Dr. Rovin Saxena, Resident Physician at Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital and Alumni Association President at the International American University (IAU), shared five study tips which can help medical students obtain high scores on the boards.

  • Prepare for the lecture beforehand

The night before lecture, skim through the chapter, read the first sentences and last sentences of each paragraph. Go over the headings, bold words, charts/diagrams. This will help you become familiar with and outline the material. When you see the same material in class the following day, it will be easier to understand and comprehend as it will not be the first time seeing it.

  • Be Attentive during lecture

Pay attention in class and ask questions about the material right there and then. Asking questions keeps you engaged and will help you focus on days you are tired. Back-and-forth dialogue will help you recollect the information when needed.

  • Study the material post-lecture on the same day

Review the material/notes/ppt that evening. Write down questions you have about the material and ask the professor in class before he/she begins the next lecture. Most professors allocate a few minutes before class for this purpose. Seeing the material twice in one day will assist in memory consolidation.

  • Review over the weekends

Weekends should be for reviewing primarily. This is the time to do USMLE WORLD questions on those topics you have covered for each class. Understand that UWORLD is a learning tool and NOT an assessment. It was made for you to apply the material you’ve learned. Go through every word of each question (right/wrong answers regardless if you answered it correctly/incorrectly). Do not worry if it takes hours to go over each block (when I began, it took 3-4 hours/block). Write your notes in First Aid for each respective topic. 

  • Review your notes pre-exam

Review your First Aid and the notes you’ve written in it from UWORLD, as well as your notes from class prior to your Mini exams. If you have time, then go over your incorrect questions from UWORLD. 
At the end of the semester when you are preparing for your NBME Shelf Exams, you’ll have your First Aid ready to study from as well as your class notes. EVERYTHING you need to know for each class, primarily in ONE book. No need to page through 5-6 different resources.
This is a demanding schedule to work with, but I PROMISE you it is a bulletproof routine to follow in order to eventually score that 240 on Step 1. If you are able to follow this pattern, then take time to yourself to sit back and relax. It is important to have a few moments to yourself every day in order to remain sane.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions.


Rovin Saxena, MD
Resident Physician PGY1, St. Joseph Mercy
Alumni Association President, International American University.
Email: rsaxena@iau.edu.lc