Becoming a health care provider is a long, challenging road that requires a great deal of commitment, determination and tireless optimism. One such challenge you will inevitably face is studying for (and hopefully acing) the medical certification exams that are required in order to receive your credentials. The good news is there are certain proactive measures that you can take which will make the process of obtaining your ACLS, BLS, CPR or PALS certification easier and less stressful while also improving the chances of a positive outcome the first time around.
We’ve all been there. After all, there are only so many hours in the day and with so much on your plate, it can be tempting to grab that fourth or fifth cup of coffee and just keep pushing through. But studies have actually shown that cramming for an exam results is “overlearning,” which is not conducive to actual retention of material. In fact, humans don’t possess the cognitive ability to memorize huge amounts of data in one sitting and actually recall it after the fact. To get the most out of your efforts, opt instead for interval studying, which distributes learning into 20-60 minute blocks of time with multiple breaks in between.
Catch Your Zzzzz’s
Given your hectic schedule, it may seem like a good idea to get your studying in at night, when you’re all done work for the day. But be careful not to tap into too much of your valuable sleep time. The sleep deprivation caused by staying up late and pulling “all-nighters” can cause everything from irritability and lethargy to absentmindedness and forgetfulness – none of which will help you on exam day. Make sure your body and mind are getting an adequate amount of rest in between study sessions.
One study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas found that there is an actual correlation between regular physical activity and improved brain function. In other words, not only is physical exercise good for your body, but it can also help support better brain health, which promotes greater retention of studied materials. Even just participating in 20 minutes of physical activity each day, like jogging or cycling, can improve your performance on your online medical certification exam, so get out there and get moving!
Spice Things Up
You might be surprised to learn just how much our external environment can affect how we study and retain material. In fact, spending too much time in one place can render all that studying ineffective. If you are feeling overwhelmed and having a difficult time learning what you need to know for your medical certification exam, try shaking things up a bit by changing your study location. Sometimes something as simple as opting for the coffee shop instead of your home office or stepping outside for a few minutes can have a significant, positive impact on your cognitive abilities.
Studying for (and acing) your medical certification exam doesn’t have to be a stressful and terribly time-consuming event. In fact, if you plan ahead and know how to correctly approach the process, you’ll have a much easier time preparing for, taking and passing your exam on the first try.