MrJosh9788

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How do medical students retain the information they learn after exams? It sounds to me like one basically crams for everything. Am I wrong?
 

Ashers

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How do medical students retain the information they learn after exams? It sounds to me like one basically crams for everything. Am I wrong?

Yes. Med school's not about cramming (except for touchy-feely exams). The people who learn stuff the best tend to study throughout the block/semester/year, treat school like a job, and not just cramming a day or two before an exam (like I did in college). I had to use a totally different study strategy.

Once you study it for classes M1 and M2 year, you restudy it for step 1. Then you study pertinent stuff for clerkships then step 2. It's a lot of repetition throughout the course of it.
 

pride4jc727

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Yea, I heard from one of my tour guides this analogy about the tremendous amounts of info in medical school compared to previous levels of eduction.

Think of the information flow like water:

High School: You're drinking out of a water fountain.
College: You're drinking out of a garden hose.
Medical School: You're drinking out of a fire hydrant...yikes!!!
 
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Yes. Med school's not about cramming (except for touchy-feely exams). The people who learn stuff the best tend to study throughout the block/semester/year, treat school like a job, and not just cramming a day or two before an exam (like I did in college). I had to use a totally different study strategy.

Once you study it for classes M1 and M2 year, you restudy it for step 1. Then you study pertinent stuff for clerkships then step 2. It's a lot of repetition throughout the course of it.

Agree. I learned to study in med school. Undergrad is cramming the night before. Now, its like cramming every single day.
 

Ella Shepherd

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Yes. Med school's not about cramming (except for touchy-feely exams). The people who learn stuff the best tend to study throughout the block/semester/year, treat school like a job, and not just cramming a day or two before an exam (like I did in college). I had to use a totally different study strategy.

Once you study it for classes M1 and M2 year, you restudy it for step 1. Then you study pertinent stuff for clerkships then step 2. It's a lot of repetition throughout the course of it.

Many med students say that. What exactly do you mean by using a totally different study strategy?

It feels good that I finally hear someone from med school saying that it isn't all about cramming. I hate cramming and only do so when I need to.
 

bodonid

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Many med students say that. What exactly do you mean by using a totally different study strategy?

It feels good that I finally hear someone from med school saying that it isn't all about cramming. I hate cramming and only do so when I need to.

When does first aid play a role? Should we use it in M1 at all?
 

ZagDoc

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A couple things I've noticed...

(1) Your memory retention escalates drastically in medical school. I think about it like muscle training. Greater demand = greater results. We're currently covering some subjects that overlap the stuff I studied back in december and I'm really surprised how much is still in there. And I'm just closing out first year. Most MSII/IIIs I've talked to say the trend continues. By the end of second year, you will cover as much material in one week and you did in three as a first year, and it won't seem nearly as exhausting.

(2) Repetition. You learn things in isolated little islands, but luckily for us, the body is not an island, and everything you learn eventually gets applied somewhere else. What you learn in biochem comes back in pharmacology. What you learn in histology comes back in path. What you learn in genetics comes back in epidemiology. And anatomy is pervasive throughout. I've noticed a couple things about my own memory this year. The first time I memorize something for a given class, it slips into this twilight zone in my long term memory where I can't pull it out on its own, but if I see it on paper, etc I recognize it and know what it means. Second time I learn it, its inevitably connected with some other concept, so whenever I think of that concept that particular nugget of info comes us. Eventually you learn everything well enough its in ready recall in your brain. But yeah, repetition.

(3) Patients. I learned about Hurler's Disease when we studied metabolism. I subsequently completely forgot about Hurler's Disease. I saw a 1 year old baby with Hurler's Disease in clinic. I will never forget Hurler's Disease. You'll never forget something as long as its connected with a patient. The faces, the personalities, the personal interactions, they burn information into your brain better then any reading/notecards/etc can ever do you for. And patients are great because they both remind you of the underlying etiology of a disease and also never let you forget the clinical manifestations of that disease.

There's a lot of debate about board studying, and I think a lot of it varies by school (whether they use shelf exams, etc). Personally, in first year, as I go along in any given block, I also peruse/annotate that given section of First Aid. It's not so much studying for the boards this year as preparing myself to study next year and giving myself a sense of what the USMLE questions will be like compared to the questions I see on my own exams. That being said, studying early seems to be anecdotal in its success stories. Most more wisened medical students I talk to (read: MIII/IVs) say that you don't need to really start putting the axe to the grindstone until about 5-6 months before the exam. Lot like the MCAT, anything you study earlier just kind of slips away with time. So January/February of 2nd year seems to be the earliest if you're especially ambitious. I've also talked to students who didn't do board prep until 6 weeks before, signed their life away for 6 weeks, and absolutely killed the boards. Like med school, different strokes for different folks.

