Hope you are well! I know many of you are in the midst of preparing and practicing for your exams. The strategy I used to successfully tackle tests involved planning and distributing content over a series of months in digestible, bite-size chunks. I used my weekdays to introduce new content and my weekends for reviewing topics that week and the week before. At the end of the month, I addressed the gaps and questions that emerged.
These monthly calendars were posted on my refrigerator to remind me of what I needed to cover and to provide my family with a sense of my journey. Gold stars were put on the days that I achieved my goal and this helped me in visually tracking my progress.
Group study was particularly important as it gave my team the opportunity to discuss conflicts in information, rehearse our oral exam responses, test our knowledge, and share additional resources. Working in a team also provided a source of motivation and encouragement.
When I think about your content, such as the 99 topics, I might approach it like this:
Learning scientists refer to these strategies as spaced learning, microlearning, and spaced repetition and they’ve been fairly successful methods for medical students (see The New Way Doctors Learn). Research indicates that people retain information, score better on exams, and modify behaviour using spaced learning/repetition. For more on the concept, watch the 5-minute video below:
What we know about the brain is that it’s hardwired to forget. Spaced repetition, in conjunction with testing/active retrieval, appears to work best in addressing the cognitive, behavioural, and emotional components of learning. In addition, it helps in developing one’s situational awareness. The brain is poor at self-assessment and testing provides that external feedback mechanism that informs us of our gaps and strengths.
Regarding your material…The Review Course in Family Medicine recently updated their CCFP free study resources for the SOO and SAMP. You may also want to read the BCMJ’s Ready of Not for the CCFP Exam by Drs. Paul Dillon and Simon Moore. Listed below are resources they’ve identified:
Finally, consider using Honnold’s method for your exam preparation: surround yourself with the right people; practice, repeat, and test yourself until you’re comfortable with the material; mentally rehearse the experience; focus on what you need to do for success; find a confidence builder; work through your fear; and then on exam day release the stress and anxiety and immerse yourself in the experience.
You got this! If you need to talk, call me. I’m here for you. Always.