ambiguous

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So i'm getting ready to start my 3rd year in a month and I saw a few books that have been recommended to read in order to prepare me to do the basic things such as writing soap notes, presenting your pts properly, etc. These books were "250 biggest mistakes 3rd year medical students make", "First Aid for the Wards" and "How to be a truly excellent Junior Medical Student."

Do any of you have any experience with these books? Are there other books you may recommend? Or am I wasting my time with any of them at all. Thanks a lot.
 

Ashers

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The only one I've heard of is FA for the Wards. ONe of my friends bought that, and when we compared it to my FA for CK, he decided he wished he had bought FA for CK -- which had more detail about clinical stuff, and more pertinent for the shelf. I've used CK for basic review before shelf studying and annotating, so I should be good with a lot of work already done when I begin to review for CK.

Based on the title of the thread, I was going to say "Case files for any clerkship with a shelf."
 

tkim

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The only one I've heard of is FA for the Wards. ONe of my friends bought that, and when we compared it to my FA for CK, he decided he wished he had bought FA for CK -- which had more detail about clinical stuff, and more pertinent for the shelf.
FA for Wards and FA for CK don't cover the same thing. One is an introduction to clinical rotations, one is geared for the shelf and step. Wards gives you the breakdown of each rotation - what a day's work entails, the hierarchy, etc. I don't think CK gives you that.
 

Ashers

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FA for Wards and FA for CK don't cover the same thing. One is an introduction to clinical rotations, one is geared for the shelf and step. Wards gives you the breakdown of each rotation - what a day's work entails, the hierarchy, etc. I don't think CK gives you that.
Oh ok. My friend was the one who was mainly looking at stuff and showing me some examples of where mine expanded on stuff that he wished his had -- information for the shelf/step 2 (at that time, we were looking at OB/gyn stuff).

CK doesn't have the other stuff that I've seen yet.
 
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ambiguous

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Thanks for the replies guys. I know there are many threads out there in regards to specifics for each rotations (step-up, case files, etc). But what I was wondering was more of the general introductory books like the "250 biggest mistakes" or "how to be a truly excellent junior medical student." Has anyone glanced through these books? Is it worth it?
 

diosa428

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I have FA for the wards and it is pretty much worthless. Most of the books specific to each rotation have a section in the beginning that tells you what you should be doing. Really, what you end up doing everyday will be dependent on the rotation and on your resident. You'd be better off showing up the first day and asking your resident "what do I need to do to honor this rotation" and soliciting feedback. Also, get copies of sample SOAP notes and H&Ps to be sure you know how to write one. I think those books just have a lot of common sense stuff and/or stuff that is dependant on the institution, and I wouldn't waste your money.
 

pencilfloor

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The only one I've heard of is FA for the Wards. ONe of my friends bought that, and when we compared it to my FA for CK, he decided he wished he had bought FA for CK -- which had more detail about clinical stuff, and more pertinent for the shelf. I've used CK for basic review before shelf studying and annotating, so I should be good with a lot of work already done when I begin to review for CK.

Based on the title of the thread, I was going to say "Case files for any clerkship with a shelf."
Okay what's FA for CK? FA I'm guessing is first aid but what's the CK?
 

sfbear

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All of the case files books have an introductory part talking about how to write notes for that specialty, what to watch out for, etc. that i found to be useful. i have first aid for the wards and one of the other books (250 biggest mistakes i think, but i'm not sure) that i found to be pretty worthless. there are so many books out there for third year - try to keep it down to the bare essentials.
 

fuzzyerin

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While I agree that the majority of the stuff in First Aid for the Wards is basic stuff as far as what to do on the rotation, from the perspective of a resident, you can tell who has read it and who hasn't when new third years show up. Although going back and reading it after third year you say "Duh, this is stupid, of course I'd go in, preround on my patient, write my note, gather all the labs, know what studies my patient was having that day, read about the disease, maybe find an article about the disease..." But all these words are new to a third year and it really does make you look better. I'd recommend reading it.
 

sparkygalore

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So... just to hijack/revive slightly... when looking for a generic, non-shelf focused book, is the general consensus First Aid for the Wards? Like the OP, I'd like to prep a little (though I will be doing it on an airplane on my way to the Caribbean, hooray!)

