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Thread: Houmd's "How to do well in Basic Sciences" Handbook

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    Houmd's "How to do well in Basic Sciences" Handbook

    Okay, this is long overdue but I am going to share with all readers of this forum my experiences with Windsor academically, and how any student should approach each subject as well as their time on the island in order to do well. Follow this guide and you will have no problem getting all A's at Windsor.

    Misc Tips: The things that a lot of students overlook when it comes to their academics is often where they live. Yes, location can in fact have a big impact on how well you study and perform academically.
    The answer is simple, if you are a student who needs to be in study groups and interacting with other students in order to perform well and learn the material, then you're ideally going to want to live in an area with a lot of fellow students right? This would be anywhere in Frigate Bay, but more specifically the best place would be the Royal St Kitts. This place not only is mostly Windsor students, but has a study hall where you can go with your friends to study and there are plenty of areas at the royal and in frigate bay where you can study with groups. The downside to this is, wherever there is a lot of students, there are a lot of parties so be prepared to be exposed to billions of tempting distractions.
    Conversely, if you are a student who needs isolation, needs and needs to be away from distractions of friends etc then you are more likely to want to live in a place like Bird Rock where students are not all right next to each other.
    If you are somewhere in the middle and want to be away from the party scenes and large amounts of students then Limekiln is the place for you. There are still students in apt style here so you can have small study groups in apts but its not nearly as large as royal, and the place is far away from the "Party Scene" of Frigate Bay.
    My Recommendation:
    My personal experience is that for my first semester I stayed at limekiln and acquired a small but serious group of friends academically.  We all lived right next to one another and were able to quiz each other on "rounds" (See "How to Study" section) and had each other available for small study groups which we utilized occasionally. After I was more comfortable with the island and my study habits and such, myself and my small group of friends all moved to Angelus (Off School Housing) in Frigate Bay.

