USMLE : Importance of Study partners

The journey is long and needs resilience. On this path, if you find a good study partner who can boost you, you must consider yourself blessed. Studying alone is not impossible but on the way, one tends to get lost on the way. When you study with friends or in group, things become easier and cooler. But if you don’t choose study partners wisely, this may drag you back in your timeline. Here is our article on Effective Group Studying.

With the advent of internet age, we now have fast connections. Reading room or library have become things of past after COVID pandemic. Studying online from different messengers, apps like Zoom has become a part of student like and academic life. Even residency interviews are now virtual. So you can study now from comfort of your home, but you still need the study partner.

There are several benefits of studying with a group.

  1. Most important aspect of group study is the accountability. Many students seek study partners for one thing and that is accountability. During the days of studies, one can easily get distracted and lag on the time course. Lagging means losing yourself from your target schedule and thus there is chance of missing dates. Studying with good friends, helps you keep intact with the schedule and keeps you on the mark because you don’t want to be left out or lag.
  2. Motivation to study: Any student knows, how quickly motivation can die after a short break in schedule, a new event, or a job. Study partners keep you motivated to continue your path despite the distractions. You need motivation for USMLE. It isn’t a piece of cake.
  3. Important Information: One benefit of having study group is getting the important updates on exams. You don’t want to miss important information plans for OET, last date for submission of application, last date for pathway, important changes from ECFMG etc. To keep yourself informed and for not making mistakes on the path, you need friends- good ones. Apart from this, information on opportunities like US rotations, US clinical experiences, free volunteer programs are vital for you. Most of times, the information comes from friends.
  4. For Study Discussions: The course is vast and limitless. You need to study, practice Qbanks and most importantly discuss chapters with your friends. This is for memory. The things you discuss are the things you remember in the end. Discussion also helps people better understand things, specially when one is good at explaining things to rest.
  5. Decide on best resources: One mind has 3 ideas, but the 3 minds have at least 9 ideas. Discuss the best resources, discuss your experience and what is best for you and then decide. There are gold resources for Step 1. Step 2 is vaguer but choosing resources wisely will help you score best.
  6. Help in application process: Having a group or friends with similar situation as yours is a blessing during the application process. The entire process is confusing and full of fear of having errors. You do not want to mess up things. Many people apply together for exams, and OET and finally for residency programs. It does help you sort out lot of confusions. When knowledge are combined, you become more confident in the process.
  7. Your connection for next year: If one of your friends match into the program of your interest this year, he is your connection for next year application. Studying for long time, like in cases of IMG where they study for a year or more, the friendship can be very strong. Just remember, during the application, you need help and during the interview to matching, connections help.
  8. Research: If you have a common location, you can involve as a group in research. You can publish parallelly several papers in same time frame, being involved in each other’s project. But remember, do not use this as a Salaami or courtesy author opportunity. Get involved truly, learn and it will help in future.
  9. Occupational English Test:  You need friends to practice speaking specially.
  10. Interview Practice for residency:  This needs lot of patience, practice, and knowledge. It is key to matching in a program.

Apart from these, there are many other advantages of group study. “A friend in need is a friend indeed”. The journey is a time for crisis in many aspects. The friendship built during this time can be strong and long lasting. If you made one good friend more in life, you are a bit more secure and successful in this world. One should also remember that a good study environment is equally important, so designing your study room well is an effective approach.

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