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Physician Assistant Studies – Mastering the Content


You are studying to be a physician assistant.  How do you take in information and make it stick?  This is the golden question.  This is what can make or break you on exam day.  Making the information stick doesn’t require a a genius brain, it just requires a few strategies.  Here are four strategies that I used to make things stick:


1.  Trash the Flash Cards.  Yes, initially I tried this, but failed miserably.  It took hours just to write down the questions, and after I was done, I had hundreds of flash cards staring back at me.  I didn’t even have enough time to read all the flash cards before there was an exam.  If your school was anything like mine, then you are having multiple tests a week.  Even though this worked in under grad, you are wasting your time with this method here.  There is simply too much to know.

2.  Repetition.  The more you go over something, the more it will stick.  Logical right?  This means going over the disease process over and over again in your mind.  I did this a lot, and is fairly simple because you can do this anywhere (ie in line at the market, walking to your car, etc).  It just takes a bit of practice to remember to do this.  Remember, time is brain!

3.  Teach Someone.  Theres an old saying, “see one, do one, teach one”.  If you are able to teach someone any concept, then you know the content.  If you are able to break the content down to is most basic form and teach anyone not in the sciences, then you have officially mastered the information.  The more you teach, the more you retain.  This goes hand in hand.

4.  Audio.  I drove a lot!  I lived in LA and went to school in sacramento.  We had a very unique schedule that allowed me to stay in la, but I took many 6 hour car rides to school.  Listening to medical content passively while driving really made things stick.  I would do this with two other classmates and all three of us found it very helpful.  With that said, check out my podcast here and listen while your one the go.  This also goes back to strategy number 2: REPETITION.


These are four strategies I used to make things stick, and to make exam day as stress free as possible.  And believe me, I was very relaxed and actually looked forward to exam day (but then again, I’m a nerd).  I would love to know what strategies are working for you!  Please leave me a comment and share your thoughts 🙂

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