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I can't study for more than 6 hours each day :(

Discussion in 'Step I' started by alternatego, 04.11.12.

  1. alternatego

    alternatego

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    I can't help but wonder how in God's green Earth can some people study for 10-12 hours daily without going insane, I've been studying for 6 hours daily and if I even attempt to study an extra hour I just can't keep myself focused so its completely useless

    Is there any study showing an average of how many hours per day do students usually take to study for Step 1?
  2. CatFactorial

    CatFactorial

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    How long have you been at it for? You may be able to put in more time eventually.

    Then again, if you are efficient in 6 hours who cares?
  3. KnuxNole

    KnuxNole Sweets Addict

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    Trust me, I was there too. Don't feel bad as long as what you are doing is effective, you are reviewing diligently, and you are powering through UW questions just fine. I could have never come close to spending 10 hours studying in one day...I felt burned out at 8hrs, which is why I did mixes of 6hrs and 8hrs studying for this beast. In med school, the most I had to put in was 8hrs during crunch time for exams, and that alone was extremely draining :scared: Doing any more and I would have a panic attack.


    I am curious about a study for average hours for Step 1. I also wondered HOW people could spend 10-12 hrs. Taking small breaks? Or getting less sleep, or even waking up super early? Or are they just super awesome? :D

    Longer hours doesn't always mean better, especially if the study time gets into distractions. I ended up doing 2 hours blocks and take 1 hour breaks to ease my mind because I needed my brain to refocus to keep up with all that work. And that ended up being 6-8hrs of efficient studying. Like you, 6 hrs felt like the max, until I realized I could push it further, go an extra 2 hour block, and still have time afterwards for free time. A practice exam of course is different, but you'll find that when you are taking a test, you only need short bursts and possible a lunch break as opposed to reading/tutor questions cause it has the ability to drain the **** out of you.

    Different people work differently.
  4. shan564

    shan564 Below the fray

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    When I first started out, I was happy with doing 4-5 hours a day, since even that much is quite contrary to my nature. But somehow, that number has been getting progressively bigger...
  5. Houmd

    Houmd

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    ^
    That reflects my current experience exactly.

    Don't worry OP. At first it was difficult to really continue like that but then after awhile things just start to groove and move much quicker. This is especially true once you've completed UW once through and start to see the exact same concepts over and over and the repetition alone allows them to be engraved into your mind.
  6. WarriorMD

    WarriorMD

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    I started out at 2-3 hours and worked upto 3-4. I'm now at 5-6 and I feel like there's not enough hours in a day to spend so much time studying and do everything else I need to do in life haha.

    But as time progresses I'm start to put in more and more time daily. There are people at my library who put in 12 hours non-stop, with only a 10 minute break between and then they go home and do a couple Q's.... really don't understand how that's even possible but they seem to do it day in day out without problems.
  7. djquickfingers

    djquickfingers Member

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    If I get a good 6 hours in, I'm good...no use "saying" I studied for 12 hrs, when I actually didn't and blew the rest browsing SDN
  8. shan564

    shan564 Below the fray

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    Ha, yeah, that's why I never try to actually quantify the number of hours that I was studying...
  9. RedSoxSuck

    RedSoxSuck

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    Thats why i go to the library and dont take my computer with me. At home when i have an urge to scratch my ass somehow it turns out to be a 10 minute endeavor. However, at the library i am less likely to scratch my ass anyway.
  10. startoverat40

    startoverat40 MS2

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    start your day with 30-45 mins of light to moderate exercise. take 30 minute breaks after every 2 hours of studying. eat a snack, rest your eyes, listen to some music, do some jumping jacks, then go back to studying. while studying try mixing up the topics. also try mixing the modes of study (reading, audio/video, Qbanks). stay hydrated. eat plenty of fruits and vegs. eat more frequent but smaller meals. memory is consolidated during sleep, so make sure to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep. that adds up to 12 hours of study (10 hrs of study + 2 hrs of breaks) and 8 hrs of sleep, 1 hr of exercise + personal hygiene, 1 hour for meals, leaving 2 hrs to spare. clean up your apt, do your laundry, go out with friends, but don't drink too much (alchohol interferes with memory consolidation). practice good sleep hygiene. if you don't need to study for 10 hours, then that frees up 3 to 4 hours. use it for hobbies and other fun activities.

