Great Turnout at USMLE Events by Dr. Mary Ruebush in India

Becker Professional Education’s faculty are from top medical schools with M.D.’s and Ph.D.’s. They apply their years of experience to teach in their specialties preparing future physicians for the USMLE®. Each has extensive familiarity with the Exam and a clear understanding of how results impact a career in medicine. Their approach is focused on integration and application of materials while helping students to more easily recall and utilize information so they can prepare to succeed on the Exam and into a career as a Physician.

Dr. Mary Ruebush is one of our esteemed faculty members who travels all over the world lecturing to students about the USMLE® Exam. She, is one of the nation’s most experienced and acclaimed instructors in Microbiology and Immunology for USMLE Step 1 review.

She recently had a great experience on her recent trip to India. She tracks her 8 day stay in India with presentations to over 1400 medical students throughout the country and discusses how medical students prepare for the Exam in a different part of the world.

Day 1 – Sightseeing Delhi

Connected with EduPristine, who works closely with students in India, where they took me sightseeing in Delhi. Before partaking on my live presentations with students from India a taste of what makes this country great was the start of my trip. We saw a local market (Dilli Haat), a Sikh temple (Bangla Sahib Gurudwara), a catholic cathedral, a Muslim mosque (Qutub minar), Humayan tomb, Hauz Khas Fort, the India gate, houses of parliament and the prime minister’s home. Back by 6 pm, prepared for flight out to Amritsar next morning.

Day 2 – Amritsar

Drove 2 hours one way (hair-raising) to Punjab Institute for Health Sciences in Jalandar where I gave a presentation to students. We had about 20 students attend the seminar since most of the classes are preparing for exams this week. This is a region in which the dean is very receptive to Becker programs.

Day 3 – Hyderabad

I arrived at the 2 pm seminar at Mallareddy Medical College. We had a standing room only crowd in a room that seats 200, and the students from multiple medical schools in the area were most interested in hearing the seminar. The seminar discussed the evolution of the USMLE® multiple choice question. I talked about current exam trends, including how examinees are required to showcase mastery of their understanding of tested content across the USMLE Step 1 and 2 CK exams. The seminar showed students how the skills tested on these exams cannot be learned from books and how Becker’s USMLE reviews integrate content to help them succeed on the exam and as a future doctor. This session worked through specific USMLE-styled questions to showcase the exam and emphasize the thought process and clinical reasoning necessary for success. The struggle is just as difficult in India as it is for the rest of the world. Students stayed over more than 30 minutes to ask questions.

Day 4 – Chennai

The seminar this day was at noon at ACS Medical College. Another packed room…about 200 students were able to be seated. I have been talking with all groups to introduce who Becker is/are, and why it is with the evolution that the exam has been undergoing, that we can help all of them meet the challenges of the process. Sessions have been lively, although Indian students are generally polite and deferential to a fault, so it takes a little work to get participation. There have been a multitude of questions each day, and our partner, EduPristine, is an amazing sales and marketing force on the ground here. Two female students from Chennai who have been in our first Live Virtual Classroom here in India, drove out to the Medical College to meet us in person. It was wonderful to have them there, because I was able to introduce them to the attendees, and we watched afterwards as many students and parents went to ask them of their unfiltered opinions. So much more powerful when the endorsements come from those who have experienced our product! We stopped for lunch around 2 pm at a local Indian restaurant and then I was dropped back at the hotel in Chennai around 5 pm. tomorrow at 6 am we leave to drive to Pondicherry and Aaarupadai Vedu Medical College.

