Feb 26, 2016
16
7
I run out of time by the time I hit 25-30/40 question on UW. I'm running out of time on every block.
I first scroll down to read questions then go back up to highlight important stuff, then reread the question, and then I finally go to the choices. And for some choices I have to reread to look for clues or if it fits the picture. It takes time to think about each option. I'm always scared that if I read fast I will miss important detail.
Why is there so little time given for such long questions. Why are we always running against time when we don't have to. This stress will take my life at young age.

I'm a bad test taker. I know it won't be my knowledge that will get me low score it will be my test taking skills.. I need serious help.

Anyone good at taking tests? Please, help ...
 
OP
S
Feb 26, 2016
16
7
Why are you re-reading the whole question after you highlight? I would skip that step. I would also try to develop what you think the right answer is before actually looking at the answer options. Once you look, if your answer is there and you're reasonably sure, pick it. If you're not sure, narrow it down to 2-3 options right off the bat and then refer back to what you highlighted to try to choose (instead of re-reading the whole question again).

It sounds like you are taking way too much time reading and re-reading, or too much time mulling over the options. I get that you're worried about getting the answer wrong, but if this is resulting in you only finishing half the test, there's basically no benefit to taking such a long time on individual questions.
Yeah, I should read it just once and not too fast so that I don't have to reread it. I was doing 1 block/day, I think I should do 2 blocks so I get good practice. I think I am getting OCD because of this test. I get anxiety if I move on to next question without being really sure and then end up coming back to it.

Thank you
 
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Sep 13, 2017
174
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Medical Student
Yeah, I should read it just once and not too fast so that I don't have to reread it. I was doing 1 block/day, I think I should do 2 blocks so I get good practice. I think I am getting OCD because of this test. I get anxiety if I move on to next question without being really sure and then end up coming back to it.

Thank you
My method was to read the question and answer choices quickly, then go up and read the clinical scenario. Did this for the shelfs and on CK, My shelf scores were 77-88 EPC and scored 248 on CK. Applying Diag. Rad. Don't don't mull over every detail, what I've learned from doing UW and from CK itself is that you can figure out the answer from NOT having to know every little detail. Trust in yourself!!
 
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OP
S
Feb 26, 2016
16
7
My method was to read the question and answer choices quickly, then go up and read the clinical scenario. Did this for the shelfs and on CK, My shelf scores were 77-88 EPC and scored 248 on CK. Applying Diag. Rad. Don't don't mull over every detail, what I've learned from doing UW and from CK itself is that you can figure out the answer from NOT having to know every little detail. Trust in yourself!!
Thanks for sharing your method of answering questions. Yes, I need to control my anxiety and not reread the question 2-3x. My issue is not really retaining info, it's applying it in efficient manner. I'm able to recall things and r/o, but I'm slow at that and rereading it wastes more time. Goal now is to read question first then read/highlight paragraph and then narrow down the options. I think if I work on managing my test taking skills then I can get a good score.
 
Sep 13, 2017
174
97
Status
Medical Student
Thanks for sharing your method of answering questions. Yes, I need to control my anxiety and not reread the question 2-3x. My issue is not really retaining info, it's applying it in efficient manner. I'm able to recall things and r/o, but I'm slow at that and rereading it wastes more time. Goal now is to read question first then read/highlight paragraph and then narrow down the options. I think if I work on managing my test taking skills then I can get a good score.
I think that's a good plan! Trust in yourself, you got this!
 
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baraa123

IMG . graduate in 2017
5+ Year Member
Jan 24, 2012
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continue doing questions , use the method grandbuckeye told you , no need to overthink every details , just read it fast and follow your inner mind sound , with time you will got comfortable with this .
and the questions that need more thinking mark it and go the next , answer the question u can answer fast then do the ones required more reasoning .
 
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Eithz H

5+ Year Member
Apr 29, 2014
30
31
Status
Medical Student
I was also kind of a slow reader and had some difficulty answering the questions in time. I developed a certain strategy that proved to be pretty effective. It is as follows:
1.) Skim over the answers-->Get a basic idea of what the question will be asking (i.e. if you see a bunch of different heart rhythm choices, you know what "buzzwords" you will need to focus on i.e. Afib, Vtach, Sinus tachy, etc). This should take about 1-2 seconds.
2.) Tackle the question-->Read each sentence keeping in mind what the answer choices are. This will allow you to FOCUS IN on the key buzzwords. About halfway through each vignette I would take 2-3 seconds to make a determination of where I saw the question was going (i.e. is the question going more towards Afib or Vtach or sinus tach, etc).
3.) Finish reading the vignette--> Make your final conclusion and go with you gut. I always found that the answer that was the first to come to my mind was correct in nearly every single case. This is where the "overthinkers" tend to make mistakes.
4.) If you finish the vignette and you have absolutely no idea, I would immediately skip the question and come back to it. I would find that after coming back to the question I would usually be able to find the key that I was missing the first time.

