.hematoma.

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TL;DR: Advice about whether to focus all efforts on memorizing FA/Pathoma or focusing on course lectures while lightly reading FA in free time.

I've come to recognize that there are two camps on how to approach MS2. The first is to focus on classwork while trying to review for boards, and the other is to care less about courses and spend the majority of time on board preparation. I wanted to hear your thoughts on which seems to be more valuable; I personally have been focusing on classwork while briefly looking through FA for relevant sections. I feel like doing so helps me create a recognition of FA for when the memorization begins during dedicated. I can't imagine just memorizing FA/Pathoma because there's a lot of gaps to fill.

Note that what I mean by focusing on classwork, I'm referring to focusing on lectures while also using relevant review books. For instance, glancing at Pathoma/videos for each day's lectures, doing sketchy pharm/micro, perhaps reading medium Robbins for clarity on certain topics. But not a strict memorization of review resources.

Any advice/insights would be appreciated!
 

Hangry

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Don't "memorize" anything. Use pathoma to learn the material well as a supplement to your classes. It is a concise resource, not reason you can't do it and your classes simultaneously.

I'd save first aid for a quick pass before your final exam to see what you may not have covered in your lectures but not throughout. Sketchy micro is a great supplemental resource as well.

I keep saying supplemental because none of these resources are great primary resources. I think it would be a disservice to focus primarily on board resources during second year and can't imagine there is enough info in there to stretch over a whole years worth of studying.
 

sholamd

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I made this PDF a while back about how M1s vs M2s should be using First Aid. Might be helpful or at least offer a different perspective. Overall, I think you are doing the right thing - studying for courses IS studying for boards, and will serve you well in the long run.
 

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mehc012

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I made this PDF a while back about how M1s vs M2s should be using First Aid. Might be helpful or at least offer a different perspective. Overall, I think you are doing the right thing - studying for courses IS studying for boards, and will serve you well in the long run.
This assumes a traditional curriculum, though, right?
 

OnePunchBiopsy

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Put course work on back burner.

Do a Qbank and study UFAP religiously along with coursework while skating by just enough to pass lecture exams.
 

sholamd

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This assumes a traditional curriculum, though, right?
Yes, this is based on my own experience and what I've heard from people who went through similar curriculum structures. My med school actually changed their curriculum the year after I graduated. What is your school doing? In what ways is my recommendation incompatible with your curriculum?
 

mehc012

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Yes, this is based on my own experience and what I've heard from people who went through similar curriculum structures. My med school actually changed their curriculum the year after I graduated. What is your school doing? In what ways is my recommendation incompatible with your curriculum?
We don't separate basic sciences, normal physiology, and pathology. We only separate based on organ system. Correct me if I'm wrong (please!) but the 'traditional' curriculum goes through basic science and then normal physio for M1, and then pathology/pharm for M2, right? Whereas ours is going through the foundations, normal physio, and path/pharm for each organ system one at a time.

It doesn't make your recommendations unhelpful (on the contrary, I thought that image was a nice way of summing it up, thanks!) it just changes the 'when' of their application.
 

sholamd

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We don't separate basic sciences, normal physiology, and pathology. We only separate based on organ system. Correct me if I'm wrong (please!) but the 'traditional' curriculum goes through basic science and then normal physio for M1, and then pathology/pharm for M2, right? Whereas ours is going through the foundations, normal physio, and path/pharm for each organ system one at a time.

It doesn't make your recommendations unhelpful (on the contrary, I thought that image was a nice way of summing it up, thanks!) it just changes the 'when' of their application.

Thanks mehc012, that's really good information. I teach on online course about studying in med school and I think I need to change the way I speak about M1/M2 curriculum because more schools are moving towards an integrative model. Thanks!
 
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Azete

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Thanks mehc012, that's really good information. I teach on online course about studying in med school and I think I need to change the way I speak about M1/M2 curriculum because more schools are moving towards an integrative model. Thanks!
At orientation last year they told us 95% of all med schools (MD and DO) will be this way by 2020. Apparently the data is out there and it's not longer a question of if, but when.
 
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Syncrohnize

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TL;DR: Advice about whether to focus all efforts on memorizing FA/Pathoma or focusing on course lectures while lightly reading FA in free time.

I've come to recognize that there are two camps on how to approach MS2. The first is to focus on classwork while trying to review for boards, and the other is to care less about courses and spend the majority of time on board preparation. I wanted to hear your thoughts on which seems to be more valuable; I personally have been focusing on classwork while briefly looking through FA for relevant sections. I feel like doing so helps me create a recognition of FA for when the memorization begins during dedicated. I can't imagine just memorizing FA/Pathoma because there's a lot of gaps to fill.