I'd gotten the same "250" and "truly excellent" suggestions as the OP, plus a suggestion for "The Nerd's Guide to Prerounding." Personally, I do NOT want to be studying during my vacation (so all the previous book lists I've seen in this forum are too specific), but I would like a handle on what I'm getting myself into. Plus, a little reminder to use common sense isn't a bad idea when you only get one day off a week!
 

bpat

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I used all three books and I would definitely recommend How to be a truly excellent junior med student and 250 Biggest Mistakes. First Aid for the Wards wasn't as good as the other First Aid books.

I kept How to be a truly excellent junior med student in my coat pocket and it was really helpful with the nuts and bolts of a rotation - how to write a note, abbreviations, etc. Plus it doesn't cost that much. First Aid has this but it's four times as expensive. Most of First Aid is about different diseases in each specialty but it's covered superficially. You're going to use other books instead for this stuff. Borrow it from a friend and save yourself $ 40. Take your SO for a nice dinner instead.

250 Biggest Mistakes 3rd Year Medical Students Make And How To Avoid Them is also a good book. It covers stuff that the others don't. If you want to know how an attending evaluates a student, read the chapter on evaluations. It opened my eyes. I liked the chapter on giving talks - I had to give a talk in every single rotation. The advice helped me give better talks and a lot of my attendings said so on my evals. There's also chapters on giving oral case presentations and write-ups. I don't know about your school but I was scared out of my mind when I first had to present a patient.

If I had to do it over (thank god I don't!), I'd be happy using how to be a truly excellent junior med student and 250 Biggest Mistakes. Hope you all rock the wards!
 

sparkygalore

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If I had to do it over (thank god I don't!), I'd be happy using how to be a truly excellent junior med student and 250 Biggest Mistakes. Hope you all rock the wards!
Awesome! I will be hitting the bookstore tomorrow (and happy I won't be lugging yet another First Aid title along to to beach with me!)
 

vtucci

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I sent this list to the rising third years at my school:

Overall- I highly recommend purchasing a step 2 question bank for review for each NBME shelf exam. Personally, I used USMLEWORLD and thought that the questions were very high yield. Ditto on Kaplan Step 2 CK book. Boards and Wards was a pretty decent overall resource.

Internal Medicine-Peds
Step Up Medicine- a class favorite. Personally, I did not like the format and thought it was too dense for every day use.
First Aid Medicine- not as comprehensive as Step Up but a good review
Case Files Medicine- perfect pocketsize for downtime and can be used one case at a time.
Case Files Peds- perfect pocketsize for downtime
Blueprints Peds- A must have. If you can only afford one peds book, make this the one.
Blueprints Medicine- not as useful as Step Up or First Aid IMHO.
Pretest Medicine- good questions but not as useful as others in the pretest series.
Pretest Peds- excellent questions, pretty high yield for the shelf exam.
Nelson’s Peds- great reference but I do not know anyone who had time to use it.
Cecil’s Medicine- great reference but I do not know anyone who had time to use it.
Ferri’s Guide to Caring for the Medical Patient- excellent resource for the wards. I preferred Ferri’s to Pocket Medicine.
Pocket Medicine- excellent resource for the wards.
MKSAP-3- questionbook used by many to study for the shelf- retired questions. People had different reactions to this resource (some swear by it but personally I did not find it useful)
Pediatrics Recall- very helpful
Pediatrics Devareview- very helpful
Peds Secrets- Very useful.
Secrets by organ system and discipline (i.e., Nephrology, neurology, cards secrets etc)- very helpful if you have the time to read them.

Ambulatory/Family Med
Case Files Family- a good resource for ambulatory med
Case Files Peds- see above
Blueprints OB/GYN- essential for GYN portion of the course
Blueprints Peds- see above
Swanson’s Family Practice- decent question book with some sections harder than other.
Essentials of Family Medicine text- not worth the $$$

Emergency Medicine
Emergency Medicine Manual by O. John Ma- outstanding.
Tarascon EM- very helpful
Case Files EM- good read
Big Tintinalli- fantastic reference but too dense to use for day-to-day readings.
Pocket Emergency Medicine- very helpful

Neuropsych
Blueprints Neuro- essential
First Aid Psych- essential
Blueprints Psych- decent resource
Case Files Neuro- good read, more indepth than other sources
Case Files Psych- good read.
First Exposure Neuro- don’t waste your time.
Tombs- excellent reference for wards
DSM-IV TR pocketbook- expensive but useful. You need to review the DSM-IV criteria for the shelf so find one resource that has it,

Surgery
Lawrence’s Essentials of Surgery- essential for the questionbank
Appleton & Lange Surgery- helpful question book.
Case Files- good resource
NMS- extremely dense but good review
Surgery recall- essential for wards
Advanced surgery recall- for surgical subspecialties- good reference

Maternal Newborn (OB/GYN)
Beckmann textbook- worthwhile investment
Blueprints Ob/Gyn- as above
Case Files Ob/Gyn- good read but Blueprints is better.

