SFO-IST

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Hello,

I was recently accepted to med school and I'll be starting this summer. I was wondering what you'd recommend for reading/studying material before class starts. I know we should worry about living life before we start but I've already traveled around the world twice, and I'm currently living abroad in Istanbul - a very stimulating city with TONS to do.

My problem is that I don't want to get too far away from studying before school starts. So for a few days a week, I want to study. A couple of further details, I've already studied and taught anatomy as a TA, so I won't need to study that. I was leaning towards Biochem or Physiology, but any advice and specifically book names you all could give would be extremely helpful. Thanks!
 

Rollo

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I know this isn't the answer you're looking for but....

Study No Medicine!

Trust me and other med students who will say this in the future to you: you will have PLENTY to study once school starts.

Go do all of the things there are to do in Istanbul and stop worrying about medical school.
 
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SFO-IST

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I know this isn't the answer you're looking for but....

Study No Medicine!

Trust me and other med students who will say this in the future to you: you will have PLENTY to study once school starts.

Go do all of the things there are to do in Istanbul and stop worrying about medical school.
No damn it!!! I'm going to studyyyy!!!!!! :laugh::laugh::laugh: Thanks for your advice. I'll be sure to limit my hours... But can anyone steer me towards some books if I HAD to study?
 

bigyihoroi

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Hello,

I was recently accepted to med school and I'll be starting this summer. I was wondering what you'd recommend for reading/studying material before class starts. I know we should worry about living life before we start but I've already traveled around the world twice, and I'm currently living abroad in Istanbul - a very stimulating city with TONS to do.

My problem is that I don't want to get too far away from studying before school starts. So for a few days a week, I want to study. A couple of further details, I've already studied and taught anatomy as a TA, so I won't need to study that. I was leaning towards Biochem or Physiology, but any advice and specifically book names you all could give would be extremely helpful. Thanks!
Don't worry about studying medicine now. The amount that you cover on your own before school starts probably comprise of less than 1 week of material in class. If you really want to do some reading, I highly recommend Iserson's Getting into a Residency: A Guide for Medical Students. I find it very helpful.
 

MSUSpartan642

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No damn it!!! I'm going to studyyyy!!!!!! :laugh::laugh::laugh: Thanks for your advice. I'll be sure to limit my hours... But can anyone steer me towards some books if I HAD to study?
You don't have to study though. It won't be effective, enjoy your time. Seriously everyone told me to do it, and you know what I listened and I have zero regrets. I'm not struggling to do well either. Now go out and enjoy life outside of medicine and academics.
 

DrMom

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Any stuyding you try to do will be a waste of your time. It will not help you once you start so seriously spend your time doing other things you enjoy.
 
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Of course...I recommend studying how to make moonshine, quality hookah lounges, and waking up at 2 in the afternoon with nutt'in to do.

Good god...outside of summer break after 1st year and 4th year cupcake rotations take full advantage of your free time.

You'll end up wasting your time reading things that may or may not be part of your school's curriculum.
 

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No damn it!!! I'm going to studyyyy!!!!!! :laugh::laugh::laugh: Thanks for your advice. I'll be sure to limit my hours... But can anyone steer me towards some books if I HAD to study?
No, and here's why: any studying you do on your own time between now and next fall will fill MAYBE one hour of lecture time on the first day of school. We could tell you to get a Biochem book and read it cover to cover and be sure you understand everything, but so what? Nothing in med school is hard to understand. What takes time is the memorization and there's nothing you can do about that until you get there because we have no idea what you'll be responsible for.

