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overwhelmedms1

Upper year med students - how do you study?

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Hi everyone,

I've been out of school for quite a while and since coming back to first year at UBC med, it's been incredibly overwhelming. Can anyone detail the logistics of how they study?

How I studied in undergrad (many years ago) was just a matter of:

1) printing and annotating slides

2) rereading slides with 2 passes and then trying to "go over it" in my head as a form of active recall

I don't know if that approach would still work and I'm hoping to hear how you studied for the various components of exam (MCQ, OSCE, lab) because it seems like classmates are now using Anki, writing condensed notes, etc, which I have never been a huge fan of because of how overwhelmingly time consuming it is to write summary notes/make flash cards. My undergrad was perhaps not as memorisation heavy as medicine so I'm completely nerve-wracked by the sheer volume of material.

I am looking to hear what you find is the most efficient way to study because I'm finding myself so boggled down by the amount of material.

Also, does anyone not watch the lectures and just read the slides and then use more active methods to recall and conceptualise the info? I find it very hard to engage and stay focused just passively listening the lectures.

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10 hours ago, overwhelmedms1 said:

Hi everyone,

I've been out of school for quite a while and since coming back to first year at UBC med, it's been incredibly overwhelming. Can anyone detail the logistics of how they study?

How I studied in undergrad (many years ago) was just a matter of:

1) printing and annotating slides

2) rereading slides with 2 passes and then trying to "go over it" in my head as a form of active recall

I don't know if that approach would still work and I'm hoping to hear how you studied for the various components of exam (MCQ, OSCE, lab) because it seems like classmates are now using Anki, writing condensed notes, etc, which I have never been a huge fan of because of how overwhelmingly time consuming it is to write summary notes/make flash cards. My undergrad was perhaps not as memorisation heavy as medicine so I'm completely nerve-wracked by the sheer volume of material.

I am looking to hear what you find is the most efficient way to study because I'm finding myself so boggled down by the amount of material.

Also, does anyone not watch the lectures and just read the slides and then use more active methods to recall and conceptualise the info? I find it very hard to engage and stay focused just passively listening the lectures.

By the end of 2nd year I had totally moved away from attending/watching lectures, or even reviewing the slides much for that matter. I would skim them and add some random ‘high yield’ content to my flash card decks for cramming the week before exams. But I focused most of my time on reading around the ‘theme’ of the week using a mix of textbooks and Osmosis / Online Med Ed videos and resources. Eventually I started to realize that every topic / disease has all the same things to learn about, but what’s emphasized for each might vary: etiolgy/pathophysiology, clinical presentation (physical exam and history), management, etc etc. I built up my own summary notes using roughly that format that I’ve been expanding on in clerkship, and that acts as a bit of a quick reference guide for me.

You won’t be able to memorize all the material the first time. If you cram and review you’ll be able to remember a surprising amount for the test - over time it gets easier to figure out what kind of details matter for the test vs. matter for actually practicing medicine. And then you’ll forgot most of it. And then you’ll review it again in clerkship, and again for electives and in residency. Stuff you use a lot will stick. Stuff you don’t you’ll look up. It is definitely overwhelming. It does get easier! 

Edit: To your question about 'active methods', I'll add that doing practice clinical questions, like those available for Step 2/LMCC studying, was really helpful to me. I started in first year with Osmosis questions, because it was easy to pick ones focused on a specific topic, even though they aren't always the best quality questions. And eventually I started looking at other resources and question banks. Early on I often found this overwhelming, because I often got nearly every question wrong because there was so much I didn't know. But over time, I found forcing myself to just try to do them and think about the clinical presentations really helpful, and information tends to stick a lot better for me when I learn it in that sort of problem solving context.  

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On 9/10/2020 at 12:00 AM, frenchpress said:

But I focused most of my time on reading around the ‘theme’ of the week using a mix of textbooks and Osmosis / Online Med Ed videos and resources. 

-Could you elaborate on how you used Osmosis? There's a lot of stuff on there - did you watch some videos for clarification if you didn't understand something? Did you use the flashcards?

-Could you point me in the right direction on what textbooks you found helpful? There was a folder going around and there's A LOT of material to choose from.

-Also, it seems like a common theme that upper years are making their own summary notes and then building up on those in clerkship. How did you organize these? By week? By disease?

Thanks so much!

@overwhelmedms1 I am also in your class - I'd be happy to chat over PM if you would like. I'm still figuring everything out too so we can help each other out! 

 

 

 

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Back some years ago lecture recordings, textbook and notes would be the best way to study, but with advent of YouTube things have been flipped upside down. One thing you realize quickly is most lecturers suck, they can't explain things well, or the way they explain things is fragmented, illogical. So more and more I advocate people using online resources that actually explain things logically.

