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I am an incoming MS1 who, through various activities during undergrad, know I'm gunning for a surgical subspeciality. I know about the general advice given to people in my position (i.e. importance of preclinical and clinical grades, Step 1, etc) but what should I focus on if I'm interested in surgery? Is research an important component in a surgical residency application?

I have had people tell me to wait until I get my Step score to start worry about creating a good surgical residency application but is this pragmatic? Also, is prestudying for MS1 really a terrible idea?

Thanks and sorry for the possibly stupid post!
 

ciestar

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Don’t prestudy. Waste of time. You have a lot of time the next million years to study all the time.

Yes, research is paramount for the mega competitive specialties. Waiting until you take Step 1 would not be a great idea since you’re starting clerkships and there is no time really.
 
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Find out your school's curriculum. If you find out what your program consists and starts out with, doing BnB and Zanki can only help you. I would only prestudy if there's some sort of immediate benefit.
 
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Don't pre-study. Enjoy your summer for the love of god. Also, yeah research will help, but STEP1 always wins. But worry about this later. Enjoy life while you can.
 
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ndafife

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Don't prestudy. Enjoy your life + its a waste of time

Get through your first set of exams, then I would start trying to get involved in research if you have competitive aspirations.
 

carrots28

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Studying hardcore for step day one is a waste of time. You won’t remember it all any way when you get to end of second year. The only kind of prestudying I recommend is going through microbiology during the summer between 1st and 2nd year.
For surgical specialities I recommend shadowing and seeing which ones subspecialties you like and getting to know the people in that department.
 
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Studying hardcore for step day one is a waste of time. You won’t remember it all any way when you get to end of second year. The only kind of prestudying I recommend is going through microbiology during the summer between 1st and 2nd year.
For surgical specialities I recommend shadowing and seeing which ones subspecialties you like and getting to know the people in that department.
Anki
 

Espadaleader

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Focus on getting your life together. Figure it how to study. Notability, One Note. Upgrade your computer. Eat right. Sleep schedule. Work on that. If you are going straight through, don’t pre study. If you took a year off, I would start reviewing content from whatever block you start with in the fall.
 
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pmlmu13

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1. I would not be so certain you know what specialty you want to go into pre-medical school. And I say that I as someone who came in with the same attitude as you. Seeing it and fitting the culture of a specialty is very different than actually liking studying that system/the diagnosis.

2. If your school is graded pre-clinical (or P/F ranked), I would actually encourage starting to do Zanki, FA, etc. for your first block 2-3 weeks before classes start. Any 'suffering' you subject yourself to studying over the summer will be nothing in comparison to the stress of trying to bring up a sub-par start to medical school.

3. I recommend focusing as much as possible on grades and maybe joining the interest group. Nothing else. Then 2nd semester start looking for summer research in the specialty.
 

7331poas

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Studying hardcore for step day one is a waste of time. You won’t remember it all any way when you get to end of second year. The only kind of prestudying I recommend is going through microbiology during the summer between 1st and 2nd year.
For surgical specialities I recommend shadowing and seeing which ones subspecialties you like and getting to know the people in that department.
One of the most incorrect comments I have seen, impressive really
 

aldol16

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No pre-studying. Medicine is a thing that is almost harder to learn by yourself - definitely takes more time to learn for the first time by yourself than it does with someone explaining it to you. I suppose you could watch BnB videos and learn it well but that's a lot of investment up front that likely won't pay off much in the end.

If you're on a curriculum that starts out with organ blocks, the best thing you can do is to mentally prepare for med school, take a vacation, and then be at 100% and ready to dive in. In terms of what you should be doing, you already know that Step 1 is really important. For anybody wanting to go into anything even moderately competitive. But studying from day 1 really isn't a good strategy, IMO. I would focus on making the most out of your learning experiences in med school. Go to all the patient sessions and make sure you learn from the hands-on sessions.

