MD & DO Most efficient study methods: tips for incoming MS1s

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by To be MD, Apr 17, 2017.

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  1. To be MD

    To be MD Med School Or Bust 5+ Year Member

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    Howdy SDN,

    There are plenty of threads about "how to study", etc., but I am a big fan of the 80/20 rule (i.e., 80% of what you need to know is 20% of the material). I read this recently: Medical School 2.0: An Unconventional Guide to Learn Faster, Ace the USMLE, and Get into Your Top Choice Residency. The summary of the book is: download Anki and make cards of only high-yield (Pathoma, etc.) topics, know what needs to be known in the syllabus to pass, and repeat. He promises you can study for 5 h/day, 5 days a week and ace med school and get a 260+ Step 1 score.

    I really don't like the sound of just studying a bunch of Anki cards for med school. So, SDN:

    What are the most efficient & effective methods (PLEASE!! Real methods) for studying in med school? I really need the help!
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2017
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  3. Every single answer you receive is as good as useless until there are measures of efficiency and effectiveness, or at the very least, measures that indicate how often the promise was delivered (i.e. 260+). It just results in people telling you what they think without any data to support the claim.
     
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  4. cj_cregg

    cj_cregg 2+ Year Member

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    This is pretty much exactly what I did. You're not "just studying a bunch of Anki cards," you're using high-yield resources like Pathoma, First Aid, Costanzo, Goljan, Sketchy, etc. and reviewing them actively and efficiently using Anki cards instead of just reading the text over and over again. And then I also did question banks right before the exam. I have comfortably passed every exam.

    A lot of students at my school have a similar method; others have other ways of doing it. That said, don't reinvent the wheel - if flash cards didn't work for you in undergrad, they probably won't now.

    And the 80/20 rule thing won't work for med school. You absolutely need to know more than 20% of the material. Darn near every word of FA is high yield.
     
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  5. To be MD

    To be MD Med School Or Bust 5+ Year Member

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    So you are in the camp of study for your classes but focus your studying on Board prep?

    I'm wondering how much I need to study out of lectures and how much to use the badA resources.

    From this book's perspective, the material you need to know is the same everywhere so you might as well just get the Pass and focus on the exam that matters. Does that speak true to you? I'll be at a 1.5 preclin school, so I feel all the more pressures to follow this game plan.
     
  6. Goro

    Goro 7+ Year Member

    This is impossible to answer because you have to find what works for you.




     
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  7. cj_cregg

    cj_cregg 2+ Year Member

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    My school has mostly NBME exams, which are basically old board questions. In a sense, studying for an NBME exam is both preparing for classes and doing board prep. So it makes sense to use board prep resources to study for these exams rather than lectures. Though I definitely missed a point here and there from an esoteric topic that was covered more in-depth in lecture than the board resources.

    The few exams that were professor written, however, I exclusively studied from lecture unless there was a concept I wasn't getting, in which case I would use an outside resource to understand better.
     
    To be MD likes this.
  8. jqueb29

    jqueb29 5+ Year Member

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    Most efficient thing by far you can do the first 2 years: watch lectures at home at double speed and don't go to class
     
    pbrocks15 likes this.
  9. To be MD

    To be MD Med School Or Bust 5+ Year Member

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    Hey Goro,

    I am trying to hear about multiple students' strategies for studying in general so that I can find what works for me. Right now, I have no idea how the hell to handle studying a "firehose of information". Recopying my notes as I did in undergrad isn't going to work... so I'm trying to hear how other people do things!
     
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  10. DocConk

    DocConk 2+ Year Member

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    I've always been a flashcard guy. I intend to ride that strategy into medical school in the fall with Anki. I'm learning its nuances a little bit right now.
     
