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Robbins & Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease-Is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by usmlesuccess, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. usmlesuccess

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    Is it worth getting this book? I am just starting second year and I got the RR goljan book, but this textbook seems way too dense. Anyone recommend buying it as a reference?
     
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  3. DrDrToBe

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    Yes, I highly recommend it! It's a dense book but well written and organized. I used it throughout 2nd year and during Step 1 prep as a reference, and plan to hang on to it.
     
  4. isoquin

    isoquin Allopathetic
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  5. Zenfudge

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    I'm torn with Big Robbins. I check it out from my school's library and use it occasionally to clarify concepts. It is a huge book, but the language is concise and clear and the figures are on point. I like it enough to use it, but not purchase it.

    I do, however, think the Robbin's question book is a hidden gem and it can be had for cheap.

    I'm more of a read a little bit ---> do questions on said topic type of person.

    I wish I could just read and retain Robbins, but it just ain't me. It's excellent in small doses though.
     
  6. Rollo

    Rollo Renowned Wolf
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    Agreed 100% about getting the question book.

    I used medium Robbins (I think it's called Robbins Basic Pathology) throughout 2nd year and that tremendously helped me understand the concepts because our lectures are all over the place with path and rapid review is just a review, it doesn't really go into too much detail about the concepts.

    What you need now is solidifying your foundations by hammering in the concepts, and not memorizing microscopic characteristic findings of different diseases. You need to know why you see that specific pattern that you do, and Robbins is a great book for those type of explanations.
     
  7. Shadowmoses

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    Does anyone have any input on the other path question book, Lippincott's Illustrated Q&A review of Rubin's Pathology? It got 1 glowing review on amazon, and thats all I got to go by so far.
     
  8. CBG23

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    I think Pathologic Basis of Disease (AKA. Big Robbins) is a bit much. I would recommend the smaller Robbins Basic Pathology. They are essentially the same, but Big Robbins includes some more (less common) diseases and also goes more in depth into the morphology and epi/ pathogenesis aspects of some diseases.
     
  9. hanlinting

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    Whatever you do, make sure you get the question workbook version of the text. i can't vouch for the text much but the question workbook is definitely the best path review book you will ever find.
     
  10. LossForWords

    LossForWords PGY-1
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    +1

    Bought both the question book and big Robbins. The question book was worn ragged and falling apart by the time Step 1 rolled around. I never even opened the big Robbins.
     
  11. Siverhideo1985

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    unless you absorb information by just reading it...the big robbins is a waste. Aside from the fact that its too big to carry around, it's also to tedious to read if you're trying to get the facts into your brain fast.

    Chances are that reading big books isn't your style if you ask this question in the first place so I'd go with Goljan RR as mentioned above.
     
  12. Shadowmoses

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    so you guys recommend using medium (basic) robbins to learn path the first time around, then go straight to RR path afterwards?

    edit: nevermind rollo answered the question already.

    Personally I feel like my school's lecture handouts are weak and not enough to learn from, and trying to learn material out of a review book for the first time works great for some classes, but not so well for others which are much more concept heavy.
     
    #11 Shadowmoses, Aug 16, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
  13. Guillemot

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    I havent used PBD so cant comment on it, but I did reference BP enough to make it worth having.

    The Robbins Review Q book is very good and definitely worth using.
     
  14. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing
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    I don't quite understand the use of these types of texts except for looking things up from time to time.

    People advocating them seem to indicate they provide better explanation of concepts. Strange. Something like BRS or Pathoma does just fine with that to my brain.

    Videos and board books work perfect for me.

    But I've heard people using harrison's. to each is own i guess.
     
  15. kaleerkalut

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    I just got RR Pathology Revised Reprint and I noticed in the front cover something mentioned about a Robbins Qbank. Does this come with the RR book or do you have to pay for this? Is this different than the question book or is it the same?

    Thanks :)
     
  16. C5toC9

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    Too big to be functional. An attending once told me only pathologists really read it.
     
  17. OveractiveBrain

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    I'll answer this question first with a method, then with my personal anecdote. What I suggest is both learning for the test, but also learning for life. Path is not useless. The details are, but the mechanism of disease ("whats the mechanism?" - goljan) are not. Taking the time to learn the basic science does pan over to your comprehension of the human body later on. Medicine, contrary to what many believe, is not just about memorization.

    Studying should go something like this.

    There are 3 books.