    "How to Study"
    This is by far the most commonly asked question by all the students. First I will give my recommendation for a generalized study plan, then break it down by semester and course subject.
    Rule #1 (Avoid Burnout): NEVER study for more than 45mins-1.5hrs at a time. Why do I say this? The answer is because after about 45mins-1hr (max about 1.5hrs) your mind will inherently drift and be much less able to retain information. So the solution for this is to stop what you're doing and do something completely different in a different setting to jumpstart your brain's ability to retain information. This must be done for at least 5-10mins to be effective. Then go back to studying
    My Recommendation: To Avoid Burnout I always followed this method but I had a unique way that I passed onto my friends after I stole this piece of advice from Dr. S who told this to my MD1 class. During that 10min break I would get up from wherever I was, go outside, and walk rounds around the area and do one of two things. My roommate and I would either quiz each other on what we just read (after all if you can't answer a question about what you just read five minutes after you read it then how can you expect to answer a question about it in 2 weeks?) just to make sure we fully absorbed the information. If there were discrepancies then we would go and find the answers after our rounds were done. Where were these rounds done? At limekiln there was a small sidewalk pathway around the complex that we would walk, and between classes we would walk rounds around the campus on the circular sidewalk pathway there and do the same thing. Not only did it help us retain our knowledge, and reinforce our concepts, but it also gave us a healthy amount of cardio to keep slightly active.
    Rule #2 (Study Everyday Afterschool): I know this sounds like a no-brainer but many people think that by just attending classes you are expected to pass. This couldn't be further from the truth. You MUST revise everything (including your notes) in order to retain information. It is absolutely impossible to adderall cram your way through a medical course the few nights before the finals.
    My Recommendation: When I came home everyday I opened up my laptop and transcribed by written notes onto my computer (which not only allowed me to organize my notes) but also forced me to re-read them once by the end of the day. Then I would go through the professor's slides and make any additional notes in my computer and study from these notes as well as other sources like Kaplan (see below). Not only was this a good study habit, but then when it came time for exams I had a full course Word document with all my organized notes from the entire semester.
    Rule #3 (Go To Class): This, once again, sounds like a no brainer but is absolutely vital to your ability to do well. Most students claim that they are going to do better if they stay home and study. These are the same students that I see failing courses, and coincidentally the students who always attend lectures seem to have an easier time passing (go figure). Although it is tempting to think that you can get more done on your own at home, ask yourself, "of those hours in the day how many am I actually going to spend hardcore studying." "Is not being guided by a lecturer going to make it harder to understand the material?" From what I have seen, students who stay home "to study" are only putting themselves in situations that offer distractions "naps, facebook, internet, tv, etc" and they spend much less time learning (without guidance) than they would have if they had attended the professor's lecture (with guidance). The school requires a minimum 80% attendance in all classes. Now this DOES NOT mean that you are aiming to be right at 80% (as is the common "brown mentality" here), but that you should aim for 100% attendance, and if something actually does go wrong then you have cushion space because if you don't meet that 80% attendance then you will not be allowed to take the final for the course (which has happened to MANY people). They take attendance seriously.
    Rule #4 (Choose Your Friends Wisely): Can't be stressed enough. People here are very much like spoiled rich kids on spring break trying to turn this trip into a vacation. It's not a vacation, and if you wind up with friends who go out every weekend, odds are they are going to convince you to make bad decisions and drag you down with them. Stick with friends who have the same goals as you and adhere to those goals.
    Rule #5 (Don't Spend Your Time Partying): Kind of goes along with the previous rules but I must stress that so many kids here have unlimited funds from mommy and daddy and just want to go spend their nights and weekends drinking at the clubs. These are the same students who fail again and again. At most a student should go out maybe 2-3x per semester. Anything more than that is going to get in the way and hurt you.
    Rule #6 (Get To Know The Professors): One of the luxuries of having classes that range around 60-150ppl is that it is quite possible to get to know the professors very well. I myself have a good relationship with all the professors I have had here because I actively engage them as people and asked them their advice on how to prepare for their classes and their recommendations on how to master the subjects. In fact, my "Rounds" method came straight from the Neuroscience professor Dr. S. The professors are surprisingly helpful, it may be intimidating at first to approach them but I promise they don't bite. Just go up to them during their office hours, introduce yourself to them and ask their recommended plans on how to study for the course. It will only do good things for you and they will recognize you as an interested student and that may help you down the road.
    Rule #7 (Have A Purpose): By this I mean you should know why you're here. Are you here because you crave for the ability to treat patients and live a stressful but meaningful life in your future? Or are you here because mommy and daddy want to brag to everyone that their kid is in medical school? If you're here b/c of your family or similar reasons then just leave now. I guarantee you will either not make it, or you will hate your life if you do b/c Medicine is NOT as glorious as most of the brown community thinks it is, and bragging rights is never a good reason to become a physician. (Go watch "The House of God" and decide if you still want to be a physician.) If that is the case for you then move out of the way and let someone with a real motivation take your place. So not to deviate too much further, but if there is something that really motivates you to be here and do well then remind yourself of that. There is a simple breakdown for this of what I have noticed in my time here on the island:
    Students who fail: Didn't Work Hard Enough for the Subject
    Students who barely pass or do mediocre: Worked Hard
    Students who did very well: Worked Hard & had Serious Motivation
    There is actually one girl I know who does quite well who told me the other day that every morning she looks at herself in the mirror and reminds her why she is here, and what is motivating her to do well. That alone pushed her through the day to absorb as much information as she can.
    My Recommendation: Be just like that girl and remind yourself everyday what it is that motivates you to do well, and also what you're going to do that day to come closer to achieving that goal

    Semester Study Plan
    Here I will break down the study guide by Semester and class subject. Most of the book recommendations I make correlate directly with McNasty's Recommended Book List that I used back when I started MD1. For each subject there will be a recommended study plan as well as what resources to use. Something important for medical students to know is that (as McNasty pointed out in his thread) there aren't just textbooks for the courses. There are (1) Textbooks: Which you use as a primary source to learn the material (2) Review Books: Which you use to learn the High Yield aspects of the course subject (3) Question Banks/Books: Which you use to reinforce your concepts and practice answering difficult medical school & USMLE types of questions. (4) USMLE Review Sources: These are things like Kaplan Program Videos, DIT Videos, etc. It is important to remember that subject-wise there is never too early a time to start thinking about the Step Exam. As soon as you finish a topic in a course, you should be able to answer Step questions on that subject. Therefore, studying early will only boost your knowledge in the long run. There is NO BETTER Step preparation than time well-spent in Basic Sciences. I don't care who says what, but the better you absorb the information here, the better off you will be down the road.

    How you adjust to the island during your first semester will determine how you will perform for the rest of your time on the island. It is essential to develop a good study method during this time frame and to get well-acquainted with the teaching methods of the various professors. There are three core classes (Embryology, Anatomy I, & Physiology I), Two Labs (Physiology Lab & Anatomy Lab) as well as one survey course (Physicians in Global Society).

