Featured Article

The Lazy Studentís Way to Higher Grades and More Free Time

Anna and Cesar Orellana are co authors of
How to Get a 4.0 GPA in Medical School
No Matter What Your MCAT Score or College GPA

Anna and Cesar Orellana are senior medical students at Ross University School of Medicine and co-authors of the book:

How to Get a 4.0 GPA in Medical School Ė No Matter What Your MCAT Score or College GPA.

They have helped medical and pre-medical students from all over the United States and Canada achieve dramatic turnarounds in their academic performance by teaching them to walk around hoops instead of blindly jumping through them.

In this issue of the Heartbeat, they offer a refreshing and down-to-earth commentary on doing less and learning more.

American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine
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Do Lazy Students Prosper?

Lazy people love shortcuts. They're programmed to seek the path of least resistance. If given the option of either doing something the hard way or the easy way, a truly lazy person will always choose the latter.

Some of the brightest students around are lazy. We used to think that these people had to be naturally more intelligent than the rest of us to get away with their sluggish ways. Now we're not so sure.

It's a perplexing thought but, could it be that this inherent laziness is the reason they're able to learn complex material so effortlessly? We're convinced it is. DaVinci said, "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."  We agree. But to an academic purist laziness is tabu. Convention in higher education tells us that to do less is to be careless. Logic tells us that in medical school being frugal with your time and energy is the only way to survive.

Grad School Vs. Medical School

In general, there is a disconnect between what we go through as medical students and what our professors think we go through.

For example, a professor who earned a PhD in biochemistry is conditioned by her own experiences. The way she did it was to devour primary research papers and texts on topics in that field to facilitate her self-directed, flexibly-scheduled lab research.

Itís impossible for us to delve into the 14 core disciplines that are thrust upon us in medical school in the same depth. Besides, our aim is different. So our approach has to be fundamentally different as well.

As doctors in training our aim is to integrate. We have to make connections among these 14 disciplines and have them at our disposal to make on the spot management decisions in the clinical setting.

Patients Donít Care

An MD teaching today probably didn't have Microsoft PowerPoint®, First Aid for the USMLE Step 1®, Board Review Series® or Kaplan Medical® as a student. She may scowl at the idea of using lecture notes and review books over massive textbooks and journals.

The curriculum in medical school is so densely packed and so constrained by time that to be able to do get through it we have to be very practical learners. That means getting the information we need where itís to be gotten the quickest and moving on to the next subject. 

Our patients donít care whether we learned how to help them the easy way or the hard way. So why should anyone else? They just want us to know how to provide safe and effective treatment that will get them well and keep them well.

Let Your Professors Do the Heavy Lifting

If required textbooks were so vital to our learning, then why would our medical schools go to the trouble of jamming in as many hours of lecture into a given week as they do? Why not just tell us the textbooks to get, the topics to learn and when the test is?

The answer: distillation. We need professors to distill the most important info from the body of literature in their field and present it in a simplified way that we can understand and use. Lecture notes are the product of this distillation. This is why theyíre so important.

The idea of reading required textbooks from cover to cover in every class in medical school is unrealistic. Don't be a victim of this misguided convention.

Targeted study of your lecture notes is the only way to survive because you're effectively letting your professors do the heavy lifting for you. So be lazy and be disciplined about it. Use credible review books and textbooks for clarification as needed. Do practice questions when you can to reinforce what youíre reading about.

But donít take our word for it. Let your comprehension of the material, the grades you achieve and all the free time you will enjoy prove this to you.

7 Secrets of Medical School Success

We created a video called 7 Secrets of Medical School Success. In it we answer burning questions students told us they desperately wanted to know about how to succeed in medical school. Itís free for all ValueMD members. You can get it here:

Click Here For Free Video

Yours for higher grades & a way better lifestyle in med school,
Anna and Cesar Orellana

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