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  #1  
Old 09-10-2010
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USMLE Books Should we read full textbooks or just review books?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Kal_El View Post
I think you forgot the most important of Anatomy texts, Keith L. Moore Gross anatomy, its longer than most, but truly an AMAAAAZING textbook, I don't need to review any anatomy after i got done with that and made my own notes.....its soooo clinically oriented!
Are you joking? Nobody is going to read a 1000+ page book on just Anatomy for step. Might as well read big Robbins but even no one with sense will do that.
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Old 09-10-2010
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Originally Posted by rankin View Post
Are you joking? Nobody is going to read a 1000+ page book on just Anatomy for step. Might as well read big Robbins but even no one with sense will do that.
yes i'm joking because usually when you go through med school you read 1000+ page books, besides I never said read the whole thing AGAIN! there's a reason KLM has clinical BLUE BOXES! work smart not hard, remember?

I did forget that most people over here don't use common sense! rankin is right PLEASE don't read the WHOLE BOOK over AGAIN!
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Originally Posted by Dr_Kal_El View Post
yes i'm joking because usually when you go through med school you read 1000+ page books, besides I never said read the whole thing AGAIN! there's a reason KLM has clinical BLUE BOXES! work smart not hard, remember?

I did forget that most people over here don't use common sense! rankin is right PLEASE don't read the WHOLE BOOK over AGAIN!
Reading only the blue boxes of Moore isn't really common sense, its more a selective strategy. When someone says 'a certain book' is good I usually think oh, the book in its entirety is good to read not select portions.

Even in med school I would never read the entire Moore. Its a waste of time. Its more of a reference text like Robbins and I'm not trying to insult Moore, he was my Professor's boss/predecessor when I was doing undergrad anatomy. I know hes great... but we are not anatomists were are physicians.
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Old 10-08-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rankin View Post
Reading only the blue boxes of Moore isn't really common sense, its more a selective strategy. When someone says 'a certain book' is good I usually think oh, the book in its entirety is good to read not select portions.

Even in med school I would never read the entire Moore. Its a waste of time. Its more of a reference text like Robbins and I'm not trying to insult Moore, he was my Professor's boss/predecessor when I was doing undergrad anatomy. I know hes great... but we are not anatomists were are physicians.
you're right, why the hell do we study anatomy, embryology, histology, biochemistry, pharmacology, physiology and pathology......we should start out with Davidson and Surgical Basis.....we're physicians not anatomists, histologists, biochemists, pharmacologists, physiologists, or pathologists!

*thumbs up* here's to hoping that you're gonna be a great physician! wish you nothing but the best!

btw just curious how far along are you in med school?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Kal_El View Post
you're right, why the hell do we study anatomy, embryology, histology, biochemistry, pharmacology, physiology and pathology......we should start out with Davidson and Surgical Basis.....we're physicians not anatomists, histologists, biochemists, pharmacologists, physiologists, or pathologists!

*thumbs up* here's to hoping that you're gonna be a great physician! wish you nothing but the best!

btw just curious how far along are you in med school?
Obviously you took my post in the complete wrong way.

Of course you need a strong basis in the basic sciences. But does that mean anatomy is as equally important as Pathology? No. Is histology of equal critical significance as pharmacology... again the answer is no. Does that mean we neglect these topics.. again no. But we sure as hell don't start going to 1000 page book on such low yield topics. Hell even Robbins is a reference text for pathologists and if your going to read a 1000+ page book your better off with Robbins than something like Clinically oriented anatomy.

Now I'm assuming you are not from the North American or Caribbean med system so maybe your schooling and education has a different focus. I can't comment on that. What I can say is that in the very brief time of 2 years we have to study a vast amount of critical basic sciences information we are obligated to focus on each topic in proportion to its clinical (and of course step 1) significance. Hence we can't go on reading a 1000 page book on embryology or basic molecular biology because pathology, pharm, biochem and other topics are waiting and time is ticking. We even can't study 1000+ page books in these areas as well because there just isn't enough time. We have to focus instead of what our school teaches and trust them to guide us in showing us what is important for us to know going into step 1 and going into the hospitals.

Does this mean we do only powerpoints and nothing else? Of course not. This is the whole reason there are texts that are designed specifically for doing tests, shelf exams and the step. BRS, RR etc. These are the books to supplement and crystallize our medical understanding. Not only are they concise and allow us to learn a great deal in a short amount of time but they are extremely relevant and thus are more likely to give you information that will ensure success instead of getting bogged down in irrelevant topics designed more for Grad students and PhDs. Of course after our MD as we move forward with greater and greater residencies and fellowships we will of course delve back deeper. But by then we have a lot more time to work as we wish and we have proven ourselves already in terms of tests and interviews.

