Rocky MS2 start...

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by W19, Aug 19, 2015.

  1. W19

    W19
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    Some posters in SDN are familiar with my first year struggle. I ranked in the 4th quartile at the end of MS1 and my resolution for MS2 was to study harder so I can score above average in every single exam... But after studying countless hours for my first pathology exam, I got my result back today, and the result was below average. I score 79 and the class average is 81, and someone even got 96 on the exam... I feel so dumb... I really don't know what to do. I am afraid that I won't be able to pass step1 because there something clearly about the material in med school I can't put my finger on. I can't back down anymore since my MS2 loan is already disbursed, and the total amount will be about 135k at the end of MS2...

    My study plan for the first exam was: I read the power point presentations twice. I used Robbins' book to reinforcement concepts I was weak on. I did all the questions for the first 9 chapters in Robbins' book since the exam was on general path. I also did all the questions on the first 9 chapters in BRS. I did Kaplan questions on general path. I read all the explanations (even the ones I got right) and took notes... I don't know what I am doing wrong?

    I used that same method on my last 2 exams during MS1 and I scored above average, I am not sure why that method is not working well for path...

    I would like to get input from others on how to study more effectively for path/pharm/micro...
     
    #1 W19, Aug 19, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2015
  2. joker2400

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    I don't see pathoma on that list. You need to make the concepts easy to remember not just try to cram the info in and that's what makes pathoma so great
     
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  3. W19

    W19
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    I also have pathoma book, but I don't have the online subscription... I will definitely incorporate pathos in my study plan for the next exam... Thanks!
     
  4. joker2400

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    Buy the damn videos. That's where the good stuff is
     
  5. W19

    W19
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    Will do... thanks again!
     
  6. operaman

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    Echoing the above: you need pathoma videos. Otherwise, looks like you're getting a decent amount of repetition. The conceptual framework from pathoma should make it easier to assimilate the rest of the information.

    For pharm, I think it's hard to beat Anki. For class, best to make your own deck by copy/pasting from your handouts/slides until you have every word of the notes converted to a good card. This class is 90% rote memorization, and given adequate time should be an easy one to ace. Make your deck early and hit it hard every day up to the exam. For concepts, check out kaplan's pharm videos from their step 1 product.

    For micro, I liked Picmonic and wish it had been available for all of my Ms2 year. Great way to memorize and incorporate all the minutiae on these bugs. That plus regular studying and making a decent anki deck should suffice.
     
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  7. Frazier

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    Not this again...

    Scoring a 79 when the exam mean is 81 doesn't foreshadow step 1 failure...if anything prob the opposite.

    Also you are failing to realize med school grading isn't in a vacuum...it isn't "I will study 20% more next exam and score 20% higher in ranks." You are ignoring the fact that you're surrounded by 150+ living, breathing individuals that also have goals, strategies, strengths and weaknesses. Also each exam is an independent event...so you scored above average on biochem exam during ms1, that means **** toward your score on MS2 pathology exam.
     
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    #7 Frazier, Aug 19, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2015
  8. ChEMD

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    Pathoma is a must. I preferred sketchy micro over picmonic for micro, but either one works. Flashcards for pharm. Honestly, I know that it's frustrating to score around the average on your tests when you are trying so hard, but that may just be where you are, and there's nothing wrong with that. So yes, try and optimize your study habits, but at the end of the day if you still end up scoring around the average, I think you need to be happy with that and realize that the average student doesn't fail step 1, so neither will you.
     
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  9. synecdoche

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    In a perfect world, studying mostly from boards prep materials would also lead to better scores on in-class exams, but I have found it's never the case. At least at my school, if you wanted to do well on a path exam written by your professor, you need to spend more time with the material that came from that professor rather than from Dr. Sattar.

    Of course, plenty of people choose to take a hit on their in-class scores so that they CAN spend more time with boards prep materials, but it doesn't sound like that's your goal
     
  10. W19

    W19
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    My school uses NBME and questions seem to be complicated--long clinical vignette... Ironically, I was studying for my professor style exam while my school uses NBME. I want to know the material cold instead of memorizing buzzwords... I guess I must adapt!
     
  11. W19

    W19
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    I just bought pathoma now. I already got sketchy micro. Every MS3 I have talked to told me sketchy micro is a must!
     
  12. W19

    W19
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    I do get what you are saying... My primary goal is to know the material really well; my first score on that exam does not reflect that so far. It will also help me when it comes time to study for the step 1. We only have 6 weeks to study for that monster!
     
  13. Frazier

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    There is overwhelming likelihood that, if you utilize your prep time properly, you will pass Step 1 without any problems.
     
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  14. Señor S

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    The Lippincott's Path review book was pretty helpful I thought.
     
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  15. DrBowtie

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    If your tests are almost exclusively from powerpoints, you need more reps with them and ditch one of your question books.

    Two passes through lecture notes seems like far to few.
     
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  16. W19

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    They are not from the powerpoints. They are NBME exams....
     
