If the title of our blog didn’t make it obvious, let us be clear—we’re big fans of Q&As at MedStudy! It’s not just because we enjoy developing the questions and answers (which we do!); we place Q&As on a pedestal because we know how powerful they can be for exam prep.
You’ll always need a comprehensive resource—such as our IM Core or Peds Core—to provide in-depth explanations and understanding. But, online board-style Q&As should be the cornerstone of your study plan—especially in the few months leading up to your exam. Here’s why:
One study showed that low-stakes self-testing, such as answering Q&As, can improve recall by up to 50% over re-reading alone.
Give yourself a "pretest" before you jump into self-testing—it will get your mind ready for learning and help you determine what you know. The act of guessing engages the mind in a way that just "being fed" the answers does not.
Board-style question banks are designed to cover the content you need to know, topic by topic, in the same proportion as the exam. MedStudy Q&As are written according to the percentages for each topic on the ABIM blueprint. This way, you can focus your studies on what you're most likely to see on exam day.
The environment on exam day can be intimidating. But if you prepare with questions that are formatted to replicate the computer-based exam, you'll feel much more confident. Try 'Test Mode' in the MedStudy Q&As to get a true board exam experience.
The process of searching for possible answers, called “generation” helps you remember the answer better once you find it—even if you guess wrong the first time!
As you answer more and more board-style Q&As, you will get better at identifying the crux of what’s being asked—making the correct answer more obvious.
Every Q&A includes distractors that would seem reasonable if you didn’t know the topic well. Q&As give you practice recognizing these errors. We also include to-the-point Answer & Explanation sections for each Q&A to tell you why the correct answer is correct, and why the rest of the answers are incorrect.
Speaking of the Answer & Explanation section... reading through this content helps you self-correct, which has been shown to improve test results. By learning not only why the correct answer is right but also why each of the distractors is wrong, you gain usable, memorable knowledge.
Interleaving has been shown to improve recall by up to 76% on exams. For example, you can have a Pulmonary Q&A spaced retrieval session combined with an initial reading from Cardiology combined with a preview session from ID. And you can hop between them, spending 5–10 minutes on each.
Interleaving might sound confusing, but it works!
Record your confidence level for each question you answer and see exactly where your knowledge gaps are. Easily revisit questions answered incorrectly, and bookmark questions you want to research more fully, you're able to spend your study time more efficiently.
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