vernhart

5+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2013
463
612
Status
Medical Student
Basically I feel like lecture is a waste of time (though mandatory). All they do is read off a million structure names from a powerpoint. When I am reviewing I have no idea what is important and what isn't (should I know the necks of the humerus? and precisely where things attach?-ex: supraspinatus attaches at the 'superior facet' of the greater tubercle of the humerus? or just know that it attaches to the greater tubercle? or just that it attaches to the humerus?) It just seems like nothing is necessarily emphasized, and I could spend 24 hours a day and still not know all of the info. Any advice is appreciated, kind of at a loss on how to approach med classes in general. Just don't know where to draw the line so as to maintain sanity while still being able to do well.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dermpire

sholamd

2+ Year Member
Jun 27, 2015
71
97
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Hi Vernhart, this is a topic near and dear to my heart! The volume of material in med school can be super overwhelming, and it's important to prioritize in order to make things manageable.

First, in regards to your comment about lecture being a waste of time and mandatory. To me, there's a problem in that sentence already. Who can afford to waste time in med school? You need to figure out a way to make lecture worth your time. I have this whole 5-step study strategy that I teach and part of it is that you have to do pre-reading so that lecture is reinforcing material rather than introducing it. If you do that, then when professors are reading off the powerpoint, your attention will automatically be focused on things that are high-yield and things that are new to YOU so that you are actually learning something during that lecture.

In medical school anatomy, I think there is some gamesmanship and a little love. One of the things I teach on my site is "Learn to Love Latin." It's the idea that if you can enjoy learning the word roots, the anatomical terms become easier to remember, and also by using the linguistic part of your brain you are recruiting different neurons and helping to facilitate learning. The gamesmanship is that you need to study things that are testable. This all depends on how your school does testing but in general you can try to focus on things that are easy to pin during a lab practical, anatomy that has clinical application, or information that you've seen in practice questions (if you don't have a practice question bank, try to find one). I have an "Anatomy Tip Sheet" if you are interested, with some ideas for surviving anatomy and it has a link to some practice questions. Anatomy is a beast but the good news is that there are lots of tricks and tools out there to help you.

Beyond anatomy, the key in med school is that you have to find ways to reduce the volume. This is much easier said than done. You can start by separating low-yield from high-yield and coming up with an efficient study strategy. Also, try to stay flexible. You may need to try a few different study strategies. If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath and then take a break - give yourself permission to try a new method of studying that might be more efficient. Anyway I could go on for hours about this, but I'll just stop here, hopefully some of these tips might be useful.
 
  • Like
Reactions: vernhart

neekzg

7+ Year Member
Dec 30, 2010
477
305
Status
Medical Student
Basically I feel like lecture is a waste of time (though mandatory). All they do is read off a million structure names from a powerpoint. When I am reviewing I have no idea what is important and what isn't (should I know the necks of the humerus? and precisely where things attach?-ex: supraspinatus attaches at the 'superior facet' of the greater tubercle of the humerus? or just know that it attaches to the greater tubercle? or just that it attaches to the humerus?) It just seems like nothing is necessarily emphasized, and I could spend 24 hours a day and still not know all of the info. Any advice is appreciated, kind of at a loss on how to approach med classes in general. Just don't know where to draw the line so as to maintain sanity while still being able to do well.
take a grain of salt since I'm also in your shoes, but area of insertion has implications for the movement done at that attachment. e.g. infraspinatus attaching to greater tubercle for lateral rotation of the arm vs. subscapularis attaching to lesser tubercle for medial rotation.

Although our anatomy professors encourage us to use origins/insertions as guides to infer the action produced, I personally don't think it's very intuitive at first. It can help reinforce what you try to commit to memory after repetition.

How much you personally have to know for tests will depend on your school. What are you guys using to guide you through anatomy labs? That should be a good measure
 
OP
vernhart

vernhart

5+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2013
463
612
Status
Medical Student
take a grain of salt since I'm also in your shoes, but area of insertion has implications for the movement done at that attachment. e.g. infraspinatus attaching to greater tubercle for lateral rotation of the arm vs. subscapularis attaching to lesser tubercle for medial rotation.

Although our anatomy professors encourage us to use origins/insertions as guides to infer the action produced, I personally don't think it's very intuitive at first. It can help reinforce what you try to commit to memory after repetition.

How much you personally have to know for tests will depend on your school. What are you guys using to guide you through anatomy labs? That should be a good measure
there's an atlas at every station for reference, but we receive our instructions from a handout for each lab. Luckily it has certain key structures that are listed for us to identify (these are clear, and quite manageable-one of the rare times I feel like I know what is expected of me); it is the non-lab portion I am really worried about bc of the way the lectures are presented.
 
OP
vernhart

vernhart

5+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2013
463
612
Status
Medical Student
Hi Vernhart, this is a topic near and dear to my heart! The volume of material in med school can be super overwhelming, and it's important to prioritize in order to make things manageable.

