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Reading "First Aid" the summer BEFORE medical school...

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Doctor Strange

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If the majority of medical students are telling you that it's pretty low-yield to be pre-studying, especially with FA, then it's probably sound advice. Enough with this "I feel like I'm wasting time doing nothing blah blah blah wahhhhhhh." I freaking wish I had that kind of time on my hands right now. Med school is great and all, but knowing what I know now, I would have gone all out on anything but academics the summer before.
 
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Dr.TonySoprano

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Give me one good reason why I shouldn't make my first pass through First Aid 2016 before I matriculate this August.

Yes, I literally have nothing better to do.
dude we're both going to Dartmouth. I won't be reading it though.
 

Jumb0

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dude we're both going to Dartmouth. I won't be reading it though.

Nice! I also decided that I won't be reading FA. I might try to brush up on some anatomy though.
 
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Stagg737

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I recommend the following as better things to do:
- Volunteer (non-medical is fine)
- Find a physical project, like building something or painting your house or fences
- Travel
- Get a job
- Take up cycling

Lots of good things to do!

You forgot "eat all the delicious things".


No, you're right. I was just joking, brah. I couldn't help myself. In fact, part of me was playing devil's advocate all along.
In all seriousness, thanks for all the advice, everyone. I concede now that FA is not optimal pre-study material.
I would still like to do some sort of preparation though because it just simply bothers me to sit on my butt doing absolutely nothing when I could be bolstering my foundations in some way. So I'll do as some of you have suggested and just read through some actual textbooks, probably anatomy.

If you're dead-set on studying something, here's my recommendation. Look at your first year schedule or call your school if you don't have one and find out what your first 2 classes are (if you're on a systems curriculum). Find some solid review or textbooks and try and hammer out a decent foundation for the material for your first couple weeks. You probably won't learn or retain nearly the amount that med school requires, but it may make that section a little easier and help ease the transition into med school study levels and lifestyle.

Imo, the hardest part about med school was the first 4-6 weeks and getting used to the amount of studying and organization it required. Once you've got your methods down, it's completely manageable for most people, but easing the transition until you're at that point is probably the best reason behind pre-studying (which I don't actually recommend) that I could think of.
 
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Slack3r

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No, you're right. I was just joking, brah. I couldn't help myself. In fact, part of me was playing devil's advocate all along.
In all seriousness, thanks for all the advice, everyone. I concede now that FA is not optimal pre-study material.
I would still like to do some sort of preparation though because it just simply bothers me to sit on my butt doing absolutely nothing when I could be bolstering my foundations in some way. So I'll do as some of you have suggested and just read through some actual textbooks, probably anatomy.

What you really should do if you can't enjoy your free time is take a basic biostats course and learn how to use a stats program like SPSS. That will make you way more useful than pre studying anatomy.
 
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Merely

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No offense, but OP seems like a tool.
 
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doczebra

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You'll likely not listen and go ahead anyways. So I'll recommend Constanzo Physiology, and Junqiera Basic Histology.

You'll have to learn these books cover-to-cover first semester of med school and atleast these books are so well written that you'll actually learn.

Reading first aid will be memorizing little factoids without learning the system, and you'll forget the factoids so quick, you'll be surprised.
 
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Crayola227

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this advice depends on the school, at mine, it only required one take 1 quarter of biochem... not the whole year
many places the whole first term is like, "DNA is made of nucleotides!" and the hard stuff like all the steps of the Krebs cycle aren't covered until the last quarter

then, basically what was otherwise an entire year of undergrad biochem was covered in 12 weeks but with the same exquisite detail.... the result for people who had not had an entire year was... disastrous. in fact, so many people failed they had to excuse the fails adjust the exams and redo
I had the whole year undergrad so it was review.... but I really pitied ppl who hadn't. it was academic rape for those poor guys.

if you can't help yourself and don't have a good biochem foundation, Lange's book is good
also Netter's or Grey's whichever your institution will teach out of you could start looking at
those ignorant of biochem or not the best at memorizing looking at anatomy are the only two instances I could in good conscience "recommend" anything and I still say don't

if the above doesn't apply to you and you are still dying to do something academic, learn Spanish

one issue with FA is that it is updated, so the one you memorize this summer will not be the optimal version to know before you sit down for step 1

this might dissuade gunners...
not only if your peers found out you read FA before med school would they think you were a douche tool, but as a resident I can tell you I would too unfortunately develop the same bias, and all the ways you annoy me as a med student would be forever viewed in "read FA the summer before med school what a douche" -tinted glasses, even knowing that was unfair and immature of me, I wouldn't be able to do much about it
 

Shams al Deen

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Like others have said, First Aid won't make any sense to a premed. However, if you have to study, I'd say learn anatomy. At least the super hi yield stuff in anatomy--it'll make memorizing all the minute anatomy details easier in M1.