Regarding lectures, it depends on your school but whatever you do, just learn the material really well the first time. If you don't understand something, take the time to look it up. Many times, your knowledge after lecture will be incomplete. It doesn't matter whether that lecture is from your school or BnB or whatever. If you don't know something, Google it and make sure you understand it. Don't go around memorizing random facts when you're learning. Learn it. Dedicated period is about review - it'll be much harder if you have large gaps in knowledge or if you just memorized random facts without connecting them together. Because in the case of the latter, you'll find that you're forgetting more facts as you continue to learn others. Strive for understanding.

You'll also find that you have a lot of free time. Not necessarily in your first semester since you're getting used to med school, but you'll have free time. In that time, you should be going to specialty events being held to get a sense of how people from your school are being successful at matching into that specialty. You should also be doing in-field research. This is important for the competitive specialties. Get started early because you don't really have that much time. If you think about it, you basically have first year, summer, and early second year to do research before you have to wrap up your projects because of Step and clerkships. So make the most out of that time.
 

7331poas

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Disagree with people here. Medicine is easily learned on your own. In fact the highest scorers often learn entirely on their own. If I could do it again I would just download zanki and start making my way through the first 3 chapters of pathoma + zanki
 

sallyhasanidea

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I'm going to post this so you know. I fell for all of the don't study before medical school memes when I was an incoming first year. I regret it. I could have finished all of the step 1 material and RELAXED my whole first 2 years of medical school. Instead, I didn't do anything the summer before medical school, or my senior year of college for that matter because everyone told me to "just relax, it's the last summer of your life". Ha, you'll have several more summers, especially if you study ahead of time. So I came into medical school and was performing 1 standard deviation below the mean during my first year of preclinicals. I was completely STRESSED, and fell for all of the wellness memes... Until I discovered zanki and board prep materials, after which I started performing 1 standard deviation ahead of the mean... And I was completely relaxed with no pressure during my second year of medical school. It wouldn't surprise me if within 3 years, 10% of medical students will have completed all preclinical material before starting medical school; that 10% will secure all of the competitive residency options because they will have that much more time to pump out the 30+ publications, do the networking, prestudy for all of clinicals (shelf exams + step 2), etc.

In sum, I disagree with most of the above. Just so you know, the step 1 studying meta has changed in the last two years. The old arguments for not prestudying were 1) you'll forget everything and 2) you won't know what to study.

Rebuttals:
1) With Anki you will remember everything, the entire point is long term retention; as such the limiting factor of studying in medical school is now time, those who have the most time will perform the best. How do you get more time? You start before others.
2) With Zanki you will know exactly what is high yield, back in my day we had to sift through a bunch of **** to figure out what was high yield. This is no longer.

I'll give you the answer you're looking for because if you're going to study you might as well study right. Also several students in the first year class at my school finished several zanki sections before coming to school. If you do start this know you can never take a day off from studying again. You have to do your reviews everyday.

1. Download zanki from medicalschoolanki, lurk there and ask them specific questions
2. If you know where you are going to school get the schedule of classes so you can figure out what order they do stuff in. Most schools start with biochem, ours did biochem --> cardio --> resp, etc.
3. Watch boards and beyond videos and do the associated zanki cards, you can also use physeo, etc. a bunch of resources are out there for video learning. Zanki made their cards from costanzo so you can use that too.
4. Do news and keep up with your reviews every single day. If you have 4 months left until first year you can easily finish everything for first year, the physiology and maybe more.
5. During first year do all of the path, micro, pharm sections. If you are at a 2 year program you can finish all learning by end of first year. Then you have an extra year to do all Qbanks, and learn how to take the exam. You can probably get a very thorough run through all of the qbanks couple months before your dedicated begins. Start doing NBME exams before dedicated and try to take your step 1 exam AS SOON AS possible (ideally the first day of dedicated or even before if your school lets you).
6. The grind doesn't stop at Step 1, when you are in your "dedicated" period finish all Step 2 decks and all Uworld questions before third year starts, acquire all honors and the highest of shelf scores, if your 3rd year grades are based mostly on shelves. Which by the way if you're choosing between two similarly ranked schools make sure you figure out which school grades third years mostly on the shelf exams and not evaluations, it will give you less headache and less stress.
7. This is a fool proof way to get AOA, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Also this is how you remain stress free during medical school.