First, in regards to your comment about lecture being a waste of time and mandatory. To me, there's a problem in that sentence already. Who can afford to waste time in med school? You need to figure out a way to make lecture worth your time. I have this whole 5-step study strategy that I teach and part of it is that you have to do pre-reading so that lecture is reinforcing material rather than introducing it. If you do that, then when professors are reading off the powerpoint, your attention will automatically be focused on things that are high-yield and things that are new to YOU so that you are actually learning something during that lecture.

In medical school anatomy, I think there is some gamesmanship and a little love. One of the things I teach on my site is "Learn to Love Latin." It's the idea that if you can enjoy learning the word roots, the anatomical terms become easier to remember, and also by using the linguistic part of your brain you are recruiting different neurons and helping to facilitate learning. The gamesmanship is that you need to study things that are testable. This all depends on how your school does testing but in general you can try to focus on things that are easy to pin during a lab practical, anatomy that has clinical application, or information that you've seen in practice questions (if you don't have a practice question bank, try to find one). I have an "Anatomy Tip Sheet" if you are interested, with some ideas for surviving anatomy and it has a link to some practice questions. Anatomy is a beast but the good news is that there are lots of tricks and tools out there to help you.

Beyond anatomy, the key in med school is that you have to find ways to reduce the volume. This is much easier said than done. You can start by separating low-yield from high-yield and coming up with an efficient study strategy. Also, try to stay flexible. You may need to try a few different study strategies. If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath and then take a break - give yourself permission to try a new method of studying that might be more efficient. Anyway I could go on for hours about this, but I'll just stop here, hopefully some of these tips might be useful.
thanks for the reply! knowing the low yield from high is part of the problem but hopefully that will just come with experience, just frustrating to not know exactly what I am supposed to know; I'd love to check out the anatomy tips sheet
 

The Knife & Gun Club

MS - 4
2+ Year Member
Nov 6, 2015
2,349
4,520
Hollywood Upstairs Medical College
Status
Medical Student
Do your professors/2nd years recommend any specific study resources?

I know for my school BRS anatomy questions are around the level of understanding we are expected to have. So basically knowing that supraspinatus attaches to greater tubercle and does abduction, but not necessarily which "facet" it attaches to.

Although mandatory lectures sound aweful. I'm so sorry to hear that!
 

The Knife & Gun Club

MS - 4
2+ Year Member
Nov 6, 2015
2,349
4,520
Hollywood Upstairs Medical College
Status
Medical Student
also personally Had great results from drawing things out. Couldn't remember the path of the brachial plexus/arm nerves, so got a 2x3 pad of paper and drew it out, then carried the drawing with me in my backpack. something about drawing things out can help you notice/remember little details that weren't so obvious before
 
OP
vernhart

vernhart

5+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2013
463
612
Status
Medical Student
Do your professors/2nd years recommend any specific study resources?

I know for my school BRS anatomy questions are around the level of understanding we are expected to have. So basically knowing that supraspinatus attaches to greater tubercle and does abduction, but not necessarily which "facet" it attaches to.

Although mandatory lectures sound aweful. I'm so sorry to hear that!
Some have said BRS while others have recommended lecture notes (the majority). I will give BRS a try if that is about the level of test Q's, cuz me and lecture notes ain't working out
 

Dermpire

2+ Year Member
Feb 12, 2016
566
987
Status
Medical Student
@vernhart

I'm right there with you. My lectures and labs seem to be a combination of reading terms off of a slide and our lab group pointing out minuscule and useless structures on the cadavers. There really is no way to figure out high or low yield material without an outside reference.

Fortunately we have NBME exams so I'm planning on using BRS and other materials to figure out what I actually need to know and what is probably not going to show up on our exams or step 1.

Sorry you have mandatory lectures :(
 
  • Like
Reactions: vernhart

doyouhaveaflag

No flag, no country
5+ Year Member
Nov 30, 2013
414
503
Status
Resident [Any Field]
During M1 orientation week, we had a few successful M2s come talk to us about med school expectations. One of them said "just memorize everything and you'll be fine". I thought he was joking, but he wasn't. At least at my school (I'm currently an M3), everything you see on the powerpoints is fair game for exams as well as any structures listed in the dissector for anatomy, regardless of whether it's emphasized or even mentioned during class. Playing the game of trying to determine what's high yield and only learning that lead to average or below grades for people I know who used that method.

That being said, for most of us mortals it is not possible to memorize every single thing (although I always tried). You can usually get a sense of what shows up the most on exams by doing practice questions. BRS is a great resource for anatomy questions. I also used Lippincott. Check with your uppers for which practice questions they recommend for each course.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Tabiyou

Rekt

2+ Year Member
May 29, 2015
1,520
3,306
Status
Resident [Any Field]
During M1 orientation week, we had a few successful M2s come talk to us about med school expectations. One of them said "just memorize everything and you'll be fine". I thought he was joking, but he wasn't. At least at my school (I'm currently an M3), everything you see on the powerpoints is fair game for exams as well as any structures listed in the dissector for anatomy, regardless of whether it's emphasized or even mentioned during class. Playing the game of trying to determine what's high yield and only learning that lead to average or below grades for people I know who used that method.

