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Old 05-03-2014
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Default Having a hard time remembering what you've studied?

I know that there have been quite a few posts by people who have had difficulty remembering what they've studied or difficulty mastering concepts from USMLE Q-banks. I wrote an article that might help some of you to make small changes in how you study so that you can retain more and do better in your exams. Apart from what I mention, I'm sure there are plenty of strategies that are helpful. I wonder if any of you might have some good methods or techniques that can be helpful to others. I also found that reading about other people's prep experiences can be helpful in figuring this out.

These are strategies from my own experience, from a popular study skills book and from a test-prep company with published learning data. Given I am writing for a medical audience who are in general very intelligent and hard-working, I am aware that this post will not benefit everyone at all. Please donít be offended by this post. It will probably be too basic for many of you. But hopefully I can help some, and that would be great.

Overall I wonder if one of the biggest keys is to be realistic about your timeline for exam preparation. If you don't give yourself enough time, then you will be rushing through the prep material and so you won't give yourself a chance to revise adequately in order to remember the concepts. Given the vast amount of material that needs to be covered, I think it's important to figure out an efficient and effective study technique that works for you. For example, having a good place for all of your notes and making sure you have a good system for revising material that you've covered are really important. It's definitely disheartening to have read through a prep book or FA several times only to realize that you haven't retained nearly as much as you had hoped. It's also painful to have paid hundreds to thousands of dollars on video courses or live prep courses, only to forget a good percentage of material days and weeks down the line. Having a good revision method would help with that. I cover these and more ideas in the article.

All the best!
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Old 05-03-2014
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#1 thing to do is put every fact you think you may forget into a spaced repetition program (Cerego, Quizlet, Anki, StudyBlue, Memrise, etc).

I only did this very late in my studying after a friend told me about it. It is pointless if you learn something but cannot recall it when needed.
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Old 05-05-2014
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Yes, I wish I had discovered the spaced repetition technique when I was studying for my steps. I didn't realize how important timing of reviews were when looking over learned material. I've used Anki recently. I haven't come across the other programs... do you recommend any of the others you mentioned? Thanks!
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I tried them all out, and while its not as fancy as some, I prefer Cerego because the algorithm is more advanced than the others. It was created by a professor at Vanderbilt and has a patent behind it. Elsevier backs it. It has a free iOS app that I use whenever I'm waiting in line and have time to kill. All those small blocks of time that might normally be wasted add up in the end just cranking out 10 facts here and there.
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İt is pretty normal to forget i think. Medicine itself is just pure memorisation lıke a phone book for me. I dont agree with people who says understanding is a key matter. We have to memorise at least %80 of basic principles to be able to understand the relations between them. So medicine is not math and repetition will be a key aid.
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Old 05-06-2014
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@Cylack: thanks for your suggestion. Cerego looks great. I'll try it out for my current studies! The problem with Anki, the program I started to use, is that you have to pay for a mobile version, while the desktop is free.

@Baris Olten: I agree that it's pretty normal to forget information. Even when you understand some key topic you can forget it a month later (speaking from experience)! That's why I think it's great to have more ideas about how to memorize and link information better. Thanks for your input.
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