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How to Make the Most of the UWorld MCAT QBank Using the Cloze Deletion Concept

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A medical school student studying for USMLE Step 1, using UWorld's flashcard feature, in front of a laptop.

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Understanding Cloze Deletion for MCAT Studying

 

Cloze deletion is the concept of removing key information from a statement and using active recall to come up with the missing detail. This is essentially a fill-in-the-blank question, and it can be a very effective way to study for the MCAT.

 

Flashcards are the best vehicle for creating and studying cloze deletions. UWorld’s flashcard feature has the added benefit of using a built-in spaced repetition system, another effective study method. What this means is that flashcards you create and study will be displayed at increasingly longer intervals as you learn them. This helps you encode the information into your long-term memory. We recommend incorporating this concept into your MCAT study schedule. Take a look at our 3-month MCAT study plan to get you started on your journey!

 

 

Creating Cloze Deletion MCAT Flashcards in UWorld

 

While studying for the MCAT, completing practice questions and incorporating spaced repetition are two of the most important elements of your preparation. UWorld offers both features and combines them seamlessly.

 

Creating a New Flashcard

 

As you complete and review questions in the UWorld MCAT QBank, you will see a lightning-shaped icon (in the top right if your interface is set to MCAT, in the top left if it is set to UWorld).

 

Create a new flashcard on UWorld bar

 

This icon will bring up UWorld’s flashcard feature. To create a new card, you can select this icon and then choose “+ New Card”. You can also simply highlight text in the explanation and select “Add to new card”. 

 

A screenshot from the UWorld platform - highlighted text from an explanation being added to a new card using UWorld's flashcard feature for USMLE Step 1 studying.

 

Incorporating the Cloze Deletion Concept into Your UWorld MCAT Flashcards

 

This second method is particularly useful for creating cloze deletion cards. When you are reviewing questions and making flashcards, you should generally focus on the “Educational objective”. This is the main point of the question and typically the most high-yield information.

 

To create a cloze deletion, add a statement to the front of your card and determine the most relevant information you need to remember. Then remove this info from the front of the card and add it to the back of the card. Leave a symbol in its place. This can be anything, it just needs to alert you that this is the missing info. For the examples below, we’ll use [ ]. For the following educational objective, there are several potential cloze deletion flashcards we could make. 

 

Educational Objective - Screenshot from UWorld.

 

For example, we could add the first statement in this educational objective to a card. We identify that we want to remember Ca2+ gets released from the sarcoplasmic reticulum. My card will look like this: 

 

UWorld Flashcards example 1

 

Another example of a card with a cloze deletion using the same educational objective could be: 

 

 

Crafting Effective Cloze Deletion Cards

 

In general, flashcards should be brief and test one specific concept. This will make reviewing them simpler and more active, since you should be focusing on recalling the concept rather than reading a block of text. Cloze deletion is a perfect method for keeping your cards succinct.

 

Enhancing Cards with Images

 

Another great feature of UWorld’s flashcards is that you can add pictures from the question explanations directly to your cards. Simply click on the image and select “Add to flashcard”. For example, the last card we made could be better by the addition of the image from this question explanation. Now when we are reviewing the card we can recall where T tubules are in relation to the other structures of the skeletal muscle. 

 

UWorld Flashcards example 3

 

 

Organizing and Utilizing Your Cloze Deletion MCAT Flashcards

 

To keep your cards organized so you can better search through them later, we suggest adding tags to each card. The easiest way to group them would be via the subject and foundation that UWorld lists at the end of each question explanation. For example, the system for the above question was Biology and the foundation was Musculoskeletal system. I’ll add both of those as tags.

To study the new cards you’ve made, select the Flashcards tab on the main dock page of UWorld. You’ll notice that UWorld has a built-in spaced recognition system. This will make it so as you learn the cards, they will come back at increasingly longer intervals. For maximum benefit from this system, you will need to be diligent and review your flashcards daily.

 

When reviewing cards, test yourself. If you come up with the answer quickly, select “Good”. If you are unable to come up with the answer or if it takes you more than 30 seconds or so, select “Again.” The better you know a card, the less frequently you will see it. For more help with creating, organizing, and studying flashcards in UWorld, please see the comprehensive manual on flashcards. 

For more information on the UWorld MCAT QBank, click here. If you are looking for some extra help, consider enlisting the help of an MCAT tutor! Schedule your free consultation today to learn more about how Elite Medical Prep tutoring can help you succeed!

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