Day 5 – Pondicherry

Started at 6 am for a three hour drive from Chennai to Pondicherry where we spoke (11 am to 1 pm) at ACS Medical College. There were approximately 140 attendees (this is an extremely rural area) and the picture with the male students in Pondicherry” was with students who had travelled several hours to hear our talk. Interest is great in Becker/EduPristine and concern about the future of medical careers for foreign medical graduates runs high with the recent election results. We went to an Ashram and a Hindu temple for a little sightseeing, then got lunch (more delicious Indian food) and then drove to Sri Manakula Vinayagar Medical College to speak to the directors there. We showed them an abbreviated presentation of what I have been doing for the students, and were very well received. They feel confident that they can send 20 of their students to our January course run with EduPristine. We then traveled to the EduPristine Center and sat in on a few minutes of the India Live Virtual Course going on now with Dr. Wilson teaching. We got back to the hotel at 11 pm, so another fun-filled 17 hour day. Day off tomorrow and then move to Bangalore next.

Day 7 – Bangalore

Today we left for the airport in Bangalore at 5 am for an 8 am flight (because the traffic is impossible all the time). The EduPristine staff and I tried to catch up on some computer work, and then we left for our 2 pm seminar around 1. Our seminar at KS Hegde Medical College had more than 220 attendees, and we spent time again with directors and Deans seeing if we can use this school as an Edupristine site for this city. There is currently no EduPristine site here. The talk was hosted by the student council, and was lively and well-received. We returned to the hotel to help host the webinar by Dr. Raymon to promote the Integrated Full Review for India which will be coming up in December. Time for bed at 10 pm and leaving for the airport and our final venue in Mumbai tomorrow at 8:30 am.

Day 8 – Mumbai

We landed from Bangalore around noon, checked into the hotel for me and headed immediately for Lokmanya Tilak Medical College in Sion. We arrived around 3:30 pm for our talk at 4 pm, which again was hosted by the student council. We had about 180 attendees, and it has seemed like our attendance has been defined more by the capacity of the room than by the interest of the student bodies. A very lively crowd, full of questions, kept us after the talk until nearly 6:30 pm. After this, I went to the EduPristine Center to meet up with two students from our Live Virtual Classroom, and then back to the hotel by 10 pm.

The trip came to an end with Dr. Mary Ruebush touching the live of over 1400 medical students overseas in India. The passion shown in these presentations are also seen throughout all of her course lectures prepping students for the USMLE® Step 1 Exam.

USMLE Step 2 CS Overview & Exam Update 2017

What Is USMLE Step 2 CS?

The USMLE Step 2CS is a full day assessment exam of clinical skills and interpersonal communication with patients. The USMLE exam uses standardized patients who are people trained to portray real patients with a clinical problem. The examination assesses your ability in gathering relevant information from the patient, performing physical examination, and communicating your findings to the patient and faculty.

USMLE Step 2 CS Exam Pattern

The Step 2 CS exam will include 12 standardized patient encounters and will last for approximately 8 hours with 50 minutes of break time. The examination has undergone many recent changes right from patient encounters to the patient note.

Each patient encounter will last for 25 minutes and as per the latest update on the USMLE Step 2 CS exam, for students taking the exam on or before July 16th 2017, the patient note will automatically get submitted after 25 minutes and they no longer have to use the ‘submit’ button on the patient note.
As per the latest change, beginning May 21st 2017, the Step 2 CS examinees may see a maximum of one case in the exam wherein they have to assist the patient in making a decision with a disease or problem management. This encounter will not include physical examination and the data interpretation section of the patient note does not have to be completed.

USMLE Step 2 CS Exam Dates

The Step 2 CS exam dates get filled very quickly and as per ECFMG data, there are no exam appointments available till September 2017. So, it is very important to plan your USMLE Step 2 CS examination well ahead to ensure you are in time for the ERAS application. While nearly all US medical graduates pass the step 2CS on the first attempt, only 82% of IMGs pass in the first attempt as per the performance report available on the official website. 

One of the many reasons for the same is a lot of international medical graduates and students depend largely on clinical electives and rotations to prepare for this USMLE exam. The Integrated Clinical Encounter (ICE) sub component is the area where IMGs do not fare very well compared the other 2 sub components, wherein only 83% of the first-time takers are successful as per the performance report available on the official website. Thus, it becomes very vital for students, especially IMGs to undergo rigorous training with the best prep material written by faculty who have many years of experience in the field of preparing students for the 2CS exam.

