Even before passing the IMAT, two students; Anna and Marie were aware that the course itself would not be a cakewalk: “I mean, the IMAT is just the beginning, the course hasn’t even started yet,” laughs Anna. And the fact that medical subjects don’t have the upper hand at the beginning didn’t surprise them either: “I think there’s just a lot of basics in the first semester – chemistry, physics and biology too. Anatomy is the most medical subject we have now and I really like it. I think you just have to get through a few things,” says Marie, and Anna was also aware that “the first year is not much or not clinical at all.”
But of course it doesn’t stay that way for all six years that the degree requires. “It will be more specific later. In the second part of the course, all the departments come along. We have already had physics and biochemistry internships and then there are the dissection courses. You go in there with a lot of respect and I think we definitely have to learn a lot, but it will definitely be cool!” says Marie, looking ahead to the coming months and years.
However, both students can draw a positive balance from the first two months: the lectures are interesting and they are happy to be able to study what they really want.
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Tips for everyone who wants to contest the IMAT next year
That’s all well and good – so Anna and Marie got into their dream course, but what good does that do you for your own preparation? Very simple: You can look at their strategies and consider whether they could also be suitable for you. “Everyone is individual and prepares individually,” says Marie. Still, she has one big tip: “I would definitely recommend people to practice the cognitive part regularly. The people I spoke to from college also all said that they saved themselves a bit through the cognitive part. You never have the BMS part in your hands like that. I think that if you prepare for the KFF part and practice it regularly, you will eventually get a feel for it.”
Anna has also developed her ideal learning system. She says that preparation is of course very important, but in the end you have to be able to really deliver what you know: “It helped me to learn how to calm down. Breathing exercises and stuff like that. You just have to concentrate fully on yourself and make sure that you stay calm and don’t let yourself be unsettled by the crowd.” Anna also tried not to put up with the pressure that she puts on herself and that also comes from outside to permit. A big helping factor in that regard was the fact that she only told her closest friends and family that she was even attempting the test again.
Preparation courses are a great help
In addition to studying independently, Anna also completed a preparatory course in spring. At this weekend course, they went through the subjects of the BMS part with the course instructors, cognitive aspects and methods were practiced and the scripts that were given were “extremely valuable”. The contacts that were made, with whom one could still exchange information after the course, were particularly useful. At the top of Anna’s list of advantages of a preparatory course, however, are the test simulations that you complete there: “What was crucial for me and that’s really a great tip, are test simulations. Do test simulations with all the trimmings: with the calming exercises, how do you divide up your food, how do you drink. These are really banal things, but it really helps because then there won’t be any big surprises during the test. You also have to keep the time in mind.”
Distributed learning, as the name suggests, is about spreading learning over a specific period of time. This way of studying is not only more relaxed and healthy, but also more effective than studying the night before a test.
With distributed learning, you learn again and again in short intervals and allow yourself many breaks. For example, you could study for half an hour every day or two hours every other day. How exactly you organize your learning time is up to you. Of course, it depends on the difficulty of the exam and your own learning style. The breaks between the learning intervals give the brain time to process the information received, so the knowledge is retained longer and is not forgotten the day after the test.
It can also help to find out his learning style and to organize his study time accordingly. For example, you can start by reading through notes of IMAT revision course you have made on a topic, then write a summary and then create matching flashcards. Click here for more information on IMAT revision course.
It can also be helpful to carry out “learning tests” again and again. Here you check your own level of knowledge to see which areas need more intensive learning and which ones you have already understood well.
If you manage your time well, you can get enough sleep, which is not only good for your own health, but also makes studying easier. Sleeping is essential for memory formation and it helps with concentration. At least 7 hours a night will help you to be at your best.
So, no matter how difficult the subject matter, you shouldn’t put off studying it, let alone study it all night before the exam. This is only partially helpful and not healthy in the long run. Create a good study plan and try to stick to it as best you can. It may be difficult at first, but you will see: Learning will soon be much easier for you. The methods can be very different here and the order and the time intervals can of course also be changed. Each learning plan is individual.
It is important to create a learning plan that is right for you. This is usually unavoidable, especially for larger tests. If you still need help with this, do not hesitate to take help from professional and experienced IMAT tutors.