Med School Exam Tips
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Get Better Grades With These Med School Exam Tips

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I’m just tired. I’m tired of taking tests and not getting the results I want. I’m tired of missing 50-50 questions, and I’m just a terrible test-taker. I’m just sick of looking for exam tips for med school.

If you’ve said any of those things, guys, about taking med school exams, I promise you I totally understand because I used to be in your shoes. When I started medical school, I was a C student at best, and I was sucking on all of my tests.

But after using the tips that I’m gonna be giving you in this post, I transitioned to an A student, and I was able to do it with a lot less stress, and often, a lot less time.

So if you’re interested in learning some med school exam tips to do better, you’re going to love this post.

A quick side note, if you want to learn how to do all around better in school, check out my free video course training. I’ll take you step-by-step on how I studied in med school and saved tons of time!

You can check out the free video course here.

Note: Want to learn how to study in medical school? Check out this post – Ultimate Guide On How To Study in Medical School. 

1. Question – Answer – Stem Method

med school exam tips

So let’s get to tip number one which is my favorite med school exam tips!

This is a process that I’ve used to take my exams, to get to the right answer more often, and also avoid some of the common traps that the test-makers set out for students.

This approach is my question/answer/stem method.

A lot of you guys may have used something similar, but let me let you know how you can use it in college and as a medical student.

A typical approach, especially in med school, is to read the very long question, which usually has like a patient vignette, finally get to the question, and then read all of the answer choices.

But you’re often still clueless on where you should be headed and what the right answer is.

Instead, we’re going to flip it on its head. We’re going to start by reading the question first.

So usually, the question might be, “What’s the diagnosis? How do you manage it? What imaging test do you do?”

The nice part? Often, you don’t even have to read the paragraph to answer the question!

We’re going to start with the question, and get an idea of what direction are we expected to think about?

And then, we’re going to look at what our options are. This is the answer phase.

So if the question is, “What is the diagnosis?” we would want to know what the potential diagnoses are.

Now, before you go back and you read the paragraph, what I want you to do, and I want you to think about, what would have to be true for this answer to be correct?

If one of the answer choices is cancer, things that you may be thinking about are like weight loss, body pain, and the patient may be a smoker. If it’s something like heart failure, the person may have difficulty breathing, or they may have swelling.

There’s different evidence that you know would be attributable to each answer choice.

So now you know what the question is. You know what your options are. And you know what pieces of detail and evidence you would need for that answer to be right.

Now, go look for that evidence.

For example, if you think your patient has heart failure, or that could be a potential, look for those clues. Look for the swelling. Look for the difficulty breathing or the patient that’s non-compliant with medication.

If you start seeing those things, you’ll understand, okay, this question is going to be pointing to the heart failure answer.

Why This Method Works So Well For Med School Exams:

Now, guys, the reason that this works so well is for one, it’s quicker.

If you can read the question and get to the answer without having to read the long paragraph of the vignette, then you save some time, and you’re able to spend more time on the more difficult ones.

And two, you also avoid the traps that the test-makers set out for you.

This is because the typical testing flow causes students to fall for traps. They may be reading the paragraph and they’re going to see evidence for the heart failure, but they may also see some trap pieces of detail. There may also be evidence pointing to cancer.

So by the time they get to the point of trying to answer it, half of them is thinking cancer and half of them is thinking about heart failure. They’re not really sure which pieces of evidence matter.

But if you instead don’t start with the paragraph, you can avoid these traps and focus on just finding the proof to the answers you already know are your options.

When I transitioned from the method that I was originally using, which was the typical test-taking strategy to question-answer-stem method, my grades just shot up by a whole grade point average. Yours can too!

So try this question/stem method out, and let me know what you think, and if you are using it already, comment on this post and let me know!

Note: Want to learn how to study in medical school? Check out this post – Ultimate Guide On How To Study in Medical School. 

2. It’s All About Earning Points On The Exam

med school exam tips

So tip number two, guys, is a mindset shift.

You need to get away from the typical high-achieving pre-med type A personalities, which look at questions as a potential to do worse on the exam.

If you have a hard test, every single question is going to seem like another step closer to failing it.

If you’ve taken a hard exam, you’re going to say, “Ah, crap, I failed it.” Because everything seemed like the potential of more points you got lost.

But instead, flip it on its head and look at every question as an opportunity to gain more points instead of losing them.

It’s essentially the same thing, but when you’re in the second mindset, you’re looking at everything as an opportunity, and you can get through the test with more confidence.

Because here’s what happens. You look at each question one at a time. If you feel like you know it, then perfect. It’s an opportunity for you to gain points, and you feel good about yourself.

But if you get to those questions – and you’re going to – that are going to trip you up, then you can get to this point where you just shrug and say, “Okay, well, best case scenario, I’m going to guess and I get it right. Worst case, you know, I missed it like I was probably going to anyways.”

You can continue to focus on the questions that you are earning the questions that you feel more comfortable about, and by the end of the exam, you’re probably going to do well on a majority of the questions you felt pretty good about. So you’re going to claim those points.

You’re going to probably get some of those questions you guessed about that you weren’t really sure, and you’re going to feel more confident at the very end. And where you’re more confident, each and every question becomes a little bit easier in your head.

So get away from this mentality of questions being a way to lose points.

Instead, look at them as an opportunity to gain points.

That mindset shift of either “I know it, and if I don’t, no big deal. I’m going to work on the next one and try to earn those points instead.” – that really makes a huge difference.

3. Have A Weakness System For Your Med School Exams

med school exam tips

Tip number three, which I think is huge, is you have to have a system to work on your weak points.

Think about the last few days before an exam. What stresses you out the most?

It’s not the topics you know really well. It’s the topic that you know you’re poor in, but you also spent very little time in. Thus, it’s going to be the most likely thing that, if it shows up on the test, you are going to freak out and have an anxiety attack.

These are the topics that have been confusing you from day one, and you’ve been pushing it to the side and pushing it to the side. Now, you’re a couple of days away from the test, and you don’t have enough time to review all of those topics.

So instead, you need to have a system to review these weak points from the very start. I’ve discussed some options for weakness review in this post.

I talk extensively about techniques such as the review container which you can check out here. Either use one of those 5 methods are created one which works for you!

Just have a way to keep actively working on your weak point!


Those were the three tips that helped transform my performance on my med school exams. Hopefully, you enjoyed the tips and strategies.

Try these out for your next med school exams and let me know how they go!

If you enjoyed this post then you’ll likely also enjoy the following!

Here are some blog posts that will also help you with your studying:

Top 5 Study Methods For Medical School
Ultimate Guide – How To Study in Medical School
How I Studied Less Than 5 Hours A Day
How To Perfect Long-Term Retention in Medical School
How To Study Effectively in Med School
My Morning Routine in Med School

If you’re interested in how I study, check out my free system here.

How To Study in Medical School

Finally, are you interested in how some of my students are cutting their studying time in half in just 3 short weeks?

If so, check out my Level Up Your Studying 3-week training course to help you design your perfect study system! You can check out the course here and see what our current students have to say!

Level Up Your Studying

But I hope you can use these tips to better study for your med school exams! Let me know in the comments about how else I can help you in the future!

Until next time my friends…

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