At my school, no one uses textbooks unless they need to as a reference, but all test questions come from powerpoint slides and when I say powerpoint slides, I'm talking about roughly 500-700 slides per week. Any reading I would have done prior to getting here would have been the biggest waste of time imaginable.
 

lftbndlbrnchblk

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I guess a lot of us who haven't started medical school yet can't envision a lot of hand-holding being done at the medical school level. It's something we came to expect in undergrad at the beginning of semesters, but to expect that kind of thing in med school at any point in time? I think our hopes would go unanswered. However, let's suppose they do build students from the ground up, it's still nerve-wracking for someone like me, who hasn't taken A&P ever. Not in high school, not in undergrad, not over the summer - nowhere. I and others like myself have never had to devise ways to study for something such as that. I start medical school next Fall, would it not be beneficial to at least get some idea as to what lies ahead? Or is it still a waste of time? Honestly, I'd like to know from you guys. I guess we all would just like to do well in the end.
 

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I guess a lot of us who haven't started medical school yet can't envision a lot of hand-holding being done at the medical school level. It's something we came to expect in undergrad at the beginning of semesters, but to expect that kind of thing in med school at any point in time? I think our hopes would go unanswered. However, let's suppose they do build students from the ground up, it's still nerve-wracking for someone like me, who hasn't taken A&P ever. Not in high school, not in undergrad, not over the summer - nowhere. I and others like myself have never had to devise ways to study for something such as that. I start medical school next Fall, would it not be beneficial to at least get some idea as to what lies ahead? Or is it still a waste of time? Honestly, I'd like to know from you guys. I guess we all would just like to do well in the end.
Waste of time. Again, none of us know what your curriculum entails. If you're in a PBL program where you're tested straight out of the book, go ahead and get the book and knock yourself out (though I would personally enjoy my last several months of freedom), but if you're going to a school, like mine, where tests come straight out of the powerpoints and the explanations are all there, then reading a dense science textbook would be a huge waste of time.
 

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There is no way you can possibly learn much of medical value before med school. And once in med school your time to do things you enjoy will be severely limited.

If you wish to learn something of value before med school take a cooking class, a spanish class, investment course, auto mechanics, home repair, etc. The daily ins and outs of life that you will have little time or money for. If you can learn to handle these things yourself now you'll be better off later. (Remembering my classmates, I would highly recommend auto mechanics and cooking. More than once I had to give advice for both.)

Don't worry so much. Plenty of folks have never taken an anatomy course prior to med school and did fine.
 

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Read something non-medical. You will be reading medical textbooks and review books ALL through medical school AND RESIDENCY (and perhaps fellowship).

If you want to read something medical and meaningful

Read an intro to medical economics (or healthcare economics)

read books (or textbooks) about society and healthcare

read about the impact of cultures and beliefs on health and healthcare

Or read some medical nonfictions from your local bookstores - varying topics from surviving medical school, to surviving intern year, to saving babies by being a brillant pediatric neurosurgeons, what happens to corpses, etc.

DO NOT study anatomy, physiology, immunology, biochemistry, histology, pharmocology, microbiology, etc. You can spend weeks "studying" and realize that in med school, what you have spent weeks preparing for will be covered in half-an-hour of lecture (and you have 30-50 hrs of lecture materials to study for the next exam).
 

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Lol, okay, I hear you. The thing is I have a freakin' year to do absolutely nothing. There's either a fun road trip or trip to South America my buddies and I are planning but even those are only for a couple of weeks. I figured it'd be best to do something worthwhile but I suppose you're right about all the other cool things I can do. Never occurred to me to learn another language, although I can already speak English and Spanish fluently. Learning to cook would actually be something very helpful as I'm very sick of eating Ramen noodles every day. And I haven't looked into those books you mentioned yet but I think I will. I have a few medical memoirs that were given to me as gifts, maybe I'll dust those off. Okay thanks Gabby and ShyRem and group_theory!
 

Hextra

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Lol, okay, I hear you. The thing is I have a freakin' year to do absolutely nothing. There's either a fun road trip or trip to South America my buddies and I are planning but even those are only for a couple of weeks. I figured it'd be best to do something worthwhile but I suppose you're right about all the other cool things I can do. Never occurred to me to learn another language, although I can already speak English and Spanish fluently. Learning to cook would actually be something very helpful as I'm very sick of eating Ramen noodles every day. And I haven't looked into those books you mentioned yet but I think I will. I have a few medical memoirs that were given to me as gifts, maybe I'll dust those off. Okay thanks Gabby and ShyRem and group_theory!
What a terrible problem to have!

