Has anyone committed biochemistry to long-term memory?

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deleted842137

Hi all,

Incoming OMS-1 here. I've learned biochem at various levels of detail 5 times now: twice in high school (honors and AP bio), twice in college (principles of bio and biochem) and once studying for the MCAT. Every single time I probably forgot all of it maybe ~ 5-10 days after the exam: all the intermediaries, enzymes, cycles and how they feed into each other.

Is this just how biochem goes? Has anyone here (students and clinicians, not professors lol) successfully committed biochem to their long term memory? By long-term memory, I mean not thinking about biochem at all for ~ 6 months for instance, and still being able to recall it and write it all down.

To those who have, how did you do it? I'm about to learn biochem for the 6th time, and I kinda want to remember it for longer than a few days after the exam this time.
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Depends. I learned glycolysis and the TCA cycle from a parody of that pop some tags song, and now I will never forget it.

But I learned fatty acid synthesis again a couple months ago (yes you have to learn this crap again in med school), and I already forget all the details.
 
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Oso

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That's how medicine goes... you will learn so much in medical school, a lot of it multiple times, and then forget the vast majority of it by the end of your training.

Today I was asked about chiari malformations and couldn't remember much, despite learning and relearning that **** for step 1-3, neurology rotation, peds rotation, etc.

At the end of the day, you'll remember what you need to.
 
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Tenk

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I actually gambled on step 1 by refusing to rememorize krebs, glycolysis, etc on principle.

Totally worth it.
 
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No, I scored 100% on the biochemistry class exams. Had none on my Step 1 and I've forgotten everything. There are definitely problems with preclinical education.
 
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DameJulie

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No, I scored 100% on the biochemistry class exams. Had none on my Step 1 and I've forgotten everything. There are definitely problems with preclinical education.
Wait so no biochem questions on Step 1? What other subject areas do you suggest to focus on?
 

redsox93

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Wait so no biochem questions on Step 1? What other subject areas do you suggest to focus on?
I had a few biochem questions on step 1. I now know nothing about biochem as an M4.
 
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Scrubs101

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M4 as well, I cant remember anything past glucose in the glycolysis pathway if that answers your question
 
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FrkyBgStok

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whenever a med student tries to flex and bring out some esoteric biochem knowledge that I don't remember, but make them do BS scutwork as punishment then remind them that I don't care about any of that crap.

in all honesty, just learn it and dump it like the entire first 2 years of med school. As I am about to enter my second year of fellowship, I fully understand what Dr. Kelso meant when he said "if you've been out of med school for 5 years, half of what you've learned is obsolete."
 
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Wait so no biochem questions on Step 1? What other subject areas do you suggest to focus on?

N=1 but no biochem within my 280 questions. Some of my friends had a few but never anything crazy. I would probably save biochem for last so you can keep in short term memory.
 
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altblue

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N=1 but no biochem within my 280 questions. Some of my friends had a few but never anything crazy. I would probably save biochem for last so you can keep in short term memory.
ah really? just a rising m2, but i've heard that biochem, and immuno, minutiae are what help differentiate between scorers, since the rest of exam isn't quite as difficult
 

slowthai

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Wait so no biochem questions on Step 1? What other subject areas do you suggest to focus on?

It just depends on the form you happen to get. Some will have more of a subject than others. You can look at the full breakdown here:

Screenshot_20200616-225656~2.png

Edit: Added the link to the full breakdown available on the website.
 
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altblue

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The breakdown table is great! Honestly schools should show us this during orientation lol
i'm surprised how little attention genetics has gotten though, or even just in med school in general. has only come up really in heme & onc. well now i know what's getting last priority after i review my other subjects lol
 
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slowthai

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i'm surprised how little attention genetics has gotten though, or even just in med school in general. has only come up really in heme & onc. well now i know what's getting last priority after i review my other subjects lol

Yeah, there's a mega crapton amount of gene names that we have to know for step. Really thankful that there's like no punnett square crap on there (as far as I know). Really hate that stuff along with embryology. Anything having to do with those things can go walk off a cliff
 
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slowthai

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I guess I just don’t see the point in them giving you a breakdown for a test you’re going to take in 2-3 years that could change.

