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Keeping up


Full Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 3, 2007
So starting out in radiology, I feel like we're now suddenly expected to read and retain tremendous swathes of information. This is beyond anything I've had to do in medical school, taking into account the novelty and complexity of the material and time span to master it.

For one, how do you even work through all this material? A given rotation has a textbook that's like 600+ pages long, and that's without supplementary reading/articles/questions or whatever else. Some of the difficulty is not having the framework or context to understand things and the rest is just the sheer volume. And then there's physics, which I acknowledge is important but it's hard to find motivation to spend additional time trying to understand it if it doesn't come easily and it seems to have a lower practical yield on a day to day basis. It's like I always have to consider how to use the remaining time/energy at the end of my day, which is a lot less than what I anticipated.

And then after your fatigued eyes (from staring at things in a dark room all day) glaze over the textbook, how do you retain/remember everything? Not to mention the uncertainty of feeling like there's stuff you feel you should know but just never had exposure to it. For instance, I've had interactions with a resident a year above me who has had the same rotation as me but seems to be able to have a much higher grasp of the subject (including all the peripheral stuff like physics and logistical matters that I'd never come across) even though we would have gone through the same rotation once.

I guess I can't help the stuff I never came across (or can I?), but for the rest: is it reading and re-exposure? Or do people still resort to taking notes? Flash cards? How do you study? I was never fond of memorizing things and this is another aspect that adds to the difficulty in the setting of my increasingly distracted/tired mind.

Is everyone in radiology just unfathomably smart, super motivated, and indefatigable? I thought I did fairly well in medical school, usually scoring within the top 5-15% of the class on exams, but that was in a structured setting where I knew what resources to use. There's also nothing like Pathoma, which was a succint/easy way to understand things without too much added effort/time. Now it feels like a free for all where we're expected to teach ourselves and there is no limit on things to know.

I'm astounded and bewildered seeing the upper levels take on cases and talk about various sequences as if they're talking about what they had for breakfast and then how fast they'd see and give an assessment of something shown on the screen in conference. None of the hemming and hawing that I've seen interns/residents do whenever something is put up during internal medicine conferences.

And on another note, my eyes seem to have already gotten worse as a result of all this darkroom viewing/studying :(


Full Member
7+ Year Member
Oct 13, 2012
  1. Resident [Any Field]
You will be alright. Radiology is harder than what most people think.

While some residents in my program study 20+ hours weekly, the impression I get is that most people are putting in around 1-2 hrs daily, on average. Some people do less than that.
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