Dr Charles Faselis is one such renowned faculty who has several years of experience in preparing students for the USMLE and has several teaching awards including the Osler and Golden Apple award to his credit. He is currently the Chief Staff at Washington DC Veteran Affairs Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at George Washington University School of Medicine. He is the new director of Clinical Skills and Training at Becker and has been instrumental in the Step 2CS enhancement.

Jobs and Career after USMLE

Health Care System in USA:

The health care system in US is one of the best in the world. Many renowned hospitals are functional in the US like Mayo clinics, MD Anderson and NYU being some of them. The availability of latest medical facilities to the masses has been its hallmark. The healthcare system in US is provided by Medicare and Medicaid. Low income families can receive health care facilities through Medicaid program.US residents get accepted into Medicare program after the retirement age.

Health Care system in USA has four parts: Hospital Insurance, Medical Insurance, Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drugs. Many private health insurance companies do provide with health care assurance facilities. Because of many government initiatives the health care system in the US cover most of the population. Obama care is one of such government initiative.

Other Important details of Healthcare system in USA

  • Health care in the US is mainly provided by private hospitals and clinics
  • Most US citizens have medical insurance provided by the employer and including immediate family  
  • US residents avail to the Medicare program after the retirement age
  • Low income families can receive health care facilities through Medicaid program  
  • Some visas like the J1/ J2, H1/H2 do require a basic level of health insurance because of expensive health care in the US
  • A valid health insurance is recommended for an international student before arriving in the US or after arriving from private health insurance providers

Types of Specialized Jobs available after USMLE:

There are many specialties and super specialties available for the applicant. Among all, an international medical graduate prefers internal medicine, family medicine, and psychiatry. However, other specialities like surgery, dermatology, anaesthesiology and radiology are also available and applied by the graduates. 

  • In surgery residency program, the applicant learns surgical skills and can enter into super speciality surgical branches.
  • In radiology residency, it involves CT, MRI and USG and later into interventional radiology. The primary reason for preference towards internal medicine being availability of large number of residency spots.
  • Also, American medical graduate prefers high earning medicine specialties like surgery orthopaedics and radiology.
  • Family medicine and psychiatry are less competitive hence comparatively easier to get the residency spot. Many Indian graduates have been successful in securing residency spots in internal medicine, family medicine, psychiatry

Also after residency there are many fellowship opportunities available. A recent trend among the Indian post graduate is to sought an US fellowship and continue there as a faculty or give the board certification examination.

Research Opportunities after USMLE:

Contrary to Indian scenario, a lot of emphasis is given on research activities in US. Lot of research activities take place in US and every resident or fellow is expected to be part of team along with active participation in the research activities. There are research scholarships and specials visa made available for research scholars. Thus, publication, abstracts and case reports can be very useful to get a residency spot in the match. Many research fellowship in form of research assistant or teaching assistant are also available and applicant with their preferences can be benefited. Also, getting in research activities can make an applicant familiar with the US medical system and help him make acknowledgments in his interested field. 

Salary expectation after USMLE:

There is a large discordance among the specialities compensation and differs among many US states. Among all the medical specialties, orthopaedic, neurosurgery, anaesthesiologist and radiologists are the highly paid specialties. However, a fellowship after completion of internal medicine, family medicine and psychiatrist residency can substantially increase your salary.

  • A residency program gives a compensation to the resident for the services.
  • At an average, a resident gets 5000 $ per month, however it varies according to years of residency or different states.
  • It enables a resident to rent a room, buy or lease a car and support dependents. Overall, a good living is possible during your residency years.

After completion, a fellowship also has a similar compensation and working as a specialist would have a good added benefits.

USMLE Fees 2017: Eligibility, Pattern, Preparation

What is USMLE Exam?

