By: Mike Montenare SUNY 2012
Taking the Boards Part I can be a daunting task. However, if you prepare for it in an efficient and intelligent manner, not only will you pass the exam, but you might even be surprised at how well you did. Here is a flashcard strategy that I have personally used which, if followed, will ensure your success:
Flashcards! Flashcards! Flashcards! You may not be a flashcard kind-of-person, but, believe me, it’s the only way to succeed. The Boards is rife with trivia – small facts that are nearly impossible to memorize entirely. But flashcards will help. They are the only way to retain such an enormous amount of information in such a small amount of time. Here are my additional tips to utilizing flashcards more effectively:
1) Type them up: Don’t try to write them out on index cards. That will take up too much time. Instead, use a Word Document. Typing them on a computer is just as effective and much faster. Remember though to put them in a Question-Answer format. In other words, write the question first and then put the answer underneath it. Later, when you print out your “flashcards”, you can use a blank piece of paper to cover the answers as you go.
2) Have friends help: There is too much material to cover by yourself, so get into groups and divide the work. Since you’re typing your flashcards on a Word Document anyway, it’s easy to print out multiple copies for everyone to share.
3) Put a checkmark next to the questions you get wrong: This is an effective way to separate the material you know from the material you don’t know. In other words, when you run through the questions a second time, just skip the ones you know and focus on the questions you don’t know (i.e. the questions with a checkmark next to them). Then, if you happen to get those questions correct, erase the checkmark. Keep doing this until all the checkmarks are erased. You will be amazed at how quickly they disappear and at how much material you actually retain. But don’t get discouraged early on. In the beginning, I had 90% of my questions marked. Towards the end, it got down to about 10%. This will make you feel very confident come test day.
Flashcards are not only the most efficient and effective way to memorize large amounts of material, but they will also help you to prepare for the exam format. In other words, by studying in a “Question – Answer” mode, you will become better prepared to take a “Question – Answer” test. Plus, after months of going through flashcard after flashcard, your endurance will increase. This gives you an edge when taking a two day exam!
I hope this article gives you sound, practical advice on how best to prepare for the Boards. Everybody is different, and what may work for one person may not work for you. However, as long as you study hard and do it in an efficient manner, everything will pay off. And then you’re a fourth year!
Mike Montenare SUNY 2012