memorizing stuff in medical school

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by Geoff Gruenewalt, Apr 7, 1999.

  1. Geoff Gruenewalt

    Geoff Gruenewalt Junior Member

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    Years ago in Freshman/Sophmore Zoology I was expected to memorize the names of about 100 parasites on slides and the disease which they caused. This really turned me off to Zoology, and I dropped the course and took Botany that semester instead. I generally love Biology, and have done well. However, I have avoided professors who require a lot of memorization. Within the BCPM, I have CPM fulfilled with a 3.7 gpa. I have enough Math to go to grad school with funding. However, I enjoy working with people, and don't want to cloister myself with Math books for life. Do you think that I just had a bad experience with my Zoology course, or is memorizing 100 organisms and their associated diseases the sort of thing you're expected to memorize in Med school? Are there any reliable memory tests I could take to determine whether I have the capacity for Med school? -Thanks
     
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  3. MOXIEJEN DO 2003

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    Yes, I'm sure we will be required to memorize reams and reams of information in med school, however, ask yourself this, would you mind memorizing things that you found fascinating that you knew would lead you towards a career that you would love where you would help people for the rest of your life? (I know that was a run-on sentence!) From what I understand, there are lots of pneumonics that can help you memorize the most dreaded structures, functions and symtoms. If you really want to be a doctor, find a way to learn to memorize by making it fun for yourself. Don't let something like memorization stop you from achieving your goals and dreams. There are books that teach you how to improve your memorization SKILLS. And SKILLS is the operative word here....you can do it if you set your mind to it. Good luck
    Jen
     
  4. MOXIEJEN DO 2003

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    I should have spell-checked..but nemonics/pneumonics/pnemonics...however it's spelled, I mean the art of using the first letter of a word to make a memorable saying which aids in memorization...and I meant symptoms.....
     
  5. Pete

    Pete Junior Member

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    jen
    Are you familiar with any specific memorization SKILLS books that would be appropriate for medical school. Any suggestions?????

    thanks
     
  6. MOXIEJEN DO 2003

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    No, I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with any personally...but I bet if you hit up Barnes and Noble or Bookstar they would have some. I remember one book I read a few years back which talked about memorizing a list of things, and to memorize the list you string the items together by association....this is a funny way to put it, but do you remember the one Happy Days episode where Potsy had to memorize a bunch of body parts, so he put the words to song....In college, I would use flash cards to help me memorize. For Biochem, when I had to memorize the Kreb's cycle, I made up a worksheet just with the arrows, then I xeroxed it 25 times, and kept filling it out until I had it memorized correctly. There are lots of tricks to use. Another silly example, when I go to the grocery store, If I only need a few things, (and I usually forget to buy what I went in there for!) then I take the first letter of each item and spell a word or saying to help me remember. In med school, there are tons of memory techniques that are passed down from class to class. Now this is a really vulgar example I am about to give, but in 1993 I took anatomy at SDSU. In order to memorize the 12 craninal nerves, one of the gradutate TA's came up with.."Oh To Touch And Feel Virgin Girls H%^^mens and V's"...disgusting, but here 6 years later I still remember the pattern, then you fill in with Ocular, Trigeminal, Vagus, Hypoglossal......etc. etc. If I come across any books, I'll put in another post.
    Good Luck!
    jen
     
  7. TP

    TP Member

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    Actually that saying to memorize the 12 cranial nerves is legendary and have been passed down for generations. I don't think your ta created it. I do know however that it's been altered a bit from school to school .I talk to some med. students who use pneumonics to learn and they tell me that you remember better if you come up with your own sayings. However, there is also a book floating around with pneumonics for medical things. Like jen, i do the flash cards (sometimes i practically re-write my book on flashcards...but hey whatever it takes right). Flashcards however take a long time to make and i'm kinda worried that that method of study won't work in med. school due to the volume of material. Anyways, i'll look for the pneumonics book and if i find it i'll post info about the book here.
    -tommy (UHS '03)
     
  8. HeatherR

    HeatherR Member

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    It's mneumonics, not pneumonics (pneumo means air, as in pneumonia, pneumothorax, pneumonologist, ...)

    Some mneumonics are useful (the CN one is a prime example), but there are many many lists, nerves, muscles, enzymes, symptoms, drugs,etc. etc. etd. that need to be memorized and it is impossible to think up mneumonics or make fancy flash cards for all of them. There are piles and piles of lists that need to be memorized for med school, and one has to be able and willing to sit down for hours at a time and memorize them before exams. If you can't do that, you shouldn't be a med student.
     
  9. Deb

    Deb Senior Member

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    Geoff,

    Yes, med sch requires LOTS of memorization!!!!! To give you an idea of the
    vol...while studying for ONE pharm exam I counted the drugs for which we were
    responsible...103! I also had 6 other subjects to study (path, micro, OB/GYN,
    psych, phys di, and ODT). We had exams every 5-6 weeks. But, don't let the
    vol scare you. If you're really committed you'll find a way to learn the
    material.

