Med School Study Tips

Awhile back there was a thread about study tips for med school. I am starting school in the fall and I know this is early but I wanted to read up on the tips that were posted. Someone mentioned studying from board review books right away as opposed to text books and they also mentioned a set of board review books that were especially helpful. Does anyone know where this thread is or what board books were mentioned? Thanks!

Hi there,
There are a couple of things that you should do at this point: First, you review for Board Exams and you STUDY for your classes. You can’t REVIEW what you haven’t learned in the first place so a review book before you start medical school is largely a waste of time and can end up being confusing.
Second, you need to look over any materials that your school has sent. If they recommend for you to review something specific from your undergraduate coursework before school starts, then review that material. If your school offers a Prematriculation course, take advantage of this option. You will get valuable information and a brief introduction to whatever your curriculum will be.
Most entering medical students will be assigned to an upperclassman advisor. This person will contact you and will provide information on what you need for classwork. Depending on how your curriculum is organized (PBL, systems based,discipline based, intergrated), will set your study style. Having a whole stack of review books will be pretty useless if your curriculum is strictly PBL for example. You are going to have to wait to find out exactly what you need.
We did post a list of resources of USMLE Step I and Step II. Again, these will change as you go through your particular curriculum. Your best information is going to come from your upperclassmen at your school. Most student organizations keep a updated list of good books to have for each school and will make sure that the entering freshmen have a copy.
Use this time to get your life in order such as finances, finding a place to live etc. You can’t start working on these things too early. You can do some outside reading such as Howard Carter’s book called " A Season in the Gross Anatomy Lab". Books that give a perspective on being a medical student are pretty good. You may also want to acquire the most recent copy of “First Aid for USMLE Step I”. This book gives a list and review of recently published review books. You don’t want to start memorizing First Aid at this point, because you can’t review what you havn’t learned in the first place.
Watch some movies, rent some videos, read some trashy novels, get in good physical and aerobic condition. These are things that may take a “back seat” once you start school. Again, get you life on a schedule where you can get some aerobic exercise at least three to five times per week. Perfusing your brain with blood and keeping yourself healthy will help you far more at this point, than anything else.
If you have lots of free time, shadow a physician in your speciality of interest. This will help you to start thinking like a physician. Learn some practical things like the proper way to take a blood pressure, how to interview a patient and write a medical history, how to present a patient. Taking a good history is learning how to listen to what the patient is telling you. You don’t need to know how to do a physical exam, just how to take a history and present your findings. You can’t learn this too soon.
Otherwise, enjoy this time. Once school starts, you will reqret wasting this time on trying to get a head-start on studying.

Natalie is absolutely right about using this time to rest, exercise, clean up finances, have some fun, find a place to live, etc. I know that is exactly what I am trying to do as I pack up my house and get ready for our move to West Virginia on March 1. We were lucky to find the perfect place to live, and now all I want to do is get there!
However, once there, and maybe a little bit already, I am beginning to review some textbooks passed down to me by Nat herself, along with a medical terminology book that WVSOM requires you to have read before classes begin. But, most of all, I am using these to keep my mind alert and to establish a study habit. Right now I am getting up at 5 and studying until 7, then doing what I have to do during the day (including having some fun!), and then again studying for 3-4 hours in the late afternoon/evening. I figure if I have the study habit firmly entrenched before school begins, it will make the transition much easier.
This is probably not necessary for everyone, but for me I think it will work best!
Good luck to all those accepted to the Class of 2007!

Hi, I'm going to put up another perspective, and hope I don't get slammed too much. I agree with Natalie that it is very important to get your life in order and to take care of having a place to live and having your logistics taken care of, and certainly go to Orientation or the like. However, beyond that I would not do any medical school pre-studying. I thought I should, too, last year. Now in February of my first year I am doing fine, but I am very tired and med school takes such a huge chunk of life, that I desperately wish I had spent more time last summer before starting just relaxing. I don't think you need to shadow or learn clinical skills now- you're going to be taught it the way your school wants it done, and you'll spend lots of time on it then. Depending on your school, you may be doing shadowing as well. I'd spend this time simply taking care of yourself, spending time with family and friends and strengthening those relationships, and, if necessary working. You will be emotionally and mentally challenged and taxed your first year- go into it fresh, rested, and eager to start studying.
Just two bits from a very tired, so perhaps not so coherent, first year student. (Three more exams until our week off, and counting).

Epidoc, you took the words right out of my mouth. Anyone who has successfully done their prereqs and studied for the MCAT knows how to study well enough to be able to manage in med school. As I usually say, “whatever floats your boat,” but I also would not advocate studying prior to school. There is SO MUCH you are going to have to study, and you won’t have any idea if the stuff you’ve done ahead of time is focused right for med school.
i think it’s natural for us geezers to feel a little insecure, a little worried about whether we can keep up - the answer is, you can - you already have. Yes, you have to work your butt off once you’re in med school, but if you didn’t already know how to do that, you wouldn’t have gotten in! I realize that’s kind of circular logic but anyway…
I can think of four non-trads who started out with me who have dropped back a year in their pursuit of their M.D. In NONE of the cases did their non-trad status give them difficulties. Rather, they encountered life complications that could happen to anyone - but may be more likely to befall a non-trad who may have more family concerns or financial worries… or even personal health issues that are more likely (as we know) with, ahem, advanced age.
Again, however you feel comfortable getting ready for med school is fine… but I would focus on the family, finance, and fun issues myself! laugh.gif

I agree with everyone here. You can't possibly understand this material UNTIL you have gone thru it in class or from assigned topics.
I can't wait to actually get into a FT program because I'll be breezin thru it except for Gross. One advantage to doing this program. One disadvantage…unless I go to Miami or Nova I'll be doin some of it AGIN…ugh.