Your Generic Incoming MS1 Thread

ismyexistenceamemeyet

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There’s probably more of these threads than I might ever know, but I’ll jump on the bandwagon anyway. I’m an incoming MS1 and would appreciate any advice/words of wisdom about a few things.

1. What kind of apps to get/invest in

For context, I have an iPad Pro and MacBook Pro. I’m very much a visual person and prefer to plan/write out things. So far I’m planning on getting:
  • Notability
  • Essential Anatomy 5
  • iAnnotate
  • Anki (on my Macbook)
  • UpToDate (Likely won’t be getting it for a while, but in the future)
  • Google Calendar + planner app
Is this a good list? Are there any other apps y’all would suggest (especially for MS1/MS2)?

2. Anything helpful to look at/read over the summer

Don’t worry, I won’t be studying anything over the summer (think I’ve read enough threads about it, not to mention I need a genuine break). But if you know anything that would be fun/informative/relevant, I’d appreciate it!

3. Some questions about research

Of course, some of my questions about research can only be answered by my school so not asking those here. I would appreciate any general advice, though! I have a non-science background and have only written a literature review before (not published or anything), so my knowledge of all the statistical analyses, methodologies, terminology, etc is limited.

  • Is there anything I should read/look into on the research front?
  • I’ve heard it’s good to specialize in one aspect of research (whether that’s lab technique, writing, or number crunching). Is that true? If that’s the case, I was looking into bolstering my statistical analysis skills (I love numbers and stats) and maybe getting good in this area. Any suggestions on how to do that?
  • I know that being first author on a publication is noteworthy. How do you determine who is first/second/third author on a pub? How important is it to PDs/residency interviews that you‘re first author?
  • Is it better to have your name listed on many pubs (but you’re not first author) or to be first author on fewer pubs?
  • Has anyone had experience with creating a community health improvement plan? (Not sure what these are called) What is it like? I know you go into a community, work alongside a physician in that community, and then make recommendations to improve health outcomes there, but that’s about all I know.
  • This will vary from person to person, but in your experience, are PIs/researchers generally patient or willing to invest in your development? I ask because I’ll likely need some guidance in catching up on research concepts/techniques (I feel like I’m a total baby at anything research-related).

4. Amount of time to study

Of course there will be variability, but I know if you’re studying 12 hours a day or more, you’re not doing something right. Is 4-6 hours a day reasonable?

Do you normally block off one day of the week to relax/not do anything? Or do you have downtime a few hours each day?

5. Study tips

From what I’ve read online, students suggest doing lectures at 2x speed and Ankiing all the way (which is fine for me, I like flashcards). Any other general study tips?

Do you find it more helpful to create your own Anki decks or just use the premade ones (Like Zanki)? If you use the premade decks, which ones are your go-to?

How soon should I start looking at UWorld, Boards and Beyond, etc? Which resource(s) have you found most useful in preparing for STEP 1?

Have study groups been effective in your experience? What’s an ideal size for these? (I know anything more than 5 can devolve really quickly but...)

6. Anything practical to invest in

Context: I tend to study a LOT better when I’m outside the house. My go-tos are Starbucks and the library. So far I’ve gotten Bose QC35II headphones and effectively have dual monitors with my iPad and Macbook. Anything else I should invest in for study sessions?

7. Any general advice

If y’all have any general advice on how to adapt and thrive in MS1, I would love to know. Thanks!
 
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Domepiece

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There’s probably more of these threads than I might ever know, but I’ll jump on the bandwagon anyway. I’m an incoming MS1 and would appreciate any advice/words of wisdom about a few things.

1. What kind of apps to get/invest in

For context, I have an iPad Pro and MacBook Pro. I’m very much a visual person and prefer to plan/write out things. So far I’m planning on getting:
  • Notability
  • Essential Anatomy 5
  • iAnnotate
  • Anki (on my Macbook)
  • UpToDate (Likely won’t be getting it for a while, but in the future)
  • Google Calendar + planner app
Is this a good list? Are there any other apps y’all would suggest (especially for MS1/MS2)?

This is plenty. Adapt as necessary; beneficial apps are generally disseminated by upperclassmen if they are that useful. However, the most important ability for an M1 is being able to read and write, and I am sure you have that down.

2. Anything helpful to look at/read over the summer

Read what you enjoy reading. If it must be medical, read any book by Atul Gawande.