    Keep in mind that med sch is unlike any other endeavor. The intellectual
    demands are daunting...at times you may feel totally overwhelmed. Plus it's a
    very long haul. However, as one of my professors often said, "If med sch was
    easy, your degree would be worthless."

    There are many careers that would be much easier to attain and allow you to be
    involved with science and people. You should investigate them. You should also
    try to spend time with physicians (shadowing) to get some idea of the demands of
    medicine. Also, I hate to tell you this, but if you decide to apply to med sch
    you'll probably have to explain why you dropped zoo in favor of botany.
     
  10. DO DUDE

    DO DUDE Senior Member

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    This spelling debate motivated me to crack a dusty dictionary.

    For future trivial pursuit games....

    -mnemonic adj.
    1. Relating to, assisting, or intended to assist the memory.

    ?mnemonic n.
    A device, such as a formula or rhyme, used as an aid in remembering. ?mnemonically adv.

    Source: American Heritage Dictionary


     
  11. MOXIEJEN DO 2003

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    Geoff-
    I guess we began a debate on memorization techniques an MNEMONICS...however I have to disagree with the last statement about explaining why you dropped zoology. In the four interviews I completed prior to being accepted this year, not once was I ever asked why I dropped a class. If you want to be a doctor and spend the rest of your working life serving others, you WILL and CAN find a way to memorize what you will need to learn.

    also, about flashcards in med school, one book I read recommended this method, and then suggested saving the flashcards for board reviews.....

    Jen
     
  12. MOXIEJEN DO 2003

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    DO DUDE- thanks for the chuckle! The spelling issue was getting a little heavy!
     
  13. VM

    VM Senior Member

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    I think the only time withdrawn courses (Ws) are a problem is if you have too many. But, of course, this depends on the individual school or interviewer.
     
  14. Dr Dil

    Dr Dil Junior Member

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    Geoff:

    If you thought the Zoology course was too difficult or too much work, then you probably won't enjoy your first or second years in med school much. From what you described of your parasite woes, the basic courses in Histology, Gross anatomy, neuroanatomy, pharm, path, and (esp in your case) microbiology will dwarf your undergrad problems. Memorizing over 100 lab items and then having a much more gruelling didactic test is something you will encounter every 2-3 weeks in some semesters.

    Also, regarding word games to recall information: they are only helpful if you can remember them later. In most, but not all cases, you're better off to learn the material straight. Besides, in most cases tabular information (like knowing what each Cranial nerve does) will become second nature to you after a while.

     
  15. Geoff Gruenewalt

    Geoff Gruenewalt Junior Member

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    Ugh! I'm truly glad I asked about memorization in Med school. Obviously, I'm not a Bio major, and this discussion makes me think that I should focus on the things that I know myself to be good at. Just yesterday I recalled that I used to make my Math professors include information on our exams that I was having trouble memorizing! It seems like a bad memory is acceptable in that field. !Chez a Mathematica!
     
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  17. Deb

    Deb Senior Member

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    Unfortunately, my statement about dropping zoo is probably correct. While
    dropping classes is usually not an issue, dropping a premed prereq in favor
    of a class that is not required would be likely to raise a question or two
    by interviewers. I'm not saying it would be a problem, just that they might
    ask you about it.
     
  18. CraigMu

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    Find a memorization tool that works for you and memorizing can become close to trivial. Go to memorize.com and search for "anatomy" and try out the different memorize modes, for example.
     
  19. Limvostov

    Limvostov Gold Member

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    :eek: 12 years old!... Nice!
     
  20. fiznat

    fiznat Senior Member

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    LOL, epic necrobump.

    [​IMG]
     
  21. Skippygonenuts

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    Zoology used to be a prereq??
     
  22. Long Way to Go

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    A fair number of schools will accept zoology or biology. Well, at least a couple will.
     
  23. Flapjacks

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    Wonder what happened to OP in 12 years. Probably became a hedge fund investor...
     
  24. NewBlood

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    I actually dreaded memorizing things too, but I found that the only classes where I had to use brute memorization tactics were pharm and micro. Even in gross anatomy, I just read and re-read our lecture notes, and the repetition was sufficient to memorize everything "naturally."

    Pharm and micro I used Mnemosyne, a computer flash card program and that worked wonders.

    If you learn the basics and understand how things work and the underlying concepts (how's that for being redundant?), then you will be able to figure out or think through most of what you need to know for both tests and the clinic floors. And in my opinion you really don't need to memorize anything for patient care (just for tests and pimping during rounds). As long as you know what to look for, you will have your smartphone, the internet, or a book to reference when looking for a treatment regimine or assembling a ddx or a list of bugs that a person might have based on symptoms, etc.
     
  25. NewBlood

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    AGGH!!!! duped on my 3rd post!!!!! I should have kept my promise to myself and never started posting. Oh well. :laugh:
     

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