Don't listen to the people posting above that are saying it won't help you for your classes. If you go on medicalschoolanki or search here you will see first hand that people COMPLETELY IGNORE SCHOOL LECTURES AND LEARN ONLY FROM ZANKI. As in all learning in medical school is self-directed. If you do this you will coast by first year, and blow step1 out of the water as long as you keep up with your reviews. I guarantee other people in your class will be doing this, and they will be the top students. I myself wish I didn't fall for all the people saying don't study before medical school. Instead of studying I sat on my ass and did nothing, I wish I did study before medical school. And I wish somebody would have given me the information I just gave you. Good luck.
 
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Disagree with people here. Medicine is easily learned on your own. In fact the highest scorers often learn entirely on their own. If I could do it again I would just download zanki and start making my way through the first 3 chapters of pathoma + zanki
I see post like this speaking in retrospect but I’ve always wondered about the outcomes of students who have tried this.. Not just score wise but mental health as well.
 
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puahate

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I'm going to post this so you know. I fell for all of the don't study before medical school memes when I was an incoming first year. I regret it. I could have finished all of the step 1 material and RELAXED my whole first 2 years of medical school. Instead, I didn't do anything the summer before medical school, or my senior year of college for that matter because everyone told me to "just relax, it's the last summer of your life". Ha, you'll have several more summers, especially if you study ahead of time. So I came into medical school and was performing 1 standard deviation below the mean during my first year of preclinicals. I was completely STRESSED, and fell for all of the wellness memes... Until I discovered zanki and board prep materials, after which I started performing 1 standard deviation ahead of the mean... And I was completely relaxed with no pressure during my second year of medical school. It wouldn't surprise me if within 3 years, 10% of medical students will have completed all preclinical material before starting medical school; that 10% will secure all of the competitive residency options because they will have that much more time to pump out the 30+ publications, do the networking, prestudy for all of clinicals (shelf exams + step 2), etc.

In sum, I disagree with most of the above. Just so you know, the step 1 studying meta has changed in the last two years. The old arguments for not prestudying were 1) you'll forget everything and 2) you won't know what to study.

Rebuttals:
1) With Anki you will remember everything, the entire point is long term retention; as such the limiting factor of studying in medical school is now time, those who have the most time will perform the best. How do you get more time? You start before others.
2) With Zanki you will know exactly what is high yield, back in my day we had to sift through a bunch of **** to figure out what was high yield. This is no longer.

I'll give you the answer you're looking for because if you're going to study you might as well study right. Also several students in the first year class at my school finished several zanki sections before coming to school. If you do start this know you can never take a day off from studying again. You have to do your reviews everyday.

1. Download zanki from medicalschoolanki, lurk there and ask them specific questions
2. If you know where you are going to school get the schedule of classes so you can figure out what order they do stuff in. Most schools start with biochem, ours did biochem --> cardio --> resp, etc.
3. Watch boards and beyond videos and do the associated zanki cards, you can also use physeo, etc. a bunch of resources are out there for video learning. Zanki made their cards from costanzo so you can use that too.
4. Do news and keep up with your reviews every single day. If you have 4 months left until first year you can easily finish everything for first year, the physiology and maybe more.
5. During first year do all of the path, micro, pharm sections. If you are at a 2 year program you can finish all learning by end of first year. Then you have an extra year to do all Qbanks, and learn how to take the exam. You can probably get a very thorough run through all of the qbanks couple months before your dedicated begins. Start doing NBME exams before dedicated and try to take your step 1 exam AS SOON AS possible (ideally the first day of dedicated or even before if your school lets you).
6. The grind doesn't stop at Step 1, when you are in your "dedicated" period finish all Step 2 decks and all Uworld questions before third year starts, acquire all honors and the highest of shelf scores, if your 3rd year grades are based mostly on shelves. Which by the way if you're choosing between two similarly ranked schools make sure you figure out which school grades third years mostly on the shelf exams and not evaluations, it will give you less headache and less stress.
7. This is a fool proof way to get AOA, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Also this is how you remain stress free during medical school.