Does all this mean that we have to be ignorant to everything that's not on step 1? No of course not. But we have to be careful what we are studying so our time is managed and so we can be successful in our first 2 years of basic sciences.

As far as where I am... I am far enough to know the above is correct.
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  #6  
Old 10-08-2010
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Originally Posted by rankin View Post
Obviously you took my post in the complete wrong way.... I am far enough to know the above is correct.
I'm from a caribbean med school also bud, and let me tell you something, med school doesn't teach you 1/2 of what you need to know for even the step 1, and rightly so, you're in a professional University now, you are expected to connect the dots by further understanding. And I completely disagree with your point that you can't read a 1000 pg book in 2 semesters then honestly I believe you're doing a disservice to yourself and your future patients, Again let me reiterate the fact that these forums are NOT ONLY read by ppl who are preparing for the step 1 right NOW, they are read by a lot of ppl who just started med school and are in their 1st semester.

Advocating review books is common among med students, but again it needs thorough understanding of the basics, even for my step 1 prep I've gone through the first 10 chaps in Robbins already, obviously my understanding of the rest is going to come mostly from Goljan, but I would advise that you look up how many discrepancies are there within FA, UW and Goljan (1 says this is most common, the other says that is more common), so which 1 do you trust? There's threads on here about them, you don't need to go far back in time to see them actually.

Obviously you would not be looking at KLM if you have a decent grasp of anatomy itself, but I really don't believe that going over blue boxes will take more time than reading BRS anatomy (which doesn't even have 1/2 the clinical anatomy tested on the step), needless to say that this argument is baseless that you can't go through 1000pg book in med school, you signed up to come to med school, why sell yourself short? I mean to say that do we believe that doing only review books will make us better doctors? the answer in short is No. What do you plan on doing during rotations? not reading all the text books? b/c honestly you wouldn't have time to read 1000pg medical or surgical texts! Time is made, not given.

But every1 is entitled to their own opinions, and I would rather spend my time even skimming some text first and then read the review rather than take a chance of not knowing enough, I would rather OVERKILL for this exam than to sit there and say, "maybe I should have looked it over"

btw just curious, what do think about FA? An Excellent review book right? so why would you do extra material especially things that FA lacks in (Neuro, microbio, genetics)? Selective strategy? lol

good luck!
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Old 10-09-2010
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First of all, if you wish to read 1000+ page texts on each subject you study then I commend you. This is certainly a great feat and you must be a very fast and good reader. However for the vast majority of students (especially in the caribbean where its a cut-throat atmosphere and you are always fighting to prove yourself) this is not very practical.

I strongly disagree with your contention that by not reading 1000+ page books we are 'selling ourselves short' and essentially not being good doctors or being inferior doctors or doing a disservice to patients etc. Nothing could be further from the truth. As I said if you can read 1000+ pages and retain everything with perfect clarity then you are in the minority but certainly someone who will easily achieve 270+ on steps and get a high residency. The reality is very few people can attain such feats. Thus among the majority of students I think reading 1000+ page book actually does a disservice to your future and sells yourself short as you would say because it dilutes the critical and important facts from the more mundane things that are not clinically relevant and that no one (including specialists and fellows) even care about.

Its good that you are at a caribb school. Im curious, which one or at the very least can you tell me if your at 1 of the big 4? SGU, SABA, ROSS, AUC? Talking to my friends who are in this situation I find that when you go to lesser known schools the curriculum is much easier and has a lot less pressure and A LOT more self-study. But this is the reason such schools have lower USMLE pass rates. These students feet are not held to the fire so to speak so they slack or maybe just prepare incorrectly. The reason I mention it is it makes sense that at these schools you can easily read 1000+ page volumes because you have a lot more time and a lot less pressure from the school itself.

At my school as I said before the pressure is intense and you have to know what you have to know and do it in a timely manner or your screwed. Some students can read huge volumes but the vast majority do not have time. Also as for your view that the school teaches you not even 50% for step 1 I think this is utterly false for my school. I would say my schools prep was excellent and went well beyond what the step demands. In fact using review courses/texts would probably cover only part of what my schools basic science curriculum covers. So again are you at a lesser known school because as I said less teaching is a common complaint I here from many of my friends at these schools.

