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Improve Your Medical Education By Using Spaced Repetition

Improve Your Medical Education By Using Spaced Repetition

Medical school requires a great deal of learning, and not a lot of time to do it. If you want to succeed, you need to make the most of every minute. One way to do that is by modifying your study style to be more efficient. Employing the spaced repetition method of studying allows you to cover more material in less time.

Spaced repetition is a simple concept. You space your study blocks out, leaving free intervals in between. Using this method to study allows you to grasp more material and spend less time studying.

If all of this sounds too good to be true, you should know that it is based on science. The spacing effect, which is something that happens in our memory processes, helps the brain understand and retain information more effectively when there are spaces between study sessions.

You may have noticed that some things seem to fade easily from your memory, while other things, such as an old phone number, stay stuck in there forever. The reason for this is complex, but it is a normal part of memory. You can harness the way memory works to your advantage to help in your medical education studies.

There are two different types of memory strength. Retrieval strength can fade over time. This is the ability of the brain to access memories. Storage strength, on the other hand, does not generally fade away. Your brain keeps these memories on file for easy access. You can train your brain to increase its storage strength through practice and use.

What does all of this have to do with spaced repetition? To access the material you learn, it needs to be in the storage area of your brain. To efficiently get it there, spaced repetition is called into play. By learning something and then leaving it alone, you will inevitably forget some or most of it. By picking it back up again, you learn it again. The cycle of learning and leaving the material strengthens its position in your brain. When the time comes, you will be able to easily recall the material.

Taking USMLE prep courses powered by spaced repetition to improve memory recalls can help you to prepare for the United States Medical Licensing Examination is an effective way of committing the material you need to know to memory. The USMLE takes place in three steps and is a requirement for medical licensure.

The first step is a day-long test that takes place in seven separate blocks. The test is typically taken after the medical student completes their second year of medical school. The results of this examination will have a tremendous impact on your entire medical career. Scores are used to determine eligibility for specialties and matches.

The second step of the exam is typically taken during the medical student's fourth year. It is designed to determine how effectively the medical student can apply their knowledge. While step 1 covers subject matter such as pathology, biochemistry, and physiology, step 2 focuses on medical specialties, such as preventive and internal medicine. Step 2 exams also require the student to demonstrate their ability to perform a physical examination, gather medical history, and communicate with others.

The final step of the USMLE requires the student or graduate to demonstrate their ability to manage patient care unsupervised. Step 3 is a rigorous, two-day examination that includes multiple-choice testing as well as case simulations.

Passing all three phases of this test is necessary to become certified to practice medicine. Medical school is a huge time commitment, and the idea of not reaching your goal due to problems with these assessments is devastating. Utilizing a test prep course, along with spaced repetition, is an important part of the study process.

Taking the USMLE will require you to recall information from every year of your medical training. The testing during the final stage will include fundamentals you covered in your first semester of medical school. Utilizing spaced repetition ensures that those memories will be close at hand when the testing time arrives.

You may be wondering how long the spaces between study sessions should be. The answer is, it depends. The longer you have until you are tested on the information, the longer the repetition space should be. This means that for a test next week, you may want to study the material, wait a day or so, study again, then wait several more days before a final review.

For longer-term testing, think in terms of weeks and months, rather than days. If you are planning to take a section of the USMLE test in one year, go over the materials, revisit in a month, revisit after two or three more, wait an additional three or four months before reviewing again, and do some final review work before the exam.

For spaced repetition to work at its best, plan to have your initial study session, as well as time for four additional repetitions of the material before the exam. This should give your brain time to solidify the memories and allow you to recall them as needed. This style of study works well because it doesn't require you to set aside your current studies to study for the exam. Instead, you can schedule the repetitions into your calendar without letting it consume your life.