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Catching up over M1 Summer

lordstanley

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May 6, 2016
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  1. Medical Student
    Looking for suggestions on how to catch up during the summer between M1-M2.

    (Not necessary to read):
    I am interested in one of the most competitive specialties (surgical). Unfortunately, I have not performed as well as I had hoped on our school exams (started out a few percentage points above the average and then scores dropped off the rest of the year..scored 7-8% below the average on our last exam). I have been working on improving my study methods and have worked with an academic specialist at our school to help me improve because I am putting the time in but not seeing the results. Our exams are also not representative of any board style questions I have done but that's another story.

    Long story short, looking for ways to get back on track this summer. We are on a systems schedule and will be taking Step 1 before April 2017.

    This is my plan, I'm open to suggestions. I also realize that this is our last summer and resting is important. I will certainly take time to rest but our school and upperclassman (M3/M4) have recommended doing some studying over summer.

    Based on the system blocks we have finished in M1, here is how much material I would have to cover:

    Firecracker - a lot of cards left to do, just going to stick to doing ~150/day which should take 1.5 hours max.
    Pathoma - 26 hours of videos, I'll overestimate that it'll take 40 hours since I annotate the Pathoma book.
    First Aid - 350 pages
    USMLERx - 1275 questions (~30 44-question blocks)

    Study plan:

    I have about 12 weeks of summer free.


    3 random (from the systems we've done) USMLERx question blocks a week (10 hours/week)

    5 hours Pathoma a week (5 hours/week)

    50 FA pages a week (5 hours/week)

    Firecracker (1.5 hrs/day * 7 days = 10.5 hours/week)

    Total = 31 hours/week


    This works out to an 8AM-1PM study session 6 days/week and I will likely finish going through everything early if I stick to the schedule (which I know I have the discipline to do).


    Thoughts on this plan? I'm considering cutting out reading FA (maybe just use it as reference while reviewing Rx questions) since I'll likely forget many of the details from FA by the time dedicated Step 1 prep rolls around. I want to be clear that this is more than just for Step 1, I want to strengthen my foundation of the material we have already covered so I can fill in the details when the time comes for dedicated Step 1 prep. I think this is warranted since we are on a systems curriculum but any feedback is appreciated.


    I'm open to cutting resources, hearing suggestions of another resources to consider, etc.


    Thanks!
     
    Last edited:

    TBV

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      All of this is a drop in the bucket. It likely won't make a difference in step 1 nor will it make a difference in second year. What will make a difference is doing research and getting a pub out of it. Start pathoma and FA in second year.
       
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      lordstanley

      New Member
      May 6, 2016
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      1. Medical Student
        All of this is a drop in the bucket. It likely won't make a difference in step 1 nor will it make a difference in second year. What will make a difference is doing research and getting a pub out of it. Start pathoma and FA in second year.

        I imagine holding off on FA and Pathoma would be true for a traditional curriculum but not for systems-based? And I am working on a pub in the field of my interest and may have another by the end of the summer. Thank you for taking time to reply!
         
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        TBV

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          I imagine holding off on FA and Pathoma would be true for a traditional curriculum but not for systems-based? And I am working on a pub in the field of my interest and may have another by the end of the summer. Thank you for taking time to reply!

          My mistake I assumed traditional by all means keep it fresh I suppose
           
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          appcan

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          Jun 12, 2014
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            I was planning to do something similar for the summer, so my opinion is biased. If you do ~31 hrs/week for 12 weeks, that's roughly 372 hours worth of studying you'd front-load from M2. I'd say that's a pretty considerable chunk of time. I wouldn't say it's a "drop in the bucket". If you stick with FC, you'll keep seeing the material you've reviewed as well so you won't just forget everything.
             

            ski89

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              If I were you, I would focus less on firecracker and more on first aid. IMHO, making cards straight from first aid is superior to using firecracker for two reasons.
              1. You are focusing on the highest yield topics by sticking with first aid. I find firecracker to go overboard on detail in some areas.
              2. Firecracker cards are not great for spaced repetition. The answers are too dense.
              3. Making high yield anki cards will pay dividends come dedicated study time when you have complete decks of high quality, high yield cards, all made to your liking.

              Obviously some of this comes down to personal preference.
               
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              lordstanley

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              May 6, 2016
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              1. Medical Student
                I was planning to do something similar for the summer, so my opinion is biased. If you do ~31 hrs/week for 12 weeks, that's roughly 372 hours worth of studying you'd front-load from M2. I'd say that's a pretty considerable chunk of time. I wouldn't say it's a "drop in the bucket". If you stick with FC, you'll keep seeing the material you've reviewed as well so you won't just forget everything.

                I agree, I do think this sort of plan will significantly help during M2. Also, it wouldn't take all 12 weeks to complete this material. For example, 50 pages of FA/week would only take 7 weeks to complete the 350 pages I've covered. Hopefully this will allow some time to rest.
                 

                lordstanley

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                May 6, 2016
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                1. Medical Student
                  If I were you, I would focus less on firecracker and more on first aid. IMHO, making cards straight from first aid is superior to using firecracker for two reasons.
                  1. You are focusing on the highest yield topics by sticking with first aid. I find firecracker to go overboard on detail in some areas.
                  2. Firecracker cards are not great for spaced repetition. The answers are too dense.
                  3. Making high yield anki cards will pay dividends come dedicated study time when you have complete decks of high quality, high yield cards, all made to your liking.

