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UCSF's New Curriculum: A more effective way to learn?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Universal Coverage, Apr 25, 2002.

  1. Universal Coverage

    Universal Coverage Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2002
    New England
    Curriculums that are still very traditional and lecture based still make great doctors of course, like at Stanford and Columbia. But I see the trend now is towards more interdisciplinary learning, organ systems, case based learning, less class time, more early patient contact, etc. If you are at UCSF, do you feel your new curriculum is a slightly better way to learn medicine? By better I mean more efficient and effective? Do you retain information better? Are you more inspired by seeing clinical applications? Do you learn less useless details? You still work really hard, but does the new curriculum in essence make medical school easier --less stress and study time than at more traditional schools because it's more efficient and you can focus more on the big picture, less on excessive detail? What are the cons of less class time and getting out of class by 12:00? Do you just have to learn more of the material on your own? How often do you have midterms or do you just have a final? Do you think that's a good exam policy?
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  3. trouta

    trouta Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 3, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    OHSU has a similar curriculum. You should ask people up there too.
  4. Universal Coverage

    Universal Coverage Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2002
    New England
  5. SMS

    SMS Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2002
    Philadelphia, PA
    Hi there--

    I just finished med school at North Dakota, and our class was taught using the "new curriculum" format you described for UCSF. We had 8-10 hours/week of basic science lecture in the AMs and about 4-6 hours/week of some touchy-feely (ethics, insurance coverage, psych) lectures in the PMs. The basic science and even some of the touchy-feely stuff was emphasized by the use of "paper patients" with a disease process which brought out the important points. We spent about 6 hours/week in small student groups working through the paper patient cases. We would have four exam cycles per year (about every 10 weeks).

    Pros: less time sitting in class
    the paper patients added immediacy to the lectures
    good practice in identifying items for study
    increased early patient exposure--our clinical preceptors were pleased with our preparation
    increased understanding of basic medical tests and procedures
    testing format (once every 10 weeks) encouraged actual learning, and not rote memorization; also good practice for shelf exams and the USMLEs (everything rides on one test cycle)

    Cons: testing format induced sheer panic during the first year (everything rides on one test cycle!!)
    lack of traditional structure made it difficult to know whether all important lecture points had been made--especially in more formal subjects like microbiology and pharmacology

    Overall, I was very happy with the new format, the more so as I got into the clinical years and realized how appropriate the patient-based format actually was. And our class fared about the same in Step I as previous traditionally-educated classes had...and our Step II scores, rumor has it, have been significantly better. So while it was scarier to go through, I think the less structured format is better. I hope this very long-winded post helps, even though I can't comment on UCSF specifically.

    Best of luck--

  6. sdnsdn

    sdnsdn Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Any new takes on this thread?
  7. souljah1

    souljah1 Attending 10+ Year Member

    Feb 7, 2002
  8. paean

    paean Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 21, 2002
    We don't always get out by noon, though. I usually have 2 afternoons completely free a week, and three where I need to be in class. That's because we don't always start at 8, and have 24 hours of class a week. Other than that, I would echo what Souljah said.

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