    1. Skeleton Book.
    The review book. This has the least amount of information, but is the easiest to get through. Good examples are Rapid Review (for the love of god use RR for path) and BRS. ​

    2. Flesh Book.
    The reading book. This book has the concepts fleshed out (eh, get it?). All the details aren't there, but let's be honest, this is the book you'll actually READ. You can sit down, read it through, take notes. Medium Robbins is a great example of this for path. ​

    3. Skin Book.
    The reference book. This book is as high up as you can go. You're studying path? Its Big Robbins. Internal Medicine? Harrisons. Surgery? Schwartz. You will never read this book through. You just won't. Its too long, its too much information. Its written for pathology residents to read over their 4 year residency. Its the place you go to look up things where you need more detail, but is too difficult to get through on its own. ​

    --I thought you said there were only 3 books---​

    4. Question Book.
    The Question Book.The unfortunate reality is that learning is not enough. Med schools test on MCQ exams, teh step is a MCQ exam, and you will doing MCQ exams for the rest of your life. Get used to it. This book is added when you want to do well in a course beyond actually just learning the material. ​

    How to use the books
    People usually do this: They read the reading book, they reference the reference book, and when they are done, they read the review book. This is ok. If you do this, you will still do well.

    What I tell people to do (and I was a tutor for path) is to read the skeleton book for the section they are covering. Don't worry if its egyptian. This is orienting you to the important things. Its getting you a mental skeleton. THEN you read the flesh book, to flesh out your mental skeleton. Only if you need to do you go to the skin book, because that's an awful lot to do.

    What I recommend
    Get Rapid Review Path and read it for the chapter you will cover. Buy and read medium robbins. Look up Big Robbins in the library, or, if you are rich, just buy it. But use it sparingly This will put you ahead of most of your classmates. Obviously, you need to do questions. Whether that is Pretest (i think Pretest sucks), Robbins Qbook, Lippincott's Qbook, or Kaplan / UWorld, you need to be doing questions.

    What I did and why I don't recommend it
    I did Big Robbins --> Rapid Review --> questions. I got honors. YAY for me. But it cost me my soul. It consumed my life. I gpt fat, I got angry, I didn't like the world. I had anxiety attacks (more like anger attacks, where I just wanted to punch a wall, or the car in front of me). Did it help me succeed? Sure. Could I have done without this method? Hell yeah. If you are somehow an ungodly memorizer and speed reader of medical texts (which I know you aren't otherwise you wouldn't be asking the question), then Big Robbins is a great way to go. For most people, reading big robbins just leads to misery and only sometimes academic success.
     
    #16 OveractiveBrain, Aug 18, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2011
    upallnight likes this.
  18. OveractiveBrain

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    Kaplan Qbank is phenomenal if you are going to use two Qbanks. kaplan for learning and practicing for your course. make sure you read the explanations, listen to ReKaps, and actually look up the references in First aid.

    UWorld is the best by far. The questions are a bit easier than Kaplan, aren't so focused on tidious factoids, and are more like the real deal. This program prepares you for Step 1's format and difficulty of question.

    If you aren't ready for Step 1 Studying yet, then
    Robbins Qbook > Lippincott's Qbook >>>>>>> Pretest

    The questions in Robbins are the similar format as Lippincott's and similar to the format you'll see in step questions. They are both a great resource (and, if you want to do really well, you should get them both). The number of questions per chapter is meager in either. Together, they get you some substantial practice.

    If you want to get honors, and prepare for a 250 on Step 1:
    1. Follow the lesson plan I laid out in the post above (Skeleton --> Flesh --> Skeleton --> Questions). ​
    2. Get Kaplan Qbank, Lippincott's, and Robbins Qbook, do these at the end of the block, a couple of days before your exam​
    3. When preparing for Step 1, get USMLE world. ​

    I realize that this sounds like a lot of work. It is a lot of work. But I promise that it will pay off. I've taken people in the 50's on their school exams, and brought them up into the 90s with this method. I've taken people who never got above a 10 on a shelf in their first year, and got them in the 230s on Step 1. I know this works. If you are already uber (and most people who actually post on SDN are) then you will probably scoff at this approach. But if you are a lurker, looking for information, I promise this works.

    If you want a pass and a 212 on Step 1 (which I don't recommend)
    Goljan's Rapid Review and Questions
     
    upallnight likes this.
  19. Lbgem

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    +1 to your posts OveractiveBrain. Thanks for writing it out (and the color coded post you did was helpful too :p). You are one of the reasons I still read SDN.
     
