Just under a month to go to the “test of life” of the more than 77 thousand aspiring doctors that on 3 September they will have to face the dreaded 60 multiple choice questions to enter the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery. But solid preparation is often not enough. What is also needed is a precise strategy to follow during the 100 minutes of the test. The stakes are high. Because of this Consulcesi has launched a free online course entitled “Survival guide to the Medicine 2021 test”, where valuable practical advice is given on how to prepare for the test. The Guide is available on the website Numerochiuso.info.
The course – details a note – focuses on the final rush, recommending the most effective study methods for the last few weeks, the texts to rely on for review but also how to organize time without neglecting that for your own psycho-physical well-being. The “rapid learning” manual dispenses practical and operational information to have more chances of passing the test: from the topics and texts to focus on in the last days of study to the importance of carrying out the greatest number of simulations; from the structure of the test to the scores that are assigned for the right, wrong or not given answers; from the management of the time available to the method to be used in order not to be deceived by ‘traps’ and ‘distractors’, the number one enemy of the candidates. These are those answers which, while presenting a variable degree of plausibility, are incorrect.
Knowing how to recognize them both when the simulations are carried out, and above all on the day of the test – continues Consulcesi – is fundamental to aiming at obtaining the highest possible result. Learning to recognize ‘distractors’ means, first of all, becoming able to analyze the most common terms used in quizzes and therefore understanding how their meaning changes within a given question.
The ‘distractors’ can basically be divided into four categories: 1) trivial distractors. Among the answers proposed in the question, those that are clearly wrong; 2) weak distractors. Among the answers proposed in the question, those that can be discarded with some simple reasoning; 3) strong distractors: among the answers proposed in the question, those that have a greater ability to “attract” the candidate’s attention to themselves. In practice, unlike a weak distractor, a strong distractor is much more like the correct answer. This kind of ‘distractors’ can be recognized, and therefore discarded, looking for ‘holds’ and ‘parallels’ in the overall reading of the question. The problem is that, on the day of the test, there will be a few handfuls of seconds to dwell on this type of reasoning. The time available for each question is about one and a half minutes. 4) very strong distractors. Among the answers proposed in the question, those that cannot be discarded using particular techniques or types of reasoning.
Knowing the various types is the first step to avoid falling into the trap. But in the course of Consulcesi a series of useful tricks are listed and beat the dreaded ‘cross’ answers: 1) Always read the question and all the options proposed carefully before answering; 2) Often the question requires choosing not the correct alternative, but the more correct one among those proposed; 3) Beware of denials. Such questions are, for example: “Determining which of the following integers is NOT a perfect power”, or “Which of these statements is NOT wrong?”. When faced with questions of this kind, it is easy to be deceived. During the test it can often happen that you are too concentrated in identifying the correct option, to the point of completely losing sight of what the question really asks; 4) Reasoning by exclusion. The simplest way to solve the questions with distractors is to start eliminating the strong ones and thus approach the solution by exclusion.
And again: 5) Quick calculation without a calculator. To perform quick calculations correctly, the “key” is to view numbers as a sum or a multiplication of simpler numbers. For example, multiplying by 11 can be particularly complex. If instead we opt to multiply by 10 and then add the starting number, the operation will be much more immediate to carry out. The same is true if we have to multiply by 19: we can multiply by 20 and then subtract the starting number. Ditto the multiplication by 20: just add twice the starting number multiplied by 10.
6) Pythagorean triples. It is also of fundamental importance to memorize the Pythagorean triples, that is to say three numbers such that the sum of the squares of the two smaller numbers is equal to the square of the larger number, which is why they satisfy the Pythagorean Theorem. The memorization of the Pythagorean triples can be useful in carrying out geometry or logic quizzes. For example, if you happen to have to solve a problem with a right triangle, instead of wasting time developing the whole Pythagorean Theorem, using the Pythagorean triples that you have memorized you can identify the correct answer much faster.
7) Exercises in logic. In the admission test it is inevitable to come across some logic exercises in which the candidate is asked to understand, for example, how soon different actions that take place with different timings will occur again at the same time. Exercises like this can be simplified through the breaking down process. In practice, to arrive at the final result, it will be sufficient to break down the elements indicated in the question into prime factors. Again as regards the questions of logic, often the distractors are hidden in exercises where we talk about people who buy objects at a discounted price and against whom they are asked to calculate the original price.
8) General culture. Watch the news several times a day, read the newspapers, consult the news and insights sites, listen to the radio newspapers. And again: doing crosswords, because they help to memorize notions of general and linguistic culture, to answer in a timely manner and to store new words; check if particular anniversaries fall in the year in which you participate in the admission test; keep in mind events and events on a regular basis (for example Expo, Olympics, etc.); watching films based on historical facts or well-known personalities.