As a medical student, you might have wondered many times how to study for an MBBS exam, because the whole prospect of it is a headache.
No matter where we go exams can really make our lives hard- stress, headaches, all-nighters, and a lot more.
And I’ve been through the same too- and so I thought I’d write a post for newbie medicos out there about my thoughts on how to study for an MBBS exam and help them through their exam times.
SO here we go!
How to prepare for any MBBS exam- tips for medical students
1. Plan, plan, and plan
The first and foremost strategy is to have a good plan with you.
You can’t do everything in such a short time, so make a plan that you believe you can stick to without a doubt.
Start early is something you might want to keep in mind.
2. The main goal is to study something from everything
Okay, let me clarify.
The vastness of our curriculum is so huge that it can swallow a whale in one gulp.
So cramming everything the night before is not a good idea.
(remember you were actually supposed to learn from the start)
But a good idea is that, if you can’t learn every topic in the syllabus, learn at least a little from every topic.
Don’t try to eat it all in one bite.
Make sure you have an idea about every topic that’s possibly gonna show up for the exam.
Like, have at least 2 or 3 points prepared for probable questions.
So find question papers from previous years and outline major questions.
They are always going to ask these same questions for years to come.
3. Don’t read textbooks from front to back.
Don’t read notes like this, either.
If you just read the topics that you have already seen before, the process becomes passive and you’ll start skimming through the pages.
Instead, find some question papers from previous years.
Go through the questions and try to answer them.
Now you’ll realize passively reading the textbooks is not going to help you.
The best method is to learn by active recalling methods like using flashcards and doing practice tests occasionally.
You can also try reading your textbooks more actively to study the subject.
This way, you’ll be able to become aquainted with the subject and retain more information.
4. Divide the whole syllabus into small topics
And then divide them into subtopics.
Because if you are planning to complete anatomy in the first 10 days and physiology in the next 10, you won’t be writing biochemistry because this plan won’t work.
You can’t study a full subject in a few days.
But if you break up each subject into little topics, each of these topics into little subtopics, and then mixup all these subjects, at least you will cover some topics from every subject, if not all.
For example, instead of studying hematology as a whole, try breaking it up into red cells, WBCs, platelets and so on. Then subdivide them into even smaller topics and study each one.
And studying smaller topics can save a ton of time too, because you won’t get bored of reading only one topic otherwise.
5. Use study techniques like pomodoro and time-blocking
I guess all of us know what a Pomo is.
Try out these study techniques and find which one suits you the best. Stick to it, so that you’ll feel more comfortable wth studying during exam season.
And whatever study method you follow, remember to take adequate breaks whenever you feel burnt out.
6. The three minute rule
Well, you mustt have heard about this technique in many other names, but let me just use this one.
It’s a technique to beat procrastination; and we all use it from time to time without actually realizing that it’s one.
If you have a core/task that you might put off, try doing it for just 3 minutes.
This 3 minute window can actually remove the avoidance mindset- yes, your task won’t be finished in these 3 minutes, but you’ll soon realize that it is not as hard as you imagined it to be.
So try this for once deliberately and see if it works!
7. Change study environment once in a while
It’s always a good thing for a student to have a comfortable and functional study space.
A study space can actually boost your productivity as a student as the familiarity of the space and it’s purpose is study-related.
But changing up your study environment onnce in a while might help you beat monotony, if you are feeling any.
Try library, or a cafe, or any other comfortable study space whenever you feel like you need a change of place.
1. Surround yourself with good people
This one’s very important not just for an exam preparation, but generally for your life as well.
Surround yourself with positive people.
And by positive people, I mean people with whom you are comfortable with and you think are worth your time.
Block out any negative people during your preparations for any exam, especially if it is an MBBS exam.
2. No more cliché dialogs, med-nerd
You might know students who says ‘i haven’t studied anything at all, I might fail’ and then score full marks for an exam.
We also tend to lie to other people about the progress we are making just so they won’t assume you would perform better.
Because we all are competitive.
I’d say, don’t do this.
When you say you haven’t studied anything, or you are still struggling, you are actually saying a negative sentence that your mind will assume as the situation.
And it can jinx your progress, because subconciously, your mind thinks that you haven’t been studying enough.
So, be honest next time someone ask you how far your preparations are.
I’m not dsaying that you have to tell them your whole strategy, but at least leave out negative sentences from your conversation.
So no more cliches, nerd *wink*
3. Declutter more often
Your mind, workspace and devices.
These three are the distraction elements in our daily life.
So keeping these clean will help you focus on your work and improve your productivity.
Journal you rthoughts out, or talk them out to keep you rmind focused.
CLean up your desk every night before going to bed. That way you can wake to a clean desk and feel more ready for the day.
4. Ask for HELP
It is always imperative to know when you need help and when to ask for help.
You cannot always handle things perfectly- sometimes you might feel overwhelmed, or stressed as a medical student.
So remember, asking for help once in a while won’t hurt you; it means that you are taking care of yourself.
Be it anything related to studies or personal life, you can share it with the people in your life.
1. Good food, enough sleep and plenty of water
During exam season, it is equally important to take care of your body as much as your mind.
You have to be alert and focused.
So, eat healthy meals and drink a lot of water to keep you from dehydration.
Avoid greasy, high-salt, high-sugar foods completely if you can. Eat a lot of vegetables and fruits to maintain a healthy balance.
Get enough sleep. Take short naps if you are very much exhausted.
Drink a lot of water after waing up.
2. Get your body moving
Excercising ccan increase your cardiac output, increase peripheral blood flow and keep you active and alert for a long time.
Go for a run or speed walk. If you can’t go outside work out in your room itself.
A healthy diet and excercise everyday can boost your mood and help you keep anxiety at bay.
3. Decrease screen time
Streaming videos until 3 in the morning? Rewarding yourself by binging that sitcom every night until late? Reading pdfs and digital notes for exams?
It might sound very appealing, and I’m sure most of your night routine is basically what I said above.
Please, please don’t do this anymore, my friend!
Try decreasing your screen time and get enough rest during night time.
If you can’t do that, at least get some blue-light filter glasses to protect your eyes.
Or you can do anything digtal before your bed time and give your eyes some break before going to sleep.
These are some tips and advice that helped me study for exams more strategically.
In my first year, nobody was there to guide me through the course let alone tell me how to study for MBBS exams (and exams are my nightmares).
That is why I’m writing this post for my juniors out there, to let them know that someone cares and is there to help you.
Do share this post to your friends too!