rollingstone27

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Mar 29, 2012
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I understand that I'm not the only one who has a bit of trouble putting 100% faith in the school curriculum to best prepare for the step 1 exam. So I decided to try self-studying from external resources and using lectures/syllabi as a superficial guide to what should be focused on for the next exam.

To those of you who have gone this route, did you rely on textbooks or review books? I'm concerned that spending the first 2 years of med school relying too heavily on review books, though it may provide sufficient information required for the boards, won't necessarily be the best way to learn everything; whereas a textbook can provide more information, though most may be extraneous, to facilitate long-term memory storage by giving a more complete picture and an appreciation for what's being learned.

What has been your experiences.. is the textbook worth the extra time investment? I'm an M1.
 

HelpPleaseMD

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no. if anything it will make you score lower in your classes / step exam
 

gregoryhouse

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Im sure it varies from school to school. My school has an integrated curriculum, so we have been going over pathology since week 1. I honestly almost exclusively use review books. Its been working out really awesome for me. I haven't used any other resource for path other than rapid review and Ive been doing awesome. For physiology I either take notes from BRS or directly from the course notes. I have never once opened up Guyton or any other physio text book.

In summary, the majority of the time all I use is review books, the rest of the time I use school notes if I don't understand something that's in a review book, and 5% of the time I google things I'm confused on. I feel like its been working out really well for me.
 

notbobtrustme

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Your school should provide the overall picture for any given topic. Review books will hammer in the details.

Textbooks are way too wordy and low-yield to bother with unless you need to reconcile two differing accounts and in that case, google/wikipedia should suffice to get the whole story.
 

Guillemot

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professors dont base their tests on the textbook. usmle isnt based on text books. with this in mind use text books sparingly as needed
 

Trastuz

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Review books ftw. If you're still fuzzy on a topic after lecture and review books, use google/Wikipedia or borrow a book from a friend or the library.
 

Anastomoses

secretly an end artery
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I'm super into textbooks along with different modalities for the same topic - but it's a serious time and energy drain. Proceed with what serves you best, I'd say.
 

VisionaryTics

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I'm super into textbooks along with different modalities for the same topic - but it's a serious time and energy drain. Proceed with what serves you best, I'd say.
Agreed. I used textbooks a ton and did well in both classes and Step 1. My school didn't teach to the USMLE, and my pre-studying NBME score was 240+.

However, it took serious dedication to actually sit down, read, and retain something like big Robbins. So whatever works for you, OP. There's no magic formula to succeeding academically aside from repetition.
 
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Petypet

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Its probably best to try both. I personally used review books, FA, FA organ systems, and kaplan notes, and have done fine (meanwhile I did try to read text books and I ended up brain farting 15 minutes in). I know others others who could not use review books because there was not enough detail. To each their own.
 

chronicidal

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For several months I've been using First Aid as a guide to reading UpToDate.
 

MSTPlease

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It depends what textbooks you're reading and what your lectures/note taking are like but I found that review books are just that: "for review." They are not for learning the material initially. Obviously they were fantastic come step 1 time but during the school year I personally didn't touch a review book until it was at least my 2nd or 3rd time looking at a given piece of material and even then I used Goljan's which I found to be too dense for step 1 review. For one class I tried going straight to BRS path right after a lecture and that book is literally just a list of facts - I can't actually learn anything from that initially.
 

epsilonprodigy

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I have tried to use review books along with my classes when possible. That said, on the occasions that you run into a floridly bad professor who doesn't make any sense, you may have to rely more heavily on an actual textbook. When this happens, I read the sections of the text that the professor was attempting to cover, then look at the lecture to figure out what the prof thinks is important. Or sometimes instead, I'll skim the lecture first and focus my textbook reading on the buzzwords.