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Old 10-17-2009
Betro Sadek's Avatar
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Kaplan Medical Concentration and anxiety tips by Kaplan

I got these by personal email from Kaplan Site i hope to enjoy it

Your inability to focus is likely just due to anxiety. One simple method that seems to help others minimize how often their mind wanders that you might want to try involves a simple tallying procedure. Each time you notice that you aren't focusing on the task at hand, make a tally mark on a separate sheet of paper. The mere act of having to tally the instances gradually reduces the frequency, probably due to some subtle process of negative reinforcement. At any rate, it's worth a try and actually has decreased the problem for many who have tried it. But don't expect this to be an instant fix. You have to keep making yourself keep the tally for a number of days or even a few weeks to begin to see the impact.

You may also need to vary your study mode more frequently, switching from just review reading to trying some questions or to summarizing key aspects because each mode switch reawakens attention. Others find that taking short breaks more frequently in a long study day helps them stay focused.

Here are some tips on handling anxiety:

Tip 1:
Some weeks or days prior to the exam, use an index card to list several of your greatest personal strengths and attributes. Examples: I am an intelligent and caring person. I react well under pressure. I am going to be a great (fill in career goal). Keep the card handy so that whenever negative thoughts intrude while you are studying or practicing, you can pull the card out, read each statement and reflect on your abilities. Luxuriate in the calm, positive feelings that are associated with each of these true statements. Fairly soon, you wonít even need the card because you will know the statements by heart and be able to mentally review them as an antidote to the welling up of negative thoughts.

Tip 2:
Keep a master tally sheet nearby each time you sit down to study. Make a tally or hash mark each time you find yourself engaging in negative thinking, daydreaming or otherwise mentally escaping from the study situation. For many students, the mere act of tallying reduces the frequency of these behaviors and they find that their daily tally decreases over time. This is really a mild form of behavior modification that you can apply to your own study behavior. Though simple, it works well for many people.

Tip 3
Months (or at least a few weeks) prior to the exam, spend some quiet time thinking back in your life to recall an event in which you were the hero of the situation. Perhaps you walked in on a serious fight between two friends and were able to bring it to a peaceful resolution. Perhaps you administered CPR successfully to someone or orchestrated a successful fundraising event for a charitable cause during high school or college. Whatever life event you select, it must be a situation in which your abilities and actions solved a problem or saved a bad situation. Now spend at least 10 minutes each day in a quiet place reliving this event, trying to bring back the memory in as much detail as possible. What time of year/day was it? What were you wearing? What was the setting like? As you practice, it will take less and less time for you to get back the memory in graphic detail. The purpose of this exercise is to allow you to mentally revisit the event quickly, because stored with this event memory are all of the associated feelings of being in control, being a successful problem solver, being confident, being a winner. When used as part of a time-out in an exam, these associated emotions then act to counteract the negative emotions associated with the test-taking process.

Tip 4
During the actual test, have a thought-through pacing plan that you used in practice testing in the final week or two. By knowing what time you have to complete each section of a test, you can establish 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 points before you even begin answering questions. Then, when you reach a time marker item, check your time use. Worrying about running out of time contributes to anxiety and often leads to time-wasting behaviors such as checking the clock every couple of minutes--a nervous habit that actually increases the time it will take you to finish the booklet because frequent glances at the clock continually interrupts your thought process and often results in the need to re-read once you look back at the question.

If you do run short of time toward the end of a block, use question "triage." In other words, scan the remaining items to find ones that are easier and mark these on your grid sheet first (taking special care to find the right bubbles to mark). Then return to the remaining items and mark an answer for all of them. Remember that no answer is an automatic error, so never leave items blank. Pacing problems will be far less likely to occur if you work through lots of sample tests during your preparation. With practice, you will sense the right pace and so be able to walk in on test day confident that you can handle it because you have already done so in practice mode. If you do this, the test setting will feel more familiar and less strange, and the more familiar it feels, the less anxious you will be.

Tip 5
If you feel anxiety welling up during the exam that is interfering with your ability to concentrate on the questions, shut your eyes, lean back, roll your neck and rotate your shoulder muscles. Take several slow, cleansing deep breaths and exhale slowly. This "mental time out" helps break the cycle of anxiety and will usually help you return to the task at hand with a greater sense of calm and better concentration.

Note :
If you experience significant anxiety symptoms such as muscle twitching, insomnia, nausea, or chest tightness when you think about taking exam or during them, then these tips may not be enough to help you overcome the problem. If this happens, seek professional help from either a psychiatrist or a cognitive psychologist who is experienced in helping people overcome situational anxiety. Therapies can include anti-anxiety medications, self-hypnosis instruction, etc. But donít delay because each of these treatments requires time to become effective. In seeking a professional to help you, donít see just anyone. The professional needs to have experience in treating this type of problem, so not just any therapist will do.

have a good day

Last edited by Betro Sadek; 10-17-2009 at 09:51 PM.
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The above post was thanked by:
Ace3 (07-24-2011), Mashee (07-23-2011), tarsuc (04-02-2013), usmlemydream (08-06-2011)

Old 10-18-2009
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hey betro sadek, i find the tips you gave are very wise and true. thanks for sharing so much! i really really appreciate it and will try it out.
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Old 10-18-2009
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This is great dude
Can you tell us how to get those emails from Kaplan
These are fantastic
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Old 10-18-2009
Betro Sadek's Avatar
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just by joining the kaplan forums they are in threads about tips .. ask them to send u and they will ..
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Old 07-23-2011
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Great, i really needed this it helped me calm down a bit since exam is just a few days away:sorry:
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Old 08-05-2011
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Default Thanks

Thanks for your advice.
At least is good to know that I am not the only one with this pressure.
I have just decided to start this way and there is no return way.
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Kaplan-Medical, Step-1-Preparation, Strategies

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