Preparing for a medical licensing exam can be grueling, and it might seem like no matter what you do, there are some topics that you just can’t seem to commit to memory. Active learning is by far the best way to overcome the challenges associated with tricky topics, and that’s exactly where question banks and mock exams come in. How many times should you take a mock licensing exam for the MCCQE or other test before you take the real thing? The answer may surprise you!
What is Active Learning?
There are two types of learning: active and passive. Active learning involves actively recalling information whereas passive learning involves something like reading or highlighting – passive steps you take to attempt to commit the information to memory. When you take mock exams, these are a form of active learning. Rather than having the answers right in front of you to read, you must actively use your brain to come up with the answer. Numerous studies have shown that active learning is far superior to passive learning when it comes to both memorization and overall comprehension.
Getting the Most out of Mock Exams
Before sitting down to spend hours answering questions, make sure that you’re using the right tools for your mock exams. Not all question banks are the same, and some afford you very little in the way of actual help. Look for a variety of features, which include things like different modes that you can use to help you learn the material. You should also have the ability to separate questions that you struggle with so that you can easily find them later and practice them until they are second nature. Ideally, you should be able to make your own notes for individual questions, and if you miss a question, you should be able to see some feedback and an explanation.
How Many Times Should You Take a Mock Exam?
The number of times that you will need to take a mock exam before you take the real licensing exam will vary, but the absolute best advice is to continue to take the practice tests until you are 100% confident that you have mastered the material. With CanadaQBank, it’s easy to do. You can build your mock exams around the topics you’ve learned by simply choosing which topics the software will pull questions from. Each time a new topic is introduced, add it to your list, and go through the questions a couple times a week. This way, you can be sure that you are constantly reviewing old material even as you are introducing the new.
There’s no one right way to take a mock exam, and there’s no one strategy that serves as a cookie-cutter solution for all medical students. Nevertheless, by following the advice here and doing your very best to review things you’ve learned in the past and things you’ve learned more frequently – and doing so at least twice a week – you will have a much better chance to retain more information that will benefit you when you take your real licensing exam.