    Physicians in Global Society: I cannot comment on this course because they first introduced it to the new MD1 batch when I was already in MD2, but from what I've seen it's just a survey course with no exams (only a final) that introduces the student into the various fields of medicine and different topics revolving in medicine today that are important to a physician. Also there are occasional written assignments they expect from you as well as presentations.

    Physiology I:
    Textbook: There are two options:
    a) Guyton's Medical Physiology (Very Dense and hard to read but it is the "Physiology Bible")
    b) Linda Costanzo's Physiology (Most students use this book and it is a bit easier to follow and much less dense)
    *Note: Whatever you do DO NOT use the school prescribed textbook, not only does the professor NOT follow that book, but it is total trash and a useless book.
    Review Book: BRS Physiology by Costanzo
    Question Book: PreTest Physiology
    USMLE Materials: Kaplan Physiology Videos
    How to study Physiology: Okay so this course is taught by a pretty decent professor Dr. V. He is somewhat monotone but you get over that quickly because he knows his stuff really well. Attend EVERY lecture and even more importantly PAY ATTENTION . Don't use class as naptime. After you get home when you are studying and you have typed the day's notes go through his slides (they are very useful and good) and make sure to read the notes section beneath each of the slides. Also, use Guyton or Costanzo as your primary reference. When studying a topic in physio be sure to read/annotate the same section in your book. It is physically impossible for the teacher to teach all of physio in the allotted time, you will have to do some self teaching here. Also, once you have done that you need to occasionally read the BRS Physio. It is the highest yield of all the BRS books (in my opinion) and it is simple bullet points of the highest yield physiology material you need to know. Make sure you can answer all the questions at the end of each section you cover. Once you do that then move onto watching the Kaplan physiology videos. These are board review videos that correlate nicely with your class and do an excellent job of explaining things. By now you will be nearing an exam and it is time for you to crank out the PreTest Physiology Book. This book is extremely important because it will give you very difficult questions that will definitely help you adjust to how Dr. V. (and really all the profs) ask real clinical questions. They are going to be long stem clinical vignettes that make you think one or more step processes in order to find the answer. Timing during these exams is key, and PreTest not only gets you used to those long clinical vignettes like your exams will have, but it also gives detailed explanations with page references to Guyton and Baron Physio books in case you want more info on the section.
    As you can see, of all your MD1 courses, Physiology I will definitely take the most emphasis to get a good grade. This is the most commonly failed course in MD1 due to the amount of time it requires to do well. Also, remember that the key to physiology is to understand concepts. There is no memorization here when it comes to being tested. You MUST be able to understand the simple concept of a topic and apply it in anyway possible. Once you understand concepts, this course becomes very easy and very interesting. On the other hand, if you try and memorize through this course, things will not abode well for you.

    Anatomy I:
    Textbook: Clinical Anatomy by Keith L. Moore
    Review Book: BRS Anatomy
    Question Bank: Michigan Questions
    USMLE Materials: None
    How to Study for Anatomy I: Dr. S teaches the first part of this course (Upper Limb) and then Dr. Sree***** teaches the final two sections of the course. Having two different professors has caused students a little frustration in the past but don't worry you will adapt to both of their teaching styles. One thing to notice is that although Dr. S. is often very busy with administrative work, Dr. Sree***** is VERY receptive to students coming to his office hours.  It actually makes him quite happy to see students interested in the class and he is always willing to take time away from whatever he is doing to help the students. Multiple times back in my MD1 & MD2 semesters he spent his lunch breaks with myself and a few other students letting us have extra time on the cadavers while he taught us as a very small group because we wanted more exposure.
    The most important thing to learn about this course is that it isn't anything like any Anatomy & Physiology course you may have taken back in high school or undergrad. This is CLINICAL Anatomy. The entire purpose is to understand the clinical aspects of the human body, no one is going to ask you origin and insertion. It is much more likely you will be getting questions that stem "A 44yr old female that is two days post-operative for a Right Mastectomy is now showing signs of Winging of her Right Scapula, What nerve is damaged, and what muscle has been denervated to produce this effect?" As you can see, most people com in expecting to have to memorize all the bones and muscles but this class is much more than that. So the best way to approach it is to obviously listen in class, the teaching in this course is excellent and you should really utilize the professors' office hours here to reinforce concepts you didn't understand. On top of that when you get home you need to read Keith L. Moore and put heavy emphasis on the clinical boxes that they have every few pages. So when you see "Tennis Elbow," "Golfer's Elbow," etc you know that you're looking at very important and very high yield clinical scenarios that you are likely to be tested on. After utilizing this book you must go through the BRS in Anatomy. It is pure gold. Just like in physio as you finish a section in class you need to read through those bullet points and make sure you can answer the questions at the end of each section. Finally as you approach exam week and you should now only be reviewing (mostly via the BRS) and testing yourself to make sure you really do have the clinical concepts down, utilize the Michigan Questions website. It is an outstanding learning tool that allows you to take a question on a certain topic, answer it, and immediately the correct answer with a detailed explanation pops up. Follow that pattern and you are sure to do very well in this course.

