Jan 12, 2016
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Just started first year. As expected, a big suggestion has been to purchase board review books and start reading/annotating them in parallel with course material. I anticipated this, and bought First Aid this past summer.

What I did not realize was how much board material there is out there. My confusion has come from M2s recommending their personal favorites. Last week, someone told me to buy First Aid Organ Systems. I thought that's what I had. She says "No, not First Aid. First Aid Organ Systems."

So let's start there. What is FA Organ Systems, how is it used, and is that what you guys would recommend using alongside coursework? Are there other resources you guys would recommend? Are there a couple main resources that everyone uses?

It was strongly recommended that we get BRS Anatomy for Anatomy block. Then I heard that people are buying the BRS books for each block. I've also heard of people purchasing Pathoma, Najeeb's lectures, SketchyMicro, and a couple others. I don't know what most of these even are yet.

Again, just to clarify, I'm not asking about actual board prep. I know there are tons of resources for dedicated study time specifically for Step 1. Right now, I'm just asking about Step 1 prep resources to use during first and second year, before dedicated study starts. It seems unrealistic to follow the suggestions I've been getting and use 3+ board prep resources in parallel with lecture material on a regular basis. Or maybe it is realistic and I need to up my study game. Thanks for your help.
 

Mansamusa

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I'm not saying this in a critical way, but there are lots of good threads on this topic if you search. Reading through several of those thread will give you a comprehensive idea of what to use (it also depends a lot on what type of curriculum you have)- probably better responses than you will get in any one thread
 

Ismet

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The first thing to remember is that board prep materials are REVIEW materials and do not replace learning the material in the first place. Thus, you will not have time for 2-3 board prep resources in addition to actually learning the material in the first place. First Aid takes high yield topics and reviews high yield tidbits which will mean nothing unless you learn the stuff in the first place.

The second thing to remember is that each med school curriculum is different. You're typically better off talking to a bunch of upperclassmen at your school to get an idea of things you need rather than advice from people who have no idea of your school's curriculum. For example, at my school, they gave us all the lecture notes for a block and for the most part, it was well put together - i.e. if you knew what was in the lecture notes, you would do well on the exam. However, there were a couple classes that were not as good, and we got word from upperclassmen to get a book or two. Many of us used Abbas' Immunology to supplement our Immuno course, whereas at your school, maybe they do Immuno really well and you don't need a book. Trust your upperclassmen, but get the gist from multiple people, or else you might find yourself trusting the person who unnecessarily buys a book for everything.

Pathoma is for pathology. If you're just doing anatomy, biochem, genetics, micro, etc in MS1, then it's not time for Pathoma yet. Once you get into the organ systems and pathology, then it's time for Pathoma. And I absolutely recommend using Pathoma alongside your organ system blocks. I used the book and the videos to review topics after we covered them in class. Then when you get to Step 1 time, you've already gone through Pathoma once and you just have to review.

First Aid is largely for organ systems but it also covers MS1 material, so it's fine to use to review things after you learn them, or to review before an exam. I never used First Aid for Organ Systems and I don't know of anyone in my class who did.
 
OP
hansarganshi
Jan 12, 2016
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23
First Aid is largely for organ systems but it also covers MS1 material, so it's fine to use to review things after you learn them, or to review before an exam. I never used First Aid for Organ Systems and I don't know of anyone in my class who did.
Thanks for this! Are you referring to the First Aid book or the First Aid Organ Systems book here?

The upperclassmen I spoke to last week swore by using First Aid Organ Systems alongside her lecture material each block (not First Aid). I did a little research last night, and apparently First Aid Organ Systems is riddled with errors. So, now I'm even more confused :unsure: FWIW, no one I've talked to has recommended using First Aid itself either until board prep starts.
 

Taddy Mason

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Anatomy - Netter's Atlas of Anatomy, Rohen's (invaluable IMHO), Acland videos, and UMich anatomy website for questions

Biochem - BRS and Lippincott. BRS is better for just review, Lippincott's is solid if you're struggling a bit or lectures at your school are garbage. Lippincott's also has a solid Qbank of ~400 practice questions if you register the code on the inside cover; it's honestly worth buying just for this.

Phys - BRS (aka Skinny Linda), Costanzo Physiology (aka Fat Linda), and Guyton and Hall review/question book; some people highly recommend Dr. Najeeb videos, but I never used them. Kaplan videos are also good for supplementation.

Neuro anatomy - Haines atlas

Micro - Sketchy Micro (online video subscription); Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple was the go to before Sketchy and is still a decent source if you don't mesh with Sketchy.

Embryology - High Yield Embryo or BRS, and Kaplan videos.

Immunology - Abbas; a lot of people also recommend How the Immune System Works

Path - Pathoma or Goljan Rapid Review (I used both and they're both good, but ultimately I preferred Pathoma and dropped Goljan) and Robbins Review of Path for questions.

Pharm - Kaplan pharm videos with Raymon (hands down the absolute best source for pharm) along with pharm sections at the end of each organ system chapter in FA.

Histo/Histo path - If you feel you need a resource for these I'd recommend Netter's Atlas of Histology for histo and Robbin's Atlas of Path for gross/histo path.

Clinical stuff - Bates is definitely worth getting if you don't like relying on the internet to figure stuff out. For preclinical my school's attitude was to follow Bates to a T - if you didn't you lost points. So if your school recommends a different text I'd get that instead; but I'm definitely of the camp that feels getting whatever is recommended for clinical medicine/physical exam is probably worth it in the long run. I still regularly use Bates during 3rd year.

UpToDate is awesome if your school has a PBL type curriculum and you have to do presentations or group discussions.

For practice questions in general - I'm not sure what the PreTest series is like for pre-clinical topics, but for shelf exams in 3rd year they're pretty solid. I can't emphasize enough the importance of doing TONS of practice questions alongside studying.

Regarding First Aid Organ Systems - it's garbage. Only one person in my class used it and she swore by it. Small group quizzes, etc. with her were painful because she would constantly argue over answers and cite that as her source even if it went against lecture notes, the Lindas, or Guyton and Hall - she just could not accept how many errors were in it because it had "First Aid" in the title.
 
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Ismet

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Thanks for this! Are you referring to the First Aid book or the First Aid Organ Systems book here?

The upperclassmen I spoke to last week swore by using First Aid Organ Systems alongside her lecture material each block (not First Aid). I did a little research last night, and apparently First Aid Organ Systems is riddled with errors. So, now I'm even more confused :unsure: FWIW, no one I've talked to has recommended using First Aid itself either until board prep starts.
Just First Aid. I didn't use First Aid until board prep, but there are a lot of helpful mnemonics in there that can help you for your in house exams. If I did pre-clinical over again, I'd probably glance through the FA section associated with whatever class I was studying for, just as a quick review of high yield topics. But definitely don't spend a lot of time with it yet, and don't annotate it yet. Save that for when you do UWorld and get closer to Step 1.
 
OP
hansarganshi
Jan 12, 2016
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23
Regarding First Aid Organ Systems - it's garbage. Only one person in my class used it and she swore by it. Small group quizzes, etc. with her were painful because she would constantly argue over answers and cite that as her source even if it went against lecture notes, the Lindas, or Guyton and Hall - she just could not accept how many errors were in it because it had "First Aid" in the title.
This was exactly my suspicion. Thank you thank you thank you.