Tag Archive for: study tips

How to get started

get started

There are days when the last thing you want to do is be studying. Maybe you’re burned out from a hectic week, or maybe you’ve been away for a few days and having a difficult time getting back into the groove of things. Whatever the case may be, here are a few tips to help you get started back onto your studying track!

Make a List

If you are a visual processor, it may be helpful to sit down and write (or type) out a list of exactly what you need to be working on. It could be a topic list, it could be a to-do list. Whatever helps you categorize what you need to focus on!

Make a Plan

Next, make a plan. This can be a schedule such as “Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays from 9am to 10am I will go through the Neuroscience qbank” or “Each day for 15 minutes I’m going to read up on Developmental disorders”. It can also be a plan for a goal like “I will be able to complete the Bipolar qbank in Test Mode perfectly by July 1st”. This is to give you an orientation for your list to help take steps to accomplish the goals.

Make Baby Steps

It’s important to not expect yourself to jump in at 100%. If you’ve been in a rut, you need to ease yourself back into your habits and expectations. Start small, if necessary, by doing timed increments each day. Eventually you can increase those increments to make bigger strides in what you’re working towards.

Make it FUN!

Finally, give yourself rewards as you go. It’s OK! If you have something to look forward to, you’re more likely to complete the tasks at hand. Maybe that reward is going to get your favorite treat once you’ve successfully gone through a chapter of a book. Or taking a hot bath at the end of the day with a glass of wine. Find small things you can do for yourself that encourages you to keep going. It doesn’t have to be all work 🙂

The important thing is to just get started. Once you get momentum, things will become easier!

Need some help?

Give our question banks a try- FREE- using our Free Trial! Or if you’re ready to take the plunge, check out our Question Banks and find the perfect fit for you! Or, contact us with any questions you have or ask about our STUDY GUIDES so we can get you on the right path today!

The Answer is in: How much you NEED to study

how much studying

Studying can be a daunting task for many students, and there’s a stigma around how much time one should spend studying. Some believe that studying as much as possible is the key to getting good grades. This person might carry their books with them and cram in as much as they can every spare minute they have. Some others find that a last minute sweep over general content refreshes their recollection and gets them as ready as they need.

On one hand, the person cramming constantly may cover more material, but studying too much can lead to burnout and negatively impact one’s overall well-being. On the other hand, the person barely cracking open a book may find themselves sorely unprepared when test time comes. So, what’s the sweet spot?

While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, the ideal amount of time to study varies from person to person and is dependent on various factors. Some research suggests that spaced-out studying over time and practice testing can improve retention and learning. However, it’s important to find a study routine that works for you, based on your personal learning style and schedule.

Instead of focusing solely on the amount of time you spend studying, it’s crucial to prioritize the quality of your study sessions. Active engagement with the material, such as quizzing yourself or practicing with flashcards, can be more effective than passive reading.

It’s also important to balance your academic work with other aspects of your life. Taking breaks and pursuing other interests outside of studying can help prevent burnout and promote overall well-being. Finding the right balance between studying and personal life is key to long-term success and happiness.

Ready to start studying?

Give our question banks a try- FREE- using our Free Trial! Or if you’re ready to take the plunge, check out our Question Banks and find the perfect fit for you! Or, contact us with any questions you have so we can get you on the right path today!

How to Keep Studying, Even in the Summer

studying in summer

Summer is here, the sun is shining, and who wants to be stuck inside? Unfortunately, the seasons don’t pay attention to our responsibilities. Studying can be a challenging and sometimes frustrating experience, especially when the weather is calling us to go do other things. It can be difficult to focus for extended periods, retain information, and stay motivated over time. However, with the right strategies and mindset, you can improve your efficiency and effectiveness as a student.

