Dr McSteamy

sh*tting in your backyard
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Oct 22, 2006
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How much material from basic sciences/step 1 do you use during clinical rotations? Is a below-average tester going to have a hard time on the wards, or is it equally as hard for most people regardless?

If you had to estimate, how much of that knowledge do you remember, and how much is needed to get by on the wards?

Is it a good idea to review step 1 material every now and then? Or are the clinical rotations separate and distinct enough that you can just focus on the rotation itself?


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Jan 3, 2005
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If you're experience is anything like mine was, it will go as follows:

During your first few months of rotations, you will be a walking encyclopedia of pathologic information. Use this to your advantage to impress your attendings, because you will know nothing else.

Around month 3 or 4, you will forget most everything from Step 1. Additionally, you still won't know much regarding patient care. These are the dark days where you feel persistently ******ed every minute of every day. Hopefully you aren't trying to match whatever rotation you are in during this time.

Somewhere around your 5th to 6th month of third year, you start to relearn a lot of the stuff from Step 1, but this time in the context of patient care. All of a sudden that useless info becomes somewhat useFUL. This is when you start to see the light, and you realize there is still a possibility that you might be a competent physician after all.

Overall, to answer your question, very little of the specific stuff, specifically the detailed path, is useful during your clinicals. Its all about patient management, and you learn very little of that during year 1 and 2. Do your best to learn all that you can for Step 1, and trust that you will retain/relearn what you need during third year. Good luck.


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Jun 10, 2006
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Ha, so I remember asking the same question last year... I love full circle!! Warm and fuzzies. And I remember being really frustrated by the responses... so I hate to be a frustration to you now but truth is, a lot of the material you learn for Step 1 would come in handy during third year, if you could remember it. I couldn't/didn't, and so I've been a ******* all year and still feel pretty much like a ******* (see my other post about feeling stupid all the time). I wish I could agree that it gets better around months 5 and 6, but for me it hasn't.

My advice: realize that learning is repetition. You will be relearning a big chunk of stuff you have seen before during your third year. Probably during internship, too... we'll see. Instead of thinking about what you should remember, learn it realizing you will likely forget most of it... so learn to understand, that way relearning will be easier.
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