Usama Syed, MD

Usama Syed, MD



I went to one of the top 10 medical schools in the world (Imperial College London), got a 'distinction' in every exam, in every year, and scored in the top 1% on the #USMLE Step 1 when moving to the USA. Here's my 5 tips for how to study more effectively for exams... 🧡 1/

πŸ™…πŸ½β€β™‚οΈ 1) NEVER compare your study style with ANY other student. The #1 cause of anxiety and confusion amongst students is looking at those around them and being convinced that they're doing something wrong, or 'falling behind'. Every single year, there would be some students... 2/

who would be "revising" from week 1, books in front of them on the table, walking home from the library late at night - and who would fail. There would be others who never went to lectures or the library and 'got serious' at tactical times throughout the year - and passed! 3/

Everyone's different! You're not 'falling behind' and doomed just because you've seen other students working earlier than you. They may be spending 10 hours in the library on their phones, or studying the wrong material, and you've just stressed yourself for no reason! 4/

πŸ’‘2) Understand the assignment. Putting in extra effort at the beginning to get a sense of what is TRULY going to be tested on an exam saves you a TONNE of time. Here's where your seniors come in - they can usually give you useful advice on what concepts are most testable... 5/

and save you spending weeks and weeks digging into rabbit holes of niche content that are not high yield. You want to be matching the time you spend on subject areas with how much they are proportionately represented in an exam e.g. "physiology" in USMLE step 1 is a BIG chunk. 6/

πŸ“†3) Understand your timeline. From the beginning of your academic year, have a clear idea of when your exams are, and work backwards from those dates to find when YOU need to 'get serious'. That time will be different for each person. But you should know and stick to yours. 7/

πŸ’¦ 4) Be ready to put time in. No matter how 'naturally smart' you think you are, if you haven't put in the time to encounter the content being covered in the exam, you'll fail. You can't 'figure out' what the co-factors in the Krebs cycle are. Some stuff will be PURE effort. 8/

Someone who is blessed with a better memory will need less cycles of repetition to ingrain a fact into their mind, but they'll still need cycles. 'Time in' may be small chunks throughout the year, or insane marathons at the end 'cramming' - both can work (one is healthier!) 9/

❓ 5) Question banks are your best friend. I absolutely LOVE using question banks to study. I'll do a whole thread in future on how to best use these, but I think they are the absoluteπŸ”‘ to scoring well in exams and using study time effectively. 10/

Question banks tie in the best aspects of evidence based study techniques ("active recall", "spaced repetition"... where my @AliAbdaal army at?) while also providing a gamified aspect to your studying, and giving structure to your work day (e.g. "2 tests a day"). 11/

πŸ’­ So that's 5 little tips for now! If you gained any benefit from this thread, I'd appreciate you scrolling up and retweeting the first tweet to help reach other #students! Also, if you're interested in more studying content, let me know so I can plan future threads!

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