  20. sanityonleave

    sanityonleave Adrenaline Junkie
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    I agree with everything OveractiveBrain said.

    That said, I read Big Robbins. I like it. We're systems based, so I usually read it at the beginning of the path section of each module (our modules are split half anatomy/physio/histo and half path/pharm, roughly). I don't read to absorb all the details, but a lot of times I'll remember random details that will help me connect big picture concepts. The vast majority of my classmates do not do this, and I'll agree for most people it wouldn't be effective, but there are a few of us for whom it works. YMMV.
     
  21. 2012mdc

    2012mdc Enjoying the Dark Side
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    nothing to contribute really but LOL at the 212. What a random choice

    IMO using Goljan (audio and RR), Robbins Review Q Book, UW concurrently with your class material is golden. Big Robbins is good as a reference source but it is not necessary to purchase. I was mediocre in Path until I came up with this method and got high 90's on class exams and then 99th percentile on the Path shelf.
     
  22. Alvarez13

    Alvarez13 PGEEE2 mediates FEEEVER
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    Thinking about using Pathoma (videos & text) for my skeleton before class, suck it up and go to class this year for my flesh, and then rapid review to compress it all back down. Sprinkle some UWorld or Robbins Review questions on the weekends and leave it at that.

    Anyone have Pathoma experience? Everyone who uses it seems to love it, but it just doesn't have the following that Goljan, aka Poppy, does. Makes me wonder...

    Also, I did gunner training this summer and completed 1/4 of the cards. I don't see anyway of being able to keep up with this though. Anyone through this in there as well?
     
  23. vasca

    vasca En la era postpasambre
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    I was forced to use Big Robbins, either use it, love it and MEMORIZE every single page of the 3000 pages of that bible or you failed yourself out of third year in my school.

    I actually had to do oral exams on this bible where the date of the exam was chosen at random in the last minute and was worth pretty much 40% of the grade of the course so you had to pretty much dominate it until you loved it. It was one of the harder things I had to do in med school but while the book is a hassle because it gets too much in depth in pathology, some chapters are really well written when it comes to physio-pathology and the "why" of a certain disease.

    I quickly understood the foundations of the mechanism of oncogenesis thanks to this book. For most general purposes you can skim the pathology microscope slide intense descriptions and skim to the actual pathological mechanism portions of the text. And yes, I had to carry this book with me at all times for 1 year. It's huge, bulky and I had to carry it with me on the subway and on buses everywhere. Glad I'm not a med student anymore.

    It's a draining book, but real good if your course is designed around it like mine was.
     
  24. Shadowmoses

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    Thanks Overactive for the response, and like another said, thanks for the color coded note taking system you explained in another thread. This is very helpful and I like your plan on how to tackle pathology. I'll use both sets of advice in the future for sure.
     
  25. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing
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    I really like it. The dude is no nonsense, friendly, and focused on paring down your learning load to very high yield material.

    But then I'm one of those that doesn't understand what "understanding" something is extreme detail really does for your comprehension. Is anything in medicine that difficult to understand. I'm under the assumption that our problem is compressing this voluminous knowledge into compressible usable ideas.

    Therefore. To my brain. Clear repetitions with a solid stripped down quality source is more useful.

    But fire away with these other books if your intuition for how you learn pulls you in that direction.

    Like you, I'm struggling on just how much gunner training to use daily. It's difficult to keep up with everything. Something that helps me in this regard is that my curriculum is at least 50% NBME. And! the fact that using pathoma instead of my lecture material cuts the time in half. I take a few hits on lecture specificity. But am gambling on this strategy helping to keep my long term goals for the Step1 in play.

    Let me know how it goes. Since we're using some of the same materials.
     
  26. D elegans

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    Thanks for the great advice, OveractiveBrain. Who is the studious figure in your avatar?
     
  27. kaleerkalut

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    Interesting point that I colored red. I haven't actually been doing this while doing Kaplan Qbank (starting M2). Do you feel this is necessary/good idea? Seems to make reviewing much more time consuming than it already is. Thanks :)
     
  28. Rothbard

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    nm
     
    #27 Rothbard, Aug 19, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  29. HandBanana1

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    Using RR as your main book for path would be like studying German grammar without first learning the German language.