Previous poster mentioned Osmosis, it's a GREAT resource that make exceptional videos, which explain concepts very clearly and concisely, highlighting high yield topics. You can even use it to study some Royal College exam topics, that's how good they are. Not to mention there are now numerous videos showing you physical exam maneuvers. 

Multi-media is the key to remembering key info, you should read about it, talk about it, look at it, and hear about it, or even do it with your own hands, then you'll retain it. 

Another dubious distinction of med school lecture is they never tell you what's high yield on the exam and in practice. For exam purposes what's high yield can be found in USMLE First Aid book. That book is very dense but all the topics they mention in there have been distilled by generations of med students. Use that book to filter out things you must know, things you should know, and things that are nice to know, they supplement with YouTube, Wikipedia, medscape or UpToDate if you want to learn more about it

 

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On 9/11/2020 at 12:09 PM, AgentMichaelScarn said:

-Could you elaborate on how you used Osmosis? There's a lot of stuff on there - did you watch some videos for clarification if you didn't understand something? Did you use the flashcards?

-Could you point me in the right direction on what textbooks you found helpful? There was a folder going around and there's A LOT of material to choose from.

-Also, it seems like a common theme that upper years are making their own summary notes and then building up on those in clerkship. How did you organize these? By week? By disease?

Thanks so much!

@overwhelmedms1 I am also in your class - I'd be happy to chat over PM if you would like. I'm still figuring everything out too so we can help each other out! 

 

 

 

I usually used the theme of the week as a guide for what topics were important. For osmosis, I often watched the videos on topics that seemed relevant for the topic of the week, or if I wanted more detail on something. The organ systems videos on pathology and physiology are probably the most relevant for years 1/2 at ubc. The pharmacology videos can also be helpful, although I think sometimes they’re too detailed for what you really need to know early on. Similarly, I think the clinical reasoning videos are a bit more detailed than you need to worry about at your level. I did occasionally use the flash cards to review certain topics I hadn’t thought about for awhile, but they aren’t great. I did find the practice questions and the ‘high-yield’ summaries helpful sometimes, but quality varies.  I also used the documents tool to upload lecture slides and make flash cards - usually sparingly, and just for things I thought were relevant to review before exams but that might not make it into my summary notes; this is about the only time I ever bothered to look at or think about lecture slides. Online med Ed is another online resource, although it’s another one I think is more useful as review as you move towards clinical work in years 3/4.
 

I recommend starting with free trials of any resource, and then if you are using it a lot see if you can wait for a sale. Usually you can get a few rounds of free trials with different email addresses.

For textbooks, the only ones I really use again and again are: Neuroanatomy through clinical cases (Blumenfeld), Pathophysiology of Heart Disease (Lilly), and Pediatric Symptoms-based diagnosis (Nelson). Toronto notes is also fairly useful, but not so much in years 1/2 - it’s better in years 3/4 as a summary and for review, it’s not great for actually explaining topics. For everything else I usually just looked through the recommended texts and resources on the CBL case for the week, and picked one that seemed decent - and then I just read what seemed like the most relevant sections/chapters. Many of the recommended texts are available online through the library, usually through clinical key or access med. Sometimes you can even download a whole book or the chapters you need. I usually went and flipped through physical books at the BMB, but with everything online this years that’s likely less of an option. 
 

My summary notes are mostly a mix of disease summaries and approaches. E.g. I have summary notes on an approach to chest pain, approach to dyspnea, etc. And then also lots of notes cobbled together on presentation/management of various diseases. You’ll figure out as you go what works best for you, be flexible. 

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6 hours ago, honeymoon said:

just wondering - are MCQ exam questions on the midterm/final "board" style just like the progress test questions?

Not all of them, but some will definitely be in that scenario style format. Although the topic/level will be adjusted for the first/second year level, so more reasonable than the progress test haha. 

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Hi there, I'm in your class! I actually used the same methods as you did in undergrad (e.g. didn't use flash cards, mostly just read through the slides and my own notes and tried actively testing myself in my head). I've just entered med school from 3 years of undergrad, so I wouldn't call these methods super outdated or anything. And I was also in a pretty memorization heavy degree.

So yeah, I think just use this 1st term to gauge whether or not you prefer to keep with these same study habits. Since our 1st term exams are formative, this would be a great way to "experiment" with different resources and study strategies!

Although for now, I'm just sticking to what's been given (lecture videos + slides). My orientation leaders said they didn't purchase or read anything extra besides what was given, other than reading UpToDate perhaps.

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