I hate learning by doing questions and it doesn't work for me. Am I alone?

zeppelinpage4

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I do questions sets, pre-test or Uworld. And it just seems like scattershot info. and buzzwords, so nothing sticks. I forget all the info. within a few hours. :/

And I mean using questions as a primary learning tool, which a lot of upperclassmen tell me to do 3rd year. In the past, I noticed whenever I put away the question banks and just read a good review books or outlined things, I did better. But, everyone around me is just doing questions 3rd year, and it's just not working for me. Either there's some art to doing questions that I haven't learned yet, or I'm in some small minority of students that can't learn this way.
I just hate this idea of learning quick random facts, question by question.
 
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12floz

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It sounds like you're literally trying to learn things from doing questions. That is why it is not working and nothing sticks.
You do questions to test your understanding of things that you have learned previously; things that have structure and logic behind them.
Try learning things as much as possible, and then doing questions to (in the short term) see if you can reason with the information, and (in the long term) retain that construct of what you have learned throughout the years.
 
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zeppelinpage4

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It sounds like you're literally trying to learn things from doing questions. That is why it is not working and nothing sticks.
You do questions to test your understanding of things that you have learned previously; things that have structure and logic behind them.
Try learning things as much as possible, and then doing questions to (in the short term) see if you can reason with the information, and (in the long term) retain that construct of what you have learned throughout the years.
Thank you, I can see the value of questions if they are to reinforce what I've already learned.

Since study time is limited 3rd year, I feel like I can either learn from a book but not have time to do questions, or just do the questions and not bother with a primary learning source. Most of the folks around me seem to be doing the latter. But, it's refreshing to hear someone say questions don't need to be a primary learning tool.

Do what works for you. It doesn't matter what everybody else is doing
Truth. I just need to hear it sometimes. When almost everyone else is doing something else, it feels easy to start doubting yourself and what you're doing. Thank you. :)
 

ACSurgeon

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Thank you, I can see the value of questions if they are to reinforce what I've already learned.

Since study time is limited 3rd year, I feel like I can either learn from a book but not have time to do questions, or just do the questions and not bother with a primary learning source. Most of the folks around me seem to be doing the latter. But, it's refreshing to hear someone say questions don't need to be a primary learning tool.


Truth. I just need to hear it sometimes. When almost everyone else is doing something else, it feels easy to start doubting yourself and what you're doing. Thank you. :)
There's value in both, structured reading and random testing of knowledge.

Also, you might be learning more than you realize by doing questions.

The further along you get, the crappier the resources to study from. I think step 1 had he best references for learning. Step 2 was significantly worse, and step 3 even worse.

Ideally, you'd have time to learn from textbooks or journal articles. Reality: there's no time for that and you do be best you can, and sometimes questions with explanations is the best you can do.

Finally: once you're a resident, you should put yourself on a study schedule where you'll read through a textbook or several small books per year.
 
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zeppelinpage4

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There's value in both, structured reading and random testing of knowledge.

Also, you might be learning more than you realize by doing questions.

The further along you get, the crappier the resources to study from. I think step 1 had he best references for learning. Step 2 was significantly worse, and step 3 even worse.

Ideally, you'd have time to learn from textbooks or journal articles. Reality: there's no time for that and you do be best you can, and sometimes questions with explanations is the best you can do.

Finally: once you're a resident, you should put yourself on a study schedule where you'll read through a textbook or several small books per year.
I never thought if it that way, but you're very right. The further along I'm getting in this process, the more chaotic my learning seems to be. Just good to know, I'm not alone in feeling like this. Will do the best I can with what I've got and keep my fingers crossed.

And thank you for the tip on residency. I honestly got concerned about how I'll learn and study then, or keep up with medical info. when I'm struggling with resources and learning now. But that seems like a manageable goal.
 
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You read then you do questions. One book, one question bank at least. There's no reason for you to be unable to do that. There's plenty of time, third year is littered with down time
 
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zeppelinpage4

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You read then you do questions. One book, one question bank at least. There's no reason for you to be unable to do that. There's plenty of time, third year is littered with down time
Thanks. I'll give it a go. I'm likely losing a lot of time switching around and trying different resources. I'll try to commit to just one book and one set of questions and not waste time on anything else.
 

Baller MD

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You read then you do questions. One book, one question bank at least. There's no reason for you to be unable to do that. There's plenty of time, third year is littered with down time
Free time? Depends on the school imo...
 
