Improve Performance by Practice Testing
10 Min Test
Subscribe your way to MRCOG Part 1 Exam Success
Both Distributed Practice and Practice testing are highly effective revision techniques, combining the two is simply common sense and elevates your retention and recall abilities.
The sheer weight of research backing distributed practice and practice testing, we recommend a minimum 6-month subscription, ideally, a 12-month subscription to maximise the benefits of the interrogative practice testing and distributed learning methods.
Research has shown time and time again that practice testing over a minimum 6 month period is far more effective in both short and long-term memory retention of material, its so effective that between 3 and 6 months, the duration of material retention is several weeks to several years respectively. A 12-month duration for practice testing and revision will effectively allow you to “Ace” the exam.
We suggest the following structure to your revision for the 6 & 12-month subscriptions.
- 10 Minute Tests – 3 times a day
- Exam Mode Practice Test – twice a week, evenly spaced apart
- Learning cycles with a minimum of 24 hours break between sessions
- Learning sessions are best carried out in short bursts with breaks in between. e.g. 1-hour learning with a 30 – 60-minute break, then repeat.
- Revision Mode practice in the last 4 weeks only, this will help fill in any gaps.
A 3-month subscription, we recommend doing a 10-minute test at least 5 times a day, with 1 10 minute test 30 minutes before bed and one 30 minutes after waking up.
Which Revision Methods are Best for MRCOG Part 1 Exam Preparation?
There are several commonly used methods for learning and revising, research shows that the vast majority of these are low value and do not really help. The two most effective methods for learning new material are distributed practice and practice testing.
- Distributed Practice – The act of spreading out learning cycles over time with a minimum 24-hour break between learning sessions.
- Practice Testing – The act of challenging one’s mind to recall information, or to seed the mind with questions that require answers.
Learning becomes highly effective when the two methods are combined.
Distributed Practice for Better MRCOG Part 1 Exam Results
Distributed practice is a method of breaking down your revision and study into smaller manageable segments and spreading them over time instead of several hours at one time. This method is far more effective as it gives the brain time to absorb and store the material which improves memory, retention and recall. Cramming session store information in the short-term (encoding) memory, while short bursts over time allow the information to be passed from short-term memory to long-term (storage) memory.
Research has shown that switching between focused and diffused mode is a key element in the information retention process. Focused mode as the name suggests is when one is solely focussed on a single thing, diffused mode on the other hade is all about the lack of focus, allowing the mind to wander which helps create random connections. Diffused and focused modes are both necessary for maximising retention, this starts to explain why distributed practice is so effective.
Tips for distributed practice: While it would be great to allow 30-days between learning session, this is usually not practical, you may not have the luxury of that much time. That being said a minimum of 24-hours between learning sessions is essential for long-term memory storage.
For each topic or sub-topic:
For the first several days, space out your learning with 24-hour breaks. Then carry out review sessions immediately after the break, carry out 4 such review sessions each with 24-hour breaks, reduce the detail level as you go. Then schedule Review sessions for each topic a month apart until the exam.
Practice Testing With Past MRCOG Part 1 SBA Questions
Practice testing is one of the most effective techniques for learning and retention, with research going back 100 years. More recent meta-research has demonstrated that practice testing is one of two best methods.
The Practice testing method involves the learner challenging the brain to recall information previously covered, this process has the effect of strengthening the memory recall mechanism in the brain, the result is greater retention of information assimilated and a more efficient recall process. The overall results are quite dramatic compared to other revision methods, especially when carried out at regular intervals over an extended period of time.
The act of testing one’s knowledge can be done in a number of ways such as flash cards, having someone ask you questions or asking oneself questions. One very effective way to practice test is to run through exam questions in a timed manner i.e. emulating the exam itself when combined with marking and feedback, studies have shown it is one of the best ways to prepare for an exam.
Practice testing over time provides the following benefits
Practice testing, with past MRCOG Part 1 past papers, provides added benefits in addition to helping retain more material, it also reduces the anxiety and stress normally experienced during exams by becoming familiar with exam-style questions and becoming skilled at answering them. Studies have shown stress reduces cognitive function and memory recall. Practice testing reduces the stress and thus improves cognitive function and memory recall or at least reduces the impairment effect, maximising chances for MRCOG part one exam success.