November 29, 2012

Tips for Passing MERP

I've taken over this blog here once again, but now as an official a medical student!! I would like to thank our family and friends for supporting us these past few months. Your encouragement and support has truly made us feel blessed.

I thought I would write a post about how I was able to survive MERP (and, no, surprisingly enough, I didn't get by on my charm and extraordinarily good looks).

So here is Matt’s MERP survival list!!
  • Go to class. Some people liked to just stay at home and media site which is fine, but going to class you are able to hear the questions from students, you are able to hear the little tips the professors will give before/after lecture and the big thing is, it gets you out of your house. But find what works for you.
  • Study! Seems obvious, right? But you need to start studying from day one.  Everyone has their own study style. Find what works for you and stick with it. You can't study the same way you did in undergrad. You need to understand the material, not just memorize a bunch of facts, take an exam and forget them. Everything builds on each other.  If you aren't getting something, then change how you study it. Just don’t let yourself get behind.
  • Don’t let your classmates psyche you out. Everyone has different learning styles but be confident in yourself and your abilities. Just because something worked for one, doesn't mean it will work for you.
  • Find a good study group. I don’t know what I would have done without my group!! PBL #2!!! If you are in a group and you feel you aren't being productive, go somewhere else. A good study group is key to success (in my opinion anyway!).
  • Do QUESTIONS!!!! Honestly this is how I learned the material. Every Sunday I would meet up with my group, and we would just go over questions. We used old quizzes, BRS (physio) and Pretest (physio). We would also ask each other questions we came up with. Make sure, however, you aren't just memorizing questions but understanding the concepts!!
  • Challenge yourself! Keep trying to relate everything together or come up with possible real world scenarios. For example, if we came across a question in BRS that didn't really pertain to the material we had learned, we would change it so it would.
  • Take the quizzes seriously. Yes they are collectively only 7% of your grade BUT they are a good indicator of your knowledge of the material and they are good practice for the mini. So if you bomb a quiz don’t sweat it, BUT go over what you missed and understand why you did.
  • Ask questions!! If you are too embarrassed to ask the faculty, then ask one of the junior faculty. Go to office hours, go to anatomy lab, send them emails, ask in class - what ever you have to do just make sure you understand!
  • Get a schedule and stick to it. Set times for breaks, dinner or SLEEP. It’s easy to get burned out quickly if you don’t.
  • Every day spend a few hours away from your notes: go workout, watch a movie or SLEEP!! On Saturdays, my friend Jon and I would spend a few hours snorkeling. Just to get away and to get a break in our 12-15 hours of studying.  The biggest thing to get over is that it’s ok to not be studying every waking moment. But, balance is key. You didn't come here to socialize. You came here to go to medical school. 
  • Most importantly…enjoy it! A positive attitude will go a long way.
Well I hope this helps. Just remember everyone is going to be different. Just because someone studies a certain way, doesn't mean you are studying wrong. If you begin to feel overwhelmed (which you will) just take a step back take a breath and tackle one thing at a time. If you don’t do well on the first exam or quiz, its not the end of the world, just go back and figure out what you can do differently.

Finally, don't let the pass rate intimidate you. Just study hard and stay focused and worry about yourself. If you have any questions still please feel free to email me matthewswells04[at]gmail[dot]com. Be strong, be confident, have faith in yourself and enjoy the crazy ride!!


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