    how's this idea (8-10 hrs of study)

    7am
    30 mins exercise
    30 mins shower, eat
    2 hours read review books
    30 mins break - eat snack

    10:30am
    2 hours look at review videos
    30 mins break - eat light lunch

    1pm
    2 hours do Qbanks
    30 mins break - eat snack
    2 hours do GT flashcards and questions

    5:30pm
    go out for fun and dinner with friends/family.

    8-10pm
    2 more hours optional study - look over your notes and FA annotations from that day
    1 hour sleep routine (don't watch TV)

    11pm
    sleep
    Last edited: 04.12.12
  11. Munchen

    Munchen

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    I do the "jumping jacks" bit :)
  12. DoctwoB

    DoctwoB

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    (1) Caffeine
    (2) Mix it up. Don't just read first aid all day. Read first aid a bit, do some pharm cards, a qbank set, then more first aid, then a goljan lecture while running at the gym, etc. Maybe have an hour of group study/quizzing when you feel pretty done for the day.

    Using this I was able to power through about 14h/day (probably more like 12.5 when accounting for meals/breaks) for 5 weeks which was plenty for me.
  13. shan564

    shan564 Below the fray

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    For me, it helps to have a lot of little breaks and a couple of big ones. I might wake up in the morning and relax, surf the Internet, etc. for the first hour or so. Then, depending on what my plan is for today and yesterday, I might review yesterday's FA coverage, watch a Pathoma lecture, read some new FA material (which is a lot easier now that I've been using USMLERx Express as a guide through FA), etc. Usually, after every 20-30 minutes of studying, I'll spend 5-10 minutes doing other stuff... maybe make some lemonade, watch a YouTube video, browse SDN or USMLE-forums, check my email, pick up the guitar (although that one can end up draining an hour), make a phone call, etc.

    And I pretty much follow that pattern throughout the day. A block of studying, a block of goofing off, etc. There will be a longer break for lunch, dinner, and gym (every other day). And if it's clear that I'll be way ahead of schedule for a particular day, then I might head over to Hulu and watch the latest episodes of my favorite TV shows.

    So in the end, I'm studying from wake-up time to bedtime... but I'd say that only about 60% of that time is actual studying. And I find that the little breaks are good for letting the material take some time to sink in (they say that you remember the beginning and the end of something better than the middle, so I try to have a lot of "beginnings" and "ends" in my study periods).
  14. RedSoxSuck

    RedSoxSuck

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    Thats what i am doing everyday:

    Monday to Friday:

    Wake up: 7 am

    Enter library door: 8:03am. I get pissy if i am late even a minute

    Study: 8:10am to 315pm. Break every 50 minute or so. Only to walk to the restroom since i drink alot of Diet green tea and water. Good for flushing out 8 daily espresso shots.

    3:15pm leave the library and get home

    Gym: 330pm

    Study: 530pm

    Stop studying 10:30pm

    In bed: 1130pm.

    Rinse and repeat monday thru friday


    SATURDAY:

    Get up at the same time and follow exact same schedule. Only difference is that i studyin until 1am on sunday because sunday is my scheduled day off so i can squeeze in couple of few hours on saturday night.


    Caveat: Schedule does not mean squat if i can't improve on my Next NBME or do well on step 1.

