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MD & DO I'm not taking Step 1 seriously enough; absolutely no motivation for boards

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Henry101, Mar 13, 2018 at 8:34 AM.

  1. Henry101

    Henry101 2+ Year Member

    Jul 15, 2014
    I've been a chronic procrastinator throughout med school, the kid that crams everything the night before an exam and ends up doing better than the kid that studied for a week. I keep telling myself that I'll just do the same thing for Step 1, cram Pathoma/FA the week before and do fine but I know deep down that that's impossible. Even while on my ADD meds, I do 1 block of UWorld and take the rest of the day off only to come back home in the evening and watch 30 minutes of Pathoma. Even though I have a high goal (240+?), I just can't seem to find the motivation or fear or drive to work for this exam.
    I have 2 months of board prep time left and, not only am I behind my own schedule by weeks, but I am also not hitting the NBME/UW percentages that someone aiming for my goal score should be hitting and that just doesn't seem to bother me. I am just incredibly burnt out, despite taking a few days off last week. The end of MS-II was tough but not time-consuming. I really don't know where this is coming from.

    What keeps you motivated to study for this test? Any advice on how to break this bad habit and #get****done? Thanks again SDN. Really appreciate the help/insight.

    [Mods: I decided to post this in MD page instead of the Step I page because of the broader question of burnout and motivation]
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  3. Kr#36

    Kr#36 2+ Year Member

    Jan 4, 2016
    It might be good to take a step back and explore your goals and where you want your career in medicine to go. If your goal really was a 240+, then you'd be preparing and chasing it.
  4. Doctorows


    Nov 2, 2017
    Spend a few minutes reading the SOAP threads here and on reddit during your procrastination breaks, maybe that'll help.
  5. Osteoth

    Osteoth Fake it till ya' make it 5+ Year Member

    Feb 12, 2012
    Yeah your post made me shrivel up in my man bits a little...
  6. DocWinter

    DocWinter SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

    Jan 2, 2014
    Sweet Home Alabama
    Its the year 2020. You've just scrambled into a 2 resident FM program in Northern South Dakota. The program funding is questionable. Your friends all got coastal surgical sub specialties.

    Now peek at that when you get lazy. Maybe a little hyperbole, but your future does hinge on this time.
  7. kb1900

    kb1900 2+ Year Member

    Oct 4, 2015
    ITT: the fear of failure is the best motivation out there
    NotYou20 likes this.
  8. FutureOncologist

    FutureOncologist I support cancer... research 2+ Year Member

    Jun 25, 2014
    Tell me what SOAP tastes like. Heard it's especially bitter during M4 after all of (or maybe none of) your interviews.
    Gurby, BorntobeDO? and Giovanotto like this.
  9. Lannister

    Lannister 2+ Year Member

    May 21, 2013
    Casterly Rock
    I don't find the fear of failure all that motivating, if anything it just makes me freak out which makes me less productive. Instead, I just picture myself finding out my step score, and imagine how great it would feel to find out I did really well. That, for me, is the most motivating thing.
  10. funtertaining15

    funtertaining15 Average Wizard 5+ Year Member

    Aug 6, 2012
    As a fellow procrastinator myself, you can't do that for Step 1. Unless you're that smart- I know I'm not- and even then you'd maybe be able to do it in 4 w, you have to find a way. I felt that way after the 2nd week of studying 9-10 hrs/day. It was miserable. BUT there are things you can do. I learned from Ned's Declassified way back when (lol) that if you're a procrastinator, start with small things. 8 weeks is good enough for focused study. If you've taken a baseline exam and it's at least 170 and/or higher, you're heading in the right direction.
    1. Don't wake up early and sleep late. Maybe towards the last week you want to wake up around the time you'd take your exam (ie if it's at 8AM, then 7:30) to get used to it, but maybe 8:30 AM you wake up, eat/shower/etc. Around 9 AM work on doing practice questions and reading the answers for each of that for 2 hours. TAKE A BREAK, ie 15 min. Then go another 2 hours of questions. THEN take a 30 min lunch break- leave your study area, eat and watch tv/netflix 20min show/youtube, whatever. Then another 2 hours of reading/studying. 15 min break...etc. In the evening, go exercise for 20-30 min. Maybe listen to music then or a goljan audio file. Then REVIEW. Go to sleep around 9 or so. Repeat.
    I did a practice exam every 2 weeks. Those days it was dedicated to taking and reviewing the test. Don't go studying more than what's on the exam that day.
    In the beginning I would take 1 day of each week a day off or a half day, depending on how I felt.
    Try to stay relaxed. For the most part, I don't get stressed out that often, but THIS EXAM, good heavens...every time I took a practice exam, panic and nerves got the better of me every time. It was that bad that I took 8-9w instead of the 6 w I planned.
    Have things to look forward to at the end of the day, so that way you can do all the work you need to and watch that show or w/e.

