How to Review for Board Exams
Board exams are crucial milestones in any student or resident’s academic journey. They can be challenging, but with the right approach and effective study techniques, you can conquer them. In this blog post, we will give you some tips and advice, recommend study resources, and highlight some common pitfalls to avoid when preparing for board exams.
1. Create a Study Plan
When creating your study plan and schedule, be sure to keep exam content in mind. Most board exams will publish an exam blueprint or content outline, so you know where to focus your studies. Rather than just going through a list of what you think you should be studying, use the blueprint to focus your time on the highest yield content. Be aware of your content weaknesses and prioritize making time to work through them.
2. Understand the Question Types
Look up the different types of questions that may appear on your exam. They may include multiple choice, select all that apply, short answer, or even essay type questions. Understanding how to approach the type of questions on your exam can lessen test anxiety and be a key to your success.
3. Adopt Effective Study Techniques
Reading the material will only get you so far. You need to engage in active learning. This includes strategies like creating concept outlines, teaching the material to others, creating exam style questions, and active recall.
4. Join Study Groups
Chances are you know many people studying for the same exam as you. Use study groups to engage in collaborative studying. This is a great way to gain different perspectives and switch up your studies.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice!
Practice questions are one of the most powerful study tools you can use. Practice questions can help identify knowledge gaps, improve time management skills, familiarize you with the exam format, and boost your confidence. Make sure you schedule practice questions regularly.
Recommended Study Resources
1. A High-Quality Question Bank Like TrueLearn
Question banks are an excellent study resource. They get you accustomed to exam-style questions and can help you adjust to the exam format. TrueLearn’s question banks have thousands of practice questions and our topics are mapped to content outlines for each board exam, so you can rest assured the questions will be relevant. Each of our questions are written by content experts. And the TrueLearn dashboard gives you a performance snapshot so you can see how you are performing compared to the national average and keeps a list of your incorrect topics for you to focus your attention on. We also offer a first-time pass guarantee on 90-day subscriptions, or longer!
2. Reference Book for Your Specific Board Exam
Use these to help guide your studies and to refer to when you come upon a difficult subject. But remember, reading alone is not the best strategy for success.
3. Mnemonic Platform Such as Picmonic
Audio visual mnemonics can aid in remembering complex information.
4. Practice Exams
Practice with mock exams to familiarize yourself with the exam structure, experience exam-like conditions, assess how prepared you are, and boost your confidence. You can usually find mock tests through the board exam’s website. If you’re a TrueLearn user, check to see if there is an assessment for your exam.
“Don’ts” When Studying for Board Exams
1. Don’t Procrastinate
Procrastination is a recipe for disaster. Not only will you miss important content because you ran out of time, but you will also increase your stress! Effective learning is not possible when you’re completely stressed out. Plan your study schedule to allow for comprehensive and systematic learning.
2. Don’t Overextend Yourself
Study burnout is a real thing, so make sure you are aware of that! Non-retention of information and less efficient studying are a direct consequence of burnout. Making time for rest and relaxation will make you a more effective learner and will help you achieve better results.
3. Don’t Neglect Your Health and Well-being
Now is the time to prioritize self-care. Make sure you are eating healthy food to fuel your brain. Make time to move your body daily. Healthy eating, movement, and adequate sleep are all essential for optimal performance.
4. Don’t Rely on Facts Alone
Trying to remember facts alone, i.e. normal lab values, will not give you the advantage you need to succeed. What is more important is being able to connect the information to what you have already learned. This will help to cement the information into memory.
5. Don’t Multitask
Trying to study while simultaneously paying attention to something else makes your studying less effective. If you continually alternate between two or more tasks, it is likely you will overlook important information. It’s important to carve out time where you can focus solely on your studies.
It’s All About Maximizing Your Potential
Effective studying requires a thoughtful approach. Prioritize understanding over fact memorization. Avoid common pitfalls such as overextending yourself and allowing distractions. Seek support when needed and collaborate with your peers. By following these tips and avoiding the “don’ts,” you can create a study routine that maximizes your potential. Good luck on your upcoming board exam!