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top 10 good pieces of advice for starting med students

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Entol, Apr 13, 2004.

  1. Entol

    Entol Senior Member
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    I thought this might be a good thread for those of us starting med school in 2004. I got the idea from another forum on SDN, and it seems perfect for those of us entering med school world.

    Some things that might be a good idea to post:
    * study tips
    * roomate tips
    * ideas about what to do with free time (evenings)
    * ideas about what to do with vacation (summer vacation)
    * setting up meetings with Dean of Students
    * ways to avoid becoming burnt out!
    * etc!
     
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  3. Entol

    Entol Senior Member
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    I saw this in another post on this board and I thought it might fit in perfectly here.

     
  4. johnstoner

    johnstoner Ben Franklin on Hashish
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    don't watch too much TV like me!

    pick and choose programs to watch...

    ie. choose apprentice...not bachelor
    or choose fear factor not NBC nightly news
    or choose simpsons but skip friends
     
  5. Disenchanted 1

    Disenchanted 1 Senior Member
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    thanks entol for this thread....it will definitely be a helpful one for all of us starting this year.
     
  6. IlianaSedai

    IlianaSedai Senior Member
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    Don't "study" the summer before you start med school. Most people find that it's pretty useless and a waste of what could otherwise be a good time.
     
  7. JM.

    JM. The Yellow Dart
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    Have a great time the first two years, and do something fun in your summers and spring breaks. You will always be behind, forget stressing about it.

    Study-wise, I honestly still haven't found a method I really like. I am not the type who can read for an hour or two and feel good about that. I have to sit down in Borders and read for 5 hours straight to really accomplish anything. Making outlines and charts is good and teaching people what you read is also good to cement your knowledge.
     
  8. nykka3

    nykka3 Senior Member
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    or just get a DVR!!!!
    :D
     
  9. lotanna

    lotanna Child of God
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    thanks!!
    I got BRS for biochem, micro/immun, gross anatomy
    bought key facts for anatomy/phys, 1st aid

    Got my review books in hand, I better make it happen!!! :laugh:
     
  10. lotanna

    lotanna Child of God
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    thats exactly what i plan on doing. I just spent much time with friends in 3rd and 4th yr, and they havent lost their sanity, then I realize all the cool stuff they done, places they've been to in med schl, and I'm about to have a ball!!! :D
     
  11. BushBaby

    BushBaby Nipplelina
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    This is a good thread. I plan on getting TIVO (or something similar) to record my fav shows. Then on friday nights or weekends I will just chill watching these shows. This will prevent me from feeling bad about not watching my fave shows.

    There was a thread a long long long time ago that relates to the best review books. I will see if I can dig it up and give it a bump to the top.

    As for now, I guess the First Aid book is a good buy.

    I had my first medical school dream last night.... :clap:
     
  12. lotanna

    lotanna Child of God
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    Girl whats up!! Howz ur masters going? do u have to write a thesis/defend it? Any summer plans??
    I'm actually gettin excited bout this whole med schl thing, finally.
     
  13. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    Best Review books, per my expierience and first aid:

    BRS Path and Physio
    Medicial Microbiology made rediculously simple

    Then some steps below those three:
    BRS Behavioral
    Lippencotts Pharm/Biochem (extremely long books, but in my opinion the best for the subjects)
     
  14. BushBaby

    BushBaby Nipplelina
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    I am almost done with the whole master thesis thing. I have to hand it in on May 4th but we are trying to hand it in earlier. Nothing much is going on besides that. I am waiting for financial packages to come in....and getting ready for the summer. I can't wait. I need to really start looking for housing though.
     
  15. lotanna

    lotanna Child of God
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    Oh thats cool, at least u dont have to defend it like we did. I'm tryin to get mine edited, so I can submit it for publication.
    Financial aid came thru, just like i thought, mostly loans for 1st yr, 1 grant which wasnt much, cause we dont really get to apply for scholarships till next jan.
    I'm tryin to get my summer travel plans, I'm going to be all over the darn place!!! :clap:
     
  16. japhy

    japhy Ski Bum
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    I think Homer Simpson sums it up best, "Alcohol, the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems."

    How can you top that?
     
  17. edfig99

    Physician Faculty 15+ Year Member

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    don't buy books before you've had a chance to buy them from someone who just finished the year. even with a new edition the books don't often change THAT much.

    don't hook up with a classmate. it can be awkward later.

    i had a "DO NOT WORK ON THE WEEKENDS" policy - I worked hard monday thru thursday evenings, but friday, saturday and sunday were mine. definitely use that time to catch up with friends, family, faith, et al activities.

    do maintain some extracurriculars and definitely have fun. med school really isn't that bad...well i didn't think so. i had a blast during med school and would do it again...well, except maybe for the hookin' up with a classmate.
     
