The ability to understand other people, what motivates them, how they work, how to work cooperatively with them is neither a divine gift, nor a function or talent of a psychologist. All individuals are capable of developing this skill which is called emotional or interpersonal intelligence.


Preparation efforts of medical students for USMLE boards will necessitate them to attend an in-house USMLE review – to avoid all distractions as well as help the students acquire necessary tools to get through the remaining years of medical school after USMLE Step one.


It is a fact that each individual is unique. Each has different life experiences that may or may not bring about emotional maturity and intelligence. As such, any opportunity that could bring about a positive development for a young medical student in terms of emotional maturity should be seized with both hands.


During an in-house USMLE review, a medical student is expected to attend and learn review sessions while trying to co-exist with different personalities of colleagues. This puts them to an opportunity of additional growth – one that they are not aware of. Incidentally, the medical students are subjected to use their interpersonal skills, test and develop these skills as they go through the minions of everyday in-house review activities; such that when the USMLE review program comes to an end, the medical student is said to have the following characteristics of emotional intelligence:

Self-Awareness. This is one keystone of emotional intelligence where the student has the ability to monitor feelings that they are better pilots of their lives and have a sense of how they really feel about personal decisions.

Manage Own Emotions. Integrative to building a student’s self-awareness is the ability to manage his own emotions. Students who are poor in this ability constantly battle feelings of distress, while those who excel in it can bounce back more quickly from life’s setbacks and upsets such as failure from USMLE.

Self-Motivation. Marshalling emotions in the service of a goal is essential for paying attention, for self-motivation, mastery, and creativity. Emotional self-control – delaying gratification and stifling impulsiveness underlies accomplishment of every sort, USMLE Steps included; and being able to get into the “flow” state enables outstanding performance of all kinds. Students who have this skill tend to be more highly productive and effective in whatever they undertake.

Recognize Other’s Emotion. Empathy that builds on self-awareness is the fundamental “people skill.” Students who are emphatic are more attuned to the subtle social signals that indicate what others need or want.

Handle Relationships. The art of relationships is, in large part, skill in managing emotions in others. Social competence and specific skills are abilities that support popularity, leadership, and interpersonal effectiveness. Medical students who excel on these skills do well at anything that relies on interacting smoothly with others.



Of course, students differ in their abilities in each of these traits. Some may be adept at handling their own anxiety but relatively inept at soothing someone else’s upsets. Lapses in these skills can be remedied to a great extent, with the right effort, environment and opportunity.


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