hurricanes & no board study time...

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by GlobalMD, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. GlobalMD

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    I would appreciate some advice.

    I am a second year at the Univ. of TX Medical Branch (Galveston), which was pretty much pulverized by Hurricane Ike. I'll spare you the details, but things are not going so well here--lay offs to the tune of almost 4000 people, $710 billion in damage (most of which was not covered by insurance), and our clinical training is very much in the air. The phrase "going down the tubes" comes to mind. (I hope it rises again...but that'll be decided by the legislature, etc...There are a myriad of problems.)

    So, here is my problem:

    We just had a meeting today with the deans, and they handed out our schedules (revised) for basically the next 6 months. It's a compressed schedule, that does not leave much time out of school for board study. It's not my favorite schedule, and I could complain, but I don't really think they honestly had much of a choice in what they did.

    (The reason the schedule's compressed is because we had over a month "off" of school after the hurricane--we weren't in class, so we lost all of that time. Some folks could study, but because our house was flooded, most of my time was spent dealing with mold, not studying. I'm just barely getting settled now.)

    So, the deans had to make up the lost time somehow--so they've compressed things, and pushed things around in the following ways:

    -Most classes are compressed
    -Our final class is a week and a half long (instead of a month), and the remainder of the material for that class will be sprinkled in with other classes.
    -During our last class, we'll have a "Step Prep" class intertwined
    -Then we have several weeks of another board review class
    -Then we have 2 weeks in which to take Step 1 (and, for my husband and me, move to wherever place they can actually find for clinical rotations to start.)
    -To the school's credit, they have arranged for us to have USMLE world and Kaplan Q bank access. And, I think they are offering some practice exams during the semester. (ARe there more commercial things I could pay for? Or would I run out of time anyway?)
    -Our school has no pharm class, so that's all done "on our own"/integrated in to the curriculum (somehow!) They did say they'd try to do a few lectures for us on drugs, which would be nice.

    I am kind of concerned about the fact that we will have so little "free" time (as in, without another scheduled activity) in which to study. Normally, I think for our school, the 2nd years get many weeks off to study for boards. I know this is just the way it is, and so I have to find a way to work with the situation I'm in. I would truly appreciate any advice you have on how to approach this. How did you approach it? How would you approach this? How do you cover everything and keep up in class at the same time? (etc)

    Thanks in advance for your help. I would really like board scores not to be yet another casualty of the storm.
     
  2. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness
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    Does your school actually require you to have passed Step 1 to start your 3rd year? If not you could take one of your vacation months from rotations (I hope you get those, at least) and use it to study for boards. Most schools don't offer more than 4 weeks off to study, anyway.

    Good luck with your situation and good luck to everyone at your school.
     
  3. Droopy Snoopy

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    Plenty of schools have no board study time, and plenty more have undergone events like this that required even more drastic measures (like LSU students spending time in different states). Suck it up, do your best, don't worry about things you can't control.
     
  4. sprinkibrio

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    UTMB has a limited amount of time in class to begin with and most of your time is spent studying outside of class, right? And you're curriculum is board-prep, right? This might be advantageous as compared to a class heavy school that doesn't teach to the boards and underwent the same thing.

    I think you can still have success on the boards and if it were me, I would always keep them in mind during my studying. Talk to the third years and get a study plan set up right now, take notes in review books as a way to study for class and set up study materials for boards at the same time, and do problems along with your blocks. Also, I don't think most schools set up a board studying guide... do you feel you really need this or would that time be better spent tacked on to your free two weeks? Most people at my school prepare for 4 weeks.

    I would use your husband at this time to take care of any house stuff like residual mold issues, cooking, cleaning.

    Good luck! I know there are a lot of UTMB students at my TX school rotating right now and I hope the school is being very accomodating.
     
  5. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    I had exactly 10 days to study for Step I. Classes ended April 28 and I took Step I on May 11th. I had a fellowship between second and third year that I found out at the end of March, that I needed to have Step I taken by May 10. I got it done so it can be done. The good thing is that all of the things that I had been doing all along to even get through second year (very information-heavy year) served me well in Step I review.

    I appreciate your situation with a natural disaster such as Ike but I will relate some things that helped me. First, you review for Boards so that review takes a much shorter period of time than the actual study that you did to learn the material in the first place. Second, having an deadline also greatly increases your efficiency. You have get the material reviewed as best you can in a shorter period of time so you get to the task at hand. In short, you don't have the luxury of lamenting about the time you don't have. You get rolling and you keep rolling. I can tell you that after ten days, I was over saturated with study. If I had longer, I probably would have gone "postal".

    Finally, if you have mastered the material in your coursework, you have most of the job done. I am nothing special and I got my review done and the test taken. I used every scrap of free time, carried short pieces of review materials on the subway with me, kept things to review while I was waiting in line at the grocery store. In short, I always had something to review in those ten days. I set a schedule and I stayed with it. I check off things as I went along.

    Get the best review materials from your upperclassmen (mine were quite helpful). Set any type of schedule that you can. Break your materials into small chunks and check off as you review.

    In terms of emphasis: Path, Pharm, and Physio are the best represented (take no prisoners). Micro, Biochem, Biostats are somewhat represented. Gross Anatomy is not well-represented at all. Get a subscription to Q-Bank/USMLEWorld and start working some questions now. Doing the questions (don't memorize the answers but learn from your mistakes), will help you review. Resolve to do at least 150 questions per night. Make sure that you know why the right answer is right and why the wrong answers are wrong. Do them in 50-question blocks, all topics, all disciplines. If you miss something, use those questions in another test again. If you miss that question a second time, review that material in a review book.

    In short,you will never have tons of time to learn anything in medicine. You have to go with what you have and make the best decisions. If you had six months, you would waste most of that time. Now, circumstances have forced you to be efficient. Think of this as an opportunity to step up your game rather than a curse. In the long run, you are going to get the score you will get no matter how much or how little time you have or don't have.
     
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  6. dienekes88

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    Could you start studying now (an hour per day or maybe 2 hours)? I think Long Dong was saying that he started studying in November of his 2nd year. He crushed Step I in the exact way that Chuck Norris crushes souls.
     
  7. ar2388

    ar2388 rads resident
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    looks like i have picked up a few new role models in njbmd and long dong...
     
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