The USMLE examination is designed for medical graduates who aspire to do medical practice in United States. USMLE exam is conducted in three steps for medical licensure in the US and administered by the National Board of Medical Examiners and Federation of State Medical Boards.

USMLE Exam Eligibility:

Eligibility for the Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS

  • A medical student or a graduate officially enrolled in a medical college that is outside of United States and Canada listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools.
  • A medical student or a graduate officially enrolled in a US or Canadian medical school program leading to MD degree that is authorized by the LCME (Liaison Committee on Medical Education).
  • A medical student or a graduate officially enrolled in a United States medical school leading to the DO degree that is authorized by the AOA (American Osteopathic Association).

Eligibility for Step 3:

  • Clear all the USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, Step 2CS and also for international medical graduates, certification from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).
  • MD degree (or its corresponding) or DO degree from an LCME or AOA or Qualified US or Canadian Medical School or from a medical school outside the United States and Canada listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools.

USMLE Fees 2017:

Tests Fees Effective Dates for USMLE Fees 2017
Step 1 $605* 3 Months
Eligibility Period begins: November 1 2016 – January 31 2017
Eligibility Period ends: October 1, 2017 – December 31, 2017
Step 2 CK $605*
Step 1 and 2 CK $70 January 1, 2017 (Eligibility Period Extension)
Step 2 CS $1,280 For Application Received Starting on January 1, 2017

Note: * For more information about taking Step 1 and Step 2 CK at international centers and regional prices call on (215) 590-9700 or email

Step Component Overview Test Format Length
Step 1 Step 1 test is focused on knowledge of biochemistry, microbiology, basic sciences, nutrition, pathology, immunology, pharmacology, aging and genetics. 280 multiple choice questions approximately, divided into seven 60-minute blocks One Day Test – 8 Hours
Step 2 Step 2 test has two components:
a.) Clinical Knowledge or CK test examines your knowledge on clinical science such as pediatrics & obstetrics, internal medicine, gynecology and surgery.

b.) Clinical Skills or CS perform physical examinations, analyze and observes on ability to gather information from patients.

Clinical Knowledge (CK):
318 multiple choice questions approximately, divided into eight 60-minute blocks.

Clinical Skills (CS):
Total 12 Patient Cases: 15 minutes for each patient + 10 minutes to record each patient note.

Students must travel to one of 6 testing Centers (Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Houston & Philadelphia (2)

CK: One Day Test –
9 Hours

CS: One Day Test
– 8 Hours

Step 3 Step 3 is a 2 day test and basically taken after the 1st year of residency, emphasis on both computer simulation of patient care and multiple choice questions.

1st Day – Foundation of Independent Practice (FIP) focus on knowledge of basic medical science and important principles necessary for active health care.

2nd Day – Advanced Clinical Medicine (ACM) examine the skill to apply the knowledge of health and diseases in the context of patient management.

1st Day: 235 Multiple Choice Question approximately, divided into six 60-minute blocks, each containing 40 question approx.

2nd Day: 180 Multiple Choice Question approximately and divided into six 45 blocks, each containing 30 question approx.

One Day Test:
7 Hours

One Day Test:
9 Hours

Sequence of USMLE Steps

A medical student who meets the eligibility requirements can take Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS in any sequence and you can take USMLE Step 3 after passing Step 1, Step 2 CS and Step 2 CK.

USMLE exam involves planning and planning includes precise, achievable, convincing, assessable and zero hour objectives. If you are preparing for USMLE exam without these intents, the goals you set will be difficult to achieve. A universal truth for a medical student preparing for the USMLE exam is like executing a treatment for the patient.

All medical students or graduates who aspire to practice medicine in US can walk in to the EduPristine USMLE Preparation Institute and prepare for all the USMLE steps with 245 hours of classroom classes, 9 months of online study, free access to U-world question bank, USA Star Trainers and 2000+ practice question to pass all the USMLE steps.

