Seven Test Taking Strategies for Medical Students to Ace the Next Exam

As a medical student you need to try hard to master all the course material to perform well in exams. However, it is easier said than done. Memorizing medical terminologies and understanding the complex physiological concepts need a lot of motivation and effort. Preparing early and managing your time will help students acing medical school exams.

Whether you are preparing for a class quiz, medical school exams or USMLE Step 1, learning the best test-taking strategies will help you score good marks. With the right medical school exam tips, you can perform well on exams, cope with test anxiety and avoid burnout.

Let’s discover some really effective test-taking strategies to ace your medical school exam.

  1.       Start Preparing Early
  2.     Take Practice Tests
  3.     Use Flashcards
  4.     Create an Outline
  5.       Sleep Well during the Exam Week
  6.       Prepare for the Test Day
  7.       Try Some Relaxation Techniques to Improve your Concentration


  1. Start Preparing Early

Many students don’t start preparing for exams until a few days before. Memorizing a lot of information in a very short time can lead to test anxiety and burnout. You should set aside time for review sessions to learn all the main points. Revise the learning material 2-3 days before the actual test to easily absorb the important information. This way you can prepare your brain to recall the information during your exam.

  1. Take Practice Tests

Take practice tests to determine your strengths and weaknesses. It is a powerful way to cement your knowledge and identify the topics you find difficult. Focus on concepts that are not cleared so that you can better perform on the test day. Doing practice exams also helps you familiarize with the test format and prepare your brain to perform better on the actual test day.

  1. Use Flashcards 

Flashcards are one of the most effective learning strategies that help students prepare for medical school exams. Add flashcards to your study schedule to prepare better for medical school exams.You can also use flashcards to recall your memory and uncover your weaknesses so that you can master those topics.

  1. Create an Outline

When it comes to preparing for your exams, it is recommended to create an outline so that you have a better idea of what you will need to cover. It allows you to effectively divide your time for difficult and easy topics. Start with the complex topics and try to memorize the important points. You can jot down the important points or underline the key information for better memorization.

  1. Sleep Well during the Exam Week

Having adequate sleep, the night before the exam will improve your performance in the exam. Sleep is important for your body to restore the energy and clear all the toxins accumulated during the day. If you are one of those students who think that staying up late to revise the study material can help them perform better in the test, then you need to think again.

If truth be told, any information you try to cram into late at night is less likely to save. Actually, when you force your brain to learn a lot of information, it will save the information in a short-term memory, which is not long lasting and evaporates after a while.

Late night cramming won’t help, it doesn’t help you remember anything you cram and make your body energy deprived. Medical students are advised to study regularly so that everything important for your exam can easily be stored in your long-term memory. So, sleep well the night before the test day to refresh your mind and body.

  1. Prepare for the Test Day

Make sure to stay relaxed during your test. Don’t panic, no matter how well you prepare for the exam, if you feel stressed or overwhelmed, you won’t be able to maintain your focus. Arrive early so that you know the rules and regulations of the exam room. Now it’s time to do your best; stay calm and confident, as stress will only compromise your ability to focus.

Try to concentrate on your paper and try to perform well to maximize your score. Go through the paper and try to divide your time in a way that allows you to complete each section on time.

  1. Try Some Relaxation Techniques to Improve your Concentration

Many students find it hard to stay relaxed during the medical exams which badly impact their ability to concentrate and eventually their GPA. If you want to get an A, it is important to know some effective relaxation techniques to reduce test anxiety. In order to reduce test anxiety, you can follow these relaxation techniques to lower overall stress level:

  •         Eat well
  •         Practice deep breathing
  •         Listen to calming music
  •         Meditate to calm your nerves
  •         Have a cup of coffee/tea
  •         Get enough sleep
  •         The palming method/ visualization method
  •         Stretch your muscles

Are You Ready to Get Better Grades with These Test-Taking Strategies?

These are a few effective test taking strategies every medical student should try to ace your medical school and board exam. Following good exam strategies will help you perform better during the test and score a good GPA. However, building good study habits can also help you become an academically competitive student and prepare well for your exams.