    You can do it. It's hard, especially when you feel less motivated to do so. Just remember that it will be over soon and you'll barely remember what or how you studied.. it's been almost 1 yr since I took it and I can't remember all of the 8-9 w that I spent. I just remember getting GERD because of it and seeing the PASS when I got my score back. Just keep in mind that if you can get a good step 1 score, you have a better chance of matching with all other things set aside from that. It's bad enough that there are more applicants than residencies, and I don't know what you're interested in, but don't let your procrastination become something of a regret in the end. GL!!
    pbrocks15 and lolobom like this.
  11. TheIllusionist

    TheIllusionist 2+ Year Member

    Aug 9, 2013
    East Coast Best Coast
    get into a routine
    bonemann likes this.
  12. Goro

    Goro Faculty 7+ Year Member

    Jun 10, 2010
    Somewhere west of St. Louis
    Sounds like burnout, at a minimum. But this is right on schedule for an MSII.

    I suggest seeing a counselor, and engaging in mindfulness techniques. Also exercise. You need to build up the physical stamina for the ordeal of the exam. Do you get a spring break at all?
    pbrocks15 likes this.
  13. Henry101

    Henry101 2+ Year Member

    Jul 15, 2014
    Someone posted a REALLY good post about tier and specialties but it looks like it got deleted. Could you message it to me, kind stranger?
  14. JermanH

    JermanH 2+ Year Member

    Apr 27, 2013
    Sometimes in life, there is no motivation to do something. I'm never motivated to make my bed, wash the dishes, or pay my bills --but it's something we have to do. Think of this as another item on your list you must accomplish-despite what you're thoughts are on it. So many people go to 9-5 jobs hating what they do, and they have absolutely no motivation to be there, but they need to feed their families. Think of this as another job. Yes, you might not be motivated to do it--but too bad, it needs to get done.
    It's totally okay to not have motivation--we can't be endless supplies of fuel, and sometimes we do burn out.
    One of my biggest motivations comes with studying with others. Even if you can't find another buddy who is willing to study with you--just surrounding yourself with other people who are studying, this will help you get your nose in a book. Watching other people studying will convince you to do the same ;)

    Good luck! Just remember-this is only 2 months! This moment isn't going to last forever, and you don't want to regret that you didn't try harder :)
    pbrocks15 and taeyeonlover like this.
  15. Gelir


    Feb 16, 2018
    The only way to stop procrastinating is to do productive things. Unfortunately it is not realistic to think your way into right actions. You have to act your way into right thinking. Which means you have to study even though you don’t want to. If you find that you cannot do this it means you want to spend your days watching Netflix more than you want to make a 240. You can get into the semantics of wanting but I find people always do whatever they most want to.

    Seriously though, you should see a therapist. SDN is not enough. Changing behaviors is hard and most people won’t succeed solo. Without professional help odds are that you’ll continue to procrastinate then get a mediocre score on step that you convince yourself you’re happy with because after all, “I didn’t try that hard. I could have done better if I had.” But we’ll never know so that’s just bs to make you feel better.

    In a past life I procrastinated a lot, but it was secretly because I was afraid that my best wouldn’t be good enough. As long as I never gave it my all I could always pretend that if I had I would have been great. Giving something your best is scary because it means whatever you achieve is the truth. At least it is a truth. And sometimes it’s easier to keep lying to ourselves. Best of luck. Go talk to a professional.
  16. IslandStyle808

    IslandStyle808 Akuma residency or bust! 5+ Year Member

    Aug 5, 2012
    I think what helps me is studying before taking a Uworld block. I then review the block the next day and get two looks of the material on different days (then again I do tutor mode so that is why I get two looks). This way it gets me motivated to study for the next set of questions. hope this helps.
  17. treebeardette

    treebeardette Come, join the Moot! We are off to Isengard!

    Oct 26, 2017
    Forest of Fangorn
    Set timers. 1 hour on, 15 minutes off. When you're on, you're on. No phone, facebook, or other distractions. Phone on silent.

    Start with maybe 4 hours a day of good studying and then slowly increase until you're putting in a solid day of 6-8 work hrs every day.

    I find timers help keep me on task when I'm not motivated because I know the break will be there and I take the choice out of when and for how long.

    But I think your biggest issue is that we all wonder if this is really what you want to do. No one can make you sit in that chair and work. Not even a professional. You need to just do it if it means enough to you. The hardest part is starting.
  18. NYCdude

    NYCdude 2+ Year Member

    May 13, 2014
    New York
    Wow this was way too deep to read on a Saturday morning.

    I'm gonna go do some UWorld now.
    Chromium Surfer and kb1900 like this.
  19. jcorpsmanMD


    Feb 22, 2017
    Republic of Texas
    This is going to make me seem like an dingus but how do people get burnt out when you’ve already been half-assing it from the very beginning? You sound like you’ve been coasting through medical school, how is it that you’re burnt out? I realize everybody is different and blah blah blah, but still, tf?
    raiderette likes this.
  20. ThreeCheers


    Mar 25, 2017
    Try the Pomodoro method. It helped for me because it was nice feeling like the next break was never too far away. It prevented me from wondering onto facebook/email/etc because I'd just wait until the break, and really made me study hard during the 25-minute segments.
    crunchywhit likes this.

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