Luna Emogene Shares Tips for Success during Medical School Exams
Following Luna's recognition for several academic performance awards during the recent Celebration of Academic Excellence, Aruna Ullal, Academic Support Counselor, caught up with Luna to learn more about her exam preparation routine and advice for other students.
What type of test preparation method works best for you?
I’m more of a “master concepts first, questions later” type of student because I feel if I really know the concept, then I should be able to answer any question that comes before me. I believe that this is important because the way our professors ask us questions on the exam may not be the way we see the questions written in outside resources. I also focus more on studying the resources from our professors, such as Canvas quizzes, than on outside material.
How do you manage your stress before exams, and how do you de-stress after exams?
I’m a strong believer that your mindset before any exam is vital to performing your best. No matter how prepared or unprepared I feel, I spend that morning in the shower dancing and singing (usually gospel songs) and 15-20 minutes before the start of the exam, I pray and just continue singing. Right after exams, I pray, despite how I feel I did, then I usually go straight to my parents’ place and hibernate. Exams really do take a lot out of me so being around my parents gives me the strength and inspiration I need to continue pushing through the next day. I know that’s not possible for many students, so I would recommend doing something that brings you joy.
If you narrow down to two answer options (50/50) on an exam question, how do you decide which one is the better option?
Remember Dr. Cone’s motto – Read The Question :) Don’t quickly choose an option. Go through every single option and try to explain to yourself why that one answer is correct and why the others are wrong. If I’m down to two options, I read the question once again—even slower this time because most of the time the question itself provides you with the reason why one answer is correct.
It’s really important to not choose an answer until you’re certain, because my #1 rule is not changing your answer unless you are 150% sure you’re wrong. But, if you rushed to pick something in the beginning, this doesn’t apply anymore.
How would you encourage peers to study?
Study the way that you feel in your heart works best for you. Trying to study like others while neglecting what actually works for you will only hurt you in the end. For example, I prefer to spend time learning the material, then doing questions last if I have time, but I have some friends that find it better to start doing questions from the beginning and learning the material that way. Each of us still does well in the end.
How has your test preparation/test taking strategy evolved from Semester 1 to Semester 5?
To be honest, every semester is different, every course is different, and every block is different. However, my test-taking strategies and rituals have remained the same. Go to lecture/watch the recordings, pay close attention to what professors say is high-yield, and make sure you know that first before anything else. If you really don’t understand what they are saying, or you just want more information and you have time, look at outside resources.
How does your study/test prep compare from earlier weeks vs. weeks closer to block/final exams?
Earlier in the block, I have more time to spend on handling other activities, such as tutoring and E-board duties, so I make sure to stay on top of the material but don’t do much more than attend lectures and review the slides. As we start to get closer to the exam and I enter crunch time, I spend much more time studying and learning the material while trying to incorporate a few questions here and there, and much less time with extracurricular activities.
How do you deal with burnout or low energy?
I’m pretty exhausted by the third block. I usually take the full day after exams off and spend that day finding ways to motivate and energize myself to push through the rest of the semester. I either spend the day with my family and pup, or watch one of the many medical dramas that I follow to get myself pumped for the future, or simply look back at my past grades and challenge myself to be better.
What is your greatest motivator?
My parents are my greatest motivator, hands down. When I think about all the sacrifices they had to make as immigrants on this island and the sacrifices they are still making to provide my sister and me a better life than they ever had, I can’t help but to try my best and become the best that I can be. I hope to be able to give them back as much as I can.
Do you set aside time for self-care?
Self-care is very important, but I still struggle with it. I’ve learned that to get the benefit, you need to be intentional—for example, setting a specific day and time to do something you love and relaxing. I’ve realized that I have spent a good amount of time just watching shows or chilling, but because I wasn’t intentional about it, I found myself feeling guilty afterwards because of the amount of studying I could have gotten done, so it felt like procrastinating. It’s helpful to realize you need that time for yourself and build it into your schedule.
Which specialty would you like to pursue?
I’ve always wanted to be a pediatrician. I’ve always loved children, and to be part of their lives as their doctor would truly bring me joy. A friend of mine once said that children are the future of tomorrow, and I couldn’t agree more!
What would you like to accomplish during your clinical sciences?
I’d like to work on my time management skills so that I may spend more time enjoying life and balancing it with medical school responsibilities.
What is your proudest accomplishment/moment in your medical sciences journey so far?
My proudest accomplishment is seeing how many students that I’ve helped so far along my journey by being that colleague that anyone can come to when they need help or guidance.