Don't listen to the people posting above that are saying it won't help you for your classes. If you go on medicalschoolanki or search here you will see first hand that people COMPLETELY IGNORE SCHOOL LECTURES AND LEARN ONLY FROM ZANKI. As in all learning in medical school is self-directed. If you do this you will coast by first year, and blow step1 out of the water as long as you keep up with your reviews. I guarantee other people in your class will be doing this, and they will be the top students. I myself wish I didn't fall for all the people saying don't study before medical school. Instead of studying I sat on my ass and did nothing, I wish I did study before medical school. And I wish somebody would have given me the information I just gave you. Good luck.
Bro. this is gold. Thank you. Let's say you do a research program with the school you are matriculating into, can this plan still work?
 

Deecee2DO

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Don't pre-study and also don't go into med school 100% set on a surgical subspecialty. It's different being on the outside looking in. After completely immersing yourself into surgery 3rd year will you get a realistic idea if this is actually the type of specialty you want to pursue
 
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Chibucks15

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Don't pre-study and also don't go into med school 100% set on a surgical subspecialty. It's different being on the outside looking in. After completely immersing yourself into surgery 3rd year will you get a realistic idea if this is actually the type of specialty you want to pursue
to second this...even if you are absolutely set on a crazy competitive specialty, don't go around being all vocal and getting a reputation as an 'ortho bro' etc. The majority of students that do that end up strangely loving FM towards 3rd year I've found. Go for it, but be prepared to change your mind as you're more exposed to things
 
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Don’t prestudy. Waste of time. You have a lot of time the next million years to study all the time.

Yes, research is paramount for the mega competitive specialties. Waiting until you take Step 1 would not be a great idea since you’re starting clerkships and there is no time really.
I also am aiming for a competitive specialty, but given that my interests can (and probably will) change during medical school, how should I choose what area/specialty to do research in when I'm an M1? Should I do research in the specialty that currently interests me even if there's a good chance that will change down the road?
 
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Chibucks15

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I also am aiming for a competitive specialty, but given that my interests can (and probably will) change during medical school, how should I choose what area/specialty to do research in when I'm an M1? Should I do research in the specialty that currently interests me even if there's a good chance that will change down the road?
Take what you can get easy and be productive with, then narrow down focus later. PDs know people change directions
 
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I also am aiming for a competitive specialty, but given that my interests can (and probably will) change during medical school, how should I choose what area/specialty to do research in when I'm an M1? Should I do research in the specialty that currently interests me even if there's a good chance that will change down the road?
Do the research that most likely guarantees a publication or do it in the most competitive interest you have.
 

7331poas

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Don't pre-study and also don't go into med school 100% set on a surgical subspecialty. It's different being on the outside looking in. After completely immersing yourself into surgery 3rd year will you get a realistic idea if this is actually the type of specialty you want to pursue
You can immerse yourself all you want, if you don't have the scores for neurosurgery then you won't get into nsg

It would have been amazing to have zanki completely matured and just straight relaxing all of 2nd year.
 
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You can immerse yourself all you want, if you don't have the scores for neurosurgery then you won't get into nsg

It would have been amazing to have zanki completely matured and just straight relaxing all of 2nd year.
do people actually do this? Or is just more a theory?
 
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I'm the minority in that I wish I would have done some youtube series on genetics as a good refresher before starting my first class. YMMV.
 

21Rush12

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You can’t learn it all and chill the next two years with a deck of flash cards. It’s also COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY to do this. You can get an excellent step 1 score just learning along with class and understanding what you’re seeing. Use step resources along with the material to reinforce the high yield long term things and study lectures for the in-house nuances.
 
