Most students experience some kind of test anxiety when taking an exam. The key is to prepare yourself so that you anxiety does not affect your performance on your exam date. Below we list two ways you can reduce your anxiety by familiarizing yourself with what the experience of taking the USMLE or the COMLEX.
Familiarize Yourself with the Test’s Virtual Interface
You want there to be as few surprises as possible on test day. Make sure you are comfortable with how to navigate the test’s interface so that you do not have to learn for the first time on your exam date. Choose a question bank that allows you to simulate the USMLE’s or the COMLEX’s testing program.
“The simulation mode on USMLE Easy looks exactly like the Fred V2 interface, which the official USMLE uses,” says Jennifer Pollock, the managing editor for the USMLE Easy products. “Students like that mode, because when they sit down on test day, they’re already familiarized with all of the different buttons and how the platform performs. So it alleviates some of the testing day fears or anxieties.”
Take a Practice Exam at Your Test’s Location
“I recommend scheduling a practice exam for the USMLE or COMLEX at your testing center,” says Corey Mayer, a student who scored a 260 on Step 1 and a 700 on the COMLEX. “I did this about two weeks before the actual exam. It gives you a feel for the test day. Stay in a hotel, wake up, go to the testing center, and sign in. Get comfortable with the process.”
I recommend scheduling a practice exam for the USMLE or COMLEX at your testing center
Corey Mayer, USMLE Step 1 Score: 260, COMLEX Level 1 Score: 700
Traveling can be stressful. So if you will need to travel to your testing center, try a dry run before exam day. In addition, many aspects of taking the exam at the testing center may be unfamiliar to you. For instance, on exam day, the testing center will record your biometric information, usually with fingerprinting. You probably already plan on taking practice exams at some point in your study schedule. Why not visit your testing center to familiarize yourself with the experience for one of your practice exams?