Staying Motivated During Board Exam Preparation - Part 1

It is time to start studying for the Step 1 exam if you are planning to sit for it in May or June – if you have not already started. The question for many students is HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED??

Over the next few months, we will post articles to help with this. We will link to other posts on our site and to other sites for suggestions on how to stay motivated.

First and foremost:

Stay Positive
Thousands of students have successfully prepared and taken USMLE Step 1 before you and you can do this, too. Keep a positive attitude and always keep moving forward. It helps to find a mantra and write it out and post in prominent places. It also helps to write a positive note or quote on a piece of paper or in your electronic calendar so it comes up and inspires you. Have some friends that you make a pact with during this time that you will support each other and swear to one another that when one person gets down, you will help him/her stay positive. Everyone has bad days or weeks during board preparation, so it really helps to have others to help you get over the rough days.
track Find a way to track your progress
Nothing feels better than knowing you are making progress toward your ultimate goal. When your ultimate goal is 6 months away, that can be tough. Break down your tasks by week, with very defined topics, page numbers, amount of questions or timed tests in your question bank, or video lectures to view. As you accomplish a task, mark it off on your calendar, notebook, to do list – or whatever system you have devised. If or when you have checked off everything on your list, reward yourself with either a preconceived reward or try this: write 5 rewards on pieces of paper and put them in a bowl. Draw from the bowl and treat yourself to whatever reward you draw from the bowl. One student wrote each finished assignment on a small yellow sticky note and placed it on a wall in her apartment. By the time she reached her exam date, two walls were covered in sticky notes, but she felt like she had made an awesome accomplishment. All the evidence of her hard work was there for her to see each day in front of her face.
 assemble a team
During preparation time, it is critical for your long-term motivation to have a team to support and energize one another. You also need others to provide accountability. When the team decides what the assignments will be for the 2 days before you meet (view video lecture 13, 14, complete 50 Questions in question bank and review, review pgs. 123-135 in FA) and you do not have them completed, then you have to give a reason why you are behind. This helps you keep up with the assignments and pushes you forward. Your team is also there when things get tough and you get discouraged. And you are there for them – even when you have to tell them time is up, put up the tissues and let’s get back to work.It is important to know that having a prep team does not mean that you need to study together all the time. You can meet one or two times a week or however often works for you. What is important is that your time is productive, that you actively discuss topics, quiz each other, teach each other, set assignments, and motivate each other through the study period.

2 Responses to “Staying Motivated During Board Exam Preparation - Part 1”

  1. james says:

    Thousands of students have successfully prepared and taken USMLE Step 1 before you and you can do this, too.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Staying Motivated During Board Exam Preparation Series – Part 2 | Doctors In Training -

    [...] Over the next few months, we will post articles to help with this. We will link to other posts on our site and to other sites for suggestions on how to stay motivated. A few weeks ago, we posted the first article in this series. To view Part 1 in this series on staying motivated for boards, go here: http://www.doctorsintraining.com/blog/staying-motivated-during-board-exam-preparation-part-1/ [...]

Leave a Reply