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How to Manage Studying for the USMLE Step 2 and Shelf During Rotations

We asked Rocky Vista University-COM medical student Alexandra how Cram Fighter helped her study, organize, and succeed on her board exams during rotations.

Why was a study plan important to you and what made your plan unique?

Cram Fighter took the stress out of creating a schedule for such daunting exams. It has nearly every resource to choose from in terms of board/shelf prep and creates the most individualized study plan possible. I very much like the ability to create blocks within my study plan. It allowed me the ability to review some resources more than once, which I feel is of the utmost importance in terms of solidifying knowledge long-term.

Cram Fighter allowed a much needed flexibility in my study plan.

How did you allocate your time study for Step 2 and Shelf exams simultaneously?

I studied for my Shelf exams and Step 2 separately, however, I approached studying for each Shelf as though I was studying for Step 2. By doing this, I was able to more quickly and effectively review for Step 2 when the time came. Personally, question banks were by far the most helpful resource as I studied for my Shelf exams throughout the year. They helped me to identify areas of weakness for which I could use another resource to supplement. Cram Fighter’s list of books, questions banks, lectures etc. made it very easy to choose my preferred resource down to the exact lecture or chapter I wanted to review into my overall study plan for the month. Cram Fighter allowed a much needed flexibility in my study plan.

How did you strike a work/life balance in your study plan and during your rotations?

Maintaining a work/life balance is often challenging, yet absolutely necessary. I allowed myself one full day off every weekend from studying. Cram Fighter gives you the option to set time aside for days off, make-up days etc. This allowed me to stay refreshed and study more effectively throughout the week.

How did you keep up with your rotations while applying to residency?

I completed all my major examinations prior to starting my fourth year rotations and the application process. This allowed me to use any spare time I had outside of my rotation to concentrate on application/interview prep. My best advice to other students would be to start putting together your application requirements (i.e. personal statements, letters of rec etc.) during the latter half of third year. This will alleviate much stress during fourth year and allow you to focus on sub-internships.