At this point you’ve been studying for about 5 years. You need one final touch to get the career you’ve worked so hard to achieve – to pass the board exam. When you’re taking an exam this detrimental to your whole career, it’s impossible not to get the least bit fidgety about it.
If you’ve been feeling a bit worried, or anxious, even – here are a few tips as told by those who have “been there and done that.”
For the months of preparation before the exam:
Make a schedule and try to stick to it.
It’s hard to achieve the goal of passing the board exams without a plan. By making a study schedule, you will be able to track your progress and modify it as needed. There will always be days that feel more productive than others and it’s those “slower days” that will benefit from the schedule more. When you train your body to sit and study at a certain time and place, you’ll be surprised with the results you’ll get to reap. The schedule you make doesn’t have to be a very detailed one for as long as you will be able to follow with high fidelity.
Find the study style that works for you.
With all the years in school behind you, by now you’ve somehow cultivated study habits that work best for you. Sure, they’ve changed through time – but it only means you’ve found better ways of being productive. However, if you still haven’t found your style, no need to worry. Don’t be afraid to try different techniques. You can start with asking yourself a few questions: Do you study better alone or in a group? Do you study better with music or without? Do you need a pre-study routine to get you in the groove? Can you keep laser-focused on reading for hours on end or do you like breaking up your studying into chunks? Do you enjoy watching videos that explain theoretical concepts or do you prefer reading from the book? Whatever your style is, just make sure you actually study!
Pro tip: You can start studying alone to make sure you understand the concepts then schedule meetups with friends, so you can challenge each other and confirm what you just reviewed!
Focus on high-yield study materials.
The topics in the world of Physical Therapy are many and varied. You won’t be able to re-read what you spent 5 years learning in the span of a couple of months! Summary tables are usually high-yield and tend to be asked during the board exams.
Whether you decide to enroll a review center or decide to self-study, it will be beneficial for you and your friends to share notes among yourselves. There may be things your friend took note of that you completely bypassed and vice-versa. Remember, although there are rankings for those who pass the board exams, you all just want to make sure that everyone passes.
Trust your education.
5 years of reading countless handouts, memorizing different concepts and spending long hours just studying is no joke. You have been rigorously prepared by your school and if you have been studying ever since, then it will be easier to recall things once you review them.
Take care of your physical well-being.
There is a Latin saying that goes “Mens sana in corpore sano.” This translates to “A sound mind in a sound body.”
Translation: To be mentally prepared to tackle your review, you have to be physically fit to do so. This means integrating exercise into your review schedule and getting adequate and quality hours of sleep.
With the line-up of all the things to review, you may think this is impossible because “You don’t have the time.” But believe us when we say, this is something you’ll want to make time for. All you’ll need is 30 minutes of physical activity in a day. You can jog, do home exercises, high intensity training or if you want to keep it interesting – choose a sport you find fun and exciting! Boxing, anyone?
When you’re body is active, your mind is more receptive to information!
Pro tip: Exercise with friends ask each other things that are related to topics that may appear during the board exams! Doing this lets you reinforce theoretical concepts by putting them into practice!
Go at your own pace.
Don’t be pressured by your friend who’s already read 4 chapters and is beginning to memorize other things. Take your time in absorbing what you’re studying but also keep in mind that you have a schedule to follow. Sure, you can use your friends as a benchmark to remember what else you need to study but remember – THIS. IS. NOT. A. RACE.
Pray to a higher being.
No matter what or who you believe in, it always helps to look to a higher being for guidance, inspiration, solace, direction and all that jazz. By being spiritually connected to something, you will be able to decrease the pressure that you may be facing while reviewing for the board exams.
Do your homework and make sure you know when the registration period begins and register as soon as you can. The process can take some time and if worrying about this is something you can cancel ASAP – then do that. You wouldn’t want to be rushing to complete your requirements anyway.
Answer practice tests.
Taking the board exam is pretty much like a marathon – it’s a process you need to train for. It’s about education and endurance! To up your chances your burning out, keep training by answering practice tests!
There are a lot of question banks available. The goal is to keep answering them so you can get used to processing a lot of questions in a limited amount of time. Doing this also trains you to look for the key points in a long question to raise your “test-taking endurance.”
The day before board exams:
So you’ve spent months preparing for the board exam and here comes the day before your big day. Nobody wants to “undertrain” for something that means so much. But what a lot of people forget is that there IS a thing called “overtraining” and it’s just as counterproductive (if not worse) than undertraining.
When you overtrain, you strain yourself to your breaking point that your productivity will decrease by heaps and your mind will stop picking up on important things. Oh no, indeed!
If you put in the work, then trust that you will get what you worked for.
Don’t try to cram too much! At most, just do some light reading of high-yield topics that don’t require too much effort to remember.
Pro Tip: Do something that will keep your mind off of the big day. Maybe get a massage, watch a movie, play some video games. The idea here is to keep your mind relaxed and make sure you get enough sleep! Your mind needs to be as fresh as it can be before taking the boards.
Prepare everything that you need in advance.
Know what you can or can’t bring during the boards and make sure you prepare them the night before. You don’t want to rush on the morning of board exams.
Pro Tip: Bring a lot of pencils!
Bring the right food.
You’re going to be taking that test for a while so bring something easy to eat! Pack yourself a sandwich, crackers, protein bars, and some of your favorite feel-good snacks!
Pro Tip: Water is your best friend, make sure you always have some by your side!
Again, to whatever or whoever you believe in. If there is no more time to study, there is always time to pray. You have been preparing as much as you can for the past couple of months – years even – and all you can do is to leave it up to God, karma, fate, the universe. Do your best and let go of the rest.
Preparing for a big exam is always a stretch for anyone, especially if your career is at stake. We understand the pressure and are constantly looking for ways to make your study life a bit easier! You can check them out at Edukasyon.ph‘s blogs on study hacks!