  18. Hmmm...good thread idea!

    *Definitely DO NOT study the summer before med school. Enjoy your freedom!
    *Starting off, obtain First Aid and Netter's
    *Make some good friends :)
    *No need to attend all lectures
    *Start thinking about what field you want to enter for residency. This will help you plan your summers.
    *When you know your future plans (residency), pick an advisor!
    *Talk to med students above you for Boards/interviews/residencies/rotations advice
     
  19. Pilot

    Pilot Senior Member
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    Things I learned in medical school:

    *Join all the clubs for the free lunches

    *When you really need to study, pick one good friend to study with at a time - more than 1 will lead to talking/griping/laughing to much at the expense of studying. All other times - the more the merrier.

    *Don't buy the required texts - you won't have time to read them anyhow. Get the review books for a quick review.

    *Be scrubbed in and waiting the OR suite before the surgeon is

    *Have all the patients seen before the attending arrives (no matter the service)

    *Enjoy your vacations - do not study in an attempt to "get ahead"

    *Get a Maxwell's Pocket Guide prior to rotations

    *Do a Radiology elective - even if you don't want to do radiology as a career

    *Don't be timid - if you are you will miss out on learning procedures to someone else who is willing to try. Remember - see one, screw one, teach one.

    *Don't step on your classmates to make yourself to look better. Everyone (including the attendings) knows you are doing it, and you just look like a jerk.

    *Even if you know more than the attending about a particular disease/drug, keep your mouth shut unless asked specifically.

    *Learn to read EKG's.

    *And the biggest piece of advice I can give - Don't worry about the things you can't change. You will just lose sleep, develop bruxism, and nothing will change anyhow.
     
  20. Ah, well, if we're going to be giving tips for the clinical years too... :)

    *When scrubbing with the attending, NEVER finish before he/she does
    *Always round before your residents/attendings
    *NEVER, EVER correct a resident in front of the team or attending
    *Sleep when you can, eat when you can, sit when you can
    *Never f*** with the pancreas (for you surgeons out there :) )
    *Never whine/gripe/complain out loud. The residents and attendings have all been there.
     
  21. noclouds

    noclouds Member
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    excuse the ignorance :oops: , but what is BRS, and what is Netters?

    also, do first years already feel the pressure to do research the summer after the first year? or can you do some research and some travelling/visiting friends/family?

    if you don't do research the first year summer, when else is there time to do so before applying for residencies etc? (isn't the summer after 2nd year almost non-existent...cause clinical rotations start a few weeks away?)

    thanks!!
     
  22. lotanna

    lotanna Child of God
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    BRS=Board Review Series set of books, they have them in subjects and people use them to review for the boards, but we are encouraged to get them now. They have them in all the subjects.
    Netters is the Atlas for Anatomy, and is supposedly one of the essentials

    I'm so glad i dont feel pressure to do research, my masters thesis research was more than enough for me, and I'm definitely gettin it published!
    :clap:
     
  23. courtyard

    courtyard Member
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    Lotanna,

    I always thought that research done only during medical school is perused by residency directors.

    I will be MSI in the fall, and I am not sure how much effort I will dedicate toward research. One of the reasons is that I haven't decided what field of medicine I want to get into.

    I have done neuroscience research during undergrad and the year-off. If I choose to get into neuro-related field, would I be able to include these publications in the residency application?

    Thanks.

    CY.
     
  24. Hmmm...good question. Did the research lead to a publication, presentation or poster? If it did, I'd put it. Otherwise... :confused:

    I'd like to know the answer to this one too. :)
     
  25. donnyfire

    donnyfire streaker
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    What are the exact titles of these?
     
  26. lotanna

    lotanna Child of God
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    Well as much work as I had to go thru to coordinate the research, collect the data and the mess to get the IRB approved, I'm including it-it was my hard sweat and labor! Both professors i worked with are all affiliated with my medical schl, and my research was OB/GYN related, on pregnant women. Most professors I know put their masters thesis or doctorate dissertation research on their CV, so i dont see why i shouldnt :)

    If you feel the research is substantial and a great effort, i dont see why not :confused:
     
  27. courtyard

    courtyard Member
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    Yes, they are publications in peer-reviewed science journals. But unlike Lotanna, my works are closer to basic neuroscience than clinical.
     
