This was my 2nd attempt in this exam and anyone who has given this exam more then once will agree with me, that clearing this exam in 2nd/3rd or more attempt, has you WAY more thankful, then if you would have in your 1st attempt! Getting up after falling, leaves you with a gratitude, you wouldn’t normally have!
I feel like it is my responsibility to share some particular pointers that helped me pass in this attempt.
I wont mention the books I studied and timetables I made, as I feel like there’s already a lot of guide posts and opinions about that. Rather some practices I feel every one could benefit from, if they applied them to their routines and hopefully helps them pass.
Let me start by mentioning the things I DIDN’T do in my first attempt resulting in me not clearing the exam.
- 1st of all I went through the entire theory like crazy. So much so, that I didn’t give enough time to the BCQ’s. Even on my last days, I was revising theory rather then BCQs.
- I went through BCQ once, maybe twice. That is not enough!
- I followed Part 1 WhatsApp groups, to the point they distracted me from my actual studying. Its very important to balance the time you have between studying and going online to look at questions on Facebook and WhatsApp groups. One hour at the end of the day, before you go to bed should suffice. I would never advise anyone to NOT go through it, as a lot of controversial question are discussed and solved over there. But its very important to establish a balance.
I would also recommend to join these groups once you’ve gone through the course at least once. Otherwise, you don’t really know what everyone is talking about when discussing BCQs.
- Followed errata. Just remember, unless you are 100% sure the key to a BCQ is incorrect, do not follow erratas. On multiple occasion, after much research and scrutiny I always come to the conclusion that the key is correct! And books are a way more authentic source to a BCQ answer then students online.
- Get enough sleep.
I pulled an all-nighter before D-day. I realized not a few hours later what a bad decision it was. Especially since I was assigned the afternoon attempt. Paper A was fine, but by the time I was seated for paper B, my head was pounding to the point, I could not process the questions on the computer in front of me and I just wanted to get out of the exam.
Moving on to things I did do which helped me pass in my 2nd attempt,
- Having done theory thoroughly in my last attempt, this time I just focused on BCQs. Re-did them as many times as I could. In this attempt I also did session 1,2,3 and 12 from Tanveer notes, which is highly recommended by a lot of people. Also the session 1 of DR. ARA KHAN notes series. Having skipped these in my previous attempt, the more I went through them, the more I realised why I didn’t make it in my previous attempt!
- For BCQ books like Rabia Ali, JK, Asim and Shoaib, I would suggest while going through your 1st read, mark the questions you are unable to solve. On your second read, just go through the marked questions again. Mark the question you can’t solve again, but in a different way. After a few days go through them again. This way you will filter out the question you can and cannot solve in a very time effective and efficient manner. It prevents you from re-doing things you already know, and allows you to give more attention to more difficult stuff.
- For Coffee-dent go through the same principle. I would recommend everyone to try attempt coffee dent on computers rather then phone as it helps familiarizes you with how the exam will be. And coffee dent BCQs when repeated in the exam are like a movie you’ve already seen. You click on the answer before you even finish reading the questions! Take pictures in your phone of BCQs you cannot solve. After a day or two go through them again and delete the ones you are able to solve this time and keep the ones you can’t solve for later. Repeat until you have no remaining questions to solve.
- If you can’t figure out a BCQ, don’t rattafy it. Search books and the internet regarding it. Make small notes of explanations next to the BCQ, so that when revising the BCQ, the reasoning behind it is also revised! In the exam when BCQs are repeated you will recall the answers with solid reasoning and click your option without any doubts!
- Take pictures of the BCQs you can’t figure out. At the end of the day, research regarding it, in books or internet. I had a downloaded pdf version of USMLE, as well as the book itself, but the pdf allowed me to search a keyword in the search bar rather then rummage through the book to look for a particular subject, making it time saving to look up confusing BCQs. If your still confused go on either WhatsApp and Facebook group and your colleagues will surely help you out. Similarly, help out others if you know something they have a query about. Contribute to the group discussion when ever you can, and solve important controversial BCQs together! The more you give, the more you’ll eventually get, Inshallah!
- Tables in USMLE are also the key to passing. Keep their pictures in your phone, and revise a table when ever bored from doing BCQs.
- Pharma was worst to prepare in my opinion. I did the theory from just USMLE. But in my 2nd attempt, I focused on doing the 800 Rabia Ali questions and coffee dent Pharma again and again. And trust me all the BCQs from Pharmacology in the exam were amongst those question!
But its important to go through Pharma and Microbiology BCQs from Rabia Ali a day before the Exam! They are very volatile and revising them on the very last moment helps!
- Last but certainly not the least, while attempting questions in the exam, there will be a “skip” option. You can only skip a BCQ once and it will appear at the end of the paper. The questions you have even the slightest doubt to “Skip” them. Only attempt questions you are 100% sure about. Don’t worry you can still attempt them in the end of the paper, but it will give you a very clear idea when you come out of the exam, of where you stand on your attempt.
That’s it! Those are my tips for anyone looking to learn from my mistakes. Make your timetables your self, don’t follow other peoples timetable, as you have different capacity then them! No need to go crazy studying, 6 hours a day is enough!
Remember a few tips for the day of the exam!
- Do not underestimate the power of a good night sleep and a good breakfast.
- Take a water bottle and a sweet or chocolate to boost your brain during paper A
- Read every single option VERY carefully! The BCQs are often seem repeated but the slight difference in statements can completely change answers. CPSP likes to jumble options and statements, so don’t rattafy the BCQs.
- Do not cram yourself with food during tea break between the two exams.
- Do not discuss the paper with your colleagues between the two papers.
Wishing everyone the best of luck for their exam, I sincerely hope you all clear in your first go! Just remember to have MASSIVE faith in Allah going in and coming out of the exam. During my 2nd attempt I was so sure my 1st attempt was better then this one, but Allah alone knows what’s best for you. Just close your eyes and put all your faith in him. Every thing will work out automatically!