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libertyyne

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There is enough time in M1 and M2 to completely mature zanki comfortably and finish around 2 qbanks. I matured half of it and finished 1~ qbank worth of questions and will be finishing a second qbank in dedicated only starting zanki year two. If you dont have the fire and the deadline ahead of you it is difficult motivating yourself to do the 1k reviews or how ever many reviews are required to mature the deck. You dont have that pressure before medical school starts. If you are going to pre-study might as well start in pre-matriculation, college, h/s, middle school, pre-school, pre-K, toddlerhood, zygote stage.

Also, if you are interested in competitive specialties dont follow the advice of people who are saying dont display interest early. DO EXACTLY that, reach out to your home programs, go spend a day with the residents in your free time. You want to get to know people in the department . And you for want to know if it is truly for you.
 

7331poas

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You can’t learn it all and chill the next two years with a deck of flash cards. It’s also COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY to do this. You can get an excellent step 1 score just learning along with class and understanding what you’re seeing. Use step resources along with the material to reinforce the high yield long term things and study lectures for the in-house nuances.
completely disagree. if i went off my class material I wouldnt even hit the US median
 

Chibucks15

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completely disagree. if i went off my class material I wouldnt even hit the US median
But you didn’t start at M1...most of the time you don’t even learn step stuff until second semester anyway. It’s basics for first semester. So if you’re “maturing” zanki by the end of first year, you’re going over stuff you haven’t gone over in lectures, so basically you’re just memorizing flashcards. This advice is bad. Do board materials alongside class in order to solidify it if you really want to, but going ahead and finishing zanki before you’ve had lectures on the topics is dumb
 

7331poas

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But you didn’t start at M1...most of the time you don’t even learn step stuff until second semester anyway. It’s basics for first semester. So if you’re “maturing” zanki by the end of first year, you’re going over stuff you haven’t gone over in lectures, so basically you’re just memorizing flashcards. This advice is bad. Do board materials alongside class in order to solidify it if you really want to, but going ahead and finishing zanki before you’ve had lectures on the topics is dumb
Lectures do not matter. I go to lecture and put headphones in.

Principles are arguably the most important part of step 1.

I love find it laughable to say you cannot learn on your own without lecture. Pathoma and boards and beyond does a better job at teaching first or second year of medical school than lecture could.

Zanki is memorization sure, but that doesn't mean you do not understand it.
 

Chibucks15

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Lectures do not matter. I go to lecture and put headphones in.

Principles are arguably the most important part of step 1.

I love find it laughable to say you cannot learn on your own without lecture. Pathoma and boards and beyond does a better job at teaching first or second year of medical school than lecture could.

Zanki is memorization sure, but that doesn't mean you do not understand it.
I’m not talking about lecturers, im more meaning using school exams to learn concepts one by one and take it piecewise that way. Memorizing flashcards before you’ve seen the material is like studying first aid before you start med school. Only a very select subsection of SDN thinks it’s a good idea
 
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I’m not talking about lecturers, im more meaning using school exams to learn concepts one by one and take it piecewise that way. Memorizing flashcards before you’ve seen the material is like studying first aid before you start med school. Only a very select subsection of SDN thinks it’s a good idea
Do you know what Boards and Beyond is? It's not flashcards, it literally teaches you things
 

Chibucks15

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Do you know what Boards and Beyond is? It's not flashcards, it literally teaches you things
I have B&B. I’m talking about pacing not the material itself. If you wanna sell your soul and prep for step 1 first year and put all free time into that go right ahead. Whatever floats your boat. You don’t need to study for step first year. Only the gunners do and a I’ve seen a good number of them crash and burn before dedicated. But you do you. Having a life outside Medicine is pretty cool too
 
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I have B&B. I’m talking about pacing not the material itself. If you wanna sell your soul and prep for step 1 first year and put all free time into that go right ahead. Whatever floats your boat. You don’t need to study for step first year. Only the gunners do and a I’ve seen a good number of them crash and burn before dedicated. But you do you. Having a life outside Medicine is pretty cool too
I honestly learn better from that. I'm more tired from watching a confusing 50 min lecture then from watching consise videos that tell me what I need to know, so I can learn it and start applying it to practice questions. Something about high yield informatiom just energizes you. I've been using Anki and BnB since the beginning of the year and I'm doing okay.
 