    :love::love::love:I LOVED BIG ROBBINS:love::love::love:. I went to a LAC and have a dual degree in the humanities, so reading big Robbins was a breeze. To me, I choose big Robbins over medium Robbins because even though big Robbins is longer, it's longer because concepts are fleshed out and clearer than they are in Medium Robbins.

    I though Goljan RR was way too much detail and tedious; I used Pathoma instead, and I'm happy with how I did in path
     
  30. OveractiveBrain

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    It feels like it takes more time and energy to do the questions, look up the reference in FA, and write it down in first aid, so the next time you read it, those notes will be there.

    It feels like it take more time and energy because it does take more time and energy. But, if you are like every other medical student living under the curve, this is absolutely worth it. If you are a memory machine and live at the 95th percentile, you probably don't need to do this. But, since I assume that not everyone is at the 95th percentile (I'm not) I am trying to give realistic advice on how to make those details stick come Step time.

    Do you HAVE to do it? Of course not. Does it work? Yes.
     
  31. msbbc833

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    Is the robbins qbook helpful for step? I plan on using it for coursework but wonder if its too detailed to use during dedicated step time?
     
  32. Vikingwizardguy

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    Absolutely DO NOT get it. I got around a 260 on my boards and did not crack open that book once. In fact, I'm not even sure where in our library it's found. What I DID use was Goljan's Path book as well as baby Robbins. Do not waste your money, arm strength from carrying it, and bookshelf space.
     
  33. secants

    secants about:blank
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    For those of you who used medium or big robbins, did you take notes while reading? Or did you read multiple times? Or was it highlighting? My course has a good chunk of questions coming from the book but I'm not sure how to tackle this since I never cracked open a textbok last year, I honestly forgot the ideal way of using a textbook, sad I know.
     
  34. sonofva

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    I am using big robbins. I read it at the end of the day once I have covered all my classroom materials. I just read it and quiz myself mentally as I go along. It is good for me as an extra time to see the material.

    Also, there is too much info to be taught in a classroom setting, so some mid-level diseases get passed over in class that appear in Robbins. I figure that by reading Robbins I will see these diseases at least once before board times.
     
  35. naus

    naus Junior Member
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    Big Robbins is a great read while you're reading it, but by the time you finish a chapter, you tend to go "what did I just read? it's all a blur...."

    So I would say if you're pressed for time, reading Big Robbins is pretty low yield. Your retention will be minimal and everything is muddled but irretrievable. This is why the people who read Big Robbins do no better than the people who rely more on review books and questions.

    Retention comes from repetition. It's hard to read Big Robbins more than once without sacrificing tons of time for questions and cases. A better plan is to use Robbins for a few topics you have trouble with.
     
  36. Morsetlis

    Morsetlis I wish I were a dentist
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    If you carry Daddy Robbins around all day you'll develop a few pathologies yourself.
     
  37. littlejuan

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    Yeah, I am definitely following your advice OveractiveBrain, thanks so much.

    Is there a link to this other post people are mentioning (the color coding one)?
     
  38. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod
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    OveractiveBrain is certainly spot-on but perhaps downplays how good Goljan is by itself. I did plenty well in path and on practice questions using it pretty much alone. I did several Robbins QBook blocks and a decent number of the WebPath questions, too. You definitely do not need anything other than Goljan to rock Step 1.
     
  39. Brachyury

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    Pathoma is much better than Goljan. Rex mortuus est.
     
  40. Simmy

    Simmy MD Stud.
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    I used the big Robbins (bought it before I knew there was a medium sized one), but I loved it... Of cours it is to much to handle sometimes and a bit to much minor details about genetics, but other than that it is a well structured and understandable book.

    Our teachers were preaching Robbins all the time and several questions where taken almost straight out of the text of the big version. So I passed all 3/3 block tests last year (last we were only 8/75 ppl that past the first try). I have the NBME in Patho next spring so we'll see how much I remember when that time comes hehe.

    The only thing for me that was a pain in the ass is that I HAVE to take notes from the books I read to learn anything. So for each block test I had almost 120 pages of handwritten notes. But it was worth it passing those horrible block tests. We had questions even the patho teachers (I asked 4 of them) could not answer, which kindeof pissed me off.

    But BRS is also good for review if you have limited time for your tests.

    And thanks to everybody recomending question books!

    Edit: Our library has lockers free for everyone to use, so after carrying it around for a month I started leaving all my patho books there since I never study at home anyway ;)
     
  41. Elbowstoopointy

    Elbowstoopointy U aware?