    Textbook: Inderbir Singh (or Langman)
    Review Book: None
    Question Book: None
    USMLE Materials: None
    How To Study for Embryology: Dr Venk***** does take a little while to get used to at first, but eventually he becomes your favorite person to see around campus. His accent is quite unique but you adapt to it. This guy is a great teacher, expect him to drill you at the beginning of class on the material you covered the previous day, and drill you during class on random things he just said. He will memorize every student's name and roll number and will randomly blare out someone's name or roll number and question them on the spot. For this class the notes you take will be the highest yield material you can get. Make sure you absolutely go home and type your notes and re-read them. Along with that there are two books here to follow. You can either use Langman's (more detailed) or Inderbir Singh (school prescribed). My recommendation (I used both) is that for the first 1/3 of the course (all the way up until the 1st block exam) you should definitely use Langman's book. It does a MUCH BETTER way of explaining the first 1/3 of the course and it is a much easier read at that point. From then onwards go with Singh, it's very high yield and the stuff you learn here in his class and from this book will be very important as a foundation for all your future classes. Just wait until you get to Anatomy II & Path II and you will see how valuable this class is. There are no good review books for this course b/c so many facts differ from book to book that the BRS embryology disagrees with the textbooks quite a bit and I found to be useless for studies. Also there aren't really any decent embryology question banks I have found that test you on the level that this professor tests. Be prepared, his first exam is usually not bad but it gets very difficult from then onwards and you really have to know your material. Just always pre-read, and re-read because you WILL get called on repeatedly in front of the whole class.

    This semester is when you see the harshest environment at Windsor academically, and this is the one that causes a lot of people to have difficulties, especially in biochemistry. Why might you ask? The answer is because there is so much material to be learned in MD-II that it will make MD-I look like a joke. I am convinced that if you can survive this semester, you can handle it all the way to the end in basic sciences. If your study skills are not up to par yet, get them there fast because you won't survive if you don't. MD-II is all about time management and dedication, how well you manage your time and how much time you devote to each subject is key. There are four core classes taught in this semester, and unlike many schools, all of biochemistry is taught within this one semester.

    Physiology II
    The professor, book, and all the information from MD-I is exactly the same. Fortunately the topics in Physiology II are a bit lighter and easier to understand than it was in Physiology I. All study recommendations from Physiology I remain exactly the same.

    Anatomy II:
    This section of the course is taught exclusively by Dr. Sree***** and is a bit more difficult than Anatomy I but not by much. The study recommendations are exactly the same for Anatomy II as they were for Anatomy I. Be sure to freshen up on your embryology before starting this course, as it will play a large role on blood supply as well as muscles of the head and neck etc

    Textbook: Basic Histology by Luiz Junqueira
    Review Book: None or BRS Cell Biology & Histology
    Question Bank: Histo-World
    USMLE Materials: None
    How to Study for Histology: Taught by Dr. P this class is usually the first thing in the morning so make sure you have had your coffee and are ready to learn. At first, this class will seem like it is going everywhere because you are covering every system and it's like a combination between both Anatomy & Physiology. The best advice I can give for this class is to follow the book exclusively, and (if you want) supplement with the BRS and his slides. Since most of his slides are straight from the text they may be unnecessary. For each section you cover in class, go home and write or type out notes that you take as you read that section in the book. I used the BRS and found it to be not that great honestly but some people claimed it helped them.
    The essential part to doing well in this course is to constantly test yourself to know if you're following the material due to the fact that there is a lot of material in this course. To do this access Histo-World (see above) and constantly test yourself to make sure you are getting the concepts. Dr. P. is a very friendly professor and is almost always in his office and has helped me several times when I had questions. I don't really recommend any USMLE materials for this course either at the moment.

