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How do YOU prepare for IMAT? In my years during the medical school in Pavia I had the chance to learn alongside the smartest and most academically successful people I have ever met. Through the years I’ve noticed that there are big differences in learning styles between the top achievers of my class and those students who tended to consistently lag behind.

In this post, I wanted to share with you the 7 things that I found top achievers tended to do while preparing for an important test, in the hope that you could apply those to your IMAT preparation.

  1. They remove all distractions. When preparing for an exam, top achievers select a learning environment where they can completely focus on the studies. They turn off phone notifications, they even invest the time to move physically to an environment where they will not be disturbed, such as a library. Do you have such a location?
  2.  They have a study plan, set study goals and deadlines. They obtain the topics list of the exam and plan what topic they are going to go over each day. They even plan how many pages they are going to read in the textbook every day in order to be ready in time for the test. Do you break down your study plan into manageable chunks and plan ahead?
  3. They study on previous exam questions – this is a MAJOR point. Top achievers always, always found and studied old exam questions and practiced on them. Actually, it was scientifically proven that studying on previous exam questions or not is one of the biggest predictors of the final score in a multiple choice test.
    Are you just going over the material passively without practicing on previous or mock questions?
  4. They make sure to have short but consistent pauses, sometimes even a quick nap! This helps with studying longer and with more focus. Pauses of are always planned ahead and strictly timed (usually 10-15 minutes each), in order to avoid time-wasting and procrastination.
  5. They never learn new material late during the evening but rather repeat what they have learned earlier that day. Repetition of material is crucial for long-term retention of new knowledge.
    Did you ever had the feeling you didn’t remember what you have read the day before? that might be the reason.
  6. They study in small groups and push each other forward – having a small group of like-minded people with the same goals helps keep discipline and motivation up. They sit together and plan pauses together, during which they talk about the material, but they never talk or interrupt each other during the study loop itself.
  7. They begin their preparation early, and never leave things to the last moment. Learning doesn’t happen under time pressure and stress. Did you start your preparation already? Maybe it’s a good time to order some prep-books?

When preparing for the IMAT, those things are just as important, but the difference is that with IMAT preparation those things are harder to arrange because unless you are taking a prep-course, you will probably have a hard time escaping your daily distractions, finding a motivational group of peers or ticking the other points above.

BUT of course, NOT everyone can take a physical course, that’s why we at MEDschool.it have been looking for an online IMAT course, but we need YOUR help, to figure out what do you expect from such an online IMAT course so that we will know to focus our search better. For this, please fill out the short survey below.

2 minute SURVEY: What do YOU look for in an online IMAT course
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Alex Ochakovski (Pavia)
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