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Tips for your last weeks of USMLE Prep
by rasheed 09-21-2010, 12:48 AM

The last few weeks of your preparation for the USMLE is critical and this period plays a major role in determining your performance and your ultimate results.

Here's a list of tips that get you through this important last part of your prep:
  • Do not underestimate the importance of this period, stay focused and keep going until the last day.
  • Doing more questions than reviewing books is highly recommended to "train" you for the exam day and remember that you'll never be able to memorize the books.
  • Keep a list of forgettables and read them few days before the exam.
  • Sleep early and wake up early. Many students do not listen to this advice but believe me, your performance will double if you get a good night's sleep before the exam.
  • Do not read during the last day, Do not read during the last day, Do not read during the last day, I can't stress it more than that! It's very important to rehabilitate and give your brain sometime to rearrange itself and reset its wiring for the big day, continued reading during the last day will have deleterious effects.
  • Do not postpone your exam just because you feel that you did not memorize everything, this will never happen. Moreover, you may risk going into exhaustion and boredom phase if you push the date further.
  • Take the NBME one to two weeks before the exam as this will give the final prediction of your score.
  • It's preferred that you take a vacation if you are working. This exam needs serious dedication during the last few weeks.
  • It's useful to do a full mock exam (7-8 random timed blocks in one day) but do not do it more than once, the purpose is to gain endurance, not reviewing knowledge.
  • Eat healthy food, take vitamins, exercise at least 20 minutes per day. Do not take stimulants, or coffee, or other boosters. Keep the coffee to the morning of the exam day only.
  • It might be a good a idea to schedule Prometric Test just to get acquainted with center and the environment and help you avoid the next last point..
  • Do not panic! You came this far and you will do it
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Old 09-21-2010
 
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great advices..
you r right 100%!!! I didn't sleep well the night of my step 1 exam.. only 1.5 hours n I was exhausted the whole exam day!!! all my self assess. UW and NBME before the test predicted a high 99 (>245) but I ended up running out of time twice n missing easy questions n finally getting 97 (((((((
this is a lesson to learn for all future test takers..
good luck to all
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Old 09-21-2010
 
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Great tips!!

thanx fr the great tips
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Old 09-21-2010
 
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This is great, as usual! Thanks Rasheed! I think the sleep tips are super useful and the last few weeks are the ones that make or break a number of us. I just had a conversation today with my friend whos is making plans for "if the worst happens" and I think thats the last thing that should be on our minds now.

Thanks again!
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Old 09-21-2010
 
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Thanks!
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Old 09-22-2010
 
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Thanks

Thank you very much rasheed!

I agree all of the above.

I'd like to further insist upon two facts which are:

Sleep- believe me this is very important. I even advice that one should take a sleep of at least 7 hours 6-8 weeks before the exam. For those who do not know its importance I'd like to mention that the REM sleep mostly occur after 4 hours of continuous sleep, so the more we sleep after 4 hours of sleep I mean 3 hours in case of a total 7 hour sleep , the more REM sleep we get and this is the sleep during which the short term memory is converted to long term memory. Another important fact regarding sleep would be not to take nap during these last days of exam. Because one will feel dizzy during those hours of exam that he/she used to take a nap the days before exam.....

Stimulants- these things have effect only when we use them initially and once we are addicted to them we will need the amount only to perform at that level that we used to before using it. In addition, it makes our brain addicted and if it is not available during the exam, we will again feel dizzy and perform badly. To tell you about myself I gradually stopped coffee, tea, etc during the day about 3 months before exam and I used to get a cup of tea only at the morning.... this is the fact that I follow currently for my ck exam...
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Old 09-22-2010
 
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ya sleep is very important but m not getting its benefit...

well my exam is in 2 months...since last 2 or 3 weeks m having insomnia...i wake up after 4 hr of sleep...i tried a lot to take full 7 hrs sleep but not working...

due to less sleep at night i hv to sleep for 3 hrs in noon...

well any suggestions for this...
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Old 09-23-2010
 
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Take it seriously

Hey Khushboo!

Please don't sleep during the day during these last weeks of your preparation. The easy way to correct this habit would be not to sleep during the day for a day. This may make you dizzy for a day or two but when you do not sleep during the day, this will spontaniously make your mind to ask for more sleep at night. Thereby your habbit will change. It may take some time to fully achieve this habit, but it is better to do this now so that you don't perform badly in the exam ( God forbid it )...

Please......Please....... Watch Out......... I am serious.......and Take it serious.....

