Path: Q about how to read Big Robbins

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by swtiepie711, Nov 8, 2008.

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  1. swtiepie711

    swtiepie711 Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    May 16, 2006
    This may be a silly question, but for those that read Big/Papa robbins, how do you do it? I didn't read it for our 1st exam, but felt that I didn't learn a whole lot so I started to read it for our second exam but found myself bogged down in the details - as in, I felt obligated to "take notes" while reading it and then ended up with a huge word document that is practically useless. For those that read Big Robbins, do you just read it (like read for the sake of reading with some highlighting/underlining)? do you take notes? do you just annotate class notes if you think something's important or better explained in the book?

    Some of my classmates are reading Big Robbins, some read small & some aren't reading it at all (sticking to BRS or Goljan & class notes). I know it's different strokes for different folks, but I can't seem to find my rhythm... Any thoughts on how to manage Big Robbins is greatly appreciated.
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  3. Depakote

    Depakote Pediatric Anesthesiologist Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

    Nov 2, 2004
    Rocket Scientist
    hSDN Member
    hSDN Alumni
    I'm still early in Path (we've just got the intro section going for now), but what I've been doing is I'll read robbins and just take some minor notes in the margin and try to summarize the paragraph in a few words. I don't try to take down every single detail, just key points. Also: Italics = Important

    The nice thing about papa robbins is that it repeats the important stuff a few times so you'll really get the major points hammered in just by reading.
  4. Depakote

    Depakote Pediatric Anesthesiologist Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

    Nov 2, 2004
    Rocket Scientist
    hSDN Member
    hSDN Alumni
    I've also looked at Robbins Review of Pathology (the companion question book). It's pretty good and my profs will sometimes pull questions from there verbatim.
  5. CorazonDoc

    CorazonDoc 2+ Year Member

    Jul 17, 2008
    My strategy:
    -Read Robbins one time fairly fast w/o worrying about taking notes. This helped get a good understanding of the topic and some details.
    -Then read Goljan RR so that it was familiar when I went back to it for the boards.
    -For studying I focused on 1) class notes and 2) Robbins figures and diagrams, copying them and making sure I understood them. This was key.
  6. Twitch

    Twitch 7+ Year Member

    Jun 17, 2004
    Look at the heading.
    Look at the picture in big robbins & read caption.
    Turn page & repeat till you're done with chapter.

    That's it. However you should listen to Goljan (on your way to school and back - don't waste time listening at home when you can study) and read Goljan's text for areas that aren't well explained in your school handouts. Also look at pictures and read caption on the robbins atlas which has more pictures. If you're still feeling not sure, goto webpath. Finally test yourself on robbins (review) qbook.
  7. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    I generally read Robbins at the start of each block to get a feel for the material along with some details, but to me, the point of Robbins wasn't the details. It gave me the backbone on which to add details from BRS, Goljan and the syllabus. The Robbins qbook was also a good source for consolidating some of those details. IMO, taking notes from Robbins and trying to get all (or even most) of the material in it down would be a near impossible task.
  8. geogil

    geogil Still training. 7+ Year Member

    May 1, 2006
    In Papa Robbins, the stuff that's in blue boxes is generally very useful. I also find that the cases you get on the CD are pretty helpful (you can do tehm online too through Look at pictures, memorize diagrams, and read teh blue boxes. I would read teh chapter once without taking notes, then study the stuff in blue boxes and image captions for exams.
  9. Saluki

    Saluki 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 11, 2002
    I feel like Robbins is really great for understanding the mechanisms of the path, but it's got so much detail that it would really be hard to take notes and get through it at a reasonable pace. I only made it through about half of Robbins, because I didn't start till the spring of my second year...

    What I did, though, was I read the chapter fairly slowly, then read through a second time at a pretty fast clip, then did the questions in Review of Pathology. After that, if I needed to review, I went to Rapid Review by Goljan, because that was the level of detail I was going to remember in the long term....

    I don't know whether that was the "right" way to do things, but I found it helpful...
  10. t33sg1rl

    t33sg1rl Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    I relied on big robbins. I also had baby robbins, and I'd read baby first once quickly, then once slowly taking notes, then I'd read the same chapter in big robbins.

    ps I'll sell you my baby robbins if you like
  11. remo

    remo Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Oct 9, 2005
    Bailout Nation
    I read Big if it's not too much longer than Medium (Basic) Robbins for whatever section I'm studying. Some of the chapters are about the same length but some are a lot shorter in Medium and have all the same figures and images for the most part. You have to buy both books or get them from the library if possible. However, I can only read about 10 pages/hour in Big so investing in Medium was well worth the money for me.