If I had had a year to spend before getting to med school, learning to cook would easily have been #1 on the list. I'm sure you can imagine it, but the amount of junk food consumed by people who do nothing but study all day is astounding.
 

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You can spend weeks "studying" and realize that in med school, what you have spent weeks preparing for will be covered in half-an-hour of lecture (and you have 30-50 hrs of lecture materials to study for the next exam).
30-50 hours per exam? I wish! At my school, we have 20 hours of lecture a day and we have exam week coming up covering five weeks of material. That's 100 hours of lecture to be tested.

OP, don't stress now. This is your last chance to travel, spend time with people you love, just hang out. The last thing you want to do is study now and then realize you gave up your last months of freedom just so you can be one lecture ahead (and that's all you'll get out of it) of the rest of your class on only the first day.
 

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30-50 hours per exam? I wish! At my school, we have 20 hours of lecture a day and we have exam week coming up covering five weeks of material. That's 100 hours of lecture to be tested.
I hope I misunderstood what you are trying to say - because it seems pretty unlikely that your school lectures for 20 of the 24 hours that are in a day. :)
 

ShyRem

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You will learn to review 100 hours of lecture in about 30 by listening to the lectures in triple time. Sounds like Alvin and the Chipmunks but it's effective if you're an auditory learner. And time-saving.
 

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My advice would be to get "The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Medical Specialty" by Brian Freeman. It gives decent insight into every area of medicine and surgery with fairly broad strokes. I don't think it's ever too early to start getting an idea of what you want to eventually do. Some specialties have many more hoops and pressures that can be adjusted for if you do proper planning the day you enter school or even before. Granted your mind will change a lot as you do your rotations due to becoming more familiar and comfortable with the attendings, residents, and material, but people either usually end up coming back to what they had originally intended, at least so in my case, or they pick a field due to not well thought out reasons and end up regretting their choice down the road. However, if you have a good game plan and tunnel vision from the start, there is no reason you should not be able to eventually match in the area you want, which is the entire point of med school...residency, imo. I also agree with everyone else that stay away from the academics because, though tempting to want to learn, you will only nick the surface of what you're up against. Heck, even after learning the material in school, I have to constantly go back and review it because the material atrophys so fast without application. Good luck.
 

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30-50 hours per exam? I wish! At my school, we have 20 hours of lecture a day and we have exam week coming up covering five weeks of material. That's 100 hours of lecture to be tested.

OP, don't stress now. This is your last chance to travel, spend time with people you love, just hang out. The last thing you want to do is study now and then realize you gave up your last months of freedom just so you can be one lecture ahead (and that's all you'll get out of it) of the rest of your class on only the first day.
:oops:

hehe - well, it's been more than 6 years since I was a pre-clinical medical student, so my memory of how demanding lectures and exams were may have been mellowed by time (or constant sleep deprivation :p)

20 hrs/week seems about right (around 4 hrs of lectures a day for 5 days) - some days we had 6-8 hrs of lectures, other days we had 3-4. Of course how frequent the exams were will depend on the course (and certainly will vary by school). Can't remember going 5 weeks before having an exam.
 

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I am with everyone else in saying don't even bother studying- for the most part :) The ONE thing and the ONLY thing I think would have been super helpful to a lot of my classmates was medical terminology. I was lucky enough to have had it in high school and college and it makes a tremendous difference in my opinion because you don't have to struggle quite as much to understand what's being said. That's just my 2 cents though. Enjoy your free time though!!
 

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I am with everyone else in saying don't even bother studying- for the most part :) The ONE thing and the ONLY thing I think would have been super helpful to a lot of my classmates was medical terminology. I was lucky enough to have had it in high school and college and it makes a tremendous difference in my opinion because you don't have to struggle quite as much to understand what's being said. That's just my 2 cents though. Enjoy your free time though!!
Great point.

