Selecting the Best USMLE Review

Reference & EducationCollege & University

  • Author Gerald Faye Johnson
  • Published August 3, 2011
  • Word count 473

A lot of review programs are available and offers many promises in terms of attaining success with the USMLE Steps. But what makes a USMLE review worth your while, money and energy? A "review" is a traditional and century-old method of helping students for all sorts of examinations – standardized, teacher-made, diagnostics, placement tests and many more. To determine if your choice of review plan or program will be productive, look into the following points:

Appropriate for the Needed Learning. The review should be so conducted as to bring together related facts on the practice of medicine to establish new relationship of ideas by means of the knowledge you already possessed.

Well understood by you the medical student. It is not enough that you simply learn material from the USMLE review. The you, the student, must know why that knowledge is needed. You must be able to understand and be made to see clearly why the review will give you needed achievements that have value. To have value, the review should deal with relevance. The review should focus on high-yield facts that are of the utmost importance rather than minute details that are of little consequence and seldom tested.

Useful Results. The results of practice tests that were administered in the review program should be utilized to evaluate the medical students' development and improvement. If this is not so, then the review will not be taken as significant nor worthwhile.

Utilization of review results in teaching. When you answer test papers, whether in your academics or review sessions, you are partly giving a general idea of how effective your teachers and mentors in providing appropriate knowledge and skills. Though it is true that the results of any written examination describes what a student know and don't know, it also provides a good set of information as to how well the review session had been delivered. The score you get from practice tests does not signify how much improvement you've made. It also connotes what more is needed to be done by the review mentors and facilitators.

Any medical student that is aptly preparing for the USMLE Step one will experience anxiety not just from the feeling of inadequate knowledge and skills from his first two years of medical school, but because this is the first time that they will encounter what USMLE boards will be like. Some students will assuage this anxiety by getting themselves some firsthand information and tips from First Aid for the USMLE and consider it enough preparation. As the parable of the ant and the grasshopper goes, it's better to prepare for the rainy days ahead. Quite true. No one can really say what's inside the USMLE Step One until you are already seated squirming in your seat, groping for answers – a situation you would like to avoid of course.

Gerald Faye Johnson is an Educational Content Consultant for various Step One USMLE Reviews produced by Apollo Audiobooks, LLC and Premedical Solutions, LLC. You can find the source interview podcast for this USMLE 1 resource at our website.

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