How to ACE that Pharmacology Exam

Hey! As promised, I am uploading my study technique that I used for my latest Pharm exam. It was a cardiology module but it can be applied to studying all Pharm modules. I hope these tips help you get the best result possible.

Organization comes first.

I am one of the most disorganized person you’ll ever meet but I try really hard to get it together for Pharm reviews. Gather your source for guidance: textbook, YouTube videos or lecture powerpoint.Β  My professor has comprehensiveΒ  slides that I almost never have to look at other resources for information.

Second, decide how you will study. Create flashcards, listen to audio, write or type out your notes. This is based on the type of learner you are.

If you decided on flash cards, break it up into various stacks: MOA, Indication and Adverse Effect/Contraindication/Drug Interaction. Write the MOA on one side, and the name of the drug on the other. Take another card and write out the adverse effect, contraindication and drug interaction as well. Some drugs metabolism are important, so adjust as needed. Shuffle the cards once its all completed and quiz yourself to study.

If you’re not into flash cards, that okay. Write or type it on chart form. Group the medication into Anti-hypertensives, Anti-Arrythmias, Anti-Lipidemia (IΒ  just finished the cardio so this is just an example) and complete the chart with MOA, Indications and Adverse Effects/Contraindication/Drug Interactions.

Once you’ve gotten the basic, remember to learn by generic names. It may seem tedious but remember generic names are most common and helpful. Some common generic drugs are your ACE inhibitors ending with “pril” (Enalapril), Beta Blockers end in “olol” (Metropolol)Β and although not all generic has the same suffix like these example, you may meet some professors that refuse to test you on brand names. It has happen and it wasn’t nice.

(MOA and Sx written out separately. This is usually after you’ve learned the medications and reviewing your notes. Images courtesy of -GC)

Repetition is major key!

As usual, I always advice anyone that you must repeat the information multiple times and find ways to associate the medication. If you know the MOA, you can deduce what type of adverse effect are likely to occur. Think of any relatives you know that have used a medication and associate them accordingly. Create fun mnemonic to help you remember. Use all your resources wisely, Pharm may seem daunting, and there are certain classes of drugs that are “harder” than others, but it is possible to get through the class.

Good Luck!

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