  28. courtyard

    courtyard Member
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    Yes, they are publications in peer-reviewed science journals, and I also have done presentation and poster sessions on other projects as well. But unlike Lotanna, my works are closer to basic neuroscience than clinical.
     
  29. hexagram13

    hexagram13 Junior Member
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    First Aid for Step 1: Considered the minimum for passing step one. If you know this book, you will pass. It is a good book for reviewing, but is usually too scanty for class exams.
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0071429484/qid=1082072746/sr=8-1/ref=pd_ka_1/103-8245693-6711863?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

    Netter's Atlas: Your teachers will refer to "Netter" rather than "your atlas." My text book was based out of Grant's atlas, and we used Grant's Dissector, but the Atlas of choice was still Netter.
    I wouldn't buy this yet. AMSA has been giving a soft bound edition away with membership. You will also need a "grease" copy to dissect with, but you can usually buy those from the class ahead of you.
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1929007116/qid=1082072942/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-8245693-6711863?v=glance&s=books

    I second the motion about BRS Path and Phys, Lippencott (too lazy to check spelling) Biochem and Pharmacology, and Med Micro Made Redic. Simple.

    I would also suggest getting Dubin for EKG learning. You can learn EKGs on your own with this book.
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0912912065/qid=1082073314/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-8245693-6711863?v=glance&s=books

    good luck and sorry for any spelling or grammar errors. I am on ped surg and don't give a crap.
    tony
     
  30. hexagram13

    hexagram13 Junior Member
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    I disagree with this if your correction has something to do with the patient's health. We aren't talking correcting an IN by 30cc here. You are your patient's best advocate on the team and you should know them BETTER than the intern who has a million other things to worry about. If your information matters, present it. (Allergies, urine output etc come to mind.)
    tony
     
  31. Fumoffu

    Fumoffu Senior Member
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    Thanks hexagram!

    How does one join AMSA though? Is there some sort of sign-up during first year?
     
  32. donnyfire

    donnyfire streaker
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    yeah, thanks hex
     
  33. BassDominator

    BassDominator Senior Member
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    1) Go someplace tropical during the summer to learn spanish or do some research
    2) Don't date your classmates
    3) Buy a palm pilot if you don't already have one
    4) Don't forget to make time for exercise
    5) Don't neglect your sex life
    6) Talk to upperclassmen for inside tips
    7) Have fun first year, but don't slack off too much as a second year. Your Step I score can make or break you.
    8) Never let them see you cry
    9) Confidence goes a long way
    10) The artery of Sampson is in the round ligament
    11) Don't refer to the anesthesiologist as "anesthesia." He/she has a name
    12) Buy review books early.... they are your friend
    13) Don't buy too many textbooks.... you won't have time to read them all.
    14) Watch your debt. Try not to borrow too much beyond the cost of tuition and housing.
    15) Most lectures are optional.... you have to read the book anyhow, so you might as well spend your days reading and your nights relaxing.
    16) Don't waste your money on an otoscope/opthalmoscope.... you can always share or find one cheap on ebay
     
  34. Trekkie963

    Trekkie963 Senior Member
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    Just curious about the basis for this suggestion because I had considered getting one.
     
  35. BassDominator

    BassDominator Senior Member
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    The palm doesn't really get useful until the clinical years. For the preclinical folks, it's mostly helpful for keeping track of your schedule or playing games inconspicuously during boring lectures.

    Some must haves for later:
    1. Epocrates (free drug reference)
    2. Five minute clinical consult series (medicine, ID, cardiology, etc.)
    3. Sanford guide (how to use antibiotics)
    4. An english-spanish dictionary
    5. Medcalc (calculates body mass index, etc.)
    6. Shots (immunization schedules, free from CDC)
    7. Washington manual or Ferri's guide (diagnosis and treatment guidelines)
     
  36. SimulD

    SimulD Senior Member
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    For all the TV watchers, TiVo is probably a hell of an idea. We had Friday tests most of second year and part of first year, and I'll tell you, Must See TV must have taken about 2 - 3 points off of every test....

    Man, I wish I had thought of that.

    I'd like to add, if you are going to a new city or even going to one that you know pretty well, get to know the city really well. I think med school was a great way for me to really learn New Orleans - food, bars, music, neighborhoods, clothing stores, barbers, whatever ... I've never known a city so well, and I love that feeling. I doubt I'll get that opportunity during residency.

    Simul
     
  37. neuropain

    neuropain Member
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    I concur with

    #2 and #5...DO NOT date within your class...it will lead to nothing but TROUBLE! Speaking from experience!
     
