The USMLE is a reality for every other person aspiring to practice medicine in the US. It aims to assess the knowledge of medical students and graduates thoroughly. “How to crush the USMLE” has always been a burning question in the field of medicine. It requires hard work, learning and revisions. The need to learn and revise brings us to three options:
- Live on campus classes
- E-learning resources
On campus classes have their own benefits, but they do pose a restriction in terms of time management, transportation, admission schedules and others. On the other hand, e-learning eliminates these limitations and provides a flexible schedule on an individual basis.
Advantages of e-learning for USMLE preparation:
In the world of technology, especially mobile devices, the most undemanding way of reading, learning and understanding is to have the required resources right into your device. E-learning serves to save the space and reduce the weight associated with books. One can have all the necessary medical content in a tablet which can effortlessly be taken anywhere around.
Internet connectivity, subscription to a learning library and motivation to do the right thing is all that is required on the part of an individual to be successful. Research shows that learning time is reduced up to 60 percent by e-learning. Some of the benefits of e-learning are:
- Individuals can learn at the desired pace and can work through their own schedule.
- It saves the traveling time.
- You can re-start a video lesson and watch it over again.
- There is a choice to skip the lessons that you already know.
- You can leave a question for the course instructor and he may get back to you in time.
Disadvantages of e-learning:
The biggest disadvantage of e-learning is that people find it difficult to stick to a schedule. If not taken care of, there are distractions as soon as you connect to the internet. The self-motivated individuals, however, do well with this system of learning.
How to find the best e-learning courses for USMLE:
Once you have realized that e-learning is beneficial in terms of USMLE preparation, the next question is how to find the best e-learning courses and use them to maximum benefit.
Mostly, the e-learning courses are designed to include video lessons and a Qbank. The lessons may either cover all the topics or, supposedly, important topics are discussed. In the case of USMLE, one would like to go through all the topics and not just memorise, but understand it, to be able to answer the scenario based questions that are characteristic of USMLE. Moreover, some courses teach only specific subjects. The problem, however, is that you end up taking more than one course and it gets confusing in terms of management.
While you may want to take a look and go through the reviews of individual courses being offered online, there are some basic requirements that you may want to have in your chosen course. The best e-learning platform for USMLE preparation is the one that offers not only video lessons, but also provides you with an opportunity to test your knowledge and apply it as soon as the lesson is over. It gives you lecture notes to revise the taught content, provides high yield information while not compromising on in-depth training, poses questions during lectures and gives you a moment to think about it.
As Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” On top of that, a good e-learning course saves you the cost of spending thousands of dollars while, at the same time, not compromising the quality.
How to use e-learning resources:
Once you are subscribed to the desired e-learning platform, the pool of information may first bring in the feeling of obscurity. However, to properly use these platforms, one must devise a proper plan. There are a few recommendations to crush your USMLE using e-learning:
- Start early:
When it comes to USMLE, the best recommendation is to be self-driven. The number of subjects and the diversity of information require an early start for the preparation. The last 3 weeks before the exam date are not enough to complete the preparation so plan to access your e-learning resources ahead of time.
- Do not concern yourself with others:
You may come across many recommendations on how to prepare for your USMLE. Do not waste time in learning what others are doing. It is good to get the relevant information, but once you have chosen your e-learning resource, stick to it and start studying.
- Do not jump to the question bank:
Qbanks are a kind of attraction in the e-learning platforms. However, it is recommended that you first learn the topic and then solve the related information.
- Learn at your own pace:
There is an individual capacity when it comes to learning. Nevertheless, this does not eliminate the importance of time management. Do not skim through the information. Try to get the concept on every topic.
- Log out:
While you have logged in your e-learning platform, it is time to log out from social media. Distractors must be avoided.
- Mobile applications:
Install the mobile application for the course that you are taking. It is the best way to learn without having to turn on your laptops and computers.
- Take note of time:
Success in USMLE not only requires hard work and learning, but it also needs time management. When you go through the questions in Qbank, make sure you take note of the time spent on each question. If it takes 90 seconds to solve a question, you need to work on the speed.
At the end of the day, hard work pays off. E-learning platforms are there to assist you and channel your preparation towards success. However, it requires self-motivation and a self-driven approach.
Rosenberg, M.J., 2001. E-learning: Strategies for Delivering Knowledge in the Digital Age (Vol. 9). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Martin Schlichte founded his first company when he was 17 years old—it gave him the means to finance his university studies at Mannheim University and the Leipzig Graduate School of Management (HHL). Immediately after graduating in 2008, Martin founded the e-learning startup. Lecturio and continues to be its CEO. With a current staff of around 80 employees, Lecturio has developed into one of the most successful e-learning companies in Europe. Furthermore, since 2016, Lecturio.com provides users worldwide with a comprehensive, theoretical medical education with lecturers from Harvard and other Ivy League universities.