As far as what med students mean by "totally different study strategies," it depends on the subject. Anatomy for me was all about drawing diagrams and looking as pictures, since its a very spatial visual subject. Biochem for me was all about rote memorization of minuscule facts about randomly named enzymes and organic molecules, so flash cards were awesome. Physiology is almost all conceptual, so for me it was about doing practice questions, drawing diagrams over and over, and making outlines. Pharmacology was rote memorization, another flashcard class. The material of each respective subject taxes you mentally in different ways, so you need to learn to adapt your study habits to best assimilate the material. That's what we mean by "totally different study strategies."
 

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I've forgotten the majority of what I've learned, but

-I know what I used to know
-I know where to look it up again
-I can relearn what took me a long time to learn in seconds to minutes.
 

Ashers

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Many med students say that. What exactly do you mean by using a totally different study strategy?

It feels good that I finally hear someone from med school saying that it isn't all about cramming. I hate cramming and only do so when I need to.

I'm so not putting my entire study method here (I've typed it up enough before in allo threads).

I've never heard med students say it's all about cramming... maybe I'm not on pre-allo to read the scuttlebutt hearsay enough.

Basically, I went from cramming to studying every day like I did in high school. I went back to my high school methods of recopying notes, reading, and studying them effectively. I tried 1 block of cramming, it didn't work too well for some exams and did for others. Wouldn't recommend it.
 

Ella Shepherd

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I'm so not putting my entire study method here (I've typed it up enough before in allo threads).

I've never heard med students say it's all about cramming... maybe I'm not on pre-allo to read the scuttlebutt hearsay enough.

Basically, I went from cramming to studying every day like I did in high school. I went back to my high school methods of recopying notes, reading, and studying them effectively. I tried 1 block of cramming, it didn't work too well for some exams and did for others. Wouldn't recommend it.

I see. Thanks. :)

lol We're opposites in that aspect. I was cramming in high school (and actually still got good grades). I'd wake up really early on the day of the exam and study then. Now that I'm in college, things are different. I study almost everyday (and get fair to good grades). Once my 2nd year starts I'll be studying everyday.

Thanks again!:D
 

Ashers

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I see. Thanks. :)

lol We're opposites in that aspect. I was cramming in high school (and actually still got good grades). I'd wake up really early on the day of the exam and study then. Now that I'm in college, things are different. I study almost everyday (and get fair to good grades). Once my 2nd year starts I'll be studying everyday.

Thanks again!:D

I went to a private school from 7th to 10th grade where I really learned how to study well. When I transferred to a public school, I could cram and still do really well. But at a private HS with hours of homework every night after sports and at least 17hrs of homework every weekend (+ sports events), I had to learn how to study and manage my time.
 

Ella Shepherd

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I went to a private school from 7th to 10th grade where I really learned how to study well. When I transferred to a public school, I could cram and still do really well. But at a private HS with hours of homework every night after sports and at least 17hrs of homework every weekend (+ sports events), I had to learn how to study and manage my time.

Woah! :eek:

I went to a school just like that when I was around 10 and younger. I got home-schooled at 11. I went to less super homework schools later. :) You must be used to studying so much now then. :D
 

Ella Shepherd

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A couple things I've noticed...

(1) Your memory retention escalates drastically in medical school. I think about it like muscle training. Greater demand = greater results. We're currently covering some subjects that overlap the stuff I studied back in december and I'm really surprised how much is still in there. And I'm just closing out first year. Most MSII/IIIs I've talked to say the trend continues. By the end of second year, you will cover as much material in one week and you did in three as a first year, and it won't seem nearly as exhausting.

(2) Repetition. You learn things in isolated little islands, but luckily for us, the body is not an island, and everything you learn eventually gets applied somewhere else. What you learn in biochem comes back in pharmacology. What you learn in histology comes back in path. What you learn in genetics comes back in epidemiology. And anatomy is pervasive throughout. I've noticed a couple things about my own memory this year. The first time I memorize something for a given class, it slips into this twilight zone in my long term memory where I can't pull it out on its own, but if I see it on paper, etc I recognize it and know what it means. Second time I learn it, its inevitably connected with some other concept, so whenever I think of that concept that particular nugget of info comes us. Eventually you learn everything well enough its in ready recall in your brain. But yeah, repetition.

(3) Patients. I learned about Hurler's Disease when we studied metabolism. I subsequently completely forgot about Hurler's Disease. I saw a 1 year old baby with Hurler's Disease in clinic. I will never forget Hurler's Disease. You'll never forget something as long as its connected with a patient. The faces, the personalities, the personal interactions, they burn information into your brain better then any reading/notecards/etc can ever do you for. And patients are great because they both remind you of the underlying etiology of a disease and also never let you forget the clinical manifestations of that disease.

