How in the everloving heck are you supposed to memorize everything for micro/anti-microbes?

caxoo

5+ Year Member
Jul 3, 2013
105
67
Status
Pre-Medical
For example, in the adverse effects listed for sulfonamides, I have (from class lecture):

"kernicterus, nephrotox-crystalluria, HS (cross-rxn drugs w/ S), phototox, rash, angiodema, stevens-johnson, marrow supp (anemia, granulopenia, thrombopenia), asplastic anemia (rare), hemolytic anemia (G6PDH def), anti vit K"

How are you supposed to approach memorizing such a dry list of facts? Are you supposed to know every single detail on the list, and just brute force go over it repeatedly/ANKI a hundred times until you remember it? (I did this last time for micro and it was both (1) stupidly stressful and (2) probably not the right way since I didn't even honors for all my effort)

Are you supposed to get the general gist of the list, and not know each separate detail?

Are you supposed to only memorize high yield facts and skim over everything else? (In which case how do you determine what's high yield? Perusing different sources such as First Aid, Sketchy, etc shows that they focus on different things a lot of the time)

I just can't even
 

atomheart

2+ Year Member
May 5, 2016
224
329
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Learn the mechanisms.

If you know biochemistry you know the side effects of bactrim. It messes with DNA synth so it's going to do things to marrow. It's a major free radical former, so that explains the hemolysis, phototoxicity, and probably renal effects. The vitamin k interaction is new to me but interesting. If you know what drugs do you can predict their effects.

Sent from my SM-J320V using Tapatalk
 
OP
C

caxoo

5+ Year Member
Jul 3, 2013
105
67
Status
Pre-Medical
Have you looked into Sketchy micro?
Oh yeah definitely using that for the bugs. The pharmacology section was only recently released though and people say it's...well, sketchy I guess is a good word

Learn the mechanisms.

If you know biochemistry you know the side effects of bactrim. It messes with DNA synth so it's going to do things to marrow. It's a major free radical former, so that explains the hemolysis, phototoxicity, and probably renal effects. The vitamin k interaction is new to me but interesting. If you know what drugs do you can predict their effects.

Sent from my SM-J320V using Tapatalk
I don't have a strong enough background to be able to connect concepts across that well. For example, I learned that folate synthesis relates to DNA synthesis, but I wasn't able to recall that until you mentioned it. I had no idea that folate synthesis inhibition causes free radical formation, nor that free radical formation causes the symptoms you mentioned. I do try to look things up and try to get a conceptual framework when feasible, but there's a whole bunch of stuff to review and limited hours of the day

Man, actually my lack of fundamental grasp is really distressing. It's gonna be a rough road up to Step 1 this year sigh
 

DrDreams

Resident
Gold Donor
7+ Year Member
Aug 8, 2011
443
148
Within the space time continuum
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Oh yeah definitely using that for the bugs. The pharmacology section was only recently released though and people say it's...well, sketchy I guess is a good word

Man, actually my lack of fundamental grasp is really distressing. It's gonna be a rough road up to Step 1 this year sigh
I feel like you should get Crush USMLE Step 1. I am getting it, it reads first aid like a narrative so it maybe helpful to you to have that since it sounds like a teacher is teaching. Then I would get a large sketchbook and make diagrams and flow charts. Find what helps you remember that stuff. I have used sketchy pharm yet, but if it is something that will help you, use it. I know they have preview videos.
 
May 18, 2013
26
42
Status
Medical Student
Oh yeah definitely using that for the bugs. The pharmacology section was only recently released though and people say it's...well, sketchy I guess is a good word

Man, actually my lack of fundamental grasp is really distressing.
My medical school is horrendous at teaching us pharmacology. I felt so betrayed by my institution when I realized how much pharm was on Step 1 vs. how much we had been taught. Going into boards dedicated studying, I had maybe experienced from my curriculum 15-20% of the necessary pharm knowledge (drug name, mechanism, indications, high-yield side effects). With that said, it took me a good 10 days worth of time (10+ hours per day) of solid studying (not even doing UWORLD questions) to have even a freaking chance at getting the questions right on the NBME's and ultimately the actual Step 1 exam, which I took 2.5 weeks ago now. I personally don't believe the QBank pharm questions are all that essential to success, as pharm is more straightforward than much of the other content, so if you are struggling most with content, don't worry about questions as much as getting the damn information in your head using a very digestible resource (no, First Aid is not enough for pharm if you're not decent at it to begin with). I digress.

SketchyPharm saved my freaking life. It was the last thing I did before I took my boards. And also, now being in 3rd year, I find myself grateful daily. On my step 1 I had many questions that were verbatim from sketchy. The resource has occasional typos, but the information is incredibly high yield and worth doing if you have time, especially if you are extremely weak like I was on pharm. I had a hard Step 1 exam with more complicated pharm questions than the NBME's would have ever made me think possible, but sketchy helped me get a lot of them right. I feel like sketchy got me about 10 extra questions that I would not have gotten by just doing First Aid alone. I bet question banks are helpful; however, pharm is one of those things that you either know or you don't at the end of the day. And so, I feel like sketchy is a great investment of time if you're very weak on OHARM to begin with and don't have a ton of time to do all questions plus actually learn. Pharm is very rote memorization, and so it is learned a bit differently, leaving room for creativity and individual approaches in our studies depending on our needs individually.

I went from getting 20% on pharmacology on NBME's to getting 70-80% of pharmacology on actual Step 1 day. I can promise that. Not only does sketchy touch on all drugs, it also integrates physiology and disease processes that will likely strengthen your other areas as well.

That Sent from my iPad using SDN mobile
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: atomheart

Bacchus

Staff member
Administrator
10+ Year Member
Apr 28, 2007
21,026
2,325
Status
Attending Physician
Thread title edited. No original post text changed.