    Textbook: Lippincott's Biochemistry
    Review Book: None
    Question Book: UWorld & Lippincott Questions
    USMLE Materials: Both Kaplan Videos & Falcon Videos
    How to Study for Biochemistry: I would like to start by saying that biochemistry is the killer subject in MD-II. It is the most failed subject because students fall behind and can't catch up due to the shear speed of the course. Genetics is also combined into this course so you will be doing anywhere between 0.5-2 chapters per day in this course. It moves VERY fast and there is no room for error. You cannot fall behind because Dr. Sy** who teaches this course is very organized and wont allow the class to fall off of the set schedule. This course requires a LOT of home effort. Fortunately the resources available make this task very doable. The resources to utilize are first and foremost Lippincott's biochemistry. Just about everything in that book is important, don't spend time trying to memorize pathways but instead try to understand the clinical importance of the pathway itself, and use that concept to apply it to any enzyme deficiencies or gene alterations. Make sure you are reading EVERY SINGLE DAY, even if you don't show up to class for whatever reason make sure you read that chapter of lippincotts and do all the questions at the end of the chapter. As you finish each section it is important that you go through the Kaplan videos multiple times. They are very high yield and will help immensely for your tests. Also if you have access to the Falcon videos they have great biochem lectures on there as well. I watched both and it benefited me greatly (esp at finals time). As far as question banks are concerned, make sure you are doing all the questions at the end of each lippincott's chapter, and if you can get ahold of USMLE World Biochemistry questions then do it. The clinical questions asked in there are a little more difficult but similar to the questions you should expect. Dr. Sy** is very fair in that what he tests is only the high yield clinical material, but don't let that fool you because it takes a lot of time to understand it, and there is a lot of material to understand. The key to this class is effort.

    Finally you get some breathing room. You are down to three core classes again (Pathology I, Neuroscience, and Microbiology) and one partial course (Community Medicine).

    Pathology I
    Textbook: Robbins (Big one)
    Review Books: Multiple
    a) BRS Pathology
    b) Goljan Rapid Review Pathology
    Question Bank: Multiple
    a) Web-Path
    b) USMLE World
    USMLE Materials: Multiple
    a) Kaplan Videos
    b) Goljan Audio
    How to study for Pathology I: Now is when stuff gets serious since pathology is arguably the heaviest tested subject on the USMLE. First and foremost there is a very important rule of thumb when it comes to learning pathology. There will NEVER be enough time in class to learn everything in pathology. This class requires a LOT of Self Learning at home. Many people will disagree with me on my choice of textbook, but honestly the best available book out there for path is the big robbins. It is a very intimidating textbook to look at (and is so heavy it can be used for weight lifting) but honestly there is nothing that even compares to it. If you are able to sit down everyday and make notes from (not just read) Big Robbins then you will learn more than most of your classmates who will do anything to avoid reading this mammoth of a book. Pay very good attention in class here because you will only be taught the highest of the high yield material, and the only way to know what is the highest of the high yield is to attend the classes.
    Supplementation is a must for this course, that is going to be with both the BRS as well as Goljan's Rapid Review book after you've gone through big robbins. You will find it difficult to cover this amount of material on all these sources but I guarantee that if you do then you will be set. Another essential is the Kaplan Videos. An absolute MUST is this stuff. It will reinforce the high yield concepts that you learned from the previously mentioned stuff and will allow you to move on to the next step.
    Within a course like this with so much volume, you must once again continue testing yourself to make sure you have absorbed the material before you move forward. To do this utilize webpath (see above) questions as you finish a section. It is exactly as I described the michigan questions, but for pathology. Then over the weekend (or whenever you have a lot of time) go through the USMLE World questions covering that topic in Pathology as well. This will take a lot of time and you will get a lot of them wrong, but when you learn from these you will realize that there is absolutely nothing they can test you on that you wont pass, and do exceedingly well on.
    When finals time comes around there will be one additional thing which is that you should listen to Goljan audio for all the topics covered in Pathology I, and you should listen to this once at least but twice if possible. It is an amazing way to fully understand the material for your final exam, as these audio tapes really connect the dots between all your basic science classes and pathology.

