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Learn Your Learning Style to Maximize Your Med School Study Power

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?

Patient Evaluation Mnemonics For Your USMLE Prep

Dr. Ali Elsaadi and Dr. Taylor Purvis contributed to this post. 

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:

Mastering Mnemonics for the USMLE: Neuro/Psych Drugs

Dr. Brian Radvansky and Dr. Taylor Purvis contributed to this post. 

Neuro/Psych drugs! Here are some mnemonics to help get a handle on a few of the 217 neuro and psych drugs you need to know—particularly for your USMLE.

Topic: How to remember Alzheimer treatment meds

Mnemonic: “I DonTactually remember.”

So, you can’t remember which drugs can be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease? Be honest with yourself and your peers, and tell them:

Don = Donepezil, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor.
Tac = Tacrine, a sadly discontinued acetylcholinesterase inhibitor.

Mastering USMLE Mnemonics: I Get Smashed…and Then Get Pancreatitis
Med School Tutors by Med School Tutors on Apr 28, 2021 in USMLE, Mnemonics

Dr. Christopher Carrubba, Dr. Brian Radvansky, and Dr. Taylor Purvis contributed to this article.

Mastering Mnemonics: Signaling Pathways For USMLE Step 1

Dr. Christopher Carrubba and Dr. Taylor Purvis contributed to this article. 

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I missed a question regarding the signaling pathways of endocrine hormones when I was using UWorld to prepare for Step 1. At some point, I finally had the realization that this was something that I would just have to memorize.

Fortunately, I came across the following helpful mnemonics before my exam. Looking back, I think I had at least three questions on this topic. Ever since then, I have made it a point to utilize these with the students I tutor. And now, I hope they can help you as well. Enjoy!

Mastering Mnemonics: SIGECAPS & I CAN'T REST for Depression & Anxiety Screening
Med School Tutors by Med School Tutors on Apr 14, 2021 in USMLE, Mnemonics

Dr. Brian Radvansky and Dr. Taylor Purvis contributed to this post. 

Mastering Mnemonics for the USMLE: AEIOU Isn’t Just for Learning Grammar

Dr. Christopher Carrubba, Dr. Brian Radvansky, and Dr. Taylor Purvis contributed to this article.

“Why is our patient on dialysis?” If I had a dollar for every medical student that asked me this question, I could definitely afford a nice meal out with my wife. I’ve found that many students have a minimal understanding of dialysis and think that its only usage is in the care of patients with chronic kidney disease—I know I certainly did once upon a time.

How to Improve Your Working Memory for Greater Study Gains in Med School

Med school presents a lot of challenges when it comes to learning new information. More than ever, you’re expected to stuff all this information into your brain and somehow keep it all in there. The whole experience makes you feel like your head is too small to keep it all in (and my brothers used to make fun of me for having a big head). At some point, I felt like my memory was an hourglass; the more I studied, the more stuff would slip my mind.

Step Up Your USMLE Game by Playing to Your Learning Style

One of the most critical elements of anyone’s academic success is an awareness of how you learn best. Here at Med School Tutors, we tend to geek out about this quite a bit because hey, we’re excited about learning and teaching.

What we know from our 12+ years of experience — whether learning styles are “neuromyths” or not — is that there are key things that you can do to play to your strengths in these different areas as they best serve your learning, and therefore give yourself the strongest shot at retaining information in the short and long term.

For the purposes of this post, we’re going to stick to the four most commonly accepted learning style categories: Verbal, Aural, Visual and Kinetic.

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