Here are some specific strategies that can help you become more efficient and effective at studying:

  1. Set clear goals: Start by setting clear study goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). This will give you a clear sense of direction and purpose as you approach your studies. (Check out our blog on exactly this topic!)
  2. Plan your study sessions: Create a study schedule that fits with your daily routine and breaks down your study goals into manageable tasks. Use tools like calendars, planners, or apps to help you stay on track.
  3. Minimize distractions: Find a quiet, well-lit space with comfortable seating and minimal distractions. Turn off your phone or other devices that may pull your attention away from studying.
  4. Use study aids: Experiment with different study aids like flashcards, diagrams, or mnemonic devices to help you retain information more effectively.
  5. Take breaks: To avoid burnout and maintain focus, take regular breaks every 30-45 minutes. During your breaks, do something relaxing like taking a walk or stretching.
  6. Stay motivated: Keep yourself motivated by rewarding yourself for achieving study goals, visualizing success, and surrounding yourself with positive support systems.

To become more efficient at studying, it’s important to develop strategies that address these challenges directly. For example, planning your study sessions and breaking down large goals into smaller, manageable tasks can help you stay focused and motivated. Creating a conducive study environment and using study aids can help you retain information more easily. Finally, taking regular breaks and staying positive can help you avoid burnout and stay motivated over time.

Ready to stay motivated this summer?

Give our question banks a try- FREE- using our Free Trial! Or if you’re ready to take the plunge, check out our Question Banks and find the perfect fit for you! Or, contact us with any questions you have so we can get you on the right path today!

How the 5 minute rule can help YOU!

stop watch for 5 minute rule

Spring is in the air, the sun is starting to shed some warm rays, and the first shoots of green grass are starting to burst out of the ground. If you’re like me, the LAST thing you want to do is be cooped up inside studying. Spring fever is real! But…so are exams 🙂

Some days it feels like there’s a mental block stopping you from doing anything productive. Whether it be due to distractions, mental overload, or just plain old tired of doing the same things, everyone feels this way from time to time. And let’s be real, being where you are right now is overwhelming. If you’re prepping for boards, maybe you’re in rotations, maybe you’ve got your own practice, either way there’s a lot of stuff going on around you. Your brain can get a little worn out from everything and demand a break. That’s where a good method like the 5 minute rule can come in!

What is the 5 minute rule?

The 5 minute rule is a concept used in several therapy modalities. It’s pretty simple- all you have to do is sit and do an activity for 5 minutes. That’s it. Then you can get up, walk outside for some fresh air, check your socials, do whatever you want. YOU GET YOUR BREAK!

The next step to this rule is after a while you go back and do another 5 minutes. 5 minutes on, an interval of time off, 5 minutes on, an interval of time off,– you get the point. Even though it doesn’t seem like you can do much in 5 minutes, you’d be surprised how far into a question bank you can get or how far into a chapter you can read in that much time. Especially when you’ve come back to it a few times!

So if the springtime song of birds are calling you to run outside, or the spring fever cleaning bug is making you want to reorganize your house, you can let it! Just slip in those 5 minutes throughout the day and you won’t get too off track.

Curious how far into a bank you CAN get in 5 minutes? Give our question banks a try- FREE- using our Free Trial! Jump on Test Mode and get a feel for how the timed version of exams work. Want more material to work with? Check out our Question Banks and find the perfect fit for you! Or, contact us with any questions you have so we can help you get your 5 minutes in!

Time to go back to the ABC’s

Yes, we know you know your ABC’s 🙂 But, sometimes it helps to reinvent the old classics to help us in the here and now. We’ve compiled a quick list of test taking tips that might help you as you prepare for your exams ( using A-E, because those are the letters you’ll see on the exams and maybe that will help keep these in mind!).

ABC blocks

The ABC’s of Test Taking

A Apply basic knowledge

This is the old adage, if you hear hoof beats, don’t assume it’s zebras. When you get your first look at a test question, whether it’s a standard multiple choice or a multiset vignette, the first thing to do is to look for the obvious. Most questions will be testing your basic knowledge and will give you clear signs that point to an answer. Some will be trickier of course, but a good rule of thumb is to dust off Occam’s razor and keep it in mind as you go through the questions. Keep your basic knowledge front and center!

