sunnysand

5+ Year Member
Aug 8, 2009
30
1
Status
Pre-Medical
I'm trying to decide between a systems based curriculum school vs. a traditional based curriculum school. I want to know which curriculum helps prepare you for step I better? For example, I have read that those with a systems based curriculum found it harder to study for step I because they had to study a lot of the material on their own, like biochemistry.

I have searched many threads and there are those that say the curriculum doesn't matter, it is all about the effort you put into studying for step I.

Any feedback would be appreciated, thank you.
 
2

245399

Whichever school is Pass/Fail and does not have mandatory attendance will be the best one for step preparation.
 

futuredoctor10

10+ Year Member
Jan 25, 2007
1,625
18
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I cannot comment on whether systems vs. traditional prepares you better for the step I, based on my experience. However, I believe systems based curriculum has several advantages. You learn material in a very integrative fashion: for example, in the cardiovascular block, you will learn heart physiology and anatomy with histology/embryology and even heart valve sounds.

I'd imagine that this would be more beneficial based on how the Boards test you also.

I also think P/F is helpful. However, if you have "honors/pass/fail" or "honors/high pass/pass/fail" you may still feel a pressure to get honors, which almost defeats the purpose of the true Pass Fail system. Some schools said "we are Pass/Fail" at interviews and were actually Honors/Pass/Fail, so definitely look into it.
 

dozitgetchahi

10+ Year Member
Oct 21, 2008
1,583
611
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
I cannot comment on whether systems vs. traditional prepares you better for the step I, based on my experience. However, I believe systems based curriculum has several advantages. You learn material in a very integrative fashion: for example, in the cardiovascular block, you will learn heart physiology and anatomy with histology/embryology and even heart valve sounds.

I'd imagine that this would be more beneficial based on how the Boards test you also.

I also think P/F is helpful. However, if you have "honors/pass/fail" or "honors/high pass/pass/fail" you may still feel a pressure to get honors, which almost defeats the purpose of the true Pass Fail system. Some schools said "we are Pass/Fail" at interviews and were actually Honors/Pass/Fail, so definitely look into it.

I agree that P/F is helpful. If you have H/P/F, etc. then you'll be tempted to gun for the H and you'll end up wasting tons of time memorizing minutiae that will never appear on the boards. I'm a bit envious of my friends going to P/F schools because they have no pressure to agonize over the often trivial details presented in class and can focus on learning boards-relevant material. Non-mandatory classes help immensely also.

In terms of curricula, the only data I've seen imply that students in a PBL-based curriculum may enjoy a (very) modest boost in their boards performance relative to their peers in lecture-based curricula. To my knowledge, however, no large study has ever verified this.
 
OP
S

sunnysand

5+ Year Member
Aug 8, 2009
30
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks so much for taking the time to get back to me!

Both schools are graded...didn't realize what an advantage pass/fail was when it comes to studying for step 1!
 

WellWornLad

10+ Year Member
Feb 5, 2008
1,090
31
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I agree that P/F is helpful. If you have H/P/F, etc. then you'll be tempted to gun for the H and you'll end up wasting tons of time memorizing minutiae that will never appear on the boards.
I disagree. I don't think I would have studied nearly as hard my first 2 years if I didn't have honors to shoot for. Most people are not close enough to failing to be terribly motivated by an F.

But no mandatory attendance, absolutely. Not only will most lectures waste your time, they'll burn you out if you're trying to study around them.

System-based vs traditional? Who knows. No one goes through both so it's hard to compare, and I haven't thought about it since I was interviewing for med school.
 

dozitgetchahi

10+ Year Member
Oct 21, 2008
1,583
611
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
I disagree. I don't think I would have studied nearly as hard my first 2 years if I didn't have honors to shoot for. Most people are not close enough to failing to be terribly motivated by an F.
See, I think this depends on the extent to which your curriculum is focused on boards-related material. If you're at a school where most of the stuff presented in class is boards-relevant, great - getting the H implies you're going to be in great shape when your dedicated boards prep time rolls around. On the other hand, if your school lards its lectures with tons and tons of boards-irrelevant details (and many schools do this, unfortunately), you'll end up wasting a lot of time memorizing useless stuff just to honor the classes. Furthermore, you'll end up having less time to review FA, Goljan, UWorld, etc in sync with the blocks, and this certainly will make it harder to do well on the boards.