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  #1  
Old 10-08-2014
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Default The Secret Study Skill for the USMLE that No One is Telling You

The Secret Study Skill for the USMLE that No One is Telling You

(Originally posted on the Med School Tutors blog.)

One of the highest obstacles to overcome when approaching medical school curriculum is dealing with the astronomical volume of information that you’re expected to memorize. At MST, we speak a lot about the importance of selecting appropriate resources, building detailed schedules and utilizing study aids such as flashcards. All of these are imperative for any student planning to maximize efficiency and score high on Step 1.

However, many of our students come to us expecting far more than structure. They want to know the “secrets” – the things you cannot find in some forgotten corner of the Internet. What they’re really asking, I think, is, “Please help me think like you do so that I can not only memorize this information, but use it effectively.” If you’ve already taken NBME or USMLE exams, you are familiar with the concept of two- and three-part questions. It is rarely enough to simply know the anti-pseudomonal antibiotics.

Here’s what you’re more likely to encounter:
  • A clinical vignette of a young child with recurrent pneumonia
  • Signs of abnormal digestion, such as high stool fat content or fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies
  • At this point, the question assumes you’re on the “cystic fibrosis’ page
  • This means they’re assuming you know that pseudomonas commonly causes pneumonia in patients with cystic fibrosis
  • Now they’ll ask about the antibiotic
Whew! That’s a lot of work to get one question right. If you’re thinking about the way in which your First Aid is organized, you’ll realize that you have to pull information from the genetics, microbiology, gastrointestinal and respiratory sections to get this single question right.

Apart from doing hundreds and hundreds of questions, how should you prepare for multi-step questions by reading and making flashcards alone?

My answer is: You shouldn’t.

You should be building “thought webs.”

What is a thought web? Find out here.
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The above post was thanked by:
Arhtur liu (03-09-2015), Bolzy (01-29-2015), DrMichael (12-28-2014), DrThea (03-11-2015), Garciarussell (11-29-2014), hamza khan (01-12-2015), Idrees Khan (01-03-2015), Queenie (11-24-2014), SassyPineapples (02-07-2015), signet_ring (12-04-2014), ssmaraa (12-05-2014), Sun33 (12-27-2014), zarifa (03-04-2015)



  #2  
Old 11-29-2014
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I really like your approach to questions using the UW Journal method. Thank you for posting this information. I recommended that my friends visit your blog.

I really like the journaling method. Thus far I have made a list of questions that I go over each night. Do you have a resource with lists of question journal entries? I'd like to share the ones that I made and swap stories if possible.

So far I've been integrating FA, UW, Kap, and any other resource I can get my hands on into this method.

Do you have any advice on how to integrate experimental or calculation type questions?

Thanks again! I am eager to read your future posts!
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Old 12-16-2014
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Great really thanks. I like your approach.
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  #4  
Old 12-19-2014
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Thank you for your feedback! To answer your question: We generally think that calculation questions are less "linkable" to other topics compared to conceptual or pathophys. What we typically recommend for students trying to be integrative in their approach to calculation questions is that they do a USMLE World search for a type of calculation, I.e. Search for "sensitivity" or "positive predictive value." This will introduce the student to all the different ways these questions are asked. Then they can make a single sheet with various examples. This can be very helpful - and most people don't think to do this. The caveat is you need to have completed most of the questions or else they won't be searchable. Hope that helps. Let us know if you have any other questions, and good luck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garciarussell View Post
I really like your approach to questions using the UW Journal method. Thank you for posting this information. I recommended that my friends visit your blog.

I really like the journaling method. Thus far I have made a list of questions that I go over each night. Do you have a resource with lists of question journal entries? I'd like to share the ones that I made and swap stories if possible.

So far I've been integrating FA, UW, Kap, and any other resource I can get my hands on into this method.

Do you have any advice on how to integrate experimental or calculation type questions?

Thanks again! I am eager to read your future posts!
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  #5  
Old 03-10-2015
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Nice, clear and vivid. Thanks for the insight
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