The only review book that a premed might be able to learn from would be Pathoma. And not the book--the videos. You could probably go thru a few Pathoma chapters. You'd need to google a lot still, but it'd be way more doable than FA.

But I'd recommend you relax this summer. There is no need to study. That's all the next 24 months will be.

That said, I don't agree with people that argue "you'll forget it all". Re-learning is 10x easier than seeing stuff for the first time. Even if you do "forget" it's not wasted time because it'll come back faster and stronger the second time.
 
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Shjanzey

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You would be better off reading through Big Robbins than First Aid. At least the information will be interesting before you forget it. What the hell, you may as well read through Harrison's.

Dude I read through Big Robbins....wow do I regret that. I can't remember most of it :(
 

njtrimed

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I love threads like this. I'm starting med school this year too. If I wasn't working to support a toddler while finishing up grad school, I could think of a million things I'd be doing before picking up a book that is going to consume me for the next 2+ years. Practically speaking, top of the list would be becoming fluent in Spanish, ideally while traveling and soaking up some sun and adventure. OP, learn to enjoy downtime. If you feel compelled to be productive, you're probably better off learning how to better connect with people than you are trying to teach yourself what you're paying a fortune for much more qualified people to teach you properly!
 

Rarygen

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Thanks to this thread, it makes me happy I chose to not do anything before I start MS1. I work at a research lab (I'm a non-trad) and an undergrad who was accepted into the same school I was, has been carrying FA in his backpack all semester. He even asked me if I was going to pre study this semester. I looked at him like he was crazy (well, he is crazy and it's not only for the fact that he has been looking over FA even before being accepted). Hell no! I will be working up until classes begin, because me being an adult, I don't have parents who pay for my stuff before the loan arrives. With my free time I plan on watching Netflix, go on a short vacation and fix things up around the house because I know my life is about to change big time. Might as well enjoy the freedom while I still have it.
 

kabdollakyzy

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Nice! I also decided that I won't be reading FA. I might try to brush up on some anatomy though.
or go to the gym and WORK OUTTTTT get in hella good shape!
 
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Anti-PD1

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I have a remedy, I think, for this.

All med students will tell you no. First Aid gets updated every year, and it's a list of mindless facts that serves as a good reference for test prep AFTER your MD, DO, PhD professors have taught you the material from the ground up.

What you really need is a way to allay your fears of starting off weak in medical school. This fear typically stems from a bruising but fruitful application cycle, or a natural fear that has always driven you to excel.

I will say this, the fact that you are on SDN is already a boost. Most, like >99% of premeds didn't know what The Berkeley Review was. I did, because of SDN. So, my advice is to continue browsing these threads every so often. Learn the material well from your professors. If you ever get annoyed that your professor is teaching stuff that's not on the boards, stop it. What they're teaching you is important, and might actually help you on exam day, and as importantly on the wards. Of course the PhD that rambles on about proline kinks in collagen needs a vacay, but you get my point.

So, relax, enjoy non-medical school life, work out, throw a freakin ball, kayak, eat, sleep.

If there was one book I wish I had from Day 1, it would be Crush Step 1, by O'Connell. Having FA or this book on Day 1 will make you look like a dork or a gunner (a misused term), so keep it at home. It's basically an explanation of everything in FA. It serves as a good quality control to make sure you are learning what you need to be learning, and to review it in a concise, but not bulleted, fashion.
 

icd22

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If you must read something, I would read "pleasure" medical books like "When breath becomes air," anything by Atul Gwande, etc. If you really, really want to do actual studying, I guess brush on your anatomy.
 

Manual Disimpaction

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wow what a great idea ! I wonder if any other premeds have ever thought gee I'll read this review book and be the smartest med student that ever lived!!! Probably not though you'd have to be extra smart and extra special to have thoughts like that. I'm sure its going to help buddy!
 

dadaddadaBATMAN

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wow what a great idea ! I wonder if any other premeds have ever thought gee I'll read this review book and be the smartest med student that ever lived!!! Probably not though you'd have to be extra smart and extra special to have thoughts like that. I'm sure its going to help buddy!

While I get the sentiment, I don't think that's the only reason people do this.

It's a misplaced but perfectly normal desire to gain control over the unknown. Everybody is afraid they're going to fail, especially during the first block. It's the equivalent of snarling at the wolf in the dark, and really about as useful.

If the wolf is there, you're screwed anyway. If it's not, there was no point in wasting energy.
 
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