Happy Friday! I finished my last set of basic science exams today, which means the bulk of my second year of medical school is officially complete. That means no more all day mandatory lectures ever again and more time to study for my upcoming board exams! The only courses I will have to worry about from here on out are Primary Care Skills on Tuesdays and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine labs on Thursdays. That means I’ll spend no more than four hours on campus each week, and I am so happy for the chance to finally be able to focus!
In case you’re new to the blog and confused about all the board exam talk, six weeks from now, on June 4, 2016, I will be taking the marathon 8-hour exam known as USMLE Step 1, which is the first in a series of medical board licensing exams. Six days after that, on June 10th, I will be taking yet another 8-hour licensing exam known as COMLEX Level 1. Not only do I need to pass the COMLEX to graduate, but both of these exams will pretty much play a huge role in me being able to match into the future residency program of my choice. So, yes, the struggle is definitely real right now!
The past few weeks have been a bit rough dealing with balancing lectures, studying for boards, and handling the million other things on my to-do list, so I am looking forward to having a better schedule. I’ve been waking up at 4:30 most mornings to do my readings and questions, and then a lot of time spent in class was dedicated towards finishing up questions, with evenings being dedicated to reviewing the material. It’s pretty much been the only way I could get everything on my list accomplished in one day. I’ve also started going to sleep around 9:30/10pm, which was super rough at first because I’m used to staying up until 1 or 2am, but I think I’m starting to get used to it. Going forward I’ll most likely keep my current sleep/wake schedule and that’ll give me a chance to still have a few free hours every night to relax and handle my mommy responsibilities and other outside stuff. Plus, I’m noticing that my brain has decided to stop working after 7pm, so it all works out, LOL.
As for the actual board prep, I’m still keeping it pretty simple. My major resources are UWORLD, First AID for the USMLE, COMBANK and Pathoma. I sprinkle in a little Goljan every now and then, and I may incorporate a little DIT for some of my weak points. I learn best from questions, so my goal is to do as many as possible between now and my exam dates. I finished my first pass of UWORLD at the end of February, so I’ve been going through my incorrect and marked questions. Tomorrow makes six weeks from my exam date, so I plan on resetting UWORLD and starting fresh. I haven’t finished all of COMBANK yet, but apparently we will have to do questions from it as part of a class grade, so I am trying to save what I haven’t completed on the COMLEX side for that. Depending on how much I get accomplished, I might also buy a 30-day subscription for the Kaplan Qbank, and I will also be taking all of the available NBME and UWORLD assessments before my exam date. I took my first NBME assessment before AMEC and was not happy with my score, but I did have a 20 point improvement when I took my first UWORLD assessment last weekend, so hopefully I can get up to the score I want. This week was lost studying for class exams, so I won’t be waking up to take an assessment tomorrow morning, but I will be back on track with the weekly weekend assessments starting next weekend. I also plan on taking two NBME assessments the week before my exam because I really need to build up my stamina.
That’s pretty much it for board prep. I am definitely requesting prayers, positive vibes, support, and most of all patience and understanding as I shut myself away and become unavailable over the next several weeks. I won’t be posting on here as much until after I finish my exams, but since blogging relaxes me, I’m sure you’ll hear from me a few times before then. I also appreciate all the emails I receive from you all, but there will be some huge delays in my response time, so don’t get upset if it takes a while to hear back from me. I’ll also be trying to avoid other forms of social media (mostly Facebook) because it is a huge time suck! Five minutes always turns into an hour for me when I’m on there, so I might check every now and then to make sure I’m not missing any information from my class or rotation group, but that will be about it. Pictures are quick and easy though, so I’ll probably keep posting to my Instagram account :-)
But other than that, I hope everyone has been having a wonderful week and that your weekend is even better. The little one has been begging me to have a picnic, so I might attempt to do that tomorrow (along with my First Aid book in tow). Outside of that, these goals aren’t gonna happen by themselves, so the study grind is on!