    #16 W19, Aug 19, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
  17. Burla

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    I can't remember anything from pharm or micro unless its in my Anki deck.
    Also, maybe using a QBank will help since those are vignette style
     
  18. charmiedermie

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    You're using way too many resources for questions. I almost feel like you use them because you're so gosh darn anxious.
     
  19. W19

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    I think I learn better by doing a lot of questions... When I started doing a lot of questions at the end of MS1, my grade went and I thought that would solve my rocky MS1 start, but apparently it has not based on my 1st path exam...
     
  20. charmiedermie

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    Yeah, but some of those questions are not like NBME shelf questions. BRS is beyond useless. You have to read the review book well.
     
  21. W19

    W19
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    I see... Maybe I should substitute BRS with pretest.
     
  22. charmiedermie

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    I used it for the final NBME shelf. But if your midterms are NBME questions too, then it might not be as helpful. Are your midterm NBME long question stems?
     
  23. W19

    W19
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    Yep... Every MS2 exams are NBME.
     
  24. charmiedermie

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    I would then use only the Lippincott's Path and the Robbins book for questions. If you look at the NBME sample questions they have, you can compare the questions to see if they are similar. Pretest doesn't have a lot of the long ones, but were good for the end final exam shelf, but probably not midterm tests.
     
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  25. Psai

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    Its just seeing the material a lot. You remember more each time you look at it. I notice a lot of people go through it slowly once and thats just not conducive to long term retention
     
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  26. Kaustikos

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    Yup. I prefer being beaten to death repeatedly with a concept multiple times rather than one long torture session.
    A light read of the concept multiple times makes it easier.
     
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  27. nonick123

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    That's very important IMO/. During the 1st year i tried to learn EVERYTHING during the first pass(and by learning i mean able to retell without looking)- it was impossible. Now, during my first pass, I select the high-yield info, highlight it and read it aloud(because i'm auditory) 1/2 times(depends how much energy I have) and try to remember it. On the next day i review the material quickly and sometimes record it on a digital recorder. If i have time I read some of the details. During the weekend i listen/read it once again(sometimes i don't have enough time and compensate in the week before the test). A few days before the test I read all the info once again but this time from different source- review books/slides or whatever. I also do practice questions sometimes. I write notes when smh is really hard and never make Anki cards(they are both too time consuming).
     
  28. pd1112

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    Are you sleeping? (srs)

    If you have nbme exams, I would spend less time on the powerpoints and use some mix of Pathoma, Robbins Review, Goljan audio, and use RR Path and/or big Robbins as references if anything still isn't sticking.
     
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  29. Maruko

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  30. W19

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    The text book is good IMO... Well written and concise ISBN# 9781437717815...
     
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  31. pd1112

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    Depends what you intend to do with it. Basic path is the most realistic option if you're trying to read a full text. Pathological basis of disease is bigger and best used as a reference when needed, but takes a huge commitment to read in its entirety. Robbins review (question book) and Robbins pathology flash cards (clinical vignettes with pictures and several questions each side) are better for repetition and testing yourself.
     
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  32. sloop

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    In MS2, path was the one course that I felt a boards prep book (Pathoma) could actually be all that was needed to get a decent score. I still wound up spending a lot of time on class notes and think that it would be hard to get honors with just Pathoma, but I think comfortably passing was possible if you only ever read Pathoma.

    Every other class for me, you'd fail if you didn't spend time on class notes. Period. That said, the class notes were an extremely helpful foundation for step. The thing people don't realize is that the difference between an average step score and a great step score is detail. Most people know the basic stuff. Less people know the nuance.

    Choosing to take a hit on class grades is a losing strategy for step. People pretend this is some sort of focused, long term, goal oriented thing when it is just the opposite. People do this because they can't get good grades and it allows them to feel better about those grades for a year before step comes. This is short-sighted. If you want to score well you should be doing well in your courses.

    Unfortunately, doing well takes a lot of smarts, discipline and work ethic. You're in medical school. If you're smart and work hard, you're about average. Your class is made of very talented people who chose to enter medicine—a field generally known for uncompromising demands on one's time and energy.
     
    #32 sloop, Aug 20, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
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  33. masaraksh

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  34. masaraksh

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    This makes the most sense. Once our school started working through path, the lectures very consistently cover everything that is in the boards prep books. Also props to those who can learn from just boards prep books but I think that getting a little extra detail and having a framework from lecture makes reviewing things in a boards prep book much easier.

    Also, I know at our school the people who do better in pre-clinical courses also do better on boards, and there is a strong correlation.
     
  35. DoctorLacrosse

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    so I'm a first year. what I've been doing is going through each lecture slowly and taking condensed notes. in a perfect world id like to review those condensed notes many times, but it tends to take too much time just making the notes.

    we also have this scribe service where we get the professors lecture transcribed word for word. would you guys recommend maybe just highlighting these scribes and reading them over and over, rather than watching lectures and taking notes etc.? just wondering
     
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  36. TheRobin

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    For the first round of exams, see how it goes making your own condensed notes. If you like doing so and it gets results, then stick with it. If not, then experiment with the scribe system. If you end up using the scribe system, I would recommend paying particular attention to and highlighting what the professors emphasize in class. Then, make brief notes on those points, use flashcards, or whatever else works for you. If you go the route of condensed notes (or really any method), I would advise you to be consistent about it during the week, so that you can use the weekends to do a systematic review of the material rather than playing catch-up.
     
