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3 Tips to Master Pharma for the AFK Exam

“PHARMACOLOGY”!! say this word to any AFK student and you’re likely to be met with groans, eye rolls, and a general sense of unease. This seems to be the subject that is universally hated and least understood among AFK students.

We have discovered that the reason students dislike it so much at first is simply because they don’t know it well. And they don’t know it well because they didn’t learn it during their school years in the most effective way.

Some or all of the following scenarios apply to most students:

  • They studied it one time in university, but the material wasn't repeated enough.

  • The classes weren’t organized in a structured and logical way.

  • The classes or teaching didn't cover enough base knowledge and/or important details of key concepts); it was more of a summary or overview.

With such inadequate learning experiences, it’s no wonder that Pharma can seem so difficult and almost impossible to understand. But not to worry! Below, we share our strategies to help you overcome your fear and doubts surrounding Pharma.

Tip #1: Get Back to the Basics

Start with Basic Science concepts that build the foundation for pharma. Allow yourself the proper time to learn and really understand Basic Science. Once you have this foundation solid in your mind, it paves the way to grasp the more challenging Pharma ideas much easier.

If you have not enrolled in our AFK course where we teach Basic Science, we have published a short Basic Science course on Udemy.

We have also published a Basic Science book for dental exams that you can find on Amazon.

So basically, get your basics right!

Tip #2: Choose one learning source for structure and commit to it

Once your Basic Science knowledge is solid, you can move forward with learning Pharma properly. Finding a source with a clear structured method is your best approach to understand the ideas and theories presented. Think of it like you are training for a marathon and this source is your coach; it's there for you to support you and guide you.

There are a variety of approaches, so you need to choose what works best for you. You may prefer an online course whether live or recorded, an in class course, or a specific textbook/review book to study Pharma from. You may find a source made for dentists or even sources that were made for medical students. Or you may just decide to take a full AFK online course that has a strong pharmacology component. Whatever you choose, it would be best to commit to your learning source.

Tip #3: Give yourself time.

Take the time you need to review and summarize what you have learned. The key is to repeat the study material and names to retain the information long term. Learning a concept one time is simply not enough to gain the confidence needed. Just like all other subjects you learn (restorative, prostho etc), Pharma really does need to be repeated and reviewed. Let us know if you need help doing this.

And there you have it, the 3 tips that will lead you to mastering Pharmacology.

What if I do not know how to do the above 3 tips?

If you find it challenging to accomplish the above 3 steps on your own, no worries, we have all our students go through the above steps in our online AFK course. We also created different methods for our students to repeat Pharma such as audio reviews that they can listen to on their phones, spaced repetition using Anki software, and review sessions.

What if my exam is close and I missed the course, am I too late? (Bonus tip! Attend a review session.)

Attending a review session will help improve your knowledge on main parts you need to focus on before the exam. It can give you a final push of encouragement and a boost of confidence. It does not replace a dedicated long term learning strategy for Pharmacology which is typically included in an AFK course, but it may be the best learning you can do to answer correctly in the AFK exam.

At Scholars Dental we are offering an AFK Pharma Review live online session before the exam. All students are welcome. If you are interested in this event, click here.

With these strategies we have seen students go from hating Pharma to becoming very confident with it and even enjoying it!

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