    Also, you shouldn't need to take any notes because Goljan has already done that for you:) I like reading Robbins and then RR back-to-back to solidify the info. He hits just about every worthwhile point in Robbins for you.
  12. eternalrage

    eternalrage Even Kal has bad days... 10+ Year Member

    Jun 22, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    You know, lectures are there for a reason. Look at what your professors cover, and that's what will be on the tests most likely.

    Reading Big Robbins doesn't work for everyone. If you can't sort through that book and pinpoint what you need to know, then you are just wasting your time. If we had all the time in the world, I'd read it because its very informative and doesnt confuse the hell out of me like other textbooks of equal size.
  13. nlax30

    nlax30 Fellow 10+ Year Member

    Oct 4, 2006
    We also use big Robbins here. Technically our school just switched to Rubins Path a lot of students stuck with Robbins.

    Pretty much agree with what's been said....I wouldn't try and take notes from it. We're strictly a PBL curriculum here and don't have any official class notes so we pretty much HAVE to read the book, but the most I do is highlight, and then I'll use a review book and/or some kaplan videos to see what the "main" points to remember were and then go back and review the book.

    I have the pocket/baby version as well but haven't used it a whole lot. A few others have the intermediate size "teenage" version and mainly use that.

    The review book with questions that goes along with it useful as well. We'll also get some questions occasionally pulled from it.

    ALSO.... not sure how your curriculum is setup but the first few chapters in that book are VERY helpful. I'll find myself going back to those often to review the major concepts of pathphys that always come up...(inflammation, cell injury, etc....)
  14. Monica Lewinsky

    Monica Lewinsky 2+ Year Member

    Jan 18, 2008
    How do you people have time to read Big Robbins?

    For the first couple months of Path I read it religiously, but I had to stop doing that since its just too low yield. I do extremely well on the questions in Robbins Review by just knowing class notes, BRS, and RR, so I think that shows that Big Robbins isn't necessary.

    I do still look at the pictures in Big Robbins, however.
  15. Pinkertinkle

    Pinkertinkle 2003 Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 16, 2003
    Don't read big robbins, read Goljan's Rapid Review path.
  16. lord_jeebus

    lord_jeebus 和魂洋才 SDN Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Jul 12, 2003
    I also read Big Robbins.

    First I would read a chapter at a regular pace; no notes.

    Then I would skim that chapter again, looking for pieces of information I thought that I wanted to remember. I would make each fact into a flash card.

    Finally I would scan through the equivalent chapter in BRS Path, and make note of any important facts that I missed (or did not think were important initially) and make cards for those too.

    This is not particularly efficient, and if you go to lectures regularly, probably difficult to do.
  17. soonereng

    soonereng Double Trouble 10+ Year Member

    Yeah, what she said....
  18. Monica Lewinsky

    Monica Lewinsky 2+ Year Member

    Jan 18, 2008
    The efficiency issue is a big problem. I can't believe there are M2 in existence who has time to read Robbins even once during coursework while maintaining sanity. I have never seen any of my classmates read Big Robbins, ever, and nor have I heard of any of my classmate who have claimed to read it. We have so much to learn and not enough time. It is a great resource, but the amount of unnecessary detail in that book is mind-boggling. I'm banking on BRS and RR having more than enough to help me understand pathology (and I think its working so far).
  19. Saluki

    Saluki 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 11, 2002

    I think it depends on your school curriculum, because I knew several students at my school who made it through a large chunk of big Robbins... But I think BRS and RR sounds like a great solution if that's what you have time for in yours... I love RR:love:
  20. DocOfDocs

    DocOfDocs 5+ Year Member

    Apr 23, 2008
    When I went through path I would read each chapter fast in Robbins, without taking notes or taking too much time trying to memorize detail, maybe 2-3 hours for a chapter. Then I would do the questions in Review of Robbins pertaining to that chapter while referencing the book. Before the test I would read each chapter again and I ended up doing really well on all my tests. However, there were people I studied with who only memorized lecture notes and did as well as I did without spending as much time. Also, I read the BRS path several times during the course which was really helpful when it came time to prep for Step I.

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