There's a lot of debate about board studying, and I think a lot of it varies by school (whether they use shelf exams, etc). Personally, in first year, as I go along in any given block, I also peruse/annotate that given section of First Aid. It's not so much studying for the boards this year as preparing myself to study next year and giving myself a sense of what the USMLE questions will be like compared to the questions I see on my own exams. That being said, studying early seems to be anecdotal in its success stories. Most more wisened medical students I talk to (read: MIII/IVs) say that you don't need to really start putting the axe to the grindstone until about 5-6 months before the exam. Lot like the MCAT, anything you study earlier just kind of slips away with time. So January/February of 2nd year seems to be the earliest if you're especially ambitious. I've also talked to students who didn't do board prep until 6 weeks before, signed their life away for 6 weeks, and absolutely killed the boards. Like med school, different strokes for different folks.

As far as what med students mean by "totally different study strategies," it depends on the subject. Anatomy for me was all about drawing diagrams and looking as pictures, since its a very spatial visual subject. Biochem for me was all about rote memorization of minuscule facts about randomly named enzymes and organic molecules, so flash cards were awesome. Physiology is almost all conceptual, so for me it was about doing practice questions, drawing diagrams over and over, and making outlines. Pharmacology was rote memorization, another flashcard class. The material of each respective subject taxes you mentally in different ways, so you need to learn to adapt your study habits to best assimilate the material. That's what we mean by "totally different study strategies."

Thanks! Really helpful. :D
 

Ashers

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Woah! :eek:

I went to a school just like that when I was around 10 and younger. I got home-schooled at 11. I went to less super homework schools later. :) You must be used to studying so much now then. :D

NOW I'm not. I'm an M3 doing clerkships. I'm at the library attempting to study, and it's painful to just sit here and read for >20min. M1 and M2 year I could stay at the library til 10pm (or whenever it closed) without a problem.
 

UFMed

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A couple things I've noticed...

(1) Your memory retention escalates drastically in medical school. I think about it like muscle training. Greater demand = greater results. We're currently covering some subjects that overlap the stuff I studied back in december and I'm really surprised how much is still in there. And I'm just closing out first year. Most MSII/IIIs I've talked to say the trend continues. By the end of second year, you will cover as much material in one week and you did in three as a first year, and it won't seem nearly as exhausting.

(2) Repetition. You learn things in isolated little islands, but luckily for us, the body is not an island, and everything you learn eventually gets applied somewhere else. What you learn in biochem comes back in pharmacology. What you learn in histology comes back in path. What you learn in genetics comes back in epidemiology. And anatomy is pervasive throughout. I've noticed a couple things about my own memory this year. The first time I memorize something for a given class, it slips into this twilight zone in my long term memory where I can't pull it out on its own, but if I see it on paper, etc I recognize it and know what it means. Second time I learn it, its inevitably connected with some other concept, so whenever I think of that concept that particular nugget of info comes us. Eventually you learn everything well enough its in ready recall in your brain. But yeah, repetition.

(3) Patients. I learned about Hurler's Disease when we studied metabolism. I subsequently completely forgot about Hurler's Disease. I saw a 1 year old baby with Hurler's Disease in clinic. I will never forget Hurler's Disease. You'll never forget something as long as its connected with a patient. The faces, the personalities, the personal interactions, they burn information into your brain better then any reading/notecards/etc can ever do you for. And patients are great because they both remind you of the underlying etiology of a disease and also never let you forget the clinical manifestations of that disease.

There's a lot of debate about board studying, and I think a lot of it varies by school (whether they use shelf exams, etc). Personally, in first year, as I go along in any given block, I also peruse/annotate that given section of First Aid. It's not so much studying for the boards this year as preparing myself to study next year and giving myself a sense of what the USMLE questions will be like compared to the questions I see on my own exams. That being said, studying early seems to be anecdotal in its success stories. Most more wisened medical students I talk to (read: MIII/IVs) say that you don't need to really start putting the axe to the grindstone until about 5-6 months before the exam. Lot like the MCAT, anything you study earlier just kind of slips away with time. So January/February of 2nd year seems to be the earliest if you're especially ambitious. I've also talked to students who didn't do board prep until 6 weeks before, signed their life away for 6 weeks, and absolutely killed the boards. Like med school, different strokes for different folks.

As far as what med students mean by "totally different study strategies," it depends on the subject. Anatomy for me was all about drawing diagrams and looking as pictures, since its a very spatial visual subject. Biochem for me was all about rote memorization of minuscule facts about randomly named enzymes and organic molecules, so flash cards were awesome. Physiology is almost all conceptual, so for me it was about doing practice questions, drawing diagrams over and over, and making outlines. Pharmacology was rote memorization, another flashcard class. The material of each respective subject taxes you mentally in different ways, so you need to learn to adapt your study habits to best assimilate the material. That's what we mean by "totally different study strategies."

Very good insights ZagDoc! Thanks! :thumbup:
 

kevster2001

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Nobody remembers everything from class but from what I hear, getting pimped is a very good learning motivator
 
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