3. Some questions about research


Hopefully your school has some sort of evidence based practice curriculum which will introduce you to interpretation and utilization of many statistical methods common in medical literature.
  • Is there anything I should read/look into on the research front? No. Since you said you love stats tho, one of my old PIs said this book by the creator of GraphPad was godly: Intuitive Biostatistics - Intro
  • I’ve heard it’s good to specialize in one aspect of research (whether that’s lab technique, writing, or number crunching). Is that true? If that’s the case, I was looking into bolstering my statistical analysis skills (I love numbers and stats) and maybe getting good in this area. Any suggestions on how to do that? No, this is in large labs when you are a pleb. Don't limit yourself to being just one thing. If you love stats, I am sure many labs would love to have that person if they don't have a dedicated statistician. Otherwise, it is learning how to conduct and interpret research which should be your primary goal.
  • I know that being first author on a publication is noteworthy. How do you determine who is first/second/third author on a pub? How important is it to PDs/residency interviews that you‘re first author? This is highly variable between researchers. Discussing this before the onset of a project if possible is an excellent way to alleviate issues with author order later. There are hundreds of PDs and the importance will vary. See answer to question above.
  • Is it better to have your name listed on many pubs (but you’re not first author) or to be first author on fewer pubs? Depends on the publications. Find some research in an area you enjoy learning about and a PI who is "productive" (can often search them on PubMed and find if they have published something in the last 5 years or so as a jump off point). Research is also important for letters of rec as someone who has a longitudinal relationship with you can comment on your reliability, curiosity, and other soft traits which are not captured by convenience metrics (grades, USMLE, etc).
  • Has anyone had experience with creating a community health improvement plan? (Not sure what these are called) What is it like? I know you go into a community, work alongside a physician in that community, and then make recommendations to improve health outcomes there, but that’s about all I know. Recommend asking someone at your institution.
  • This will vary from person to person, but in your experience, are PIs/researchers generally patient or willing to invest in your development? I ask because I’ll likely need some guidance in catching up on research concepts/techniques (I feel like I’m a total baby at anything research-related). This is completely variable. Finding one who is invested and expressing upfront that you would like to learn about how to conduct research since you are a blank canvas will lead to a good relationship I imagine.

4. Amount of time to study

See below, this is different for everyone. Best advice is to look at how effective your studying is, not how long it is. It ain't all about the size of the boat, its about the motion of the ocean.

5. Study tips

Reading about how people study is useless since it is such a person specific activity. Spend the first test block/first semester exploring different ways to study (groups, alone, writing things out, reviewing notes, etc). Also goes for Anki - despite SDN, not everyone uses this. Making your own note cards can be variable - my institution had tests every 1-2 weeks so making cards was not beneficial for me considering opportunity cost. A good jumping off point is remembering how you studied effectively in undergrad and do that, start earlier tho.

Spending your life studying for Step 1 will be of marginal utility to you with P/F. Don't be the kid doing Zanki and talking about Step 1 study strategies on day one, everyone hates that kid.

6. Anything practical to invest in

Don't buy an otoscope/opthalmoscope/anything besides stethoscope. Many books can be borrowed at my institution. Regardless of institution, you probably will be able to get online versions instead of buying. Keep a budget and read White Coat Investor.

7. Any general advice

People will have a leg up in the basic science classes based on their major at the onset of classes, but the difference due to prior exposure rapidly disappears after ~1 semester.

Good luck kiddo, enjoy the ride.
 
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deleted1005514

Don't buy UpToDate...your school will most likely provide it for you, along with many if not all of the textbooks.

I agree with the advice about basic equipment, except if your school requires you to have it first year for doctoring class. Our school does and we get a discount package deal during orientation.
 
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7331poas

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I actually advocated for pre-studying before. Now I cannot emphasize enough, pre-studying wont help you whatsoever now that step 1 is P/F.

My recommendation is you do absolutely nothing until you start school. Maybe look into clinical research if you are gunning for something competitive.
 
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ismyexistenceamemeyet

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@Domepiece Thank you for your thorough and very thoughtful reply! I’ll take a look at the books you suggested, and I’ll ride out the first semester to see what works for me. Also a huge thanks for your insight on research; it’s a little daunting having not done it before, but viewing myself as a “blank canvas” definitely reframes my perspective. I’m not sure if I have any great undergrad studying tactics, since I pretty much relied on memorization and test-taking strategies. Of course, I’ll carry the test-taking strategies with me, but I struggled with long-term retention, which I’ll need going forward. Maybe Anki will help here, but again, will try it out.
 
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ismyexistenceamemeyet

resident goofball
Feb 14, 2020
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Don't buy UpToDate...your school will most likely provide it for you, along with many if not all of the textbooks.

I agree with the advice about basic equipment, except if your school requires you to have it first year for doctoring class. Our school does and we get a discount package deal during orientation.
Yes, I’m fairly sure we have institutional access for UpToDate and the prior classes tend to be very forthcoming with textbooks/PDFs/online resources, so should be good on that front. Is there a specific time when UpToDate becomes particularly useful? My school starts us out with clinical/hospital practicums in the second half of MS1, so...
 
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deleted1005514

Yes, I’m fairly sure we have institutional access for UpToDate and the prior classes tend to be very forthcoming with textbooks/PDFs/online resources, so should be good on that front. Is there a specific time when UpToDate becomes particularly useful? My school starts us out with clinical/hospital practicums in the second half of MS1, so...

This would be very school specific. I would defer to your upper classmen for advice.
 
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ismyexistenceamemeyet

resident goofball
Feb 14, 2020
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  1. Medical Student
I actually advocated for pre-studying before. Now I cannot emphasize enough, pre-studying wont help you whatsoever now that step 1 is P/F.

My recommendation is you do absolutely nothing until you start school. Maybe look into clinical research if you are gunning for something competitive.
Phew, think I’m good here. Promised myself not to pre-study anything. So far, I haven’t planned on anything too competitive.
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Yes, I’m fairly sure we have institutional access for UpToDate and the prior classes tend to be very forthcoming with textbooks/PDFs/online resources, so should be good on that front. Is there a specific time when UpToDate becomes particularly useful? My school starts us out with clinical/hospital practicums in the second half of MS1, so...

It’s been very useful for me. We do clinical reasoning sessions every module, and uptodate is clutch.
 
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