    Textbook: Unofficial Textbook (Dr. S. will explain)
    Review Book: High Yield Neuroscience
    Question Bank: None
    USMLE Materials: Kaplan Videos
    How to Study for Neuroscience: This class is a very well taught course. Dr. S. is a very dynamic teacher who knows neuroscience better than anyone I've ever seen and teaches it in a very interesting way. He will always keep you entertained in class, which is a very good incentive to attend his lectures. He doesn't really follow the slides that he puts out, he almost exclusively teaches from the board so going to class and taking notes from what he teaches is best, and those notes will be your primary source for the course. The school prescribed textbook is Snell's but he doesn't follow it (or any textbook) but instead has his own pattern of teaching the course. It is very well taught in a way that following your notes (and audio recording of lectures repeatedly) will allow you to do well not only on his exams but the question banks like Kaplan QBank because the way he teaches it is very clinical and very detailed. If you want any supplementation for this course be sure to check out the Kaplan Videos which are decent but actually not presented better than he presents the material. Make sure you know all the clinical syndromes, as Dr. S. is famous for making clinical vignettes that are so long they actually take up half the page. Timing and attention is key to neuroscience. If you come to class, pay attention, and take good notes you will be fine to pass this course. Dr. S. is a walking textbook, but if you really want to do well make sure to supplement with the Kaplan Videos and High Yield Neuroscience.

    Community Medicine
    Textbook: None (he gives out lots of handouts each day though)
    Review Books: None
    Question Bank: His study questions
    USMLE Materials: First Aid
    How to Study for Community Medicine: Only having this class twice weekly makes most students tempted to blow it off until the end. Fortunately for you (the student trying to make my pathology study recommendations a reality) this is a course you can really be relaxed in. It is only 2hrs per week and is very straight-forward. Use his slides as a primary source and any handouts he gives out in each class (1-2 page handouts). Some of the topics in this class are useful and actually cross over into both behavioral sciences & ethics, but most will be kind of bland. At the end of each lecture Dr. Gug**** gives out practice questions that covers materials he already covered. If you are able to answer these questions then you are good to go for the final. This course is very straight-forward as you will see and the questions are not complicated medical questions, they are more straight-forward ethical, epidemiological, and behavioral science questions. This is why you can use the First Aid to supplement when you cover behavioral topics. There are no internals for this class and there is only a final, so make sure you are prepared for the final exam.

    Textbook: Two Options
    a) Lange Microbiology
    b) Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple
    Review Books: None
    Question Banks: Lange Questions
    USMLE Materials: Kaplan Videos
    How to Study for Microbiology: Since there is always a course that is found to be very difficult, MD-III's course is Microbiology. The main stem of this problem is that it is taught by three different professors (Dr. Gug****, Dr. Gup**, & Dr. S**). They divide up the class into three parts and it causes three different teaching styles to teach the same course. Clinical Microbiology is a course that will take a lot of straightforward memorization. To understand the differentiating characteristics of microorganisms is key. In order to do this make flow charts on paper of all the gram (+) or gram (-) bacteria etc and memorize it. (eg. Gram (+) ---> Coccus ----> Catalase (+)----->Coagulase (+)-----> S. aureus) Do this until you can differentiate each bacteria or organism from one another. Once you have done that make sure to understand the clinical background between each of these organisms. Know what kind of infection you will see, where is the organism considered normal flora, where is it considered pathological flora, etc. My recommendation is to follow the Made Ridiculously Simple book, I used both but found the MRS to be a much easier read and I retained more info from reading it. Kaplan videos are a must for this course as well as repeatedly drawing out flow charts differentiating the microorganisms and labeling them with their most common sites of infection, infected population, etc. A good source of questions to test yourself on is the Lange questions found in the Lange book. It will reinforce those facts and make it easier to memorize.

    You now have less classes and much more time to study compared to other groups but don't let that amount to you slacking off that extra amount of time. MD-IV has Pathology II, Pharmacology, Behavioral Science, and Ethics. This courseload is very heavy when you consider the amount of time that will be spent on Path II & Pharm. Also you need to be evaluating yourself as a student by now. At this point you know if you are really understanding the basic sciences or if you have simply be "slipping on by."

