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Discussion in 'Step I' started by TinyFish, Jul 22, 2006.

  1. TinyFish

    TinyFish Member
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    ...I've heard from several people (and it's been mentioned on these boards a few times) that you can start some preliminary preparation for Step 1 during your M1 year. Since it's two years away and I don't really know what I'm talking about yet, this may be a stupid question:

    Is it really helpful to prepare so early (i.e. would anything I do 1st year really be of any use at the end of 2nd year) ? What would be the best thing to do? I read that getting First Aid physio and annotating during classes is a good thing to do during first year. Is it true, or would this be a total waste of time?
     
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  3. nrosigh

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    Annotating first aid in your first year would probably be a waste of time. There is nothing magical about first aid - it is simply a nice way to review a lot of stuff quickly.

    In the first year, it's really important to understand physiology well. In my opinion, in first year it's still too early to have much of a perspective of what's really important. It's true that FA could provide some sort of reference to highlight the high-yield stuff, but why bother with annoting it without the perspective that you need to know what's important?

    Instead, I recommend learning and understanding things thoroughly the first time around. Know the cardiac cycle inside and out. Visualize all those funky electrolyte transporters in different parts of the renal tubule. Etc... When you're in second year, then you can start to slowly plan for the boards - what I did was to review the first-year physiology of each organ system as we approached the pathology of that system.

    As far as anatomy, biochem, and histology, just enjoy the experience. These three courses are very low-yield for the boards, so try not to think of them from that perspective. I guarantee that you will forget most of them anyway by the time it comes around to board studying.

    Good luck!

     
  4. dara678

    dara678 Hello Kitty Fan
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    nrosingh is absolutely right. the BEST way to prepare for step 1 is to learn things well the first time around.
     
  5. twintiger32

    twintiger32 Member
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    i agree with the above posts. i think annotating your first aid is overrated (don't get obsessed with it, maybe start your second year if you must). for your freshman year just study hard and learn it well.
     
  6. Pinner Doc

    Pinner Doc drop knees, not bombs
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    Perhaps the O.P. meant to say "BRS physio," not FA physio... in which case, I think it might be a VERY good idea to follow along with this text in class during the first year, and annotate where you can. I would have appreciated the familiarity with this high yield 1st yr class review book when it came time to look it over this past May.
     
  7. velo

    velo bottom of the food chain
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    Don't. I'm dead serious, the best prep for Step 1 is focusing on doing well in your 1st and 2nd year classes and learning that material as well as possible.
     
  8. YouDontKnowJack

    YouDontKnowJack I no something you don't
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    the more you annotate in First Aid, the higher your score.

    so get out a magnifying glass and start writing.

    Copy the Whole BRS book into their respective sections in FA. xerox all the charts and graphs and plaster them into your FA to make the book bulkier. The fatter your First Aid book, the higher your score will be.


    That way, by the end of 2nd year, you can be like every other Professional annotator, and just carry one book (and magnifying glass) around with you.

    :smuggrin: :smuggrin:
     
  9. dentate_gyrus

    dentate_gyrus Member
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    xeroxing is the lazy way out. two weeks before boards start recopying everything onto a single grain of rice. guaranteed >250. anything less makes Osler spin in his grave.

    this may be heresy, but unless you sleep for the first two years of med school you don't need first aid or more than 2-3 weeks of prepare for this test.
     
  10. nrosigh

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    I agree. Even though I lazily leafed through FA well before the exam, I didn't sit down and try to learn anything from it until 2 weeks before the exam. That approach worked well for me. I found that FA either told me stuff I already knew, or listed stuff I didn't in an incomprehensibly dense manner.
     
  11. Pinner Doc

    Pinner Doc drop knees, not bombs
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    BRS Physio, by Costanzo, is an abridged version of the longer version, also called Physiology, also by Costanzo. Most 1st year courses use this longer text, but I think you'll find a lot of students use the BRS book for the quicker read and the weeding out of extraneous detail. Take notes in the margin all you want, as you go along. It might take 5-10 minutes per day. Honestly- do what works for you!

    That said, enjoy your free time while you have it, and don't worry too much at this point. DEFINITELY don't try to teach yourself things ahead of time (you always see people on these boards trying to teach themselves pathology over the summer before 2nd yr)-- just go with the program and you'll be fine.

    Best of luck!
     
  12. lord_jeebus

    lord_jeebus 和魂洋才
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    I also agree.

    Many people start with FA but I think its best use is as a final source of review. You can then fly through it, skipping the stuff you know cold, and catch a few useful pieces of information you missed in previous review on the way. I tried using it early on but the format makes it hard to read. Plus it has errors, omits key details, etc.

    I would only use the pharm section in the early stages of boards review, or use appropriate sections after reading another source to look for missed facts (eg. flip through the neuroanatomy section after reading High Yield Neuroanatomy).
     
  13. TinyFish

    TinyFish Member
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    Woah! Okay, nix on the premature preparation. An undue number of people freaked me out about it. Honestly, I think I'm just really nervous about starting school and jump at everything anyone says.

    Besides, I have nothing to worry about--I have all that practice from copying all my MCAT review books onto rice grains. I keep those babies in my pocket as a reminder of all my hard work.

    Thanks for all the responses, guys.
     
  14. thackl

    thackl 1K Member
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    IMO, NMS Physio is far superior for the course (the only text you need), but BRS is better for the NBME and USMLE.
     
  15. thackl

    thackl 1K Member
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    I agree. I was reading FA and flashcarding it, then trying practce Q's. For Micro, pharm, anatomy and behavioral this was fine. For the others, I think reading FA/BRS/etc first would have made more sense.
     
  16. MeowMix

    MeowMix Explaining "Post-Call"
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    With all due respect, you are at least a few sigma from the mean of the Step 1 curve. So the study methods that worked great for you just might be completely inapplicable to the average student.

    OP, I think it is worth adding things to First Aid as you go, just so that you don't have to dig them up again at the end of second year. Those "things" would include any kind of good charts/diagrams/mnemonics that you produce as you are studying for exams. If they work once, they will work again. Just photocopy and stick them in a binder or something along with FA. Don't bother adding anything beyond what is in FA at this point. For example, I never saw the branchial arches/pouches/clefts after MS1, but I already had a great chart for memorizing them, and I dug that out. It takes time to dig out each one of these things, and if you can do it a little bit at a time, along the way, it makes those last few weeks of second year a bit more relaxed.

    FA is good as an organizing framework, and as a way of figuring out the level of detail necessary as well as topics to be covered. But it's like reading the phone book - awful for studying on its own.
     

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