This summer you’ll need to be protecting yourself from the sun by loading up on your SPF. In a lot of ways, protecting yourself with SPF is the same as protecting yourself with board review products for your exam. Here are three ways they are similar.
1. Using It Means You Are Prepared
Of course, you are not going to roll out of bed on the morning of the exam, grab the proverbial number 2 pencil and take the exam. You are going to strategize your approach to studying for the boards, prepare your line of attack and then implement it in the months leading up to the board exam. According to seasoned doctors, featured in A Complete Guide to Medical Residency, who have taken the exam, the best studying scenario boils down to four steps:
- Develop a schedule.
- Stick to it.
- Master three, maybe four, sources.
- Work hard.
What do physicians look for in board prep tools?
A survey conducted by Knowledge Plus of the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) asked the question of physicians who have taken board exams in the last five years, some who were preparing for their first exam and others who haven’t taken an exam for more than 10 years. They found that:
75% reported using more than one tool to study.
- Textbooks were cited as the most frequently-used tool.
- Online question banks were a close second.
- Print question banks and live board review courses were third.
Textbooks might have been the most frequently used tools, but they weren’t considered the most effective
- 70% rated print and online question banks as “highly effective”.
- Live board review courses ranked second.
- Textbooks, study groups, and tutors tied for a distant third.
That is why we say that using a board prep tool means that you are prepared; just like you are when using sunscreen.
2. You Can Use As Much As You Need, & As Often As You Like
Each physician employs a different strategy when it comes to studying for the boards. The one common denominator is that they study frequently and consistently.
How long did the physicians in the MMS survey study?
- 74% said they started preparing for board exams more than 3 months in advance. Among that group:
- 37% reported that they began studying 3-6 months before their exam.
- 10% reported that they didn’t do any formal preparation and relied purely on daily learning and practice.
- Physicians spent from two to more than 150 hours per month studying. The average was 39.4 hours with the median at 25 hours.
No matter how you cut it, that is a lot of review and practice. You need a board prep tool that will fit your studying style and strategy, and allow you to access it as much as you need to, whenever you need to. (Just like sunscreen.)
3. Using It Will Save You From A World Of Hurt
You really don’t want to spend months studying and then fail the exam. It is true that physicians fail the boards and retake them. The majority go on to be in active practice for many years. But why not do everything in your power to prevent failing in the first place? You need to prepare, strategize and study. Using board prep tools will save you a world of hurt.
You may get burned if you don’t use sunscreen, but you certainly don’t want to get burned on the boards for lack of preparation. Using professional board prep tools is as beneficial as wearing sunscreen, (use both if you study in the sun.)