Essential Guidance for USMLE exam

One of the most common questions I hear when advising people preparing for the USMLE is how to memorize and remember all the details required for their exam.  The short answer is that if you are at the level of memorizing, you are simply not ready to take any of the Steps of the USMLE. Yes, the USMLE requires you to know essential medical knowledge. But, doing well on the exam comes from being able to apply that knowledge, not from the mastery of rote memorization.

USMLE is all about structure of pyramid to understand:

The examiners assume that you already know the required medical content. Your medical school success certifies that you have the basic knowledge already. The USMLE is not testing you on what you know, but problem-solving, whether you know what to do with what you know.

You do not get to this level of mastery required for medical practice all at once, but by increasing levels of involvement and understanding over time. These levels can be conceptualized as pyramid in which one learning task supports the next. Recognition, being familiar enough with material to know it when you see it, is the bottom level of the pyramid. Next comes Memorization, being able to call content to mind when needed. Problem-solving, the third level, is achieved when you can combine remembered content and apply it to find the best response to presented situations. At the top of the pyramid comes Innovation, being able to create a new knowledge, new understanding, and new responses.

In medical school you are tested primarily on recognition and memorization. The USMLE test you primarily on problem-solving. The amount of problem-solving required increases as you move from Step 1 to Step 3. The Clinical Case Simulations of Step 3 push problem-solving right up to the border of innovative thought.

  • You need to do something with the material
  • Outlines help
  • So does making diagrams
  • But, nothing speeds up the process like talking about the material
  • Interacting with peers and professors is the quickest way to boost your mastery beyond the level to recall, to being able to use the material you have learned

The bottom line is that there are a lot of good sources of study material out there, but none of it will get you where you need to be unless you use it the right way. Before you take your USMLE, you must move beyond memorization to application and problem-solving. The USMLE does not want to see what you know, but whether you can use that knowledge like a physician.

USMLE in not about Memorization:

Students excel by memorizing information and being able to recall that information in the right circumstance. The best students are the ones who can remember the most facts. On a multiple-choice exam, students make their choices based on what they can remember.

Physicians excel based on their judgment and their capacity to make the right choices in complex situations. Although physicians must have a solid knowledge base, the best physicians are those that can apply that knowledge in appropriate ways and circumstances. On a multiple-choice exam, physicians make their choices based on the application of their best judgment.

If you find your scores on practice questions stuck in the 50% to 60% range, then you are stuck thinking like a student and need to master the art of clinical reasoning. Clinical reasoning begins by recognizing that not everything matters, but some things are critical.

Here are some simple techniques you may find useful to help you in USMLE exam:

  • Practice honing your judgment by being clear why something matters. When studying, tell yourself why each fact is relevant and in what circumstances it might be of value. Keep asking yourself, “So what?” or “Why does this matter?” If you can’t answer the question, then the content is likely too esoteric to matter for the USMLE.
  • Put together a short lecture on some content with which you are struggling. Nothing organizes your understanding better than having to talk about it.
  • Write some questions. Not the simple recall questions, but the longer USMLE clinical case items. By thinking about what to include, or leave out of your questions, you are helping yourself focus on the details that matter.
  • After answering a question, go back over the content and tell yourself how you would need to change the question to make every one of the options correct.

Judgment is not the same as memorization. There is a big difference between knowing what a hammer is, and knowing the right occasions for using one. The transition from student to physician is one of the most important moments of your career. Remember, the USMLE is not testing if you are a good student, but if you will be a good physician.

Understand the value of Context and Combination:

The thought processes required on the USMLE are different than those required on most medical school exams. The content you need to know is the same. But the way you need to think about that content, and how you will use that content in your exam, requires some mental reprogramming.

  • Context is the key to understanding the information presented to you in a USMLE question. Particular facts mean different things in different circumstances. Meaning comes as much from surrounding data as from the presented detail itself. Fatigue, reported by a patient, may be an important symptom or merely the result of too little sleep. The meaning rests with the full set of symptoms and life circumstances presented. Single symptoms are ambiguous. Context provides the pieces to let you see the essential presented patterns.
  • Combination is the key process for the problem-solving required on USMLE questions. You must combine the information presented in the question with the information in your own head. The patterns you see plus the patterns you remember give you the insight to reason though to the best answer. If the question presents a symptom constellation, you must have the knowledge in your head to recognize the disease that this signifies. Recognizing a pattern in the question, but not remembering what it signifies means that you will not get the question correct.

