Is PBL right for me?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by SunnyBunny7, Sep 9, 2002.

  1. SunnyBunny7

    SunnyBunny7 the newest St. Lunatic
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    Hi, I was hoping somebody could give me some info on PBL, mostly on how to determine if it better suits my learning style than a traditional lecture based curriculum. I'm applying to med school this year for the '03 entering class and would like to know more about PBL to see which schools are best for me.

    I know what PBL is and all, but I've never been taught by it so I don't really know if I'd be able to learn well from it. Would people with certain types of learning or studying habits find it easier than others? Or does it just vary from person to person?

    I do fine with traditional lecture style courses right now as an undergrad, and I don't particularly hate it or find it difficult. Since I do well with this teaching style I was wondering if I'd do better or worse or the same with PBL. Any info and opinions would be appreciated. Thanks a bunch!
     
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  3. Rumit

    Rumit Senior Member
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    Well, I'll tell you what I like and don't like about it. I like the fact that you have to research topics, and when you do that you get a great, in-depth, understanding of the stuff and you really remember it. However, the problem I have with it, is that since it's done in small groups, you are dependant on your classmates 80-90% of the information (at least the way it's run here, where each person is responsible for one "learning issue"). Even when your classmates do a good job (which doesn't always happen) you don't learn their material as well as you might in a lecture. Due to that, I am very glad that we're a primarily traditional curriculum.

    Good luck,

    Adam
     
  4. 8744

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    PBL is probably great if you are a highly motivated self-starter (I mean more so then most medical students) but I find that I need the discipline of traditioanl lectures.
     
  5. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
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    Having finished my first 2 years of medical school in a PBL system, I must say that I really enjoyed it. I feel like I have learned a great deal of information from it, but I can't compare it to what I would or would not have learned in a traditional system.

    Don't worry about the motivation or discipline part. The fear of the tests will be motivation for you to study. Very few people have motivation problems.

    I went to a PBL school (EDP applicant/acceptee) because I couldn't stand lectures. I slept, drew, etc. during lectures in undergrad. I just didn't get anything out of them. When one sits through a lecture, he/she must review their notes in order to learn the material. Why not cut out the middle man and just go straight to the notes (texts)? For me, I got more out of reading a text than wasting time in a lecture.

    Unlike a previous poster, my classmates and I were not dependent on each other. Every person must research a topic even though someone might be assigned a topic to present. Very rarely did we assign topics. Most of the topics were discussed by everyone. Someone would take the lead for a particular issue and everyone would contribute.

    Hope this helps!
     
  6. fourthyear

    fourthyear Senior Member
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    I'm at a traditional lecture-type school. In my 1st 2 years, I had a LOT of trouble getting anythign out of lecture (just like in college) and ended up eventually not going to many lectures and learning on my own (solidly passing, but never getting the grades I thought should be proportional to the time I studied). This worked ok, but I found that in 3rd year, when I finally had real patients and cases to connect the material with, I learned at exponential levels - it all just clicked so much better in my mind than just forcing the material in like the lecture or traditional textbook format did. So now I'm thinking if I had to choose again, I'd think more about PBL schools. I just think it's easier for me to pay attention in an interactive environment rather than passively listening to somone read me power point slides.

    On the other hand, I have some friends who learn a lot from lecture, and really did remember stuff they heard said in lecture. So you have to know your own learning style and go with that.

    One caution - ask the schools to give you numbers on % passing the Boards (USMLE step1) at the end of 2nd year. My worry with these PBL programs is that they may not cover everythign you need for the boards as well as lectures do, so just make sure you are getting an equal education.
     
  7. daisygirl

    daisygirl woof
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    I have realized this already, and I've only been in med school for 2 1/2 weeks. I don't remember most of the crud that is thrown at me during lecture. As a matter as a fact, I am going through my the transcription notes right now in order to pass my biochem test tommorow.

    There is only one thing I like about lectures- that the information is organized for you. I don't know if I'd like an only PBM program because of the self-motivation that is required to fish out the info yourself, but I guess you would absorb more that way because you are actively participating in the educational process. I think that I would appreciate a curriculum that integrates didactic and PBM training- I think that presenting difficult concepts in PBM format may actually help the comprehension of those concepts.

    Alright, I am procrastinating.... back to studying :rolleyes:
     
  8. souljah1

    souljah1 Attending
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    I don't go to a school that has only PBL so I can't really comment on a curriculum soley based on PBL, but my school does mix lectures with PBL. We have about two hours of lecture a day, and then either two hours of lab or two hours of small groups. Sometimes these small groups are case-based, where we pull together concepts in cases based on real life incidences and on lectures. We are doing integrated blocks for the first year and each block has a PBL session where we meet in groups of 8 and go over a case, determine action plans and learning areas, and then break up and research the topics that we felt we needed to better understand. We post our findings on our web-based curriculum, and then meet the following week to discuss the proper course of action with the physician who was leading the PBL session. I actually like that part of my education is in the hands of my classmates. I hope that putting trust in my classmates' ability to find answers to questions we have will help to defuse the competitive pathology of the lingering premed neurosis and help to foster a sense of encouragement and cooperation.

    For me, I felt the most secure entering a school where there was a good, consistent mix of lecture and small-groups. Having only two hours of lecture in the morning is not bad at all..especially when you break up into smaller groups in the afternoon to either talk about clinical scenarios that are relevant to lecture or to enter the lab and dive into practicality. I know that I wouldn't have liked sitting in lecture hall in a bunch of classes that were all isolated from one another (in topics). I would be afraid of a lot of overlap, etc. Conversely, all PBL would stress me out a little bit. I need a little lecture in my life.

    Hope that helps.
     
  9. SunnyBunny7

    SunnyBunny7 the newest St. Lunatic
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    Thanks a bunch for all your comments. I think I've decided that I'll do okay in either PBL or traditional lectures, since it seems to me that each has its good and bad aspects. The main reason I was curious was that I'm filling out the secondary app for Drexel and they ask you to choose which curriculum you're interested in, where one is mostly lecture and one is mostly PBL. But anyway, thanks for all your help! :D :D :D
     
  10. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
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    My class had a 100% pass rate on Step I with an average of either 227 or 229. I don't remember which, but it was above the national average. I would say the curriculum is excellent considering that we're always above the mean for Step I despite having a low MCAT average (27).

    Mercer has consistently had 95+% pass rates on the boards.
     
  11. Rigomortis

    Rigomortis Member
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    Wow. I had been told by some people that the first classes of PBL at some schools did significantly worse than the last batch of traditional students. I guess that debunks that theory. Dare I ask where this is?
     
  12. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
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    Mercer University in Georgia
     
  13. S.c. Cdc28p

    S.c. Cdc28p Member
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    Very valid point. I think the inadequate coverage of board material is true at my PBL school too. However, the students do learn things by themselves, so they end up performing superbly well on the boards anyway.
     

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