If any subject needed the high-yield teased out of it, oncology would be the one. We go through medical school under the repeated mantra that, “You don’t need to know chemotherapy regimens,” and this leaves us wondering…”Well, what do I need to know then?”
The pursuit of a healthy work/life balance in medical school can seem like an impossible goal. Many of us are torn between juggling heavy workloads, academic studies, managing relationship/family responsibilities, and squeezing in outside interests. More than one in four Americans describe themselves as “super stressed.” That’s not balanced—or healthy.
Most of us have probably read or seen reports of individuals who have what can only be described as a freakishly robust memory. We hear, for instance, of a so-called “memory athlete” who needs only 15 seconds to retain the order of a well-shuffled deck of cards, or who can memorize a random sequence of 4,500 numbers in an hour. We then wonder, while letting out a great sigh, how much easier medical school would be if only we, too, could perform such remarkable feats of recollection.
This post was originally written by Zach Davidson and has since been updated by the Med School Tutors team.
I remember the pure joy of realizing I could now pursue my dream of becoming a doctor, the acceptance phone call I got from the dean of admissions followed by the excitement of telling my friends and family. But as my school start date crept towards me, anxious thoughts started to swirl in my mind. How would I possibly learn the sheer volume of material that I would soon face?
A few questions I often get from students are along the lines of, “what’s the best way to memorize the signs of symptoms of this disease?” or something like, “what’s a quick mnemonic I can rely on for all the adverse effects of this drug?” Now, before I answer this, I must say I have always been a bit wary of using mnemonics (I’m looking at you First Aid and your infamous “Most chronic alcoholics Steal Phen Phen and Never Refuse Greasy Carbs/SICKFACES.COM” nonsense), but things changed for me during dedicated USMLE prep when I realized that, just like everything else in life, you can find a diamond in the rough when it comes to these clever ways of learning content.
Here are a few USMLE mnemonics and how you can learn from them/use them to your advantage in ruling out incorrect answers in a question stem:
Dr. Ali Elsaadi contributed to this post.
Are you wondering how to make the most efficient use of your time to succeed on coursework and achieve high USMLE scores in the first and second year of medical school?
One of the most challenging parts of studying is sitting for so many hours without using your phone, getting up to go to the bathroom, having a snack, or even just zoning out.
It’s close to impossible to sit in front of a computer or book for 4-6 hours straight without getting distracted. The good news is that you can use those distractions to your advantage and seamlessly incorporate them into your study plan to maximize your effective study time.
Here are 10 study tips for success during your preclinical years:
It’s common to feel a variety of emotions when leaving the testing center after taking the USMLE Step 1 exam. Some students will be overwhelmed with fear that they failed. Others may continuously replay questions over and over again in their head. Some students may feel a sense of elation that the grueling test in behind them. I myself was overwhelmed with emotion. Not necessarily because I thought I failed, as I really didn’t know how I felt about the difficulty of the exam, but rather because I realized that the test really wasn’t that bad. It was at that moment that I knew I wanted to help other students tackle the beast that is step 1. I had spent so many weeks and months obsessing over the exam, losing sleep, almost tearfully dragging myself to the library each day. But the moment I left the testing center, I truly realized this was just an exam. It doesn’t define me or any other test taker as a person, and it’s not worth months of turmoil worrying about.
The pomodoro technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980’s as a way to improve focus and efficiency. "Pomodoro" is Italian for "tomato," and the study method is named after traditional tomato-shaped kitchen timers.
At first, the endocrine system doesn’t come across as a super important one. Without a big sexy organ (like a heart, brain, or lungs) to rally behind, it is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. However, inside your body, hormones keep the train moving. The health of your patients depends on such an exquisite balance of hormones that are easy to take for granted. That is, until they get out of balance, and we suffer the effects.
One issue I find most students struggle a bit with when studying is revisiting old material. There never seems to be a good time to go back to your old lectures to brush up on the basics of physiology, pathology, pharmacology or even your favorite topic, biochemistry! How can you make sure to squeeze in that crucial extra review needed to solidify old concepts without falling behind on the new ones? Here are a few tips on how to incorporate old material into your day to day and why it’s necessary to do so.