    Meals: I am one of those health nuts who is a gym rat and eats 7-8 times a day every 2-3 hours so i usually prepare my food for the entire day in the morning. It helps me keep my blood glucose at a normal level and prevents fluctuations.
  15. jumpmanv15

    jumpmanv15

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    i am attempting to study and pass the boards in less than 90 days. and i have been putting in 4-6 hour days... im hopign to ramp it up to 12-14 hour days when it gets to the last 6 weeks by slowly increasing the amount of study hours to day. Since i feel so behind i stopped going to the gym but that shouldnt be the case should it? or maybe once i feel more caught up i will resume going again
  16. shan564

    shan564 Below the fray

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    I think most of us like to listen to Goljan at the gym so that you can exercise without feeling unproductive.
  17. Ronin786

    Ronin786 ASA Member

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    Its interesting how everyone I see thats studying for Step 1 also goes to the gym. I wonder if its a continuation of always going to the gym, or just breaking the monotony.
  18. jumpmanv15

    jumpmanv15

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    a little of bit i would think
  19. JackShephard MD

    JackShephard MD

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    I was unaware they make diet green tea. Lol

    How does one consume 8 shots of espresso? How much does that cost, $10?
  20. Priti Dave

    Priti Dave

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    It will become very tough and you will start making money aroung 37. why you dont go for eng and do MBA that is very smart path and lot of money too if you are MBA from very good school.
  21. RedSoxSuck

    RedSoxSuck

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    Man, diet green tea is the best. Not too sweet but enough to be good. Lol. You can't find it at a gas station so u have to go to the grocery store. I usually get the Arizona kind which a Asian lady on it. Lol

    I have a cheap espresso maker , 40 bucks from amazon, and it works like a charm. I usually get that 1 lb of espresso beans from Starbucks. Last me 3 weeks since I am consuming way too much. It's pretty cheap.
  22. shan564

    shan564 Below the fray

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    Diet Mountain Dew is my elixir. If it didn't exist, I'll bet my Step 1 score would go down by at least 10 points.
  23. alternatego

    alternatego

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    I'm already a doctor, I just want to be able to do my residency in the US. Thanks for the unsolicited career advice, :rolleyes:

    Thanks to everybody else, who actually posted useful advice regarding my post.
  24. Staradmiral

    Staradmiral

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    I can't study more than 7hours a day and i'm top of my class. it's all about being efficient. It's how much you memorize not how long you study
  25. jatt12

    jatt12

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    Not everyone is same, and it is quality not quantity that matters ;)
  26. currentofinjury

    currentofinjury

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    try coca leafs? :luck:

    how do you think bolivians spend all day and night blocking streets and highways across their country, even after losing parts of their bodies?

    THIS IS THE FUTURE, don't fear it... embrace it.

    - I know my nickname is the coolest, don't bother.
  27. jatt12

    jatt12

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    Trust me, i know lot of students in my class who study like 9 to 10 hours everyday and when there is quiz time they forget most of the stuff, study 5-6 hour quality time and you be good.
  28. CatFactorial

    CatFactorial

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    Wow!!1oneone
  29. auburnO5

    auburnO5

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    Top of his class and everything!
  30. RedSoxSuck

    RedSoxSuck

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    Well some of us (me) are not blessed with a good memory or just can't integrate things quickly. So for us, we need more time to learn the same amount that someone else (i.e. perhaps you) can learn rather quickly. So your 6-7 hours might equal to 12 hours for me. But if you can learn accomplish same or more in less time then awesome. But i would HATE YOU! LOL
  31. Lioness12

    Lioness12

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    I think the amount of time invested in board prep is irrelevant.

    If you've been doing well in classes and keeping up with the material, it might not take nearly as long to do a quick run through.

    It also depends on what you accomplish within those hours. Are you working on weaknesses or simply going over things you already know?

    Hours mean nothing here. More or less hours do not correlate to one's score. It's what you learn that correlates.
  32. shan564

    shan564 Below the fray

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    But what you learn is correlated to the number of hours that you spent. To say that "the amount of time invested" is "irrelevant" suggests a poor understanding of the meaning of the word "irrelevant."