Note that what I mean by focusing on classwork, I'm referring to focusing on lectures while also using relevant review books. For instance, glancing at Pathoma/videos for each day's lectures, doing sketchy pharm/micro, perhaps reading medium Robbins for clarity on certain topics. But not a strict memorization of review resources.

Any advice/insights would be appreciated!
Don't subscribe to the UFAP-focus camp. I think it's the wrong way to go for a lot of reasons.

For one, just from unofficial observance I've seen that the ones who tend to do better at my school are the ones who use their schools stuff while using pathoma and FA later. Now this could be a bias with intelligence and processing speed being the confounders (more efficient studies have time for both) so there are other good reasons.

The best one is that when you take step 1, you realize after the fact that it's not how well you've memorized the UFAP. It's more to do with how well of a basic medical and more recently clinical intuition you have. The only two ways to develop this in my opinion are active learning and this can only be thru lectures/lab/exam formats the school offers or UWorld.

On the actual exam, there's a huge chunk of info you won't see in any of UFAP. Everyone has their own estimate but for me this was about 25-30-% of the exam. You'll answer these questions based on not only the extra details you've learnt in classes but also your intuition. The way your school puts this in is by repeating themes across units which you'll then be able to recognize are being assessed on he exam.

For example, to be as vague as possible there was a question on my exam that asked about how to do a detail about a surgery I guarantee wasn't anywhere in UFAP. However, I remember the structure being talked about in anatomy and then eliminated another two choices because we learnt the indications for the other choices in multiple pathophysiology units second year. Finally, of the final two choices I realized one of the areas was completely avascular and an ideal place to cut so I picked that (believe me, the rest of step didn't go as well as this). I wouldn't have been able to do that if I had just focused on reviewing pathoma and FA.

So for now focus on getting a grasp of the big picture which is school lectures as well as UWorld (the one thing you should do because it is such a good resource that will help with understanding and spatial repetition). Wait a minute, why are my school lectures riddled with minutiae an exercise for understanding the big picture? Because when you try to stuff all that info jammed into the course notes, your mind wont be able to memorize all of it so it will encode this information in the most efficient manner possible which will make you understand concepts and what is important. Voila! Active learning! On the other hand, reading FA which is basically just the high yield points of UWorld, NBMEs, and word from people who just got out of the exam will not stick as well.

Also, a note on pathoma is that while Dr. Sattar is awesome and may have helped me learn the stuff on the first or second pass, a lot of his explanations are not actually real and oftentimes this was the stuff I memorized from his lectures instead of what was important. When you use his stuff, focus on the objective stuff he says (ex. Definition of CIN as opposed to his version of the pathogenesis which I feel is kinda simplified).

Finally once dedicated periods hits...tada!!! Your new coursepack is First Aid because now you understand all of it between classes and UWorld. Your new tests on NBMEs. Your final exam is Step1.

One final note is that while doing UWorld sit on your hands if you have to. Annotate as little as possible. That doesn't mean you don't read and learn from the explanations...it just happens that you oftentimes get too caught up in the routine of annotating or making notes which makes UWorld blocks take 2-4x longer than they should. Don't worry, you'll remember it all so long as you keep doing UWorld. I made this mistake and had thousands of UWorld notes. But guess what, I never went back and read them...

Tl;dr First priority is your course notes and then make sure you get through on pass of UWorld. Pathoma is good so maybe stream it once before lectures but don't obsess over it after that. Once dedicated period comes, memorize FA like your coursepack. Simple as that.



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OP
.hematoma.

.hematoma.

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Don't subscribe to the UFAP-focus camp. I think it's the wrong way to go for a lot of reasons.

For one, just from unofficial observance I've seen that the ones who tend to do better at my school are the ones who use their schools stuff while using pathoma and FA later. Now this could be a bias with intelligence and processing speed being the confounders (more efficient studies have time for both) so there are other good reasons.

The best one is that when you take step 1, you realize after the fact that it's not how well you've memorized the UFAP. It's more to do with how well of a basic medical and more recently clinical intuition you have. The only two ways to develop this in my opinion are active learning and this can only be thru lectures/lab/exam formats the school offers or UWorld.

On the actual exam, there's a huge chunk of info you won't see in any of UFAP. Everyone has their own estimate but for me this was about 25-30-% of the exam. You'll answer these questions based on not only the extra details you've learnt in classes but also your intuition. The way your school puts this in is by repeating themes across units which you'll then be able to recognize are being assessed on he exam.