B Block out distractors

Test makers are devious. There, I said it. They intentionally create distractor answers that will try to trick you (so rude). Falling back on the letter A, keep your basic knowledge in mind and then block out the answers you see off the bat as incorrect. For example, you might be reading a question about someone who is lethargic, has a lack of appetite, low mood, and disrupted sleep. Answer options could be Bipolar I, General Anxiety, Depression, PMDD, or Substance Withdrawal. Now, some of these conditions do in fact share the listed symptoms. But there’s missing information that would be required to make those answers the BEST answer.

Bipolar I would require symptoms of mania; GAD has other hallmark symptoms such as feelings of dread/worry that they cannot control; PMDD is cyclical around menstrual cycles in females; substance withdrawal requires mention of something that would cause the withdrawal. The distractors are there to make you second guess, so if one pops out as the best one, chances are it probably is!

C Check the question stem again

Well, maybe the distractors did a good job and now you can’t get passed it. Go back and find the question stem again. What is the question asking? Does it give the information you would NEED to make the other answer fit, or are you banging a square peg into a round hole? While the test makers are tricky, they aren’t totally evil. They will give you all the information you need with minimal need to fill in the blanks.

D Don’t over think it!

Ok, we got through the distractors and now we have our answer, Depression! Makes sense, fits the symptoms…wait, doesn’t it need a time frame to make a diagnosis? What if it’s none of these answers and actually something like Dysthymia? Or– stop. Stop over thinking it. Again, this is the job of the distractors to make you start thinking in circles. If the answer fits the information given in the best way, move on to the next question.

E Every little bit helps

You get about one minute per question on the exams, so you want to crank out as many answers as possible. And, most exams don’t “penalize” wrong answers, they just add up your correct ones. Leaving answers blanks and guessing and getting it wrong will do the same thing to your score. But, guessing might also get you one right! So if you need to stab a guess at one, DO IT because there’s a chance you could get it right!

Want to give this method a shot? Try our Free Trial and see how well it pans out. We’d love to hear from you, and you can Contact us with any questions you have or to let us know if these tips helped you or not!

Preparing for your Board Exams: How to make the MOST of your time!

Life can be incredibly hectic AND it can be seemingly impossible to fit in studying for your Board Exams but with the right planning & priorities, anything is possible.

Think of it in straightforward terms…Each day we’re 86,400 seconds the same as before, and the same as the subsequent day. But as you add tasks, activities, and other daily necessities that number shrinks and it can feel like there’s no time left to study or even eat (oof).

“So what do I do?!” you may question.

Well, it’s simple, zoom out and take a glance at your days and weeks ahead. What do you have planned that’s truly paramount? Well, we know at base level eating and studying are essential, one you need to live, and the other you need to pass your Board Exams.

What else is paramount & essential?

  • Is it taking the proper amount of time or is it a waste?
  • Can you be doing some of the essential tasks together OR around the same time so you make the most of your downtime? 
  • What’s NOT paramount? (That’s the most important question you need to ask yourself.)

Your time comes down to prioritizing your days. While at first sitting down and laying it all out can seem like just another task added to your already packed day but if you sit and plan it once, you’re going to end up being less stressed when it comes down to it. Then, when you’re studying and feeling stressed change your mindset!

*REMEMBER: As you study and go through each question remember that for every second spent studying you are one step closer to being fully prepared AND one step closer to passing your Board Exams.

So the takeaway?

Prioritize your days & get your mind right! Plan plan plan… create a plan, and attack it! Next thing you know you’ll be in the groove and ready to pass your Board Exams with ease, and hey, we’re here every step of the way to help YOU!

Ready to dive in? Utilize our expert-curated Question Banks and maximize your studying today! 

Need more guidance? 

Contact us today! We’ll help YOU pass your Boards with ease!

How to create study habits that are long lasting!

Your study habits can make or break your success in school.

If you’re already struggling with how to create long-lasting study habits, have no fear… you’re not alone! May students go through the same issues as you.