I don't care either, honestly. It doesn't affect how I prepare whatsoever. I just wanted to take the opportunity to lambast them, lol. She threw a softball my way and I just had to give it a slug haha
 
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TelemarketingEnigma

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Yeah, there's a mega crapton amount of gene names that we have to know for step. Really thankful that there's like no punnett square crap on there (as far as I know). Really hate that stuff along with embryology. Anything having to do with those things can go walk off a cliff

Bad news for you, my step exam had both a bunch of embryology and a few pedigree/punnett square type questions. I actually wanted more of the latter though, I like those...
 
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You'll remember the stuff you actually use every day in practice. All the rest, you can look up. After 20+ years in practice, I don't think I remember a single fact from biochem!
 

Ho0v-man

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*ashamedly likes biochem*

Did Zanki biochem for like 9 months and >1 year later most of its still there I think. Had 5-10 on step 1 and honestly every single question could be directly answered from FA. While I enjoyed having a deeper understanding than that, it’s absolutely not necessary because it was basically buzzwords.
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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*ashamedly likes biochem*

Did Zanki biochem for like 9 months and >1 year later most of its still there I think. Had 5-10 on step 1 and honestly every single question could be directly answered from FA. While I enjoyed having a deeper understanding than that, it’s absolutely not necessary because it was basically buzzwords.

I like biochem too, but I’m not willing to do zanki for it for 9 months lol.
 

libertyyne

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whenever a med student tries to flex and bring out some esoteric biochem knowledge that I don't remember, but make them do BS scutwork as punishment then remind them that I don't care about any of that crap.

in all honesty, just learn it and dump it like the entire first 2 years of med school. As I am about to enter my second year of fellowship, I fully understand what Dr. Kelso meant when he said "if you've been out of med school for 5 years, half of what you've learned is obsolete."
Half is obsolete and the other half has been forgotten.
 

CherryRedDracul

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It's very fuzzy in my long term memory, but I remember the salient points of it.

It helped me include thiamine deficiency in the differential diagnosis of an elderly woman with an otherwise unexplained elevated lactate level.

And guess what? She had thiamine deficiency.
 
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Neopolymath

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It's very fuzzy in my long term memory, but I remember the salient points of it.

It helped me include thiamine deficiency in the differential diagnosis of an elderly woman with an otherwise unexplained elevated lactate level.

And guess what? She had thiamine deficiency.
Your enhancing liver mass (right?) Always reminds of of some weird grayscale picture of house fly eyes on my phone.

Also biochem is irritating.
 

CherryRedDracul

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Your enhancing liver mass (right?) Always reminds of of some weird grayscale picture of house fly eyes on my phone.

Also biochem is irritating.

Oh, I see what you're seeing.

And yeah, it's a liver mass, but it's a benign one: a hemangioma. That gif is showing multiple phases of contrast enhancement and the characteristic discontinuous peripheral nodular enhancement with gradual filling-in that matches the aortic blood pool.
 
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deweystrontium

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I believe I have 92% down according to Anki. However, the point of biochem isn't to memorize it, but rather remember the salient aspects of it that come up again and again in pathologies, primarily metabolic pathologies.

1592628586385.png
 

PrideOrPanthers

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I think as a peds/IM attending in particular your familiar with a little biochem as they relate to diseases. For example, classical galactosemia, phenylketonuria, mccardle disease, urea cycle disorders. Doubt any attendings straight up memorize the Krebs cycle though
 
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Jesus1

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If you learn it in a clinical context and learn the rules, you'll notice that it's very memorable. But if you just see it as a memorization game then you promptly forget it after the corresponding exam.
 

aldol16

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Ironically, it is a consequence of neurobiochemistry that if you don't use that knowledge, you lose it. So unless a student is doing biochemistry research where they have to think about all of those pathways on a semi-regular basis, it's really hard to retain anything.
 
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