    Save a life likes this.
  11. brenasuarus

    brenasuarus "Do you know what the chain of command is?" 2+ Year Member

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    I have to rep Anki here as well, especially making your own cards (since that is a huge part of the learning process). I think using Anki for your classes, while having a copy of FA and Pathoma open by your side to correlate with what you're learning (& making cards for what's in there but may not be in your classes) is the most effective way to study for medical school. However, I think it's rather inefficient in the short-term if you're extremely thorough about it. I spend a lot of time making sure I understand the material, making very detailed cards, and reviewing those cards every day. I'm in the front of the pack of my class, but I know that I spend quite a bit more time studying than most of my peers. I also know that this super-detailed, super-thorough study technique doesn't work for everyone. If some of my peers who are at the top of the class switched to my study style and I switched to theirs, we would probably both end up at the bottom.

    I think it comes down to knowing how you learn the material best, and figuring out the best methods that complement that. When entering medical school, be flexible - your first block/semester might be a time where you adapt many of your study styles from undergrad. However, you should also trust yourself - I found that I already knew 90% of how I study best from my time in undergrad, and trying to radically switch things up for medical school was actually counter-productive for me. It's mostly been fine-tuning for me ever since.

    If you're going for efficiency, I think the advice of sticking with high-yield materials is a good one. You might also want to check out Firecracker since it was premade cards and can save you a lot of time there. Just be aware that efficiency and efficacy don't go hand-in-hand for every learning style. If efficiency is your end goal, you might have to be OK with not knowing everything that's asked of you on your school exams.
     
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  12. Affiche

    Affiche SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    I can tell you right now that is very, very bad advice.

    You will not get very far knowing only 20% of material in medical school, unless you're trying to fail out. I also really want to advise against the mindset of entering medical school already trying to learn the bare minimum, as you really should be trying to learn as much as possible.

    What's worked for me is to focus more on course textbooks, pathoma, sketchy and first aid (I'm in systems) and to put everything into Anki. I really focus on concepts when making my cards, and will outline or draw out any major ideas that are too "big picture" to fully appreciate in a card. About ~10-14 days before an exam I go through all my cards, go through question banks, then review anything I need to, including my drawings and outlines of major concepts/ideas.

    I'm not sure how long this will take...I don't count my study hours and I don't even want to know what that number would look like. But, I have plenty of time to play sports, drink with friends, get enough sleep, and keep my grades where I want them.
     
  13. Goro

    Goro 7+ Year Member

    Fair enough....read this too:

    Goro’s guide to success in medical school-v.2016

     
  14. DatInterviewDood

    DatInterviewDood

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    I have a feeling I'll probably do this, but it makes me sad because I've always enjoyed going to lecture. I also worry I'll get ultra lonely studying solo all day


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile app
     
  15. XxThaDoggxX

    XxThaDoggxX 2+ Year Member

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    For the most part I second this. Especially if you have been learning the physiology from a solid outside resource prior to watching the lectures...Only reason I watch is to make sure I'm not missing gimme-questions on the exams--some schools really love to emphasize concepts that may seem completely pointless when you read them in a book.
     
  16. Huggy

    Huggy

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    Stopped going to lectures halfway through undergrad so I don't assume I'll go back in med school.

    What resources do you recommend for Physiology? BRS Physiology?
     
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  17. cj_cregg

    cj_cregg 2+ Year Member

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    I like Costanzo. BRS Physio and Costanzo are by the same author, so BRS is basically a bullet point outline of Costanzo. I find the full text to be a little better for my learning style/needs - the full text takes longer to read, but I usually "get it" better so I don't need to spend as much time reviewing. But some people just do BRS.
     
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  18. YoungDoc25

    YoungDoc25

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    Learned best in undergrad doing practice questions, so I don't really anticpate making cards for everything on anki. I'm in a systems based curriculum, so I'm interested in finding a qbank or something similar to benefit me. From what I've been able to read, it sounds like FC and usmlerx might be a good fit. I have Costanzo which seems to have a decent amount of questions too. Any ideas/opinions?
     
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  19. Affiche

    Affiche SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    Keep an open mind.

    I thought I wouldn't make many Anki cards either, but there's something about the sheer volume and pace of material that makes it work really well for me as a medical student. I'm particularly bad at cramming, but being able to look at a lecture once, summarize everything in my own words and place it in a card, then cram it back in my head 3 weeks and 60 lectures later seems to just be the best way for me to absorb things quickly the second time around.

