Step 1/Level 1 Study Tips For Your Learning Style

Step 1/Level 1 Study Tips for Your Learning Style

It’s time to study for your board exams. You open First Aid with a highlighter in hand but realize no matter how much you read and take notes, it feels like things just aren’t sticking. You need to hear and repeat the information out loud in order to retain it. Does this sound familiar? If so, you may be an auditory learner.

Four Learning Styles

According to the VARK model of student learning, there are four main learning preferences: Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, and Kinesthetic.

According to a 2012 study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the majority of first-year medical students surveyed identified as auditory learners or used a multi-model approach to learning, including auditory-reading/writing and auditory-kinesthetic. Final year students and postgraduates had a slight preference for kinesthetic (hands-on) learning.

4 Learning Styles

Learning Styles and the Step 1 Review Course

One misconception people have about the Doctors In Training Step 1 Review Course is that it only works for auditory and visual learners. However, the course is continuously updated based on student feedback to engage multi-model learning styles.

Below are some tips to help you implement the appropriate study strategy while utilizing the Step 1 Review Course.

Visual Study Tips

Visual learners learn best by seeing information displayed in a visually pleasing way. Graphic organizers such as graphs, diagrams, and maps that explain ideas and information using symbols and images are essential for productive visual learning. The Step 1 Review Course contains more than 800 images, illustrations, charts, graphs, animations, and pathology slides. Visual learners can practice the below tips for optimal retention while working through the course:

  • Close your eyes and try to visualize what the information looks like
  • Use highlighters to color code related information in your notes and study guide
  • While taking notes, replace words with symbols and images when possible
  • Create flashcards of high-yield topics and review 5-7 cards in the morning then re-test yourself over the same cards later in the evening

Auditory Study Tips

Auditory learners learn best through listening and speaking in situations such as group discussion and lectures. The Step 1 Review Course includes 70-75 hours of focused, high-yield videos. The average video is approximately 20 minutes long. Auditory learners can practice the below tips for optimal retention while working through the course:

  • Read the multiple-choice questions and answers out loud as you take the quizzes before starting and after completing the Primer videos
  • Study with a partner and or in groups so you can review out loud and answer questions
  • Repeat definitions and mnemonics out loud over and over to yourself with your eyes closed
  • Print out the Part 1 questions and have a study partner quiz you verbally

Read/Write Study Tips

Students with this learning style learn best through words. They access and understand information through reading and writing. The Step 1 Review Course includes convenient page references to the most recent editions of First Aid and Step-Up to USMLE Step 1 so readers can easily follow along in their textbooks. Read/write learners can practice the below tips for optimal retention while working through the course:

  • Write out your own answers to the Part 1 questions, then refer to the resources suggested with the questions to locate the answers and annotate your review book
  • Take extensive written notes in your study guide and notebooks while watching the Part 2 videos
  • Go through your notes and rewrite the information for better retention

Kinesthetic Study Tips

Kinesthetic learners learn best through tactile representations of information. They prefer a hands-on approach to learning. Kinesthetic learners can have trouble sitting through long hours of focused study, which is necessary for Step 1 preparation. The Step 1 Review Course is delivered in a way that allows you to build your bank of high-yield knowledge over time. Additionally, the Part 2 video series includes more than 50 entertaining Right Brain Bonuses, to give your brain a short break between lectures. Kinesthetic learners can practice the below tips for optimal retention while working through the course:

  • Stay physically active as you study – squeeze a stress ball, tap your pencil, or occasionally get up and walk around as your read information out loud
  • Take short breaks after watching each Part 2 video to do something active
  • Follow a study plan that allows you to watch fewer videos each day within the 60 days of Part 2 video access
    • For example, a 30-day study plan allows you to watch 8 videos a day whereas a 15-day plan requires 16 videos a day

If you aren’t sure what learning style you prefer, there are several free questionnaires online to help you find out. For more information about the Doctors In Training Step 1 Review Course, click here.


About DIT Advising Team

The Doctors In Training Student Advising Team offers many advisory services including the following: customizing individual study plans for USMLE Step 1/ COMLEX Level 1 or USMLE Step 2 CK/ COMLEX Level 2, advising students with respect to combating everyday stress and test anxiety and preparing students for the residency application process.
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