Answer each USMLE question by first deciding, “What is given in the question?” and the deciding, “How does that relate to what you know?” This process, not simple association is the solution you seek. Content and combination result in the clarity you need to pick the best answer.

On medical school exams, recognition and paired association are the keys. A typical exam item presents a concept in the question stem and asks you to select the proper association from the presented choices. If you have studied sufficiently so that seeing a particular symptom reminds you of a disease diagnosis, or seeing a particular disease reminds you of the commonly used pharmacology, you will get the question correct.

The content is taken and reposted from THE PINNACLE from BECKER

How to approach and Prepare for USMLE exam

The key to successful exam preparation lies not in what you study, but in what you choose to ignore. If you try to learn everything, every little fact in too short amount of time, you will not succeed. A better system is to use the guidance of your faculty and your own native intelligence to decide what is most important and what is not to concentrate your efforts accordingly.

Assemble all the materials you have:

A truckload of bricks and a stack of lumber may contain everything you need to construct a house, but you will never have a house you can live in until they are all assembled in the right order. In the same vein, a pile of books may contain everything you need to prepare for your USMLE, but you are not ready to take your exam unless the material is organized it a way that makes it useful. Collecting the essential pieces is not enough. You must assemble the pieces in a way that allows you to see the fundamental patterns which are the key to successful problem-solving. Beyond simply having the knowledge, you must make sense of it.

Divide all material that you study into three categories:

  1. What you must know
  2. What you ought to know
  3. What it would be nice if you knew

Your goal is not to learn all the trees in the forest, but to come to an understanding of how the forest fits together. If you have trouble making these decisions on your own, that is what faculty are for. Faculty will guide you through the peaks and valleys of the material, helping you to separate the essential from the merely interesting.

Understand how to correlate the USMLE materials:

USMLE preparation is a time to move from collecting the pieces to assembling the puzzle picture that organizes and brings clarity. Remember that your goal at the end of this process is not to simply know things, but to understand how they all fit together. Only from that perspective can you respond to the sort of problems that you will encounter in each exam question. The key to effective study is not the accumulation of individual pieces of knowledge, but grasping the essential patterns that tie together the pieces and give them significance. In short, the core task is not to learn about things, but to learn the relationships among things.

So, how do you gain this larger understanding? How do you get attuned to the relationships so you are not blinded by the multitude of facts? Learning relationships occurs by three basic methods: examples, metaphors, and contrasts.

Examples show you concrete instances of the thing under discussion. By the concrete example you can understand the context very well. Examples let you grasp core principles by inductive reasoning. When I talk about an autoimmune disorder, you hear all of the defining features. But when I describe the process and progression of HIV/AIDS, you have a picture of something specific that anchors your retention of these essential features.

Metaphors highlight essential relationships by carrying over a known relationship to another context. A metaphor focuses on the essential relationship by virtue of the specified comparison; not an example of a thing, but an example of a relationship. To say one of the signs of Lupus is a red facial rash is correct information, but to say it looks like a butterfly gives a picture of a cluster of essential details which are otherwise difficult to convey verbally.

Contrasts highlight features by comparison. This comparison serves first a positive function, focusing our attention on certain features by virtue of the referent chosen for the contrast. Each thing in the world has a large number of characteristics or properties. Contrasts among things help us to see which characteristics are more worthy of our attention. It focuses us on what is unique and, thus, what is most essential. Trying to recall all the features of an elephant is too hard. But, being able to say how an elephant is different from a hippopotamus clarifies our understanding of the unique features of each animal.

