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7 Factors That Limit Your USMLE Step 1 or 2 CK Scores

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  1. Knowledge gap. We all have limited abilities to memorize content, some students are great at memorization, while others are not.  The USMLE Step 1 and 2 are designed for the average medical student, therefore know your strength and weaknesses before studying for the exam. We recommend you understand concepts rather than memorize, because you can’t apply what you do not remember.

  2. Tendency to forget. We all have a tendency to forget concepts over time. Some faster, some slower. Normally this is not a problem as the rate of forgetting is usually small. Do not spend more than 6-8 weeks to study as a US med student and 3 months if you are an IMG. You will start forgetting the content you read after day 1 as you prolong your studying period. Avoid this!

  3. Recalling and Retaining Information. Retention and recall are not the same although they are related. Retention is how well you memorize the information while recall is being able to get it back out. Too often you can remember something but cannot recall it. The best way to retain information is by understanding mechanisms of diseases and pathophysiology. SmashUSMLE videos can help with retention. Recalling information is best practiced by constantly testing your knowledge from a question bank.

  4. Poor NBME assessment scores. You can’t study forever but students who rush to take the exam with low NBME scores usually perform poorly on the exam. If your NBME score are not what you want, do not take the test.

  5. Study skills. Good study skills help in understanding, memorization and retention. Good students usually have good study skills, which is why they tend to get better scores in the USMLE Step 1 and 2 CK. Acquire good study habits early so this can help you down the line.

  6. Poor Test-taking skills. How good you are at taking tests has a big impact on your scores. The test is difficult not only because the medical facts tested is hard, but a lot of times, because of the way the questions are constructed. Good test taking skills help make tough questions easier. Use our test taking strategies to improve this area.

  7. Physical endurance. All USMLE Steps are  a marathon not a hundred yard dash. Both the exam itself and the prep. We recommend you eat help, exercise and simulate real exam conditions when taking NBMEs during your prep time so that you can endure the lengthy 8 hour exam.

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