The solution for long-lasting study habits is straightforward!

First, find a place to study regularly, consistency is key!

You might find that having a set time and place in which you study helps keep your motivation high as well. Even if you’re a procrastinator and tend to put it off until the last minute, finding a place that’s comfortable for you will make all the difference.

Next up: keep track of deadlines and important dates. If you know what’s coming up then you can plan accordingly and make sure not to procrastinate!

Once you’ve got those two things squared away, you’ll want to start thinking about how you study best. — Maybe it’s listening to music while reading; maybe it’s taking notes on index cards; maybe it’s something else entirely! Whatever works for you is great! Just remember: what works for someone else might not work for you.

After all your base preparation, don’t stuff & cram for your exams!

Instead, just relax and get ready for what’s ahead by practicing some relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation. You’ll be surprised how effective these methods can be at helping calm down before big tests or projects!

Once you’re relaxed and have taken time for your mental health jump back into it! Throughout the weeks set aside time to quiz yourself with appropriate materials or question banks to ensure you’re retaining the information!

Still, feeling uneasy or overwhelmed? Contact us and we can help YOU pass your boards with ease!

Studying Tips Broken Down: Set yourself up for success!

Time to get back to studying… wow… it seems like just yesterday the summer was just kicking off!

Now it’s time to head back to school, so naturally, we’ve received some DMs asking “How can I make the most of the upcoming school year?”.

Going back to school can seem like an overwhelming time and it can be, but we’ve put together a few studying tips that should help you excel in your learning.

Our Top Five Tips!

1️⃣ Get Organized…

Get all your study materials together, ensure you know your new schedule, and plan your time properly. Take a look at each class; What do you need? What do you already have?

2️⃣ Be Active In Your Learning.

Don’t just follow your current curriculum. Seek out other experiences and knowledge whether you’re in a group studying, participating in volunteer labs/programs/research groups, and much more. You can gain more knowledge and experience this way!

3️⃣ Study, Study, Study — but with others!

Studying with others can improve your memory recall, provide other points of view, and give you a great trusted group whom you can make memories with outside of just staying. Since you’re all going through the same experiences together it can help ease the stress. You could even utilize various question banks and tools to make the most of the study sessions!

4️⃣ Use Your Time Wisely

Just because others are going out every night doesn’t mean you need to… you can still have a solid social life AND go to school. Write down and prioritize everything you need to do. Ensure you have built a solid routine, and get what you need to do, but also make sure you are taking time to have fun too (which brings us to our next section.)

5️⃣ Take Care Of Your Mental Health!!!

This is last but certainly NOT least. We’ve said it before and we will keep saying it. Take care of yourself and your mental health. You need to ensure you aren’t pushing yourself too far. Find things and activities which help you relax. School is not forever so take everything one step at a time. Use your support group/study group we mentioned in point 3.

Need some additional tips or a tutor? Contact us today!

Who is My Psych Board?

My Psych Board is a board review website created by Dr. Abdel, MD, MBB. CH., founder and CEO of Westlake Brain Health clinic in Cleveland, OH. This program offers access to unique courses and question banks to prepare residents and medical students for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) Psychiatry Certification Exam, Psychiatry Resident In-Training Examination, United States Medical Licensing board examination, and Nurse Practitioner examination. Each question bank is specifically tailored to the required difficulty and type of questions expected for the different board exams. New questions are continually being added to the question banks, ensuring the most current and up-to-date information is being made available.

My Psych Board is created by experts in the field and covers all the topics you need to master in order to pass your board-certifying exams. Feedback is given immediately in Practice Mode as questions are answered, including in-depth explanations that accompany each question for both correct and incorrect answer options. Additionally, students have the option of accessing a one-time phone call with Dr. Abdel to discuss their best studying strategies and one-on-one tutoring to help them gain maximum preparation. My Psych Board is customer oriented; we take your feedback seriously and are always looking for ways to improve the user experience! 

How to make studying enjoyable (even in the summer!)

How to make studying enjoyable (even in the summer!)