7331poas

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board prep + questions banks is far far more efficient and useful than doing a school curriculum.

Yale SOM got it right, make everything nonmandatory and let your students direct themselves.
 
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Deecee2DO

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You can immerse yourself all you want, if you don't have the scores for neurosurgery then you won't get into nsg

It would have been amazing to have zanki completely matured and just straight relaxing all of 2nd year.
Most people still match top specialties without pre-studying for medical school. Realistically its completely unnecessary. Not really great advice
 

Deecee2DO

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do people actually do this? Or is just more a theory?
no they dont. Pre-studying before medical school is ridiculous idc what anyone says. people match into top specialties without pre-studying for med school
 
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Deecee2DO

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to second this...even if you are absolutely set on a crazy competitive specialty, don't go around being all vocal and getting a reputation as an 'ortho bro' etc. The majority of students that do that end up strangely loving FM towards 3rd year I've found. Go for it, but be prepared to change your mind as you're more exposed to things
Exactly. Don't be that guy that flexes ortho and derm on everyone because sometimes this is what happens: M1-"FM? psh haha im gonna do ortho man", M2-"oh **** i need good board scores for that?" M3-*posts a WAMC at family medicine thread on sdn*
 
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Gurby

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Exactly. Don't be that guy that flexes ortho and derm on everyone because sometimes this is what happens: M1-"FM? psh haha im gonna do ortho man", M2-"oh **** i need good board scores for that?" M3-*posts a WAMC at family medicine thread on sdn*
Easier to set yourself up for the most competitive thing, and then shift gears later. Get some ortho research done, study hard and break 250 on Step 1. If you have a change of heart you can do some FM away rotations or something during M4 and tell programs you realized it just wasn't for you. If you set your sights on FM from the start, get a 220 on Step, don't do any research, and then during M3 realize you want ortho, you're kinda boned.

The biggest danger is inertia and not being able to be honest with yourself. If you spend 3 years gung-ho about ortho, it becomes difficult to keep your mind open to other specialties that might actually be a better fit for you.

But don't flex on people either way because that's just being a dick ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
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I'm non-trad, with previous healthcare experiences, couple gap years and about to start SMP with linkage. I know it's kinda sad but I had alot of free time over the past year, been reading a lot of SDN / reddits and took advice on starting Zanki, Sketchy, Pathoma and anatomy. I've completed the entire sketchy, pathoma and anatomy deck and have about 40% maturation on them and zanki I'm at like 15% LOL over the past year. But I'm studying them all on default mode so that might be why. Plus, Zanki is really tough. I wish I learned about Anki back in college. It probably would've helped me so much more on MCAT and certain classes.
 

AsianPersuasion

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Familiarize yourself with Anki. Incorporate it into your studying technique if it works well for you.
 

AsianPersuasion

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Resident [Any Field]
I'm going to post this so you know. I fell for all of the don't study before medical school memes when I was an incoming first year. I regret it. I could have finished all of the step 1 material and RELAXED my whole first 2 years of medical school. Instead, I didn't do anything the summer before medical school, or my senior year of college for that matter because everyone told me to "just relax, it's the last summer of your life". Ha, you'll have several more summers, especially if you study ahead of time. So I came into medical school and was performing 1 standard deviation below the mean during my first year of preclinicals. I was completely STRESSED, and fell for all of the wellness memes... Until I discovered zanki and board prep materials, after which I started performing 1 standard deviation ahead of the mean... And I was completely relaxed with no pressure during my second year of medical school. It wouldn't surprise me if within 3 years, 10% of medical students will have completed all preclinical material before starting medical school; that 10% will secure all of the competitive residency options because they will have that much more time to pump out the 30+ publications, do the networking, prestudy for all of clinicals (shelf exams + step 2), etc.