G L.
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Old 09-23-2010
 
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well thanks for the advice...i tried it too many times...but it works only for 3 or 4 days,....then again i start developing insomnia...today also m awake since 2:30 am in morning...i think i hv to consult physician...
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Old 09-24-2010
 
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Maybe you should try exercise or meditation or prayer. Make sure you have a routine before you go to bed so that your body understands that it's time to sleep. Also turn off lights in your room one by one slowly to stimulate melatonin secretion.

If all else fails though, you may need a low dose of Alprazolam at night to help with sleeping and anxiety. The only problem is that it makes feel a bit slow and stupid during the day.
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Old 09-24-2010
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dazzles View Post
Maybe you should try exercise or meditation or prayer. Make sure you have a routine before you go to bed so that your body understands that it's time to sleep. Also turn off lights in your room one by one slowly to stimulate melatonin secretion.

If all else fails though, you may need a low dose of Alprazolam at night to help with sleeping and anxiety. The only problem is that it makes feel a bit slow and stupid during the day.
thanks dazzles...i'll try doing meditation...
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Old 10-18-2010
 
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thank you rasheed for your advice.
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Old 10-21-2010
 
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Excellent tips!
Thanks!
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Old 01-26-2011
 
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hey khushboo i had a crazy schedule too last year.. i would study late into the night wake past noon believing that the best time to review is at night..which is a notion common in med school years..

it took me a significant amount of time and effort to rewire my system and my sleep wake cycle but i feel thoroughly refreshed waking up at 6:30 in the morning and hitting the sack not beyond 11. i wish the same for you and heres what i can suggest.. i m sorry if some of it is repetition but this is what works best for me..

do some breathing exercise yoga to start yr day.. jus 30 mins of fresh air will get you going if you find yourself groggy in the morning hours..

study in blocks of 4 hrs 3 times a day and break every hr jus for 5 mins to rewind

study on a desk and chair..away from your bed in the day hours and make sure theres ample natural light in your room

get some exercise later in the evening.. like a 30 min brisk walk or a work out in the gym... this should energize your senses so tht you can study for another 2-3 hrous at night and at the same time make you a little tired physically .. so that your body can prepare for sleep

and the time tested urban legend of drinking warm milk before going to bed is a good way to induce sleep (tryptophan in milk induces sleep)
the combination of all of the above should make sleep come easily once u re in bed..

i have only enumerated the methods i personally use..

and as a last piece of advice instead of alprax use melatonin since we all kno the alprax is going to cause rebound insomnia, decrease rem sleep and theres always the s.e. of tolerance etc..
whereas an evening dose of melatonin should fix you right away
:
.. hope it helps you..tc and study well
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Old 02-23-2011
 
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last weeks

hi
thank you for the tips.
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Old 08-23-2011
 
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"USMLE exhaustion syndrome"

It seems I've entered "exhaustion and boredom" phase... I can't remember simple things. I make silly mistakes. I'm never sure if I answer correct or not... I have blunt affect. I feel tired all the time.. Tests are not interesting to me any more, though some time ago I was excited to do ones...

I have 6 days prior exam. Is there any way to overcome this ''syndrome''??
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Old 08-23-2011
 
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take a days break

I would suggest you take a days break.. tht will refresh your system..(regeneration of exhausted neurotransmitters). do something you thoroughly enjoy which will completely take your mind off yr exam..i would suggest some high action sports.. or perhaps swimming..
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Old 06-13-2012
 
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thanx a lot for such such nice guidance
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Old 11-02-2014
 
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Thanks for the advices!
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Old 04-02-2015
 
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I really loved the way you have contributed something interesting and useful here. I can say that those points are important and one must care and practice to taste the success. Mostly everyone face it hard mainly because they first set in their minds that "Can't do it". That negative approach needs to be changed and hence the confidence level will be high to face the challenge and overcome it easily by making some great efforts.

Another important thing is use of effective "Time Management" system. There are lots of works to be managed within a time period and lack of control can make to miss something or go ahead of deadline. Since time management can produce and stand as a finest solution to manage and allocate time for every task you should complete, it can be considered as a must keep factor in your efforts. I know well about the need of having fair time management policy as I'm working for an essay writing service reviews site known as Clazwork Reviews. Students often choose to buy essays from online writing companies as they can't manage all writing tasks within the deadline due to various works to be completed. Exploiting such a situation, writing companies cheat on them by providing less quality writing for higher prices. So, if a student go for a time management plan, he can mostly plan each and every work according to his time and also giving importance to the works to be completed very first.
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Old 04-09-2016
 
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wish i knew these tips for my exam
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Old 08-25-2016
 
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good advice
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Old 12-02-2016
 
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Thanks for sharing such useful tips! I like all of them and will follow!
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Old 1 Week Ago
 
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Thanks that was really helpful!
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