    Everybody likes to say "it's not how much you study, it's how you study" or "quality, not quantity." That's just silly. Quality and quantity are both equally important. If you spend 12 hours a day trying to memorize trade names and lab values, you're wasting your time. But if you spend 1 hour a day on quality study, you won't get too far either. 4 hours of quality studying is good, but it's not as good as 8 hours of quality studying. Hell, 12 hours of mediocre-quality studying is probably better than 6 hours of high-quality studying, depending on how you define "quality."

    Also, everybody is different. One of my pet peeves about this forum is how so many people say "If I can do it, then I don't understand why you can't do it." The most you can say is "this is what worked for me... I hope it works for you too."

    I don't think the OP was asking "how can I do a better job of wasting 12 hours?" He just wants to be able to put in more time at the same level of quality. I don't think anybody can disagree with the statement that increased quantity with constant quality is generally a good thing.
  33. KnuxNole

    KnuxNole Sweets Addict

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    It is both, but for others, quality places more importance. For example, yes 10 hours is more than 6 hours, but if you get burned out at 10 hours for so long, is it worth it? On the converse, if you are a rockstar at 8 hours(or 6 hours or whatever) consistently, that is good.

    The key is balance between the two. I agree, that you can't just rely on quantity alone, or "quality" alone because
    1) There is a lot to review
    2) Focused studying is key, or things will trickle away from you
  34. shan564

    shan564 Below the fray

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    Quality and quantity are like engines and tires. If you have an engine without tires, your car won't move. If you have tires without an engine, you car will only move if you push it or if it's going downhill. But in the end, you need both. If you have quality without quantity, you'll go nowhere. If you have quantity without quality, you'll go somewhere, but it'll be slow.

    But most people have both an engine AND tires. At that point, it's hard to say which one is more important. They're both critical.
  35. Lioness12

    Lioness12

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    Actually the quality of effort you invest is what creates learning. Hours are simply insignificant. That's like saying, one is thirsty, and the faucet is running. The real question is: how much has actually reached it's destination? I'm not saying hours mean absolutely nothing here. I'm saying, it's not something that is a huge issue. People make it seem like hours are the first and foremost to learning and studying, when in fact they are not.

    Is it silly?

    Quality is defined by the end result i.e. the final score and your proficiency as a physician.

    I never mentioned anywhere that I study less than 24 hours. lol So, idk why you got the idea that I was pushing an agenda on the OP. I was simply stating my opinion about time and learning.

    I wasn't lead to that assumption that he wanted to figure out how to waste more time either.

    But then again, he wasn't asking how to be more efficient or productive, was he? He was asking how he could have the energy to "study" for more than 6 hours.

    "Is there any study showing an average of how many hours per day do students usually take to study for Step 1? "

    Anyway, I'm not here to argue with you. I'm sorry you felt that way. I do agree that quality=learning and quantity=time are ideally hand in hand but unfortunately that's not the case for most. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that point.

    Good luck people. :)
    Last edited: 04.17.12
  36. jatt12

    jatt12

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    Quality= good
    Quantity=bad
  37. Lioness12

    Lioness12

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    ^^ I'm sorry, but after that lengthy debate I entertained, I couldn't help but crack up.

    I don't think either are bad...just not equal. :p
  38. shan564

    shan564 Below the fray

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    Hehe... clearly, many of us have different perspectives. Sorry if I seemed combative... I probably could have expressed my opinion in a friendlier way.
  39. johndoe3344

    johndoe3344

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    Sometimes I feel like my studying lacks both quantity and quality...


    Sigh... woe is me.
  40. PostHaste

    PostHaste Eye Roller

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    This is one of the most helpful posts I've read in a while. :thumbup:
  41. Lioness12

    Lioness12

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    Hey np. We're all stressd and on the edge. lol
    I probably sounded like that as well, and for that, I'm sorry.
  42. CatFactorial

    CatFactorial

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    I'm sorry too!

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