Getting familiar with medical terminology and learning its latin roots is VERY helpful.
 
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If I were to study before I started medical school I would probably get started on the First Aid USMLE book, its really the only sure bet of stuff you will need to know. But you really should just relax and enjoy your time. heres some books that you should read (medically oriented)

Complications
House of God
WHen the Air Hits Your Brain
Hot Lights, Cold Steel

These have some good insight into the life of doctors, and what you may expect during rotations, residency, and after. They also helped me get pumped:smuggrin: for med school
 

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I would say maybe talk to some current students to see if there any departments that are particularly weak. then maybe buy the BRS book for that subject. i was a few years out from undergrad when i started school. i know everybody says to not study, but it would have been nice to get my brain used to absorbing science vocab and concepts again before school started.
 

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If I were to study before I started medical school I would probably get started on the First Aid USMLE book, its really the only sure bet of stuff you will need to know. But you really should just relax and enjoy your time. heres some books that you should read (medically oriented)

Complications
House of God
WHen the Air Hits Your Brain
Hot Lights, Cold Steel

These have some good insight into the life of doctors, and what you may expect during rotations, residency, and after. They also helped me get pumped:smuggrin: for med school
I'm in the same boat as you and this is what I've been doing. Just go to Barnes and Noble and look at their Medicine section. They have tons of Biography/Lifestyle books that will get you psyched and you'll build a bit of a foundation.

:thumbup:Hot Lights, Cold Steel
 

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If I were to study before I started medical school I would probably get started on the First Aid USMLE book,
You've gotta be kidding me. Someone who hasn't even started first year reading First Aid? That's like getting the MCAT books as a senior in high school.
 
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You've gotta be kidding me. Someone who hasn't even started first year reading First Aid? That's like getting the MCAT books as a senior in high school.

Oh my bad I forgot that First Aid doesn't explain any of the content- its just a list of terms that students are required to know for boards- silly me

not sure what your major was in college but most pre-meds have some background in several of the basics (anatomy, biochem, micro, immuno, etc)
My first month of medical school was essentially review.
 

WhitJord85

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I'm in the same boat as you and this is what I've been doing. Just go to Barnes and Noble and look at their Medicine section. They have tons of Biography/Lifestyle books that will get you psyched and you'll build a bit of a foundation.

:thumbup:Hot Lights, Cold Steel
For LECOM-SH, have fun in the summer! If they do it the same as this year, you will have no time to waste once you get here... You don't really have a chance to breathe until after Anatomy is over, and then it's time for mini-courses and hard core PBL. The only thing I can tell you is that we started with Histo and Embryo, and had the final exams for both these classes the third week of school!
 

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I recommend instead of studying medicine or something related, you start becoming a beer aficionado. Its so nice to get past the water America brews mass-commercially.
 

Tekar

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Hello,

I was recently accepted to med school and I'll be starting this summer. I was wondering what you'd recommend for reading/studying material before class starts. I know we should worry about living life before we start but I've already traveled around the world twice, and I'm currently living abroad in Istanbul - a very stimulating city with TONS to do.

My problem is that I don't want to get too far away from studying before school starts. So for a few days a week, I want to study. A couple of further details, I've already studied and taught anatomy as a TA, so I won't need to study that. I was leaning towards Biochem or Physiology, but any advice and specifically book names you all could give would be extremely helpful. Thanks!
I'm going to disagree with many of those here who think you should just not do anything medical. Yes, there are arguments and I have heard them, and I listened to them. I wish people had actually provided me the information I requested, so I will do that for you and get flamed when it's over.

Your Anatomy TA experience will pay dividends. Our only perfect scorer in the practical to this point did the same thing. My advice would be to take what you already know and learn more of it in more detail. If you can do the Brachial Plexus in your sleep and know what branches innervate which muscles, you'll be a whole lot more at peace than the rest of your class. The more anatomy knowledge you can get into your brain (conceptually) the more likely you could be to grab a perfect score, or at least pad the crap out of your grade when you get to the allegedly dreadful neuro/neck.