    FC is crap, though ;)
     
  20. YoungDoc25

    YoungDoc25

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    Seems like everyone either swears by FC or absolutely hates it :laugh: thank god for that 30 day trial to see if I can love it! I think I could make my own flashcards for a couple of months, but I'm about 99% sure I'll get lazy with it and screw myself over
     
  21. cj_cregg

    cj_cregg 2+ Year Member

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    FC and Rx are kind of different animals. FC is basically Anki with pre-made cards - it's a spaced repetition program. Rx (and Kaplan and UWorld) are qbanks with exam-style multiple choice questions and clinical vignettes and stuff where you just go through the questions once or twice. Pretty much everybody in my class uses Rx and Kaplan for organ blocks, in addition to whatever memorization/learning strategy they use (Anki, FC, reading, outlining, etc.).
     
  22. YoungDoc25

    YoungDoc25

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    I think that's kind of what I was leaning towards. I'm going to do the FC free trial and see how I like it. I tried writing notecards in undergrad and hated it. Ended up buying pre-made cards or finding as many questions in books as I could. Just wasn't sure how feasible that was to do in med school since 99% of people on here enjoy making their own cards.
     
  23. Affiche

    Affiche SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    Lol I don't think any of us "enjoys" making cards...it's a pain in the ass. But, it's a bigger pain in the ass to have a final in two days and realize the pre-made cards you've been using are complete crap :laugh:
     
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  24. YoungDoc25

    YoungDoc25

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    Haha! Touché!
     
  25. mistafab

    mistafab

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    Best student I know in my class makes cards while watching lectures, and then anki rolls through material for 6 hours a day

    You can get by doing anything else - infact you can be pretty successful (bruh- I am living the life). The best, however, are doing the most work. Period. Do the most work with the method you choose and you will be successful.

    Edit: At this level of the game - everyone is smart. You do the best by working harder than your peers.
     
  26. farmboy435

    farmboy435

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    I am an incoming first year... I feel like just adjusting to med school will be a big enough challenge, but I also really like the idea of trying to stay on top of creating high-yield anki cards as I go along.

    What have you found to be the best way to learn the ins and outs of Anki? Will I even have time to worry about anki for the first bit of med school?
     
  27. Fission Chips

    Fission Chips

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    I have to put a plug in here for Boron and Boulpaep. I found BRS extremely useful for cardio, not as much with respiratory. Boron does a great job explaining the physical sciences underlying why things happen.
     
  28. Moose A Moose

    Moose A Moose 7+ Year Member

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    Lecture material
    Netters
    Wiki
    Up to date
    Medscape

    Repetition.
     
  29. kb1900

    kb1900

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    I'm surprised no one in this thread mentioned bros deck...

    The school I will be matriculating at uses nbme exams as their preclinical assessments. I suck at making high-yield cards in Anki and typically throw in every single bit of minutiae. Is simply going through a premade deck like bros after watching lectures -> reading supplementary texts -> and then adding in cards for details I think might be important a reasonable approach (at least in the beginning?)
     
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  30. cj_cregg

    cj_cregg 2+ Year Member

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    I personally like making my own Anki cards because it forces me to learn the material better, but that seems like a reasonable plan if you're confident you can accurately assess/facilitate your own learning before going through the cards. I'm using the Bros deck now for step review and it's helpful as long as you have the big picture concepts down.
     
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  31. kb1900

    kb1900

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    Very reassuring. Thank you!
     
  32. Frogger27

    Frogger27

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    I am going to try the FC free trial at the beginning of M1 too and see if I like it. I love the idea of having pre-made, high yield (for boards) cards and would not mind spending 1-2 hours a day on them. The part I am struggling with is if I switch to Anki, how do you delineate what is high yield/not of lecture material? I feel like Anki is great to do in preparation for your classes, but FC is better for board prep. I would hate spending a ton of time on making Anki cards where 75% of them end up being low yield and not effective for long term studying. Am I missing something here?
     
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  33. YoungDoc25

    YoungDoc25

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    The best advice I've seen on this is to pull cards from the bros deck relevant to what you're studying, and then fill the gaps with what your professor seems to stress in lecture/slides that's not harped on in bros.
     
