How to Use the Rosh Review Timed Study Playlists to Prep for Your Medical Boards

September 15, 2023
According to research at Stanford School of Medicine, instrumental music can help you absorb and interpret new information, boost your mood, and improve motivation. While studying, music can serve as consistent and predictable background noise, helping to drown out unpredictable sounds or disturbances that may otherwise divert your attention.
When studying for your upcoming board exam, you’ll have different needs along the way: 1-hour sessions between meetings, a few minutes on your phone while waiting in line, or deep work days leading up to your exam. That’s why Rosh Review is excited to share our timed, instrumental study playlists on Spotify (for free!). In this post, we’ll dive into each of our playlists and the best way to use them to maximize your studying efficiency.

25-Minute Pomodoro Studying
The vibes:

Upbeat, post-rock, introspective

Best for learners who:

Prefer shorter study sessions with smaller breaks in between

How to use it while studying:

The Pomodoro technique is a time-management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. Named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student, the method breaks your work into 25-minute intervals (known as “Pomodoros,” which means “tomato” in Italian) separated by short breaks. These intervals are known to increase mental agility, improve focus, and maintain a high level of productivity.

This playlist is 25 minutes long (and 1 second, but who’s counting?), so you can use this study playlist as your timer—when the last song finishes, it’s your signal to take a 5-minute break. When studying for your medical board exams, you can apply the Pomodoro technique by dedicating each Pomodoro to a particular topic or set of questions in your Qbank.

Wash, rinse, and repeat over the span of your study session. We recommend taking a longer break every couple of hours or so to minimize fatigue!

3-Hour Deep Work Studying
The vibes:

Cinematic, orchestral, motivational

Best for learners who:

Have a dedicated time block and want to maintain focus throughout a longer study session

How to use it while studying:

“Deep work” is a term coined by Cal Newport that refers to the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task, allowing you to accomplish more practice questions in less time. This playlist helps you sustain deep work and quickly find your “flow state,” which mean you’ll be fully immersed in your Qbank without the mental load of trying to muster up the motivation to study—because let’s face it, you won’t always be in the mood to complete practice questions during your afternoon slump.

You’ll find instrumental movie soundtracks that heighten your energy and sustain your momentum throughout your longer study session. The ebb and flow of this playlist creates an ideal mental environment to stay alert but not distracted by the music, making it your new go-to for study sessions at any time of day.

90-Minute Practice Exam
The vibes:

Ambient, meditative, immersive

Best for learners who:

Want to build confidence and reduce anxiety while taking Qbank practice exams

How to use it while studying:

Your Rosh Review Qbank allows you to create your own (timed) practice exams, allowing you to simulate your actual exam as closely as possible. (Not sure how to create your own practice exam in your Rosh Review Qbank? Check out this demo video below:)

With board-style questions written specifically for your exam’s content blueprint, you can feel confident that you’re studying the right material and ready to pass your exam with flying colors.

If you’re experiencing test anxiety leading up to your exam, we recommend listening to calming music while you take your practice exam. This playlist includes a blend of ambient and chill music with slower tempos and softer melodies, creating a tranquil auditory backdrop for a clear mind and relaxed focus while taking your exam.

While it’s true that you won’t have music while taking the actual exam, creating a calming environment during your practice exam will help you better absorb the information and boost your confidence on your actual exam day.

1-Hour Study Session
The vibes:

Inspirational, nostalgic, hopeful

Best for learners who:

Have an hour between classes or meetings and want to make efficient use of this limited time

How to use it while studying:

No matter where you are in your medical journey, one thing is for certain—you don’t always have time to study in your busy schedule. Still, you can make good use of the shorter breaks you find in your day, which can make a big difference over the longer period of time leading up to your exam.

This playlist is perfectly tailored for these hour-long gaps in your schedule to help you drop into studying on a moment’s notice—between rotations, before work in the morning, or on your lunch break. With uplifting tracks to inspire you, you’ll find quicker focus to jump right into your Qbank.

This skill of rapid focusing not only boosts your productivity but also enriches your understanding, ensuring that each minute spent with the Qbank is a step forward in your exam preparation. Plus, practicing this skill can help you jumpstart your focus while taking your actual exam, too!

On-the-Go Studying
The vibes:

Electronic, dynamic, techno

Best for learners who:

Use the Rosh Review mobile app to study in quick bursts throughout the day

How to use it while studying:

There are surely days where you don’t even have a full hour to spare in your schedule—you’re running from one place to the next between work, errands, meals, and sleep. Even if you do have time in your day, the hassle it takes to haul your laptop around for a few practice questions isn’t worth it.

This is where the (free, highly-rated!) Rosh Review mobile app comes in. You can complete a few practice questions while taking the train to work, waiting in line at the grocery store, or prepping dinner. During these mundane tasks, queue up this playlist to keep the energy high and make Qbank studying a fun activity to pass the time.

Think of it as a replacement for the time you would be spending scrolling on social media—instead of opening Instagram, you can start replacing the habit with completing a few practice questions on your Qbank app. Plus, you’ll feel an extra sense of accomplishment after an already-busy day!

The Ultimate Deep Work Study Playlist
The vibes:

All of the above!

Best for learners who:

Are within days of taking a high-stakes exam and want 10 hours(!) of music to get through long study sessions

How to use it while studying:

You’ve made it—you’re in the final stretch of taking your exam! You’ll likely be spending longer days studying with your Qbank and solidifying the knowledge you’ve been building over the past weeks or months.

This playlist is a combination of all of our previously mentioned study playlists, giving you nearly 10 hours of music to sustain your focus. With longer study days, even the most immersive study music can become repetitive, so this playlist offers a variety of genres to keep you engaged. We recommend listening to it from start to finish (not on shuffle) to give you an easier transition between genres.

Remember to take breaks during the days leading up to your exam! You already have what it takes to pass—use this time to solidify your existing knowledge and get plenty of rest before exam day. We believe in you!

Further Reading

For more (free!) content to help you prepare for your medical board exams and succeed as a medical professional, check out these other posts on the Rosh Review blog:

Rosh Review is a board review company providing Qbanks that boost your confidence for your boards and beyond. 

Get started with a Rosh Review free trial to the Qbank of your choice (no credit card required!) and gain access to board-style practice questions, detailed explanations, beautiful medical images, and more.

By Hannah Brauer

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