For example, to be as vague as possible there was a question on my exam that asked about how to do a detail about a surgery I guarantee wasn't anywhere in UFAP. However, I remember the structure being talked about in anatomy and then eliminated another two choices because we learnt the indications for the other choices in multiple pathophysiology units second year. Finally, of the final two choices I realized one of the areas was completely avascular and an ideal place to cut so I picked that (believe me, the rest of step didn't go as well as this). I wouldn't have been able to do that if I had just focused on reviewing pathoma and FA.

So for now focus on getting a grasp of the big picture which is school lectures as well as UWorld (the one thing you should do because it is such a good resource that will help with understanding and spatial repetition). Wait a minute, why are my school lectures riddled with minutiae an exercise for understanding the big picture? Because when you try to stuff all that info jammed into the course notes, your mind wont be able to memorize all of it so it will encode this information in the most efficient manner possible which will make you understand concepts and what is important. Voila! Active learning! On the other hand, reading FA which is basically just the high yield points of UWorld, NBMEs, and word from people who just got out of the exam will not stick as well.

Also, a note on pathoma is that while Dr. Sattar is awesome and may have helped me learn the stuff on the first or second pass, a lot of his explanations are not actually real and oftentimes this was the stuff I memorized from his lectures instead of what was important. When you use his stuff, focus on the objective stuff he says (ex. Definition of CIN as opposed to his version of the pathogenesis which I feel is kinda simplified).

Finally once dedicated periods hits...tada!!! Your new coursepack is First Aid because now you understand all of it between classes and UWorld. Your new tests on NBMEs. Your final exam is Step1.

One final note is that while doing UWorld sit on your hands if you have to. Annotate as little as possible. That doesn't mean you don't read and learn from the explanations...it just happens that you oftentimes get too caught up in the routine of annotating or making notes which makes UWorld blocks take 2-4x longer than they should. Don't worry, you'll remember it all so long as you keep doing UWorld. I made this mistake and had thousands of UWorld notes. But guess what, I never went back and read them...

Tl;dr First priority is your course notes and then make sure you get through on pass of UWorld. Pathoma is good so maybe stream it once before lectures but don't obsess over it after that. Once dedicated period comes, memorize FA like your coursepack. Simple as that.



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Thank you everyone for your responses! @Backtothebasics8, I have not yet purchased UWorld but have been lightly using USMLERx alongside my classes. My goal is to start hitting the Rx hard over the next 4 months, and then purchase and start UWORLD in December, with one pass complete by mid-March (that's when my dedicated period hits). What do you think about this?

I definitely believe that FA is not enough to understand the concepts; for instance, as I am almost done with immunology I am only NOW starting to look through FA in detail, because when I tried to look at it while learning about, say, B cells, I didn't understand the bullets in FA since they were straight facts.
 

Syncrohnize

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Thank you everyone for your responses! @Backtothebasics8, I have not yet purchased UWorld but have been lightly using USMLERx alongside my classes. My goal is to start hitting the Rx hard over the next 4 months, and then purchase and start UWORLD in December, with one pass complete by mid-March (that's when my dedicated period hits). What do you think about this?

I definitely believe that FA is not enough to understand the concepts; for instance, as I am almost done with immunology I am only NOW starting to look through FA in detail, because when I tried to look at it while learning about, say, B cells, I didn't understand the bullets in FA since they were straight facts.
Sounds ok. No need to hit Rx that hard. It isn't a great Qbank tbh compared to UWorld. Get Pathoma and stream alongside with classes and start UWorld by December then. Do it by adding a units concurrently as they're introduced while at the same time continue to to cycle old units to keep the spatial repetition game strong. Good luck! It's always exciting to add new sources but try not to.


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Don't subscribe to the UFAP-focus camp. I think it's the wrong way to go for a lot of reasons.

For one, just from unofficial observance I've seen that the ones who tend to do better at my school are the ones who use their schools stuff while using pathoma and FA later. Now this could be a bias with intelligence and processing speed being the confounders (more efficient studies have time for both) so there are other good reasons.

The best one is that when you take step 1, you realize after the fact that it's not how well you've memorized the UFAP. It's more to do with how well of a basic medical and more recently clinical intuition you have. The only two ways to develop this in my opinion are active learning and this can only be thru lectures/lab/exam formats the school offers or UWorld.

On the actual exam, there's a huge chunk of info you won't see in any of UFAP. Everyone has their own estimate but for me this was about 25-30-% of the exam. You'll answer these questions based on not only the extra details you've learnt in classes but also your intuition. The way your school puts this in is by repeating themes across units which you'll then be able to recognize are being assessed on he exam.