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  34. cj_cregg

    cj_cregg 2+ Year Member

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    If your school's exams are professor written, I highly recommend making your cards based on your lectures, but glancing through a board review text like First Aid to see what's important, pick up a couple mnemonics, clarify stuff you don't get, etc. My school has some prof-written exams (anatomy, basic sciences, etc.) and some NBME exams (organ blocks), so I made Anki cards from lectures for the former and FA, Pathoma, Sketchy, Costanzo, etc. for the latter. I felt like that strategy limited extraneous info.
     
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  35. Frogger27

    Frogger27

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    I believe my school has weekly/bi-weekly tests that are professor written, with the final in each block will be an NBME test. First two blocks are molecular and cellular medicine and then after that does system/organ blocks. How would you approach this if this was your curriculum?
     
  36. Frogger27

    Frogger27

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    That seems like a solid plan... pull cards from Bros that will cover the "board relevant" material and then fill in the gaps with whatever is needed for the given test
     
  37. Affiche

    Affiche SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    Most of what you're doing in preclinicals is learning the information, not reviewing it. For this reason, textbooks and/or lectures will beat board materials every single time. Board materials are supposed to be for review, not first-pass learning. If you look at FA and Pathoma, they're bullet-pointed outlines of material, and FC is a compilation of FA/Pathoma. I like FA and Pathoma because they quickly guide my focus and really help streamline learning, but ultimately, I always end up going back through textbooks or course notes to actually learn everything. I have the same issue with Bro's- it's an excellent tool for reviewing, but you need to have the foundation established for it to be useful.

    My Anki cards have everything from FA, Pathoma, Sketchy, and Costanzo, but each card has a lot more detail on it to make sure I grasp the whole concept. I think I use Anki differently than most people though, as I don't use them to make questions and they usually much longer + have images.

    @mistafab hit the nail on the head. If you want to do well, you're going to have to work for it.
     
  38. cj_cregg

    cj_cregg 2+ Year Member

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    Ugh, weekly tests sound awful. I would probably do whatever I needed to do to learn the material from the lectures alone for the prof written exam, then after each exam, pull relevant cards from FC or Bros to review until the NBME. However, this is based on what works for me personally in terms of my studying/learning style and my limited understanding of your curriculum and what your tests are like.

    And this goes for all of you M0s: just because something works for one of us or one of your upperclassmen, doesn't mean it will work for you. You will get the best advice from an upperclassman at your school who has a similar learning style. I have one or two upperclassmen at my school who I chat with about studying because we all prefer reading, spaced repetition flashcards, and practice questions to learn/review, and we like the same texts and resources. Everybody else's study strategy I take with a grain of salt.
     
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  39. Frogger27

    Frogger27

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    @Affiche I have no problem with putting in 8-10 hours a day working hard (I'm used to working a full-time job of 60+ hour weeks). I just want to make sure that my time is used efficiently and that the ~8+ hours a day I am putting in isn't really equal to ~4 hours when it comes to yield. That's why I find it very useful to listen to all you guys talk about what worked/doesn't work for you. I know that FA/pathoma are high yield board material, so that is a major draw for FC. Although I know that is all for nil if you don't develop a good base in your classes. It sounds like your Anki cards are pretty thorough though and that may be an approach I end up trying.

    @cj_cregg I am thinking of using FC for 1-2 hours a day to review the relevant material and then the rest of the day making/reviewing anki cards to go along with my lectures to prepare me for the tests. I am not sure if using both would be recommended though. Guess I'll just have to wait and talk to people who have gone through my curriculum
     
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  40. cj_cregg

    cj_cregg 2+ Year Member

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    I personally don't know anybody who uses both FC and Anki simultaneously - it seems like a lot. But I also don't know anybody who's studying for NBME and prof written exams at the same time. So yeah, I'd talk with your upperclassmen and see what some of them do. Good luck!
     
