In this blog post, I will be sharing how I used AMBOSS throughout my clinical rotations to master the material and ultimately score in the 95th percentile on USMLE Step 2!
I truly believe that preparation is key for all the USMLE board exams. You need to master the material during your rotations. That way, once you get to your Step 2 dedicated period (only 3-4 weeks at many medical schools!), you’re doing a quick and comprehensive review of the material before taking the test. So, keeping the shorter dedicated period in mind, it’s even more important to learn the material well the first time around!
Let’s dive into the 3 major ways I used AMBOSS throughout my rotations.
#1: Use their comprehensive Question Bank (QBank) to complete practice questions
One of the main reasons I believe that allowed me to do well on Step 2 was focusing heavily on active learning. I tried to do as many practice problems as I could every day. I did practice problems while we were waiting to round with the attending or waiting for patients to show up to clinic. While you may be at the hospital all day, you can find small pockets of time in which you can be doing practice problems to learn the material.
With AMBOSS’s QBank, you can create a “Custom Session,” which allows you to customize the types of questions you’d like to do based on organ system, discipline, and difficulty. You also have the option to put it in exam or study mode. While I’m doing questions on rotations, I suggest study mode so that you aren’t on a timer in case you get called away for patient care.
I also suggest doing questions related to the specific rotations you’re on. For example, if you’re on your surgery rotation and have 1 week on trauma surgery, use that week to focus on trauma surgery questions and perhaps any other topics you may not see during your rotations (breast surgery, pediatric surgery). I find that it’s much more interesting and engaging to be doing questions related to conditions you’re seeing patients with. This also helps with retention of that material.
Here’s an example of a question and answer from their QBank. I love that it has the “Attending Tip!”
#2: Use their mobile application to pull up information quickly while preparing for patient presentations and reviewing topics
AMBOSS’s mobile app is a great feature because it provides easy access to accurate and high-yield information without having to pull out your laptop!
There have been many times that attendings have asked me to look up a specific diagnosis or treatment option on rounds and having their Knowledge Library tool handy will make you look really good on rotations!
This app also allows you to access their QBank so you could be doing questions during any downtime on just your phone. This was often the case when I was on surgery and waiting for the patient to roll off to surgery.
The interface is extremely simple and user friendly and makes it very easy to navigate between similar diagnoses. An added bonus is that the Qbank works even without WiFi (because sometimes the hospital connection is terrible)!
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#3: Use the AMBOSS library to look up answers to questions to solidify my understanding
While I prefer to start with active learning with questions to learn the content, I also like to have a database that I can refer to in order to solidify my knowledge. This is where the Knowledge Library comes in.
To me, this was my Google for anything medical while I was on rotations. After I completed questions and wanted a deeper explanation or had a question I wanted to find the answer to, I would search it on the AMBOSS Library.
I also felt that it helped me to find my answers very quickly. They primarily provide high-yield content, so I didn’t have to sift through a ton of information to find the answer I was looking for.
Lastly, my favorite aspects of their knowledge base are the helpful tables (see below for an example)! This helped me organize information in a manner that made it easy and effective to compare and contrast between diagnosis and treatments.
That’s it! That’s exactly how I used AMBOSS to master the material during my clinical rotations which allowed me to eventually perform very well on step!