Earlier this week we were asked by Melissa –⁠

“I know I should keep studying because I’ve been putting in so much work this year but since we are in the middle of the summer it’s getting hard to do everything. I’m putting all my time into working on prep and studies, but I want to be able to still hang out with my friends. Then on the alternate side, I will go by weeks without studying because I feel I covered enough…what can I do? Is it even possible to enjoy my summer at all?”⁠

☀️Well.. thanks for the question, Melissa. The short answer is YES you can enjoy your summer & ensure you’re studying efficiently. Taking advantage of your summer break can make all the difference so let’s dive into our top 5 essential tips!⁠

➡️ FIND BALANCE⁠

Ensure you’re not overloading yourself. You should split your time between enjoying the summer, time with friends/family, & studying. It will help you feel more refreshed & focused. If you focus on studying too much…you’re going to reach the ceiling & not take on additional information.⁠

➡️ CREATE A PLAN⁠

This can be done in any number of ways from writing a schedule, making to-do lists, setting deadlines, prioritizing your work, & so much more! We’ve said it before, everyone’s studying routine varies so find what works for YOU! Once your plane is in place follow it to a T!⁠

➡️ CHANGE UP YOUR STUDYING LOCATION⁠

Now, this MAY not work for everyone but it’s worth giving it a try. The weather is beautiful so why not try going outside? A change in scenery could help you stay more focused. But, if you notice it’s slowing you down, it might be time for you to change up that location too.⁠

➡️ KEEP A CONSISTENT SCHEDULE⁠

The saying goes “30 Days should be long enough to help you create a new habit.” We’ve found that since you’ve already somewhat tuned yourself to studying before the summer it may be easier to pick it back up.⁠

➡️ REWARD YOURSELF!!!⁠

It’s summer after all… so get yourself a treat or do something nice for yourself. If you have something to look forward to at the end of each study session it will help motivate you!

Are you ready? Let’s jump in. Brush up on your knowledge with a FREE trial of our Question Banks. Featuring Q-Banks for the ABPN, USMLE, Nurse Practitioner, and PRITE Exams!

Feeling like you need a bit of extra help? Contact us OR sign up for our tutoring!

Getting the facts straight: Truth and LIES about the USMLE Exam

When preparing for the USMLE Exam it’s important to get the facts right.

Getting the facts straight: Truth and LIES about the USMLE Exam

First, Let’s sort out the USMLE LIES…

The more you put off your test and study, the better your score is going to be.

Studies show that cramming can actually be hurtful. Med school is a full-time job and you need to manage your time wisely. You should study alongside your course work AND practice practice practice… But if you take too long and say you’re not ready, you may lose info that you focused on months or weeks back.

Using as many resources as you can leads to a better score.

This will just flood your brain with info. The most ideal way to study is by using practice question banks that imitate real-life tests. While everyone had various study methods, research shows that the Practice Q-Banks hold higher retention than lectures or reading combined.

Practice Question Banks are all the same!

NOPE. You want to ensure you’re not just getting the information correct but that it matches the real-life test. Many question banks are NOT formatted properly and will only just feed you endless information… Thankfully, our USMLE question bank is formatted to get the most out of your learning experience. Studies have proven members who use formatted practice q-banks have a much higher score/pass rate.

NOW, Let’s get the TRUTH right so you can pass your USMLE With Ease!

The more practice questions you study with, the higher your USMLE Score will be.

As we covered before about the Pract. Q-Banks, you want to ensure you’re studying with resources that will benefit you. They say practice makes perfect and this is 100% true!

There is no “one perfect way” to prepare for the USMLE Exam.

Find a study plan and create one that works for YOU. Everyone is different so don’t listen to the noise others spew about how YOU should be studying.

With the right study plan, you will pass!

This goes with any test and we’ve covered it before, put in the work, create a plan, and dive in. If you’re prepared it’s almost impossible to fail.

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We hope this helps! What other lies or statements have you heard? DM or Contact Us to let us know. We love hearing your feedback!