A Good Approach to Reviewing
- Take a comprehensive test to measure where your recall is right now.
If you have access, use the PANCE/PANRE Qbank to do this. Take the test under timed mode so it will provide a more reliable estimate of your current readiness and knowledge level across all subjects.
- Once you know your current recall (% correct) for each subject, use this data to decide how much time to invest in each area.
For example, if Cardiology is 20% lower than Pulmonary, you should spend at least 20% more time reviewing Cardiology than you put into reviewing Pulmonary.
- Stay focused on what is most important for you to know.
Use the PANCE Notes to do this more efficiently, rather than going back to course notes or text books.
- After you review a section of material, do some practice questions (at least 25 items) covering what you just reviewed.
This will help you locate gaps where you still need to clarify your understanding and give you practice in applying your knowledge to questions.
- If you have access, use the PANCE/PANRE Qbank to create and take a 90-item test containing items from all of the subjects that you have reviewed up to that point as you complete each new subject.
For example, if you have finished Musculoskeletal and Endocrine, take a timed test assessing those 2 subjects.
- At the beginning of the final week, take at least three 90-item tests covering all subjects.
The hours spent self-testing will increase your mental stamina and help you feel comfortable with the pacing needed on test day. Keep track of your percent correct as you take practice tests so that you can see your progress.
- Plan time during the final week to do nothing but review your own summaries and do practice tests with 5-10 minute breaks in between.
This is the final "get it all fresh in mind and intensive test-taking" phase. Performance of 70% or better is a good level to aim for.
- As you review, try to analyze what kinds of errors you are making on practice questions.
Look not just at topics that might be weak, but look at other aspects of questions that give you trouble, such as items that present symptoms and ask for a diagnosis, items that ask which lab test confirms a diagnosis or what physical defects would give a certain pattern of findings, items that ask how common or rare a problem is, etc. Spotting patterns among the errors you make usually gives you a pretty good idea of what to fix in either your review or test-taking approaches.
- Be realistic about the number of hours per day you plan to study.
Efficient study for 6-7 hours will probably accomplish far more than forcing yourself to study for many more hours per day. Think of this final study phase as an opportunity to understand and integrate what you know so you will have a foundation to think with when you look at the PANCE questions.
- Mix up what you are doing during each study day to break the monotony.
For example, you might want to review your notes for 2 hours, and then spend an hour doing practice questions. Take a lunch break, and then spend some time reading questions explanations and searching for patterns in your errors or working with flash cards or using a cover up card to practice recalling from charts or tables. Locate and clarify problematic topics you discovered in practice testing to wind up the study day.
- Consider finding another student who is willing meet you to do questions aloud.
Alternate roles so that one person talks through the item while the other gives feedback. Both benefit and you may notice some habits that are costing you points and pick up new strategies from each other.