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Ways to improve critical thinking skills

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by premedmind, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. premedmind

    7+ Year Member

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    Anyone have suggestions on how to improve critical thinking skills throughout medical school, so that I will be well prepared for tests like the USMLE/COMLEX?

    When I studied for exams in college, I did a lot of rote memorization - I basically read through the chapters and just re-read material if I didn't understand/remember. I feel as if this didn't help me much for tests requiring skillful critical thought processing like the MCAT.
     
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  3. Jrsharp70

    Jrsharp70 ...failure to communicate
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    Talk to people who are smarter than you about stuff you don't know about.
     
  4. JESSFALLING

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    I'd read some philosophy journal articles. Even better, take a few philosophy classes. Epistemology and Metaphysics are usually really interesting. Ethics & Logic are also good choices.

    Here's an article to start with: http://www.csuchico.edu/~tjollimore/WIIRR.pdf
    I must be stupid because I'm still trying to figure out what the hell it's all about...
     
    #3 JESSFALLING, Aug 3, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  5. Rollo

    Rollo Renowned Wolf
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    I don't know if this helps anyone, but I watch a lot of detective shows like Law & Order and crime/thriller movies are my favorite. Putting together all the clues, characters, and plots is fun and challenging to me. I suppose there is some critical thinking involved there. Does it help me tackle medicine? I think it does because reading clinical cases and figuring out what's going on with a patient/disease is kinda detective work, you collect all the facts, recall what you know, and try to piece the bigger picture together.

    Watching detective shows/movies forces me to ask "Why" along the way. Why was the door and windows not broken if this is a suspected robbery? Why did the victim not defend himself when he was getting hit in the head with a baseball bat? Why did they show that scene of the dude leaving the restaurant at same time when victim went missing?

    Asking "why" is the same way I learn medicine. Why do these symptoms show up in this disease? Why do we use this drug and not that one? Why would the x-ray not show anything in this particular disease?

    Again, I don't know if it helps anyone but it certainly helps me.
     
  6. MDpride

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    I think you do what u do during tv shows because u r naturally thinker or inquisitive minded.
    If someone is not, then they have to force themselves to do it until it becomes second nature.
    College composition classes or classes that require thinking can help develop such qualities to certain extent if they are latent or there is some deficiency. They can also be used to sharpen existing skills.
    Critical thinking in different field is different so basic knowledge of that field is required too.
    so if one can't think critically, then either they don't have enough knowledge of that topic to think critically or they don't have skills or both. Usually, its little bit of both.
     
  7. kazuma

    kazuma ASA Member
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    Doing thousands of questions in USMLE format should help you get better at critical thinking. USMLE World is great, especially if you review all the answer explanations for both right and wrong answers so you can see if you were thinking along the right lines or not.
     
  8. irJanus

    irJanus Falling into a burning ring of fire
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    professor layton for nintendo DS. Laugh if you want, but that was my one and only break during board study haha
     
  9. Goro

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    A LOT of clinical reasoning is flow-chrating. At a minimum, start working up lists of DDx's. And never lose sight of the big picture.



     

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