  37. masaraksh

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    I made outlines for every lecture first year and am continuing it 2nd year. If at all possible, I try to outline before lecture so that by the time I get to lecture I have a vague map of the material in my mind (otherwise I get nothing from lecture).

    I don't think this is most efficient, but it works for me. I can't retain details as well reading from notes or boards book. And flashcards are not something that works for me for most material.
     
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  38. DoctorLacrosse

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    this is exactly me, especially the last part. I've had success with flash cards in the past, but I don't like the disorganization of them for future reference. I did well on the first exams, but the pace is ramping up a lot since then so it gets more difficult.

    I do have trouble keeping up with making all the condensed notes without falling behind most of the time, so my weekends aren't as much review time as I want them to be. hopefully I will become more efficient with the notes as time goes on. still getting used to this insane pace of information
     
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  39. synecdoche

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    Totally agree - OP, I did not intend to condone this "strategy" by any means!
     
  40. Ophthoseidon

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    My school uses NBME exams as well, though we have full organ system blocks (do phys, path, micro, immuno, etc. all at once). I will echo what most people say here, but I think if you can knock out pathoma on your first day of the system, then read rapid review path (Goljan) in the next 2-3 days, you are setup enough that you can actively pay attention in class and feel like you're learning something. Then I just make sure I know FA/Pathoma and start on lectures. The last week I do questions (USMLE Easy/Rx/Kaplan/Robbins q&a/webpath, whatever you like) and review my weaknesses. It usually works well. I also use firecracker everyday so that helps too with seeing things repetitively. Just my 2 cents
     
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  41. Marine to MD

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    Didn't read the whole thread so this may have been brought up, but I'm going to come from a different angle than studying. What is your actual test taking strategy? Do any professors at your school cover test taking strategies?

    There are absolutely ways to increase your scores by focusing on how you approach each test question.
     
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  42. W19

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    @Marine to MD I don't have no test taking strategy and no prof have gone over such thing to my knowledge. As I said, I just read the book and power point presentation, then do some questions.
     
  43. 13132

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    Make everything in a lecture into Anki the day you get it and take the first pass that night. Continue this process for every lecture and do reviews as they arise. Make sure to make clever cards. Don't just make simple 1:1 relationship cards like a definition. Make questions that test yourself on key difference or things you could see yourself missing on an exam if it were a question. This requires you to be honest with yourself and take the time to really think about the material, but that is what makes it so effective. Its very hard just to read things (no matter how many times) and retain the level of detail that exams require.

    Also, listen to Pathoma and actively annotate in the text. I don't think this needs to go into Anki necessarily because lots of it will probably be redundant with your class, but definitely watch them for reinforcement.
     
    #43 13132, Aug 22, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2015
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  44. Marine to MD

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    :bang: I am more and more thankful every single day for the faculty at my school. I would venture to guess that your knowledge is right on par with the majority of your class. They are likely just being much more efficient and tactical when taking exams. NBME exams are classic places to utilize test taking strategies. My bet is that you are wasting a good majority of your time focusing on irrelevant material within clinical vignettes (you should read final question stems first to make sure you actually even NEED to read the vignette, this will clue you in as to what to look for/focus on within the vignette and save you a TON of time). Further, you likely don't have a process for eliminating incorrect answers or ways to choose between answers when you have it narrowed down to 2 or 3 but simply don't know. Acquiring these skills will serve you well.
     
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  45. Kaustikos

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    I've also learned that exams from professors can be different from the nbme shelf exams.
    Some professors actually incorporate nbme style questions (or use those completely) while others use their own questions.
    I suffered both. My anatomy exams were questions from PhD based anatomy exams. They were ridiculously focused and difficult. Then we take our shelf and it's like "OMG this is better!"
    Then I have my clinical medicine course which used questions from 1993 for exams wherein so many questions were wrong because of how things changed in the past 20 years (surprising, right?) and then the shelf was easier.
    But the best was my path and pharmacology exam. Perfectly tailored to our needs and exactly what we needed to be tested on.
     
  46. darthsubway

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    What are the ways to choose an answer when you have it narrowed to two?
     
  47. Psai

    Psai Snitches get zero vicryl
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    guess
     
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  48. wjs010

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    You scored a 79. That probably doesn't mean you're gonna fail step.
     
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  49. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Meep Meep Meep
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    Jesus, at this point I'm going to be elated if i pass my first set of exams. It's been years since I've had to study and it's rough.

    Not having an apartment going into the first set of exams really isn't doing much to help matters either.

    Must. Pass. First. Exams....
     

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