In sum, I disagree with most of the above. Just so you know, the step 1 studying meta has changed in the last two years. The old arguments for not prestudying were 1) you'll forget everything and 2) you won't know what to study.

Rebuttals:
1) With Anki you will remember everything, the entire point is long term retention; as such the limiting factor of studying in medical school is now time, those who have the most time will perform the best. How do you get more time? You start before others.
2) With Zanki you will know exactly what is high yield, back in my day we had to sift through a bunch of **** to figure out what was high yield. This is no longer.

I'll give you the answer you're looking for because if you're going to study you might as well study right. Also several students in the first year class at my school finished several zanki sections before coming to school. If you do start this know you can never take a day off from studying again. You have to do your reviews everyday.

1. Download zanki from medicalschoolanki, lurk there and ask them specific questions
2. If you know where you are going to school get the schedule of classes so you can figure out what order they do stuff in. Most schools start with biochem, ours did biochem --> cardio --> resp, etc.
3. Watch boards and beyond videos and do the associated zanki cards, you can also use physeo, etc. a bunch of resources are out there for video learning. Zanki made their cards from costanzo so you can use that too.
4. Do news and keep up with your reviews every single day. If you have 4 months left until first year you can easily finish everything for first year, the physiology and maybe more.
5. During first year do all of the path, micro, pharm sections. If you are at a 2 year program you can finish all learning by end of first year. Then you have an extra year to do all Qbanks, and learn how to take the exam. You can probably get a very thorough run through all of the qbanks couple months before your dedicated begins. Start doing NBME exams before dedicated and try to take your step 1 exam AS SOON AS possible (ideally the first day of dedicated or even before if your school lets you).
6. The grind doesn't stop at Step 1, when you are in your "dedicated" period finish all Step 2 decks and all Uworld questions before third year starts, acquire all honors and the highest of shelf scores, if your 3rd year grades are based mostly on shelves. Which by the way if you're choosing between two similarly ranked schools make sure you figure out which school grades third years mostly on the shelf exams and not evaluations, it will give you less headache and less stress.
7. This is a fool proof way to get AOA, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Also this is how you remain stress free during medical school.

Don't listen to the people posting above that are saying it won't help you for your classes. If you go on medicalschoolanki or search here you will see first hand that people COMPLETELY IGNORE SCHOOL LECTURES AND LEARN ONLY FROM ZANKI. As in all learning in medical school is self-directed. If you do this you will coast by first year, and blow step1 out of the water as long as you keep up with your reviews. I guarantee other people in your class will be doing this, and they will be the top students. I myself wish I didn't fall for all the people saying don't study before medical school. Instead of studying I sat on my ass and did nothing, I wish I did study before medical school. And I wish somebody would have given me the information I just gave you. Good luck.
There is enough time in M1 and M2 to completely mature zanki comfortably and finish around 2 qbanks. I matured half of it and finished 1~ qbank worth of questions and will be finishing a second qbank in dedicated only starting zanki year two. If you dont have the fire and the deadline ahead of you it is difficult motivating yourself to do the 1k reviews or how ever many reviews are required to mature the deck. You dont have that pressure before medical school starts. If you are going to pre-study might as well start in pre-matriculation, college, h/s, middle school, pre-school, pre-K, toddlerhood, zygote stage.

Also, if you are interested in competitive specialties dont follow the advice of people who are saying dont display interest early. DO EXACTLY that, reach out to your home programs, go spend a day with the residents in your free time. You want to get to know people in the department . And you for want to know if it is truly for you.
Solid advice.
 
Feb 5, 2018
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Status
Pre-Medical
Also an incoming MS1, this thread is very helpful!

I am in a similar position as OP (matriculating in fall, interested in competitive specialties) but the school I will be attending has 1 year pre-clinical, followed by 1 year rotations, then STEP. I don't want to pre-study over the summer but I'm into the idea of doing zanki/STEP prep from day 1. Does anyone have any suggestions? How would you structure your studying during pre-clinical versus rotations? Any advice would be very helpful, I apologize in advance for my naivete.