Good luck to all the rising third years out there.
 

DragonWell

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I sent this list to the rising third years at my school:

Overall- I highly recommend purchasing a step 2 question bank for review for each NBME shelf exam. Personally, I used USMLEWORLD and thought that the questions were very high yield. Ditto on Kaplan Step 2 CK book. Boards and Wards was a pretty decent overall resource.

Internal Medicine-Peds
Step Up Medicine- a class favorite. Personally, I did not like the format and thought it was too dense for every day use.
First Aid Medicine- not as comprehensive as Step Up but a good review
Case Files Medicine- perfect pocketsize for downtime and can be used one case at a time.
Case Files Peds- perfect pocketsize for downtime
Blueprints Peds- A must have. If you can only afford one peds book, make this the one.
Blueprints Medicine- not as useful as Step Up or First Aid IMHO.
Pretest Medicine- good questions but not as useful as others in the pretest series.
Pretest Peds- excellent questions, pretty high yield for the shelf exam.
Nelson’s Peds- great reference but I do not know anyone who had time to use it.
Cecil’s Medicine- great reference but I do not know anyone who had time to use it.
Ferri’s Guide to Caring for the Medical Patient- excellent resource for the wards. I preferred Ferri’s to Pocket Medicine.
Pocket Medicine- excellent resource for the wards.
MKSAP-3- questionbook used by many to study for the shelf- retired questions. People had different reactions to this resource (some swear by it but personally I did not find it useful)
Pediatrics Recall- very helpful
Pediatrics Devareview- very helpful
Peds Secrets- Very useful.
Secrets by organ system and discipline (i.e., Nephrology, neurology, cards secrets etc)- very helpful if you have the time to read them.

Ambulatory/Family Med
Case Files Family- a good resource for ambulatory med
Case Files Peds- see above
Blueprints OB/GYN- essential for GYN portion of the course
Blueprints Peds- see above
Swanson’s Family Practice- decent question book with some sections harder than other.
Essentials of Family Medicine text- not worth the $$$

Emergency Medicine
Emergency Medicine Manual by O. John Ma- outstanding.
Tarascon EM- very helpful
Case Files EM- good read
Big Tintinalli- fantastic reference but too dense to use for day-to-day readings.
Pocket Emergency Medicine- very helpful

Neuropsych
Blueprints Neuro- essential
First Aid Psych- essential
Blueprints Psych- decent resource
Case Files Neuro- good read, more indepth than other sources
Case Files Psych- good read.
First Exposure Neuro- don’t waste your time.
Tombs- excellent reference for wards
DSM-IV TR pocketbook- expensive but useful. You need to review the DSM-IV criteria for the shelf so find one resource that has it,

Surgery
Lawrence’s Essentials of Surgery- essential for the questionbank
Appleton & Lange Surgery- helpful question book.
Case Files- good resource
NMS- extremely dense but good review
Surgery recall- essential for wards
Advanced surgery recall- for surgical subspecialties- good reference

Maternal Newborn (OB/GYN)
Beckmann textbook- worthwhile investment
Blueprints Ob/Gyn- as above
Case Files Ob/Gyn- good read but Blueprints is better.

Good luck to all the rising third years out there.
Thanks very much for the post. This is EXTREMELY helpful info for those of us starting 3rd year and wondering what books are worth it.

A question: so when you say use UWorld for questions, did you just get a yearlong subscription to the Step 2CK Qbank? I can see how this could be helpful, but $400 bucks is quite a chunk of change.
 

vtucci

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Yes I used the UW yearlong subscription. It is well worth the investment.
 

yohimbine1

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I got 250 mistakes and How to be an Excellent Student so far. I'm going to read them before third year starts next month. I'm going to pass on FA for Wards--it seems there's a new edition coming out in a few months anyway so I'll take a look at that. I'm probably going with FA for individual clerkships.

My school is providing:
Internal Medicine Essentials for Clerkship Students
Medical Knowledge Self-Assessment Program (MKSAP) for Students

I don't know anything about these books...will these make it unnecessary for me to get FA for IM? I kind of like and trust the FA brand
 
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