Many students we have come into contact with us for USMLE prep, have a frequent question: “How do I know if your prep tools are best for me?” This question usually stems from the fear that if the USMLE scores are not good enough, then they might not get matched into their preferred residency. Thus USMLE scores are important for determining career path a medical graduate has to follow. In this article, we at LogIQuest-Kaplan try to explore few factors based on which you can choose your prep partner.
1) Which Book/Books
Obviously, the first source of any prep effort is buying books. Buying latest edition of prep purposes makes more sense as updated editions will have better errata & updated content which takes into account the most recent changes and trends. Hand Me Down books from your seniors or relatives is a very tempting option especially when you are on tight budget but make sure that those books not beyond two editions old.
2) Trust your instinct
Often times as a doctor you would be relying on your instincts. The same should be applied to your prep as well. It is of utmost importance that the USMLE prep tools you use are reliable. Q-banks and books are prone to err. If you see/read something odd in prep tools you are using, it is a good idea to go back and cross check. This not only helps you with your deciding whether the prep is correct for you or not but will also solidify the right answer in your brain.
3) They are not you!
If you ask a hundred different people about their USMLE prep process, you will get hundred different answers and different methods of preparation. But only one person can give what is your best option. You! Only you can answer what suits you best. If you are a great listener and learn well through Audiovisual options, watch demo videos. If you prefer to learn through instruction than on your own, try attending a demo session. If you learn thoroughly through practice, try Quiz bank. Then you choose what suits your needs the most.
4) Don’t get drowned in the sea of information
Learning as much you can is important. But during prep for a test like USMLE, you need to focus on what to learn and how much to learn. For example, there are pathology and physiology books discussing thousands of pages worth content about diabetes. But for USMLE do you need all that? You need to learn only so much. Concentrate on High Yield topics and choose the prep tools that give you best content for those high yield topics. At the same don’t pick tools which too vague and oversimplified. Anything that is ridiculously simple is usually just that: Too simple for its own good.
5) Information Funnel
Over the years, we have observed that successful students usually follow one base set of material for broader study, choose USMLE material for narrowing down the learning to test content and then funnel in the knowledge through Q-Bank practice for achieving great USMLE scores. Often people following multiple sets of courses and study materials won’t have enough time to cover any set completely and get lost in their prep leading to lower than expected scores in the final test.
Choose Wisely, Prep Happily!