                  Obviously some of this comes down to personal preference.

                  Thanks for your input. I was under the impression that FC comes from FA and I never thought to double check. I don't find the actual process of making flash cards to be helpful which is why I use FC. I've heard of pre-made Anki decks but never took the time to figure out how Anki works. Would you recommend that over FC?
                   

                  ski89

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                    Thanks for your input. I was under the impression that FC comes from FA and I never thought to double check. I don't find the actual process of making flash cards to be helpful which is why I use FC. I've heard of pre-made Anki decks but never took the time to figure out how Anki works. Would you recommend that over FC?
                    A lot of FC comes from FA, but FC goes into more detail in certain areas so it becomes lower yield in the end. My biggest problem with FC though is how their cards are written. Like I said, they are not good for spaced repetition, too much detail on each question. Good spaced repetition cards should have no more than a few words needed for the right answer.

                    I can understand that you think making cards is a hassle - many people do. But I would argue that perhaps you are just not proficient at it like some of us who use anki on a daily basis. Once you get a system down on how you like to make your cards, you get really fast at it and it does contribute to your learning. I would be happy to share one of my decks with you for you to get an idea of how I write my cards (if you like them I wouldnt mind sharing more either).

                    Drop Firecracker, get FlashFacts (flash cards from FA, and it has improved SIGNIFICANTLY over the past few years), and supplement with Kaplan videos as needed (pharm, physi, anatomy, and biochem are the worthwhile ones).

                    Does FlashFacts allow you to separate path from physio?
                     

                    Taddy Mason

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                      Does FlashFacts allow you to separate path from physio?

                      You can select specific topics across all basic sciences as you learn them. There's a lot of minutiae that isn't covered, but that tends to be school specific.

                      Edit - I guess it does lack in anatomy and physiology but there are plenty of sources for those topics...
                       

                      Goro

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                        You should be enjoying your summer, not preparing for Boards.

                        I do advise my students to seek out the second year Faculty and ask for tips on how to best prepare for 2nd year.



                        Looking for suggestions on how to catch up during the summer between M1-M2.

                        (Not necessary to read):
                        I am interested in one of the most competitive specialties (surgical). Unfortunately, I have not performed as well as I had hoped on our school exams (started out a few percentage points above the average and then scores dropped off the rest of the year..scored 7-8% below the average on our last exam). I have been working on improving my study methods and have worked with an academic specialist at our school to help me improve because I am putting the time in but not seeing the results. Our exams are also not representative of any board style questions I have done but that's another story.

                        Long story short, looking for ways to get back on track this summer. We are on a systems schedule and will be taking Step 1 before April 2017.

                        This is my plan, I'm open to suggestions. I also realize that this is our last summer and resting is important. I will certainly take time to rest but our school and upperclassman (M3/M4) have recommended doing some studying over summer.

                        Based on the system blocks we have finished in M1, here is how much material I would have to cover:

                        Firecracker - a lot of cards left to do, just going to stick to doing ~150/day which should take 1.5 hours max.
                        Pathoma - 26 hours of videos, I'll overestimate that it'll take 40 hours since I annotate the Pathoma book.
                        First Aid - 350 pages
                        USMLERx - 1275 questions (~30 44-question blocks)

                        Study plan:

                        I have about 12 weeks of summer free.


                        3 random (from the systems we've done) USMLERx question blocks a week (10 hours/week)

                        5 hours Pathoma a week (5 hours/week)

                        50 FA pages a week (5 hours/week)

                        Firecracker (1.5 hrs/day * 7 days = 10.5 hours/week)

                        Total = 31 hours/week


                        This works out to an 8AM-1PM study session 6 days/week and I will likely finish going through everything early if I stick to the schedule (which I know I have the discipline to do).


                        Thoughts on this plan? I'm considering cutting out reading FA (maybe just use it as reference while reviewing Rx questions) since I'll likely forget many of the details from FA by the time dedicated Step 1 prep rolls around. I want to be clear that this is more than just for Step 1, I want to strengthen my foundation of the material we have already covered so I can fill in the details when the time comes for dedicated Step 1 prep. I think this is warranted since we are on a systems curriculum but any feedback is appreciated.


                        I'm open to cutting resources, hearing suggestions of another resources to consider, etc.


                        Thanks!
                         
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                        Shams al Deen

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                          Seriously?
                          Its totally reasonable to study M1 summer if you're in a school that is systems-based, has a shortened clinical curriculum, and takes Step 1 earlier. Learning is all about repetition. If you can repeat all the material from M1 in the summer, that HAS to help when you start the dedicated step1 study time just 6 months later.
                           

                          prettylittlebird

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                            You're an M1 so you have to realize that even if you're interested in surgery at the moment that might change drastically between now and when you choose a specialty in a few years. I feel like wasting your last summer studying might be a major source of regret down the road so please think about that. I know the majority of medical students have a type A personality and it's hard to take time off but consider the fact that relaxing for a few months might have a more positive impact on your grades when you return to school than studying throughout the summer and getting burned out too early.
                             
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