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  41. 510586

    510586 2+ Year Member

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    For you ankiers, are you making cards for everything from the lectures or just bolded words or what? Also, what are your increments (easy, medium, hard) by hours/days? In undergrad for biochem it worked well b/c there wasn't as much info but not so much for say phys where we had pretty much only textbook as our guide. Also one of my problems was reviewing too often (easy medium hard increments may be 2 hrs, 1 day, 2-3 day) and ending up having like 800 cards for one subject in one day. Any tips?
     
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  42. sovereign0

    sovereign0 2+ Year Member

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    It's not the straightforward answer you're looking for, but both of these things are something you'll get a feel for with time. I started Anki a couple weeks into med school and when I look back at my old cards (just for fun, I don't review them), I'm always amazed at how much my card-making strategy has changed and improved. I usually end up with 20-40 cards per contact hour, with some subjects being more and others being less. If you're having 800 cards to study in one day, you very well could be making too many cards.

    Your increments will also change depending on what your timeframe is. The intervals are less important than other settings like new cards / max reviews etc. I have different deck settings for Bros, school blocks while we are still getting new material, and a "cram" option for when I wanna blow through my cards in a day or two before an exam.
     
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  43. 510586

    510586 2+ Year Member

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    Do you make them from the entire PowerPoint or pick and choose depending on what you think is important? I prefer just making a bunch and studying cards solo while studying a few pictures or graphs on the side
     
  44. sovereign0

    sovereign0 2+ Year Member

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    The important things within the entire powerpoint. You'll get a feel for what is important and what is worth making a card for. In med school the volume is too much to be able to study/memorize entire powerpoints. Even if not in med school, Anki isn't really meant for that kind of thing. Like I said, once you start and get a feel for the material, you'll realize that even if you had the time to ankify a whole PowerPoint, there wouldn't be any benefit to doing so. It's unnecessary.
     
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  45. 510586

    510586 2+ Year Member

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    Alright thanks. I read on these forums that since people are all good students in med school, to make it so not everyone is getting 90+, they test a lot on minutiae. That's why I was thinking it would be important to ankify everything.
     
  46. AshNiffler

    AshNiffler 2+ Year Member

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    Flash cards and notes don't work for me. I found it easier to read big textbooks- just read them. If there's time I read a chapter a couple of times if there isn't, just once (pathology textbook). At the beginning of each semester I'd download 2-3 textbooks for each subject and stick with the most useful ones down the line. Because of my passive reading style I needed to do questions as well. The lippincott question and answer books are decent. I got uworld after the first semester but I started reading first aid really late, like towards the end of MS2. In retrospect I would do it all again the same way.
     
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  47. Umyo

    Umyo 2+ Year Member

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    Profiled
     
  48. neuroguy91

    neuroguy91 2+ Year Member

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    In undergrad, I found that just listening during lectures (and asking questions - is this appropriate in med school lectures?) and reading the textbook thoroughly helped me the most; for MCAT prep, adding questions and review books like examcrackers and Kaplan helped a lot. What sort of resources would you suggest in the way of these review books (maybe just for ms2) and questions? Just lipincott and uworld? I've certainly also heard first aid and pathoma bandied about a lot on SDN, and I'm not super worried about having enough review books; I'm more interested in finding good question banks to help me assess my strengths and weaknesses.

    Thank you in advance!
     
  49. wanderingorion

    wanderingorion 2+ Year Member

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    I feel like this should be an automatic response to any thread with the word "study" in the title.
     
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  50. AshNiffler

    AshNiffler 2+ Year Member

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    Because I read the textbooks for pathology (Rubin/Robbins) I never needed pathoma. You have to personalize your own studying and tailor it to your abilities. I'm sure it would take less time getting through one chapter of pathoma versus a chapter in Robbins or Rubins. As for the questions if you can afford to get uworld, get it, it's unquestionably the best resource when it comes to questions. I'm not sure about the quality of the lectures at your school. I'm going to school in the Caribbean so it's self study all the way- I personally prefer that anyway. Hope that helps
     
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  51. littlecow

    littlecow

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    Is there a guide on 'how' to make good, effective, cards? I feel like I wouldn't make great cards either cramming too much or making too many cards on unnecessary stuff or cards with too little info...
     
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