The vastness of internal medicine content can be intimidating, especially when you’re preparing for internal medicine boards. The urge to be well prepared for any medical exam is bound to provoke anxiety. The best way to pass your boards is to study hard. The following are helpful tips that will help you succeed at your Internal Medicine exams.
Plan Your Studying
Planning is usually a vital step to achieve any form of success. Consequently, take time and assess the content that needs review. Note any topics that require attention or further clarification. Allocate time every day to go through various topics. It is a good idea to start with familiar topics to get a background for the unacquainted ones. More importantly, you should set a strict schedule to guide your studying plan.
Access Areas that Require More Studying
While studying, you should note any areas that need more attention or studying to remember the content. Come up with a mechanism to help you improve and remember the material. For instance, allocate more time to review the topics you aren’t understanding or seek guidance from someone with more knowledge.
Identify the Exam Structure
Try to determine what the examination will cover. The ABIM publicizes exam blueprints giving detailed information on every category covered in the exam. For instance, Cardiovascular Disease will be 14%, and Infections Disease will be 9% of the test. If you equip yourself with this knowledge, you’ll have more focused study sessions.
Looking at relevant exam questions gives you an idea of the content to expect when taking the exam. Answering practice questions help you identify what areas you don’t need to focus on and others that need more work. Moreover, it helps identify personal strengths and weaknesses. ABIM Blueprint case-based questions can be useful for practice since they emulate the actual exam format.
While studying, look for areas you don’t feel confident about. In most cases, it takes time to build confidence in unfamiliar content. Subsequently, go through identified weak points regularly. Eventually, you’ll feel ready to tackle them during the exam. Many people tend to avoid studying the areas that they are weakest in, whether consciously or unconsciously. This can be a major pitfall on exam day.
Relax and Unwind
At times, preparing for IM boards can challenge you a lot. It’s easy to stress out and burn out due to exhaustion. Reading without resting can be unproductive. It is good to have breaks between studies. This helps your brain relax as well as improve its ability to retain information. Most research suggests that after approximately 5-6 hours of studying, the gains for each additional hour are minimal. Over studying at the expense of self care can lead to burnout.