Looking for clarity and advice on how to utilize outside resources and study strategies for Step 1 and 2.

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Mar 31, 2021
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I am an incoming First Year medical student and I have been doing an unhealthy amount of research on various outside sources and efficient study strategies. I really want to start with the ball rolling on Step 1 preparation, as well as building a solid foundation to crush Step 2. The resource overload is stressing me out. I will break the resources and study strategies that I have honed in on (most likely to use) into groups below:

Possible Study Strategies:
  1. Preview slides the evening before lecture -> That night, watch related videos from an outside resource -> Directly after, that night, complete the AnKing cards tagged to those videos -> AnKing review in the morning -> Lecture -> Repeat
  2. Preview slides the evening before lecture -> Directly after, draw a mind map connecting info in the slides -> Then, watch related videos from an outside resource -> Directly after, that night, complete the AnKing cards tagged to those videos -> AnKing review in the morning -> Lecture -> Repeat
Potential Key Study Methods:
  1. Make personal Anki cards while previewing (or during if needed) lecture, suspend after block exam.
  2. Mind maps while previewing lectures
  3. Mind maps for outside resources
  4. AnKing tied with an outside source
Possible Outside Resources:
  • Possible Main resource (to pair with AnKing)
    • Bootcamp
    • B&B
  • Specific resources
    • Sketchy - Micro and Pharm
    • Pathoma - Pathology
  • Question Banks:
    • AMBOSS - Year 1
    • UWorld - Year 2
    • NBME - Year 2
I have only loosely experimented with mind maps, and I see their potential. I am skeptical though because it is a new concept to me. I know that my brain works well with Anki so I am wondering if I should stick to making Anki cards for lecture instead of mind maps. The promise that people speak about of mind maps making your studying even more efficient, with just more upfront work, is very enticing however. Perhaps a combo, perhaps I just stick to one. I see the promise in both which is why I am here for your help! As far as outside resources, I am leaning more towards Bootcamp because I like their video styles but I know that B&B is tried and true. I have purposely not mentioned other sources to give the context of the direction I am leaning in, but if I am missing any key resources that you think are non-negotiable then please chime in (but also keep in mind I am already overloaded with resources LOL). I want to make sure I have enough time in the day to still work out and get 8 hours of sleep, but the amount of different resources I am seeing people use would make this extremely difficult.

All answers will be greatly appreciated!

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I wish I knew more about these learning methods to give you more helpful advice, but honestly, the best thing you have going for you is time. If you haven't even started your M1 yet you have plenty of time to try out these different resources and study methods and see which one works best for you before you have to face down step. There's no one good study plan to get through your preclinicals or do well on boards. Personally, I think the most important thing for a med student in preclinicals is to just be honest with yourself about what's working and what isn't.

Here's what I would do: make a study strategy that sounds good to you and just roll with it for a while, and then adjust it as you see how it works in practice. Are you spending too much time making your own anki cards? Maybe just stick with Anking. B&B or Bootcamp not working for you? Cut them. Realize you're struggling with pharmacology? You could try sketchy or another good pharm resource. After a few months, you should have a system that works well for you.
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