Stay away from physiology...period. Explore biochemistry pathways for conceptual knowledge. I think it'd be helpful to become aware of the various enzymatic abnormalities and clincial correlations for anatomy and biochem only as a means of awareness. Don't bother to try and learn the details, you're going for the "I've heard of that before" moments during lecture.

I was a non-bio non-trad so my knowledge base was lacking compared to my peers. Those with the various science degrees have been very fortunate to be tested on concepts they were already very familiar with.

All of my advice said, don't think you're going to be prepared, no matter how much you study. You won't be able to grasp what it is like until you are actually neck deep in it. So with that, don't bother setting up some silly study schedule or regimented routine, you'll be burned out before you get there. But if you're sitting on the couch watching whatever show you watch, reading material isn't bad.

I think more importantly though, spend a bit of time exploring your brain. Knowing how you learn, models of material presentation and what works for you will be so much more valuable than any preparation you can do. Learn how you learn.

So there is my advice, fished from the trash and recycled for more than what it is probably worth.

And to all those out there who will quote and flame my post, don't bother, I know what he's asking for because i asked the same question and took bad advice. Just ignore my post if you disagree.
 

Tekar

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For LECOM-SH, have fun in the summer! If they do it the same as this year, you will have no time to waste once you get here... You don't really have a chance to breathe until after Anatomy is over, and then it's time for mini-courses and hard core PBL. The only thing I can tell you is that we started with Histo and Embryo, and had the final exams for both these classes the third week of school!
For awareness of the variability amongst the schools...We have had histo intermingled with BSF all semester long and take the final on the last day of class before the holidays. We have embryo intermixed with our entire anatomy class.
 

Rollo

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I was a non-bio non-trad so my knowledge base was lacking compared to my peers. Those with the various science degrees have been very fortunate to be tested on concepts they were already very familiar with.
Ok see, you were a non-traditional non-science major. And you've convinced me before that non-trad non-science majors should probably study some medicine before medical school. And I agreed.

With OP's anatomy TA experience, I can safely assume that he was a science major.

So going by his experience, I don't think he needs to study. In your own words, he has a science degree and has been fortunate enough to get tested on some basic concepts. Therefore it doesn't make sense for your advice to work for him because he has a completely different background than you.
 

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Oh my bad I forgot that First Aid doesn't explain any of the content- its just a list of terms that students are required to know for boards- silly me

not sure what your major was in college but most pre-meds have some background in several of the basics (anatomy, biochem, micro, immuno, etc)
My first month of medical school was essentially review.
And did the first month of med school dominate the USMLE? Didn't think so.

Most science-oriented high school students also have a background in high school chemistry. Doesn't mean they need to pick up an MCAT book prior to starting college.
 

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Study something you won't have time to learn in med school. personal finance is probably a good idea considering how much debt you will be in and how to spend money responsibly in med school and in life will be greater than anything you learn in med school.
 

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Ok see, you were a non-traditional non-science major. And you've convinced me before that non-trad non-science majors should probably study some medicine before medical school. And I agreed.

With OP's anatomy TA experience, I can safely assume that he was a science major.

So going by his experience, I don't think he needs to study. In your own words, he has a science degree and has been fortunate enough to get tested on some basic concepts. Therefore it doesn't make sense for your advice to work for him because he has a completely different background than you.
Dude - you'll be fine.

My Biology major consisted of the SAME pre-med classes yours did. And some awesome plant and animal classification classes! Rockin how much that fern class helped me (although I know arborization on my OB test). Seriously, don't do anything. Sit down in front of a TV and let your mind melt.

If you must read something, I did read Atul Gawande - read Complications and Better. Easy read, no medicine. Relax by the pool. Do anything but read an EKG book or learn the Kreb's Cycle.