and keep it in mind for ever
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Old 05-16-2010
 
Steps History: 1 + CS
Posts: 22
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Reputation: 49
Thanks for sharing
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Old 08-20-2010
 
Steps History: ---
Posts: 2
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Reputation: 10
Thanx alot...I feel much better now
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Old 08-20-2010
 
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thanksssss

Thank God for sending you to us
I really calmed down when I read this
thnxxxxxx
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Old 08-20-2010
 
Steps History: 1+CK+CS
Posts: 472
Threads: 29
Reputation: 247
Thanks..........I needed this~~~

especially with my exam in 2 days, all i wanted was a little assurance!!!!!
Very realistic information!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 08-21-2010
 
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thanks!

Thanks a lot! it's really mind soothing!
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Old 11-26-2010
 
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Posts: 10
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Thank You!

I've been needing to hear this for some time now! I'm an IMG just graduated this passed September and I'm currently reviewing biochem. I'm studing on my own and just wanted to thank you for such an awesome post!

Good luck to everyone studing for there STEPs! If you know anyone that is studing please let them know about this Forum! I love it!
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Old 02-24-2011
 
Steps History: ---
Posts: 5
Threads: 2
Reputation: 14
Hey Guys!

This forgetting problem is one of the main reasons we started Gunner Training! See http://www.gunnertraining.com/medical_education/problem to see how this problem negatively impacts patient care!

Sadly, the forgetting problem not only hurts your exam scores and patients, but also wastes precious time! Think about it: if you review something too early you waste time. If you review it too late you waste even more time because you have to relearn it. If you repeatedly review it right before you forget it you maximize the efficiency of your time AND you enhance the conversion into long-term memory! They have even isolated the protein associated with this "spacing effect" at Cold Spring Harbor lab last year!

To see a presentation our Founder -- Dr. Frank Lau, a plastic surg resident at MGH -- gave at Dartmouth Medical School discussing the problem, check this out: http://www.slideshare.net/gunnertrai...n-nov-4th-2010

And, see here for links to relevant research on spaced learning: http://www.gunnertraining.com/medica...tion/retention

Also, I love this thread and would like to give you all a free trial of our Step 1 program. Check out the link below for a free trial and let us know what you think. We have been growing very fast recently (thanks to you guys, no doubt!).

https://www.gunnertraining.com/free_trial_offer
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Old 04-04-2011
 
Steps History: Not yet
Posts: 50
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thanks

thank you for the suggestions
makes me feel that i'm not alone with the syndrome
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Old 07-02-2011
 
Steps History: Not yet
Posts: 10
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Reputation: 10
Thanks

Thanks to soothe my nerves, been going through the same for last few days.
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Old 11-08-2011
 
Steps History: 1+CK+CS+3
Posts: 623
Threads: 111
Reputation: 434
Thanks for encouraging............
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Old 11-09-2011
 
Steps History: Step 1 Only
Posts: 191
Threads: 14
Reputation: 97
it's really great to have this kind of valuable information encouraging students.
obviously the problem is an inevitable and common.
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Old 11-09-2011
 
Steps History: Not yet
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Reputation: 10
that was really helpful
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Old 11-10-2011
 
Steps History: 1+CK+CS+3
Posts: 75
Threads: 1
Reputation: 35
WOW!

Very encouraging fruitful thoughts.
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Old 02-18-2012
 
Steps History: Not yet
Posts: 108
Threads: 15
Reputation: 33
thank you so much,that was realy helpful information.....
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Old 04-10-2012
 
Steps History: ---
Posts: 4
Threads: 1
Reputation: 10

Thanks alot for the post. It make my worried face smiling.
God bless you.
usmleroad.
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Old 03-28-2013
 
Steps History: 1+CK+CS
Posts: 41
Threads: 9
Reputation: 15
Thanks a lot... makes me feel 1000 times better
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Old 08-08-2013
 
Steps History: Not yet
Posts: 120
Threads: 21
Reputation: 46
Thanks a lottttt
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Old 12-11-2013
 
Steps History: Not yet
Posts: 7
Threads: 3
Reputation: 10
thanx

thank u sooooooooo much
u r d best!!!
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Old 12-02-2014
 
Steps History: ---
Posts: 292
Threads: 5
Great tips to overcome this!
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Old 08-25-2016
 
Steps History: Step 1 Only
Posts: 24
Threads: 1
Reputation: 10
this helps ... thank you
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