Perhaps this is a reason you are a proponent of reading large volumes? Your school is just not teaching you everything you should know.

As for FA 2010 you seem to be putting words in my mouth by answering your own question directed to me. Yes I think FA is an excellent book but I think it is merely a high yield framework with which you have to add more substance in the form of other books and Q banks. In fact many people find that mastering USMLE world (and adding to FA2010 from those answers) as well as mastering FA is basically all you need to do very well on Step. In fact many people have done this and if you google it you will see it.

I wanted to add 1 final thing. Notice how the USMLE forum staff did not add large volumes to the best books poll thread (such as moore). Are they too selling themselves short?
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Old 01-10-2011
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Correct Answer about text books again

My point is extra-reading in textbooks on important issues only, not reading full 1000+ p books , like reading about osmosis in more details in Ganong's or Guyton's physiology text books

I mean selective extra-reading, is that helpful or review books are good enough?
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  #9  
Old 01-10-2011
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Default It depends on your prior knowledge.

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Originally Posted by mogivara View Post
My point is extra-reading in textbooks on important issues only, not reading full 1000+ p books , like reading about osmosis in more details in Ganong's or Guyton's physiology text books

I mean selective extra-reading, is that helpful or review books are good enough?
It all depends on your prior background knowledge.
It's always good to get more details on issues that you feel not comfortable with when you read the USMLE review books.
But, one important advice here, is that do not read topics that are not mentioned in high yield review books. Medicine is a huge sea of knowledge and we cannot encompass it all even if we keep reading for the rest of our life.
The USMLE examination should be tackled in an "Intellectual Enema" approach. This means you gather "high yield" information as much as you can in the shortest possible time and go and deliver it in the exam day.

For example, I know a friend who was a genius in my medical school, he was a walking encyclopedia and he was reading thick textbooks from cover to cover. When he attempted the USMLE exam, he kept the same pattern of trying to swallow everything in the way. He ended up scoring 230, which was a big surprise for us because we thought that guy should at least get 250+ given the amount of knowledge he encases in his brain.

You should learn from that story that effective USMLE prep is a high-yield focused prep, done swiftly. The best way to do that is by reading review books.

But, if your prior background knowledge is so weak that you feel that each and every topic you read about in review books is completely new to you. Then in that case, I'd probably suggest you postpone your USMLE attempt to another date until you gather enough background from "textbooks" before moving on to concise review books.
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  #10  
Old 01-10-2011
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Correct Answer different educational systems

thank you Sabio for your fast response , i want add a note i think it's important and related to that issue

i think your point is true about the previous background knowledge , that background determines how the review and high yield books can be helpful and enough

but the point is what (forms ) our background knowledge ? that's a huge question regarding
being AMG or IMG
the educational system of your country and the variation between schools of medicine even in the same country
your self-study during the college in a lax system that does not apply the same pressure faced by accredited US schools of medicine

the fact that AMG's pass the USMLE exams with higher rates than IMG's implies another issue , and that is our knowledge as IMG's is based on imperfect educational system .The question now if i (as IMG ) have some reasonable knowledge (that is a subjective judgment ) does it work for me if i studied with the same method AMG's use despite their more qualifying system
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  #11  
Old 01-10-2011
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Originally Posted by mogivara View Post
thank you Sabio for your fast response , i want add a note i think it's important and related to that issue

i think your point is true about the previous background knowledge , that background determines how the review and high yield books can be helpful and enough

but the point is what (forms ) our background knowledge ? that's a huge question regarding
being AMG or IMG
the educational system of your country and the variation between schools of medicine even in the same country
your self-study during the college in a lax system that does not apply the same pressure faced by accredited US schools of medicine

the fact that AMG's pass the USMLE exams with higher rates than IMG's implies another issue , and that is our knowledge as IMG's is based on imperfect educational system .The question now if i (as IMG ) have some reasonable knowledge (that is a subjective judgment ) does it work for me if i studied with the same method AMG's use despite their more qualifying system
You yourself can answer that question. Nobody can tell you whether your background knowledge is enough or not.

Moreover, I think, the short review books themselves are enough to compensate for the difference that we IMGs have. We are intelligent people and we can pick up really fast and we don't need to spend hundreds of hours and thousands of pages to acclimatize with the way medicine is taught in USA.

I'd say start reading one of the subjects, let's say anatomy, read it with a review book then go and do practice questions. If you find yourself doing well with questions then you don't need to extend your reading to thicker textbooks, but if you find yourself doing really bad then it might be the case that you should build more background with textbooks.
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