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Pathology - How to Study?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Dr. Weebs, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. Dr. Weebs

    Dr. Weebs Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Oct 13, 2004
    Portland, OR
    I'm about to start MS2, and I know that if you are going to nail one class in med school, you nail path. So my question is, how do I do that? There are so many path books, reviews, etc. out there and I'm confused as to what approach I should take. My goals would be in the following priority order:

    1. Prepare to ace path on the boards
    3. Learn the most pertinent information for becoming a good physician.
    2. Pass my path class (don't care about the score)

    I had a number of books in mind:

    1. Robbins Pocket Companion
    2. Robbins Atlas
    3. Robbins Review
    4. BRS Pathology
    5. Goljan Rapid Review (I have the audio downloaded as well)

    My plan was to use Robbins Pocket Companion as my main "text" (Our school's required text is Rubin's... anyone know anything about that one?), along with my class notes, and use the Atlas alongside it. Then, do the questions from Robbins Review, and then on weekends go through Goljan's RR. Has anyone else tried a plan similar to this? I know everyone says BRS path is one of the best books ever for path review, but I'm not sure how I could incorporate it into my studying.

    Any tips, suggestions, experiences? I'm really excited about this class, and anything would be appreciated! :)
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  3. Dr. Weebs

    Dr. Weebs Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Oct 13, 2004
    Portland, OR
  4. jocg27

    jocg27 Senior Member 2+ Year Member

    May 23, 2006
    We are finishing up path pretty soon, and honestly, even after a whole year I haven't figured out the most effective way to study for the class. So I'm curious about the answer too, even though I'm not sure how much it'd help me anymore.
  5. pagemmapants

    pagemmapants Unknown Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 7, 2005
    I bought the international version of "Big Robbins" on e-bay and I love love love love love love love it. Even though it's 1500+ pages it's PAPERBACK which is pretty phat if you have to lug around 1500+ pages. Plus it tells you everything about everything (except epilepsy, strangely) and has gorgeous slide examples and it's just . . . pretty. Sometimes it gets a little repetitive which is why I can imagine people get the condensed version or the "pocket" version. However, the biggy is a great reference.
    I haven't done any BRS books or anything for studying; then again highest-yield for our exams is to study off of the powerpoints. Not sure what I'll do for boards, but considering that can be as much as 2 years away for me, I ain't worried! :D

    ::mentally hugs her third-year::
  6. G0S2

    G0S2 SDN Angel 10+ Year Member

    Oct 11, 2003
    Read the chapters in Robbins pertaining to the module you are in and do the Q's from the Robbins Review. Worked well for me and I feel pretty good for the path that is on the Step 1. If you do the work up front during MS2, it makes reviewing path for boards a bit easier.
  7. fakin' the funk

    fakin' the funk ASA Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 23, 2004
    Don't cross-post.
  8. Dr. Weebs

    Dr. Weebs Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Oct 13, 2004
    Portland, OR
    Don't be a nerd.
  9. JohnUC33

    JohnUC33 A Stinkin Conservative 7+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2005
    My strategy thus far is to listen to Goljan to actually learn pathology, read baby Robbins, do the review Questions in Robbins review book, and then look in Big Robbins for the accompanying slides that I need to see.
  10. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse Administrator Physician SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Jan 9, 2006
    I'd disagree with the bolded statement. Path is obviously very important, but you really need to nail pharm as well. Not just for the boards (pharm seems to be part of ~50% of the practice USMLE questions that I've done so far), but also on the floors.

    Don't get too caught up in all the books and resources that are available for path. Just find a couple that you're comfortable with and that you know how to use effectively.

    My school recommends Rubin's - because the authors (Rubin and Farber) are on faculty at my school. That being said, it's a good book. Not easy to lug around, but well written, very comprehensive, with good pictures AND good diagrams.

    Fenderson and R. Rubin (the son of the guy who wrote the textbook - he's also a pathologist on faculty here) wrote an accompanying question review book. I think that those questions are better than the ones in the BRS, and they are accompanied by color pictures. The BRS photos are in black and white, and a few are a little grainy.

    I think that, rather than fixating on which book to use, try to figure out HOW to think like a pathologist. As one of the pathology professors here said, in real life, pathologists need to read the patient's clinical information before they can even look at the biopsy. Reading the question stem will give you a lot of clues and direct how you interpret the slide. On some of the Step 1 practice questions, reading the question itself is enough to make a diagnosis, and the accompanying slide is just there for confirmation.

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