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Truck Load of Memorization in med school ?

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by austin_powa_shh, Aug 5, 2006.

  1. austin_powa_shh

    austin_powa_shh Junior Member

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    I know this is true for subjects like anatomy. But i;m

    wondering if in med school, for memorization-heavy

    subject such as anatomy, students only have to try brute-

    force memorization of 1 of body system (say digestive) at

    a time, then do a memory dump on 1 test and then can

    afford to forget about it (the digestive system) and move

    on to the next system (say immune) and do a another

    memory dump and then forget about it ... ...
     
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  3. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Hi there,
    I was not a rote memorization-type of person. I found that by regular study and understanding, I did not need that much memorization. Even Gross Anatomy became more of an exercise of figuring out where things should be and finding them. I was definitely not a brute memorizer in Gross Anatomy, Histology and honored both of them. I was a very, very prepared student before I went to these classes.

    There were other classes that after reviewing regularly, I just remembered the material. It is kind of like the dosages of pharmaceuticals that I prescribe regularly now. I used to look up everything but now, most of the common drugs are automatic. It's the reason why the most experienced member of the medical team is the person in charge.

    I found that my "cram" and "rote memorization" classmates really struggled with USMLE Step I and Step II while I did not. I was very organized with my study materials which greatly aided in learning the material. The more I studied in medical school, the more efficient I became at getting things mastered. I kind of put it all together as I went along which is how you will practice medicine in the future. You just cannot memorize everything.

    One of my professiors would joke about medical students doing a "data-dump" after each year but that is not generally the case. As you get experience, you will naturally integrate the material. Our second year was a very good review of our first year. Reviewing for USMLE Step I was a good review of both first and second year. Reviewing for USMLE Step II was a good review of third year. (Step III was a PITA).

    Medical school takes an disciplined and efficient student. Medical school also takes loads of your time so you have to be pretty good about time management. I found none of the classes difficult or "brutal" and pretty interesting however I did sleep through most of my biostats class. Most people have problems when they get behind and panic.

    Most folks get a system and get the job done. What get's you into medical school with a ratchet up if needed, will get you through.

    njbmd :)
     
  4. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    This is sort of the key take home message that countless med students don't follow year after year. It might be doable to do quite well in courses like anatomy by doing memorization of a portion of the body and then a core dump when you get to the next session. But you are going to actually need that info later -- both on the boards, and for various later year and pimping questions. Better to find a way to learn it for real and never dump it.
     
  5. scpod

    Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I just wrote pretty much this same answer in regards to another question, so it's still pretty fresh in my mind. NOT ALL anatomy courses will allow you to simply memorize the material and regurgitate it. The folllowing question is from day two of med scool anatomy:

    A 45-year-old construction worker presents to the emergency room with a metal shard protruding from his neck. Radiographic analysis reveals that the shard fractured the posterior arch of the atlas (C1) on the right side. The metal shard is surgically removed. On follow up examination, paralysis to the posterior scalp on the right side was noted, all other observations were unremarkable. From this information, which of the following soft tissues were also most likely damaged by the shard?

    a) The right vertebral artery
    b) The right greater occipital nerve
    c) The right great auricular nerve
    d) The ligamentum nuchae
    e) The posterior atlantooccipital membrane

    All of the questions for our quizzes and exams are typically second and third order questions. Yes, you have to know the name, origin, insertion, innervation, blood supply, and action of every muscle, but those simple questions will never be asked quite that simply. They tend to be like: What nerve is likely to be damaged if your patient can't shrug his shoulders? If you know what muscles it takes to shrug the shoulders and what the innervations are, you are likely to put the two together and answer the question.
     
  6. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Most med schools ask that kind of question, and actually at some level, the remembering what is where and what innervates and supplies what, etc. can still largely be a matter of memorization, if that's the way your mind works.
     
  7. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    There is a lot of rote memorization in medical school. Some subjects moreso than others like gross anatomy. There is just no way to get around having to memorize innervation, origin, insertion, action, etc. Sure some things you can reason through and if you have a good understanding you can work through it. But a lot of it is just sitting down and memorizing...and not I do not remember ALL of it not even half of it! I mean for the boards we had to memorize a lot of pharm, genetics, mol bio, anatomy, etc...so there is just NO way at least for me to honestly state that I do indeed remember most of it. Somehow you do get through it though but folks still look up a LOT of things that is why handheld devices are so common...in the clinical years. There are some out there that have incredible memories but those are in the minority.
     
  8. Ebete

    Ebete Senior Member
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    Did you review the material before and after class (while in med school) or are you refering to taking classes or something you read during summer (before you got in)?

    I am also a "processing " material kind of person. I like to reason and and see why and why not something is the way it is. Not a memorization student, but will do if needed, unfortunatelly it all gets dumped out of my head as soon as I walk out of the exam.
     
  9. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Hi there,
    I am referring to medical school. I previewed my next days lectures at home after studying the current days material. I also previewed on my subway ride to and from school. I reviewed the previous days lecture, studied the current lecture and previewed for the next days work. I reviewed the previous week's material on the weekend and organized for the next week coming up.

    I was never a rote memorizer from undergraduate to graduate to medical school. I still do not memorize much of what I study today as a surgical resident. (Yes, I read and study daily as a resident). My study methods got me into medical school and got me through. Again, the more you do something, the better and more efficiently you can get the job done.

    Most people adjust to the volume and figure out what they need to do to get the material mastered. There are as many systems as there are medical students. My study system worked for me but others may have another system that is just as effective for them.

    njbmd :)
     
  10. Ebete

    Ebete Senior Member
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    I agree. I have used the same method myself and did excellent in all my grad. classes. Hopefully I can continue in med school. Thanks.

    By the way where (if you don't mind me asking) are you doing your residency?
     

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