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neurotrancer

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Hi.

I'm an M1 at an MD school in VA. I have a question primarily aimed towards med school grads but I guess my fellow med school students can offer their 2 cents too...

How relevant are the preclinical years to future performance as a physician? I'm pretty much straight passing my classes but can't help but feel like I'm forgetting so much more than what I retain...I do plan to study at least 5 or 6 hours a day for the boards this summer, rehashing what I learned this M1 year. But still, I can't help but feel an overwhelming sense of uneasiness about the whole experience. I'm told that most doctors feel they retain very little of what they learn in med school. But my professor told me that an actual study was done where they made physicians take some preclinical exams and the doctors actually did quite well. Anyways, do you think she may have been mistaken?

Do you think that a record with straight passes during the preclinical years would be weak for residency application should I want to enter a residency like, say, gastroenterology?

Thanks!
 

rustybruce

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Two things to note.

1. A record of pass for your preclinical years (if your school is pass/honors) is NOT bad and will be fine for most careers in Medicine. You may not be a shining candidate for Ortho or ENT, but you will still be able to be highly sought after for many other specialties if you do well on your boards and are a well-rounded person. Also, Gastroenterology is a medicine field and they'll be more concerned with your performance in an Internal Medicine residency.

2. I don't know if your school is the type where you learn the 2 preclinical years in one year, but if it's not (and you'll be taking boards a year after this summer), don't spend a single second studying this summer. It will be a complete waste of your time. Not only will you forget every single thing you learned before you REALLY begin to study for the boards, but you will miss out on summer opportunities for wasted efforts.

Focus your second year time studying for second year classes and DON'T open a Step 1 book until 6 weeks before your exam (if your school gives you time off to take it)
 

Seaglass

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As fourth year students we have the opportunity to precept PBL as an elective. Part of this class for us is learning some educational theory.

The conclusion my classmates and I have come to is that most M1-2's continue to use the memorization strategy that worked for them in undergrad - that is - straight memorization. So I'm not surprised that you can't remember a lot of stuff because memorization is a crappy retention strategy. So here's my advice, something I wish I was told during MS1-2:

1. Build clinical cases. Invent patients and then apply what you are reading to those patients. IE: when learning about cystic fibrosis think of the typical patient, how you would go about diagnosing and treating him/her and then look up all of what you need to know. Give this fake patient a name and everything

Why it works: people are much more memorable than random information, so the random info is more memorable when it is applied to a person. This is how you learn after MS1-2 anyway.

2. Understand systems. It's fine to know that low pH and low CO2 is metabolic acidosis, but if you understand WHY is is met acidosis you are more likely to remember the details.

Why it works: if you understand then generalities then you can reason to the specifics, and they will make sense.

3. Use mnemonics and other strategies. This is really #1 is disguise - taking something that is not really very memorable on its own and attaching it to something more memorable.

4. Don't listen to music with lyrics while studying. You have a finite amount of attention to give to things, and it has been shown that lyrical music requires a significant amount of attention to listen to. Pop in some Bela Fleck instead. This of course applies to other distractors as well. Turn off your cell phone.

Thats my 0.02. Some will say everyone has their own style. I'll tell you that those that are ultimately sucessful usually are using these strategies to enhance recall.

Casey
 

Tazmaniac

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Your performance in the first year, never mind first two years of medical school is inconsequential when compared to the 3rd year and boards.

Plus, I would take a look at yourself after the brand-new fresh-off-the-press class of 2008 arrive. You'll be amazed how much you've progressed and retained from the 1st year.

Most people after 3rd year couldn't tell you what a Kreb Cycle or Eicosanoid or electoconducive buggabaloo is, but they do remember the key general points, which is most important anyways. I would relax, don't worry so much about Years 1 and 2. Do the best you can, give yourself plenty of rest and break, 'cause you won't ever get it again.

Cheers!

-Todd MSIV
 

neurotrancer

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thanks guys. I appreciate your input.
 

Gorne

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Not sure if I should bump such an old thread, but I have the exact same concern.

I'm acing my tests so far, like actually haven't gotten below a 90 on anything yet. However, I already have to go back and review some of the finer details I learned not even 2 months ago. Should I be concerned about retaining pathways, etc?
 

Law2Doc

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Not sure if I should bump such an old thread, but I have the exact same concern.

I'm acing my tests so far, like actually haven't gotten below a 90 on anything yet. However, I already have to go back and review some of the finer details I learned not even 2 months ago. Should I be concerned about retaining pathways, etc?

Meh. The first two years is about getting the foundation you will use when spending the summer after second year preparing for the step 1 exam. Second year is much higher yield for this test than first year. In 3rd year rotations you may use some of that older material, but you will have refreshed it studying for the step so no point thinking about it until then. Topics from the past will always crop up as you progress in this career, and so you will be always reading/refreshing -- it's a path of lifelong learning. Don't pretend you have to learn and remember it all forever.
 
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xffan624

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Not sure if I should bump such an old thread, but I have the exact same concern.

I'm acing my tests so far, like actually haven't gotten below a 90 on anything yet. However, I already have to go back and review some of the finer details I learned not even 2 months ago. Should I be concerned about retaining pathways, etc?

Anki it (spaced repetition flashcards). I remember plenty of stuff from MS1 that my classmates blank on thanks to Anki. It's not the most effective for short term(test) studying, but for long term it can't be beat.
 
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DermViser

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Anki it (spaced repetition flashcards). I remember plenty of stuff from MS1 that my classmates blank on thanks to Anki. It's not the most effective for short term(test) studying, but for long term it can't be beat.
Probably bc it takes so long to make the flashcards. Would be nice if all the flashcards were premade by previous classes which you can alter.
 

cbrons

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Two things to note.

1. A record of pass for your preclinical years (if your school is pass/honors) is NOT bad and will be fine for most careers in Medicine. You may not be a shining candidate for Ortho or ENT, but you will still be able to be highly sought after for many other specialties if you do well on your boards and are a well-rounded person. Also, Gastroenterology is a medicine field and they'll be more concerned with your performance in an Internal Medicine residency.

Seriously? You think those residency programs care about your grade in anatomy?

I thought AOA at most school had nothing to do with your preclinical grades.
 

Meh.meh

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Seriously? You think those residency programs care about your grade in anatomy?

I thought AOA at most school had nothing to do with your preclinical grades.

That post is a decade old...made for a different time maybe.

I agreed up until the board review statement, then I realized it was from 2004. The arms race wasn't as intense back then
 
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LostinLift

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Seriously? You think those residency programs care about your grade in anatomy?

I thought AOA at most school had nothing to do with your preclinical grades.

Relatively nothing. At mine 1st + 2nd year = 30% of class rank, 3rd year = 70%.
 

DermViser

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Seriously? You think those residency programs care about your grade in anatomy?

I thought AOA at most school had nothing to do with your preclinical grades.
1) His post was from 2004.

2) AOA includes all your grades in medical school and includes preclinical (if it's anything other than true P/F)
Relatively nothing. At mine 1st + 2nd year = 30% of class rank, 3rd year = 70%.
30% is relatively nothing?
 

Jabbed

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Anki it (spaced repetition flashcards). I remember plenty of stuff from MS1 that my classmates blank on thanks to Anki. It's not the most effective for short term(test) studying, but for long term it can't be beat.
I've lately been abusing Anki for short term studying and I can definitely tell you that it works exceedingly well for memorizing powerpoints and such. That said, I would definitely not recommend it. Long term it's still gold, though I do wonder how much of the information I'm actually retaining vs memorizing contextual clues from the flashcard.
 
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