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Pacna

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I learn by doing Anki decks, and I've never seen that material before. It's like questions you don't know the answer to all the time. Works for me! *shrug*
 

cbrons

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Finally: once you're a resident, you should put yourself on a study schedule where you'll read through a textbook or several small books per year.
So which textbook are you currently swimming through right now? Schwartz's?
 

cyanide12345678

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I ALWAYS read a book before doing any questions. A book presents information to you in an organized way. But passive reading almost always means that you won't retain 100% of the information. So that's where questions come in. After finishing a book (usually within the first two weeks of a rotation), I'd always start questions. Questions essentially fill in the gaps. You learn things you dont know, especially from your mistakes. After questions, I always went back and did one last review of the book before shelf exams.
 

cyanide12345678

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And trying multiple resources is a huge waste of time. Pick one and go. I almost always picked the easiest to read resource available :D
 

ACSurgeon

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So which textbook are you currently swimming through right now? Schwartz's?
Greenfield my first two years. Cameron my third year. Read through the ICU blue book as a second year resident in the unit. Read top knife on trauma. Currently going through Mastery of Surgery this year and next (mostly in preparation for surgeries) and re-reading Cameron. Come December/January I'll start doing ABSITE specific prep. This year (at some point) I plan to use one of the oral board prep books in some fashion. Probably just as it pertains to the rotations I'm on and surgeries I'm doing. Next year I'll go through a book for the oral boards and one for the written just so I've done some prep before graduating.
 

madchemist89

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I recommend case files for most rotations. As has been stated earlier, the resources get worse as you get farther along. However, IM UWorld questions are the best the resource for internal medicine. I would still recommend case files for medicine though.
 

BigRedBeta

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Question banks can be very useful, but you have to study in a very different method. Just taking the questions, checking your answers, and patting yourself on the back for getting the questions right will do you no good. Some people will tell you to make sure you read the explanations and that's a start, but it's also not clear how to maximize the impact of question banks.

Question banks on their own are insufficient for most people, you need a question bank and some sort of resource with actual info. Depending on how you choose to study, that resource may be something akin to Harrison's - something really comprehensive that you don't plan to actually read page by page, or something like First Aid or Step Up to Medicine - a study guide that you can actually pull key points out of. I'll explain how you might use each of these below:

If you've read/studied your study guide , and are trying to test your knowledge, the most effective way to use question banks is to use each answer choice as an opportunity to apply your knowledge - instead of just trying to find the right answers, go through each answer choice and explain why it's right or wrong. You now have 4 0r 5 statements to evaluate thoroughly, you then look at the explanations to the questions and you can see if you understand ALL the points raised by the question.

If you are just going to jump into questions, the process is somewhat reversed - go through answer the questions, read the explanations and then go back to evaluate the answer choices, making sure you understand why the correct answers is right and why the wrong answers are wrong. If there are issues that you dont' understand, you go back to your resources and study those concepts. It allows you to focus on things you don't understand. In this sense, you can just answer the questions, and if everything seems on the up and up, you don't need to go to a second resource.
 

Milotic

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I do questions sets, pre-test or Uworld. And it just seems like scattershot info. and buzzwords, so nothing sticks. I forget all the info. within a few hours. :/

And I mean using questions as a primary learning tool, which a lot of upperclassmen tell me to do 3rd year. In the past, I noticed whenever I put away the question banks and just read a good review books or outlined things, I did better. But, everyone around me is just doing questions 3rd year, and it's just not working for me. Either there's some art to doing questions that I haven't learned yet, or I'm in some small minority of students that can't learn this way.
I just hate this idea of learning quick random facts, question by question.
You are absolutely NOT alone.

I personally won't hit up questions unless I can get a very good handle on the material (AKA go through it at least 4 times so it sticks better). Otherwise it just ends in me getting frustrated at not remember enough to even answer the questions. It is also VERY frustrating trying practice problems, realizing we didn't learn anything about some of them and it just feels like sifting through weeds to get to good questions.

The one exception is Uworld, which is meant as a learning tool IMO.
 

PL198

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Greenfield my first two years. Cameron my third year. Read through the ICU blue book as a second year resident in the unit. Read top knife on trauma. Currently going through Mastery of Surgery this year and next (mostly in preparation for surgeries) and re-reading Cameron. Come December/January I'll start doing ABSITE specific prep. This year (at some point) I plan to use one of the oral board prep books in some fashion. Probably just as it pertains to the rotations I'm on and surgeries I'm doing. Next year I'll go through a book for the oral boards and one for the written just so I've done some prep before graduating.
that's all you got?
 

EazyE1907

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I do questions sets, pre-test or Uworld. And it just seems like scattershot info. and buzzwords, so nothing sticks. I forget all the info. within a few hours. :/

And I mean using questions as a primary learning tool, which a lot of upperclassmen tell me to do 3rd year. In the past, I noticed whenever I put away the question banks and just read a good review books or outlined things, I did better. But, everyone around me is just doing questions 3rd year, and it's just not working for me. Either there's some art to doing questions that I haven't learned yet, or I'm in some small minority of students that can't learn this way.
I just hate this idea of learning quick random facts, question by question.

So glad i came across this thread tonight. I got really discouraged earlier today after completely bombing a block and reading this thread was def a fresh breath of air. I dived straight into doing uworld Q's with the intention to "get ahead" for my upcoming peds rotation and it just seems like i haven't learned anything. I took the time to read the explanations and take notes, but then it just seemed like i was writing everything for completeness sake and not getting a good grasp of the concepts. I absolutely agree with @BigRedBeta method of doing questions. This may take sometime, but dissecting the questions this way will give you more out of the question as well as the material/concepts. Thanks for bringing this up seriously, i was freaking out earlier and it's refreshing to know that i'm not the only one.