That being said, for most of us mortals it is not possible to memorize every single thing (although I always tried). You can usually get a sense of what shows up the most on exams by doing practice questions. BRS is a great resource for anatomy questions. I also used Lippincott. Check with your uppers for which practice questions they recommend for each course.
Yeah plenty of people said that at our school too. They're idiots.

OP, it really depends on what school thinks is important, but after the first exam or two, it was really easy to tell how much detail you need to know. They toss up a picture from Netters with 300 arrows on it, it's a huge waste of time. Figure out what is higher yield by doing BRS and UMich. I completely dumped bothering with attachments and insertions. Out of our >250 points/questions available, about 1-2 questions were attachment/insertion questions. Not even worth it (and I got them right anyway). You can usually work it out by remembering the general area from lab or the mechanism of their action.
 
  • Like
Reactions: vernhart
OP
vernhart

vernhart

5+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2013
463
612
Status
Medical Student
Yeah plenty of people said that at our school too. They're idiots.

OP, it really depends on what school thinks is important, but after the first exam or two, it was really easy to tell how much detail you need to know. They toss up a picture from Netters with 300 arrows on it, it's a huge waste of time. Figure out what is higher yield by doing BRS and UMich. I completely dumped bothering with attachments and insertions. Out of our >250 points/questions available, about 1-2 questions were attachment/insertion questions. Not even worth it (and I got them right anyway). You can usually work it out by remembering the general area from lab or the mechanism of their action.
Yeah I feel like it is not realistic or helpful to just tell people to memorize everything (and leaving it at that, note that I do think @doyouhaveaflag offered some helpful tips; I see what you mean the whole shoot for the stars and land on the moon business, but that just makes me blow up on the launch pad; that would've worked better if I hadn't heard that analogy for pre-mature ejaculation prior but you get what I mean lol It becomes a disaster to try to just do everything). So it sounds like BRS is my next go to, which some MS2's seemed very opposed to for some reason (but the number of people I have heard recommend it at this point is far greater).

I have to figure out the actions for each muscle, I am so bad at visualizing rotations and such.

Thanks a ton guys for your insight, it has been a stressful beginning to med school.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dermpire

Spectre of Ockham

2+ Year Member
Jun 17, 2016
188
155
Status
Medical Student
Emphasize osteology and angiology then myology is just a blanket of flesh. You want to learn the cervical , lumbar and sacral plexuses as well with angiology since they are basically next to each other.

When it comes to myology fist learn the names and where they fit get that up to perfection then go to 100% on their size , trajectory and insertions. The motor function would then come naturally.
Get the easy stuff out first. The axilla will be a bitch and a half while the superior and inferior members are a walk in the park. For the carpal and tarsal bones mnemonics are a must, you can also use mnemonics on the nerves as well but that's less helpful.

Also understanding is >>>>> memorizing. You're brain is a pattern hunting machine not an MySQL database.
 
  • Like
Reactions: y123 and vernhart
OP
vernhart

vernhart

5+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2013
463
612
Status
Medical Student
Emphasize osteology and angiology then myology is just a blanket of flesh. You want to learn the cervical , lumbar and sacral plexuses as well with angiology since they are basically next to each other.

When it comes to myology fist learn the names and where they fit get that up to perfection then go to 100% on their size , trajectory and insertions. The motor function would then come naturally.
Get the easy stuff out first. The axilla will be a bitch and a half while the superior and inferior members are a walk in the park. For the carpal and tarsal bones mnemonics are a must, you can also use mnemonics on the nerves as well but that's less helpful.

Also understanding is >>>>> memorizing. You're brain is a pattern hunting machine not an MySQL database.
awesome! thanks!!
yeah we just did axilla, phew it is rough
 

Psai

This space for lease
Removed
5+ Year Member
Jan 2, 2014
11,519
23,508
ヽ(´ー`)ノ
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Yeah plenty of people said that at our school too. They're idiots.

OP, it really depends on what school thinks is important, but after the first exam or two, it was really easy to tell how much detail you need to know. They toss up a picture from Netters with 300 arrows on it, it's a huge waste of time. Figure out what is higher yield by doing BRS and UMich. I completely dumped bothering with attachments and insertions. Out of our >250 points/questions available, about 1-2 questions were attachment/insertion questions. Not even worth it (and I got them right anyway). You can usually work it out by remembering the general area from lab or the mechanism of their action.
You're right. The best thing to do is memorize everything but you only have so much time. Priority: name, function, blood supply, nerve supply, ..................origin, insertion
 
  • Like
Reactions: vernhart

Señor S

5+ Year Member
Jul 28, 2014
569
685
Status
Resident [Any Field]
You're right. The best thing to do is memorize everything but you only have so much time. Priority: name, function, blood supply, nerve supply, ..................origin, insertion
Excellent advice. Before you learn anything else just be able to point to a given structure and say what it is. In anatomy it's very easy to obsess over the minute details at the expense of the big picture. If something has 5 origins/insertions or 10 functions or is innervated by a bunch of different nerves it's unlikely (ime) that you'll be asked about it. Much more important to know the clinically-relevant BRS/Moore's type stuff, which is probably what you'll be tested on in your class and certainly what you'll be asked about on shelves/steps/rotations.
 
  • Like
Reactions: vernhart