  38. KyGrlDr2B

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    Some of my advice:

    1. Keep up. Even if you don't have an exam coming up, study 1-2 hours anyway. You'll be thanking yourself for it when it's time to cram the week before the test.

    2. Take days off. During 1st year, I had a standard Friday off most of the year, except when we had large tests coming up the next week. It make waking up on friday great because I knew when I went home I was going to watch tv or rent a movie, etc.

    3. Once you get to 2nd year, you must realize that there isn't time to learn everything. You have to start with the general concepts and work toward more details as time permits. Sometimes you'll miss points, but sometimes you won't and you'll be happy that you didn't "waste time on that material."

    4. If you skip class, use it wisely. You should be running errands or studying, not sleeping or watching tv. I've caught myself too many times sleeping in and then watching morning tv and it's a waste of valuable time.

    5. Get a crockpot. When you're busy you don't feel like cooking and coming home to dinner that is already finished is WONDERFUL.

    6. Find a method that works for you and stick to it. Who cares if everyone else studies in groups and you don't. And who cares if everyone else reads all of the texts and you don't. If it's working for you, keep doing it.

    7. Don't believe what your classmates say when they tell you how much they study. Most of them are lying.

    8. If you buy any textbooks, buy from an upperclassmen and then sell yours to an underclassman.


    Thats all i can think of for now. I'll add more later.
     
  39. DOtobe

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    Although most of these were probably already said...

    1. Don't cram for exams. I crammed a lot and when I was studying for boards and couldn't remember a lot of the information I began to wish I had studied a little bit every day so the information would have stuck better.
    2. Go out and have fun. Even if it's just going out to eat with friends once a week, go out and do soemthing.
    3. Don't live in the anatomy lab before practicals. It seemed like I did the best on the practicals that I spent just a little bit of time in the lab.
    4. Buy a Rohen atlas so you can study for practicals at home.
    5. Find a way to exercise. It is the best way to vent med school frustrations.
    6. Ignore gunners. Only be concerned with your own grades/scores.
    7. Don't start studying for boards intently too soon. You will forget a lot of it and will probably have to relearn anyway when it gets closer to boards.

    And for clinical years:
    1. Look through the orders for your patients EVERY MORNING so you can be up on any med changes, med dose changes, etc.
    2. Know your patients inside and out. All meds, significant PMHx, etc.
    3. On your surgery rotation, if you are not scrubbed in, don't get too close to anything blue!!! And MAKE SURE you have your mask on before going into the OR suite. (I forgot once and really felt the wrath of the scrub tech).
    4. If a patient of yours has labs, X-rays, etc. ordered, check up on them later in the day and let your resident know the results.
    5. I especially agree with the "when scrubbing with your attending, don't finish before him (or her)" one :)
    6. Don't let any insults/comments your attendings make to you bother you. Most criticisms are for the sake of learning.

    That's all for now. I'm sure I'll think of more later :)
     
  40. Mirror Form

    Mirror Form Thyroid Storm
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    If you want to do well in med school I'd advise not studying anywhere near an internet connection, especially if you post on SDN!
     
  41. Pilot

    Pilot Senior Member
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    Good gosh. That is very true... Nothing like blowing off neuroanatomy to see if anyone responded to a post.
     
  42. ericdamiansean

    ericdamiansean High Profiler
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    watch Patch Adams..makes you feel good...Cider House Rules is also good
    these films can give u a false sense of how you can have a proper life as well as study in med school...though you never see patch studying for one
     
  43. bokermmk

    bokermmk Senior Member
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    I am bumping this cuz I found it very helpful
     
  44. chameleonknight

    chameleonknight Friggin go away, freaks.
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    If this thread survives throughout June and July, could some nice mod make it a sticky?

    I haven't gotten around to collecting/printing this tidbits yet, but I want to. And I'd like more and more to show up. :)
     
  45. Woatalk

    Woatalk Member
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  46. bobmarley77