For example, to be as vague as possible there was a question on my exam that asked about how to do a detail about a surgery I guarantee wasn't anywhere in UFAP. However, I remember the structure being talked about in anatomy and then eliminated another two choices because we learnt the indications for the other choices in multiple pathophysiology units second year. Finally, of the final two choices I realized one of the areas was completely avascular and an ideal place to cut so I picked that (believe me, the rest of step didn't go as well as this). I wouldn't have been able to do that if I had just focused on reviewing pathoma and FA.

So for now focus on getting a grasp of the big picture which is school lectures as well as UWorld (the one thing you should do because it is such a good resource that will help with understanding and spatial repetition). Wait a minute, why are my school lectures riddled with minutiae an exercise for understanding the big picture? Because when you try to stuff all that info jammed into the course notes, your mind wont be able to memorize all of it so it will encode this information in the most efficient manner possible which will make you understand concepts and what is important. Voila! Active learning! On the other hand, reading FA which is basically just the high yield points of UWorld, NBMEs, and word from people who just got out of the exam will not stick as well.

Also, a note on pathoma is that while Dr. Sattar is awesome and may have helped me learn the stuff on the first or second pass, a lot of his explanations are not actually real and oftentimes this was the stuff I memorized from his lectures instead of what was important. When you use his stuff, focus on the objective stuff he says (ex. Definition of CIN as opposed to his version of the pathogenesis which I feel is kinda simplified).

Finally once dedicated periods hits...tada!!! Your new coursepack is First Aid because now you understand all of it between classes and UWorld. Your new tests on NBMEs. Your final exam is Step1.

One final note is that while doing UWorld sit on your hands if you have to. Annotate as little as possible. That doesn't mean you don't read and learn from the explanations...it just happens that you oftentimes get too caught up in the routine of annotating or making notes which makes UWorld blocks take 2-4x longer than they should. Don't worry, you'll remember it all so long as you keep doing UWorld. I made this mistake and had thousands of UWorld notes. But guess what, I never went back and read them...

Tl;dr First priority is your course notes and then make sure you get through on pass of UWorld. Pathoma is good so maybe stream it once before lectures but don't obsess over it after that. Once dedicated period comes, memorize FA like your coursepack. Simple as that.



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Yup I always say that classwork is number 1. No one seems to believe me, they think that studying for boards a year early is high yield or something. What do I know, it's not like I'm the one who took the exam though
 
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Everybody has their own way to approach second year. I know students who did very well studying for school first and using the review material later in the year. I was not one of those people. I spent second year highly prioritizing board prep material and did very well (step 1 >250 comlex 1 >700). You have to figure out what works for you.
 
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Yup I always say that classwork is number 1. No one seems to believe me, they think that studying for boards a year early is high yield or something. What do I know, it's not like I'm the one who took the exam though
Everyone always ask me how I did well on Step 1 and I say its primarily because I worked really hard on class material for 2 years straight. This makes the review resources make so much more sense and your foundation is so much stronger. You know the hows and whys of the bullet points in Pathoma and FA and can reason your way through any questions you get.

Ive stopped trying to tell people because they never listen.
 

Syncrohnize

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Everyone always ask me how I did well on Step 1 and I say its primarily because I worked really hard on class material for 2 years straight. This makes the review resources make so much more sense and your foundation is so much stronger. You know the hows and whys of the bullet points in Pathoma and FA and can reason your way through any questions you get.

Ive stopped trying to tell people because they never listen.
Sadly I was one of those people. I think the root cause of "study-for-Step-only" mentality was anxiety. I got so caught up with the gravity of the test that I went thru second year in a sustained panic mode. The only things that would relieve the anxiety would be buying a new source/unnecessarily highlighting/annotating FA+pathoma excessively, etc. None of that was helpful. I did read all my course notes (fortunately I had a mentor who impressed the importance of classnotes on me) but I wish I would have just focused on them more and spent less time with review resources. There was PLENTY of time to focus on FA during dedicated...First Aid gives you the easy points with very little work... UWorld and classes give you the meat. All my friends who did well on Step went thru hell during classes by spending 12 hours a day on lecture and the rest on Uworld and then sleep...By the start of dedicated, they already had Uworld completed and 240+ diags and just sat back and read FA. Doesn't that sound like a good time OP? By the start of dedicated I had 1900 or so Uworld Q's left. I would have finished Uworld by my exam time but I just felt so lacking in basic understanding that I decided to delay and try to build a semi-decent workable foundation for myself. It was tough and is not something you can really do in a month or so even when 100% of your time is free time...which is why I think so many people emphasize focusing on your classes because it is your one chance to learn the fundamentals and have time stick. A reason I tended to flock away from them in retrospect was besides one golden exam, I never honored anything which made me try to hide away in easier things to preserve my ego.
 
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