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    Big Robbins = Understand the **** out of path

    Goljan RR = Memorize mindlessly...EXCELLENT book ONLY IF you have a background. Sure, you can memorize the bullet points and do well- but if you master big robbins you can think through almost anything.


    IMO if you are going for internal medicine or path read big robbins. Youll score points when being pimpled 3rd year and rock step 1. The challenge? Reading it...
     
  42. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod
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    I used Goljan to learn the path and had no problems. :shrug:
     
  43. Shadowmoses

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    Did you use Goljan as your exclusive source to learn path (understand everything using Goljan RR alone and perhaps complimenting it with the audio), or as a guide to learn path?

    What I mean when I say guide is...and I'll give an example...I am pretty much using BRS Physio to learn learn Phys exclusively, but I for my life could never use that book as a stand-alone source, and even if I combine my lecture notes with BRS Phys I'll still be lost. I do a lot of google searches and find various sites to help bridge all the concepts given in BRS Phys. This method does work well for me, and I generally enjoy doing it because it feels like a game when I try to create links of knowledge on my own rather than passive reading.
     
  44. Shadowmoses

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  45. grotto

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    I think the responses to this post just indicate that people have very different study techniques and that there are multiple ways to skin a cat. For me, Big Robbins + liberal time with questions is ideal, but I know that I might be an outlier. I think the time spent reading a narrative is more valuable than outline format, but questions (the Robbins question book) is the solidifying factor. I cannot stand outline format review books (i.e. Goljan), but for some, that is the best way to do things. I find that I am unable to memorize anything without first understanding the basic format of the subject that I am trying to learn.

    Personally, I would rather read, highlight and spend time with pictures and tables, and then return to the book after doing review questions (now knowledgable of the location of the information within the chapter) to solidify. I will review in outline format leading up to a test while referencing robbins but have found myself let down by Goljan in this regard.

    Also, being in a traditional curriculum, the review of many biochem and physiology concepts fleshed out in Big Robbins is a worthwhile review while learning pathology.

    FYI another hidden gem is the Robbins Atlas of Pathology, which along with webpath does the trick (for me at least) for lab practical kind of situations. Another pro tip someone gave me was to have BRS Physio available while reading robbins to review concepts (although I stated earlier that I'm not a big fan of outline format - BRS Physio is excellent).
     
  46. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod
    Physician 7+ Year Member

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    Exclusive source.
     
  47. Elbowstoopointy

    Elbowstoopointy U aware?

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    You can definitely do it....I can also memorize a dictionary if I have to. Its just different learning styles- some can memorize skeletons and be fine, others want to read more elaborate sources as a foundation.

    Different strokes for different blokes
     
  48. gravitywave

    gravitywave fourth year
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    Overactive is right on. We're systems based here and this year I've switched to 1st) RR/GT/skeleton/details, and then 2nd) Big Robbins *once*, for context. Bullet points and Qs as the exam approaches. My "top-down" approach last year worked out OK, but I wasn't doing great, either.

    I enjoy Big Robbins - it's the best written textbook you've ever have. See if your library gives you access to MDConsult, then you can read it for free online and not have to agonize about whether it's worth the ~$100
     
  49. CuriousGeorge2

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    This is kind of random, but I was just skimming the neoplasia chapter and noticed something interesting in one of the figures. Anyone else notice it (See Fig. 6-22 in Robbins Basic Path, 8TH ED.)?
     
  50. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod
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    I really don't think Goljan is as memorization-heavy as most people say it is. It's not like the facts are any different in Big Robbins- there just happen to be a whole crapload of other words clouding the picture and taking up your time between them. You already know the physiology, so you should be able to fit everything into a larger framework regardless of how verbose your text is. In any event, different strokes for different folks, indeed. If Big or Medium Robbins is your bag, baby, go for it. I just don't see the point, regardless of your learning style.
     
  51. Rollo

    Rollo Renowned Wolf
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    I want to make a point that trying to figure out if I should read Robbins or just read Goljan helped me figure out what kind of learner I am. I've discovered that reading a big text helped me lay the groundwork and then reading a review book helped solidify the actual building material for the groundwork.

    For some, review books are just enough. And that's perfectly fine because everybody's minds processes information differently.

    Again, just want to illustrate that figuring out reading out of Robbins or reading out of Goljan has helped me figure out what type of learner I am. So any first or second years wondering the same thing, give both methods a shot and see which one sticks. More than likely, you will continue following that type of method in the future.
     

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