Knowing things is not enough. The most essential insights of medicine are not what things are but how things relate to each other. You build up your USMLE score as you build this understanding of how things fit together.

How to manage your timings for USMLE Exam:

“If only I had more time,” is a common lament of students as they walk out of the USMLE. The simple fact is the USMLE is a timed test. And time matters. No, time by itself does not determine your score. But the time limits that govern each exam provides a constraint that restricts your potential and lowers your score.

Making the most of every minute requires efficiency. Here are three tips to help you get the most out of your limited time:

Practice a question routine

Learn and practice a question answering routine before you take your exam. Develop a set behavioral routine in which you do the same steps with each and every question you encounter to reduce wasted effort. A practiced habit for answering questions will free you from focusing process and allow you more time to mentally absorb the question and think though the content issues you encounter. A practiced question routine means more questions covered in less time.

Spend the bulk of your time on the question stem

Each question can be seen as having two parts. The question stem, which presents material in a clinical case format, and the options, which list the available answer choices along with a corresponding letter. A good rule of thumb is that 75% of your time on any question should be spent reading and thinking about the question stem, and only 25% should be spent on the options. Read the question stem carefully, but only read it once. You do not have time to read the long question stems on the USMLE twice. Then, when you turn to the options, be decisive and make your choice.

Make yourself choose faster

If you find yourself chronically short of time, the best solution is to train yourself to choose faster. Do not short your time on reading the question stem, you need time to take in the information provided and to gather the clues provided. The way to gain more time for yourself is to force yourself to make a choice as soon as you can. Research suggests that the time we spend on the question options can be divided into two parts. The first part we spend considering our choices and actually making our decision. The second part of the time we spend reconsidering, double checking, and doing other things to try to make ourselves more comfortable with the choice that we have really already made.

Train yourself to give up this search for comfort. Make your decision, live with it and move on!

How do you learn to deal with the distraction that time limits induce?

The most basic solution is to make sure you do all of your practice questions under time constrains so you can become accustomed to the feeling of the seconds slipping away. The clock is always running. You can’t stop it. But you can get used to the feel of the time limits and learn to pace yourself accordingly. Use your practice experiences to train yourself to see time limits not as an additional thing to worry about, but as a basic fact of exam.

By learning to control your time on your exam, you are learning to control your own destiny. And if you do that, then nothing, not even the pressure of time will keep you for achieving the success that you deserve.

Problem solving strategies for USMLE exam:

The USMLE is not only testing your content knowledge, but also your ability to problem-solve on your feet. Success on the USMLE depends on identifying issues and thinking clearly. Yes, you must have memorized essential content. But, the exam wants more from you than a demonstration of what you have memorized. The exam wants you to show that you know how to use what you have learned.

To make a right decision you must be a person who can assess, think and decide. The USMLE expects you to be in control of yourself and to demonstrate that by your control of the exam.

  1. Begin by making decisions and taking action based on those decisions.
  2. Decide what is essential and what lower yield is.
  3. Decide what study material resonates with you and helps the content to make coherent sense.
  4. Plan your study to cover the material you have selected.
  5. Make a study plan that maps your how much time you will study each day, and then follow it.
  6. Avoid excessive focus on percentage of questions right.
  7. Diagnose “why” for missed questions to improve performance.
  8. Avoid studying “every waking minute” and treat study time like a job.
  9. Make sure your strategy is one you can maintain long term, not just over a couple of days.

By making decisions all the way through your study preparation, you are not only going to do a better job of learning, you will also be teaching yourself the mental set and the self-control the USMLE requires. You know how to take charge because you have learned to take change of yourself. Your final USMLE score is a much a reflection of you control of the exam as it is your memorized knowledge. Take charge of your preparation and you will take charge of your exam.

Focus not on the accumulation of facts, but in fitting the facts together in a way that makes sense. Once these relationships are clear, the knowledge will never leave you. And from the building blocks you will have constructed a “house” you can live in for life.

The content is taken and reposted from THE PINNACLE from BECKER