The Pediatric Cardiology Certification Exam can be an overwhelming undertaking. The exam almost equally covers 18 different topics and lasts about half a day. When prepping for the exam, try not to become overwhelmed or panic. It won’t help you effectively study. The key to passing is staying calm and keeping a clear head. Follow these three tips & tricks and you’ll ace this exam, no problem.
First things first: get organized. The best way to nix overwhelming feelings is to get them out of your head and onto paper (or electronic screen). Figure out the best medium for you to plan your studying, whether it be a handheld planner or a calendar app on your phone or computer, just find something you’ll actually use. Make the most out of it:
- Map out which topic(s) you plan to cover each day
- Schedule realistic timeframes for each topic
- Make a checklist of exactly how you plan to master for each topic
According to Forbes, highly productive people schedule their days down to the minutes rather than by hour or half-hour chunks. When it gets closer to the exam and you’re in crunch mode, this technique will prove beneficial to make sure you have enough time to review everything.
Also, make sure to pencil in breaks so you don’t burn out, and make time for review days, so you don’t forget what you have already studied. Schedule everything in advance so you’re not squeezing in last minute topics or find yourself without days to review.
- Figure out which study techniques work for you.
Everyone learns differently. It doesn’t matter what your study style is, as long as you find the one that fits for you… and fast. Discover what works early on in your studies so you don’t waste time trying to learn the material in a way that your brain doesn’t like. Some people swear by just one technique, and others thrive using a blend.
- Visual Learning: drilling flashcards and reading over books and notes will be most helpful.
- Tactical Learning: write notes out will be idyllic (if this seems like you, it may be time to invest in a whiteboard).
- Auditory Learning: reading out loud or making a study group to discuss material would be very beneficial.
Regardless of your preferred study style, using practice quizzes to test yourself is a great way to gauge whether you know your material or not, figure out what you need to improve on, and get practice for the actual exam. There is a strong correlation between the number of practice questions and performance on the board exams. You can access over 200 practice questions, as well as detailed explanations, with BoardVitals Pediatric Cardiology question bank.
- Play musical chairs.
I don’t know about you, but studying in the same exact spot for the entire day makes my brain turn to mush. To prevent boredom, procrastination, and non-productive studying, switch locations a couple times a day. This helps clear your head, wakes you up, and gets your blood flowing.
Try this out: every time you switch to a new study topic, find a new chair to study in. Whether it’s moving to a different room in a library or taking a walk to the quiet coffee shop with good wifi down the street, switching things up will increase your productivity and allow your studying to be more effective.
Moving around can even translate into a short break.
- Listen to music and take a long walk
- Grab lunch with friends or take a quick nap
- Hit the gym
- Watch an episode of your favorite show
Whatever it is, taking a quick break when you start to feel sluggish in your studies will allow you to have more energy and brainpower when you get back to them later.
With these three easy tips, passing the Pediatric Cardiology Exam will be a breeze. Share your favorite study techniques in the comments.