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  47. SammyK

    SammyK Senior Member
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    This has been a pretty comprehensive list of great advice for newbies and some who have been around the block. Most of what I would add has already been said. I would further stress the excellent advice of talking to students who have gone ahead of you, and not limit that to one or two--as many as you can. Ideally (even though you can imagine how often people find the "ideal" setting) find people from all ranges of the spectrum from the "Rah-rah I could not be more thrilled about my experience and Med U School of Medicine and have relished every waking moment" to the "I could not have been more disappointed in my experience and would not recommend this school/profession/life/etc to anyone whatsoever" simply because somewhere in the middle of both of those is perhaps the most realistic and fair to all involved. This holds true especially when difficult situations in which hard questions really could use a realistic answer, such as dealing with administration, difficulty with attendings, in addition to any range of situations that can arise. This also holds true in clinical years when you need to know information regarding rotations at which time your clinical rotations office may not always be as helpful as you would prefer.
    An additional although previously mentioned piece of advice is to reiterate the value of listening to advice, but tailoring it to what you know to be true about yourself. If getting the top scores on your tests is not as important as having quality time to do whatever you feel you need to do to maintain your sanity/general physical health/killer abs/nice tan, Non-Medical book of the Month club membership,etc.....than consider that accordingly when given advice by a "gunner" but try to refrain from dispensing judgement on them. They after all are just telling you from their own experience. This also holds true for those who are more well-rounded interacting with potential "gunners." Appreciate the approach of others, feel free to take helpful hints for what they could add to your own--but always consider them keeping in mind your own priorities. A balance is always nice, but I would be being hypocritical if I said I always was able to maintain it to my satisfaction---but a girl can try. :p
     
  48. 8744

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    I imagine that Patch Adams, at least as played by Robin Williams, would scare the daylights out of most patients who expect their doctors to be a little more serious.

    I thought "Patch Adams" was an excerable movie, by the way. I only sat through it because I was on a trans-atlantic flight and I was bored out of my mind. This was a few years before I applied to medical school (I am now almost done with third year) and it had absolutely no impact on my later decision to study medicine. Even then I reckognized it as a typical Hollywood delusional fantasy.

    I also like ER but I have to say that the medical students on that show are generally sharp enough to be attendings at any normal hospital. They always know the answer to every question, can identify not only the disease but the latest treatment options from the most up-to-date journals, and are so confident of their judgement that they routinely argue with their residents and attendings.
     
  49. Marianne11

    Marianne11 Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

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    I just want to thank everyone for your posts. I feel so much more prepared!
    I can't wait till school starts in August. I'm taking your advice and going to the carribean in May after commencement and again the week before school starts. I got my review books and I just finished senior research. I'm ready to relax! I might have to break your rule of not dating anyone in your class, I know when I get in a room full of (hopefully) hot guys it is going to be tough to not look twice. :)
     
  50. kedhegard

    kedhegard Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

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    I've got a few...(all third and fourth years/residents, please see my note at the bottom)

    Find somebody that seems slightly smarter than you to study with, who has the same study schedule as you. I studied with another night owl, usually until four or five in the morning each night the weekend before the test, slept until about 12 the next day, then did it all over again...excellent cramming was accomplished, and both of our grades started shooting through the roof.

    Don't get a palm pilot, don't get a steth or an opthalmoscope. Definitely don't get a panoptic (500 dollar gunner opthal. that looks like a radar gun), all of these things can wait until second year. That is, unless you have some sort of clinical medicine class your first year where you actually see patients. I got my nicer stuff my second year, after i had had a chance to see what everybody else liked/disliked, and got by fine with a cheapo steth from a drugstore until then. All you will do with a palm pilot is play with it during lecture, then end up having to buy a new one two years from now when yours is hilariously outdated.

    Don't study near a computer, like somebody else said. It calls your name, and you will give in. Every ten minutes.

    Don't assume that the library is the best place to study. Other people will see you and drop by your study room assuming that they are your sole source of comfort for the upcoming test. What they really want is to see if you are studying more or less than they are. They will say that they have already read everything twice or three times, and are just reviewing everything now. This is a lie. They are probably more behind than you are. I suggest studying at home, in your closet if you have to, but nowhere near a remote, computer, bed, or stereo. Just my humble opinion.

    BRS...don't know if this will really help you study for most classes. I find them to be scant in the information that you will be tested on (even if they are high in relevancy...the prof's don't care about that). You want a great way to learn? Find somebody with last year's transcripts/scribes/whatever you call them, and print them off the morning of class. This helped me way more than trying to scribble things down in the margins of the handouts, plus I looked pretty damn smart sometimes.

    Skip class if you want to. It's not really going to make that much of a difference. Some people will tell you that you can't learn if you don't hear it first-hand or whatever, but that's just what works for them. If you need to hear it, go. But most people can get by just fine by reading the transcripts. Just get a buddy to pick up the handouts for you when you skip. You will need them for the pictures if slides are to be shown on the test.

    That's all I can think of for now. Anybody who is past the basic science years, please post more of your advice for the clinical years. I find this stuff incredibly helpful and insightful. Thanks guys.

    -KE
     
  51. doc05

    doc05 2K Member
    15+ Year Member

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    advice: don't go to lecture. ever.
     

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