I hope this helps. Good luck!!
 

valid username

7+ Year Member
Aug 29, 2009
233
134
Status
Other Health Professions Student
Great advice from others here!

I'm a slow reader. My primary problem is that I frequently end up on the wrong line. Reading on a vertical screen at prometrix is especially challenging since I can't use folded paper to stay on lines. They also changed the monitors last year with further exacerbates the issue. Regardless of what your issue is, you may reach a point that you "cap out." I never finished a full block properly. It sucks, but it is what it is. I have to work around that. Be realistic. Don't panic during the exam if you can't finish. If you know the material very well it's okay to not finish every single question. I finished about 90-95% of the questions on Step2 ck. When I got to 1 minute of each block I just clicked answers for what was left. I didn't sweat it because it truly was the best I could do.

My other compensating behaviors: I study images very well. If I see a picture of CHF or necrotizing enterocolitis or some other other picture I know I read only the final sentence and click. That adds a minute for another question. For super long questions (like pamphlets)--I don't even bother.

I do glance at the final sentence first. Like a previous poster said, reading answers is good if you can. (I couldn't--not enough time.) If it's a question that does not need the vignette I save another minute.

I don't bother flagging, I need every second.

I didn't score as high as most people here on step2 ck but i scored enough for my purposes (hopefully). More importantly I scored as well as I could given my limitations. (242).

Good luck!
 
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OP
S
Feb 26, 2016
16
7
Wahh.. I thought I was the only one struggling with time. And in general I'm not even that slow reader since for Step 1 exam I had ~5-10 minutes remaining for review. It just that thinking takes time when it comes to best next step or ruling out options. You guys shared some great points. I guess there's really not enough time to properly read questions unless you are a fast reader and thinker. That may be one big reason why some people who are very knowledgeable, but slow reader and thinker are likely to get many questions wrong and score low.

@valid username, Me too... I'm not able to finish a block unless I'm just rushing through all 40 questions without really thinking properly. It tortures me when I'm ending the block because I know that I have knowledge that I didn't properly apply. If I did I would definitely get high score. I am also good with images, but I don't know if I can skip the paragraph and just pick an answer. That would add more to my anxiety. My brain will keep wondering what if I missed something while I'm on the next question. And going back to the question would cost me more time. I'm glad things worked out for you and you are happy with your score. Congrats!

@baraa123, yeah that's the plan now.
@Eithz H, I will try applying that.

Thank you guys for your time and sharing your methods!
 

valid username

7+ Year Member
Aug 29, 2009
233
134
Status
Other Health Professions Student
Studying4ck, the way to get over your anxiety on the method for image questions is to practice the technique. This will,give you a good feeling for when it's appropriate. I used pre-test books for this. Older editions that can be downloaded for free are fine because you really aren't testing content.

Have you watched Dustyn William's video about taking tests? (Online MedEd). If not, watch it. Rewatch it every month until you get better. This really is not something that most medical students need to do, but it will be a good investment for you.

Figure out which works better for you (not feel better--test it): black letters on white or white letters on black.

One more tip: i have fewer problems when i keep the lab values up. I only did it for the last two blocks--wish i would have noticed sooner. Anyway, this makes the text field half as wide so it's a)easier to go to the next line and b) faster to correct when you end up on the wrong line.

It is frustrating. I hear you. Hope those ideas help you show what you know :)
 
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lionart7189

2+ Year Member
Sep 24, 2017
17
41
Hi everyone, I made a thread for test taking strategies in usmle. the main thread is in step 1 forum, but I made a special post for step 2ck/ 3 as well in step 2 forum. please check on those threat and I strongly believe it will help you. Feel free to ask any question!
 
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OP
S
Feb 26, 2016
16
7
Just got done with 2 blocks. What I noticed is that high lighting important points is making me slow. When I don't highlight I'm able to finish on time and scoring better. :wideyed: Also, I don't go back to review questions, I just do all the questions without going back to them. I think it's better to save all the time I can & practice without highlighting or marking to review questions at the end, since on the real exam because of anxiety and long stem questions I'm not gonna have that much time.
 
Last edited:

lionart7189

2+ Year Member
Sep 24, 2017
17
41
Just got done with 2 blocks. What I noticed is that high lighting important points is making me slow. When I don't highlight I'm able to finish on time and scoring better. :wideyed: Also, I don't go back to review questions, I just do all the questions without going back to them. I think it's better to save all the time I can & practice without highlighting or marking to review questions at the end, since on the real exam because of anxiety and long stem questions I'm not gonna have that much time.

Hi, I just post the time management strategies in step 1 forum. please check it and I think it would answer your question!
 
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