    Pathology II
    Textbook: Goljan Rapid Review
    Review Books:
    a) BRS Pathology
    Question Bank: Multiple
    a) Web-Path
    b) USMLE World
    USMLE Materials: Multiple
    a) Kaplan Videos
    b) Goljan Audio
    Other useful stuff:
    How to study for Pathology II: Okay, so things definitely change between General Pathology & Systemic Pathology. First off, as noted above the book Robbins (big one) is definitely outstanding for understanding general pathology, but wastes a lot of space and time when you try to understand Systemic, which is why I recommend Goljan Rapid Review as your primary source for this semester. Now this semester is very challenging, I would be lying if I said I didn't have a difficult time keeping up with the information because there is a LOT of info to keep up with in path II compared to path I. Since path professors are constantly changing at the offshore schools, I personally had a very difficult time learning from the one employed with Windsor when I was in Path II and thus would spend my time in class reviewing the First Aid or BRS and then go home and listen to the Robbin's Path lectures hosted by Dr. Mina**** at the website above (medical school pathology). He goes in detail chapter by chapter directly from robbins and makes for outstanding online lectures that you can download and watch completely free from anywhere in the world. Of course, after watching these videos I still recommend reading Goljan RR then watching Kaplan videos. As far as questions are concerned, things haven't changed from Path I, still use webpath online (link above) or supplement with USMLE World questions if you have access to them. Stay focused in this class during this semester and don't get too disheartened if the professor tests harshly, that's just how it goes sometimes but I guarantee you that if you focus in THIS ONE CLASS, you will be thanking yourself a lot in MD-5 when you start your real step studying, since it's common knowledge that Systemic Path is going to make up the significantly largest portion of your step studies. Also pay attention in the lab, although the TA we had was always boring and sometimes irritating the stuff she tried to teach us was very high yield. The BRS is moderate at best for this course, but I liked using it for supplemental questions or to simply have as something simple to skim over lunch or between classes in that fifteen minute break. I highly recommend listening to Goljan Audio at least once during MD-4. He really connects things together to make all of pathology make since, but I don't recommend listening to it until near the end when you're preparing for your finals because it is a review, but a very well put together review which can be completed within just a few days easily.

    Textbook: Lippincott's Illustrated Reviews: Pharmacology
    Review Books:
    a) BRS Pharmacology
    Question Bank:
    a) BRS Pharmacology
    b) USMLE World
    USMLE Materials: Multiple
    a) Kaplan Videos
    How to study for Pharmacology: Fortunately for you this course is taught extremely well. Unfortunately for you this course is taught extremely fast. You literally do one chapter per day. Rarely slower than that. There is simply too much information to cover within one semester to make it any slower. Dr. Vij** is by far the overall favorite professor by all students by the end of MD4 because of how good of a teacher he is. Do not EVER skip this class or you will already be very far behind. Go over pharm EVERY SINGLE DAY. After he lectures, read the chapter in lippincott's and make sure to do the questions at the end of the chapters (these often show up on exams but also are a good evaluation of whether you understood the chapter or not.) The BRS for this course isn't that great in my opinion but once again it offers a lot of high quality questions to test yourself on. Many people like flashcards and such but I have never appreciated them simply due to the fact that it is shear memorization. My methodology of studying pharm usually following from trying to understand the concept behind the disease or receptor in question. My recommendation (aside from watching kaplan videos which are GOLDEN for pharm) is to try and understand the physiology behind the patient in question. If drug A acts by blocking a beta-adrenergic receptor then I need to understand my autonomic physiology and I then know just about everything about that drug's actions and side effects. Don't try and memorize your way through pharm, it is definitely possible to understand concepts but you have to integrate other courses to do this. Only try to memorize very unique side effects (eg. SLE-like reaction, disulfiram-like reaction). But in order to more easily learn pharm start with this pattern, Class of the drug -> learn where it acts -> refresh your biochem or physio to understand the story about where/why it is acting -> list effects. Don't try to list effects from memory or you will forget them within a month, instead follow that pattern of integrating coursework to understand WHY you are using this drug, and since it acts at site XYZ, what other functions will occur other than the targeted effect (aka: side effects). Also the pharmacology lab packets are a great resource to help you study for exams, since questions often reflect similar concepts to exams.

    Behavioral Science
    Textbook: BRS
    Review Books:
    a) None
    Question Bank: Multiple
    a) BRS
    USMLE Materials:
    a) First Aid
    How to study for Behavioral Science: Once again this course is taught by Dr. Vij** (same guy who teaches pharmacology.) It is taught VERY well but I don't believe this course is taught long enough. You will only have it twice a week for one hour each since some of this course was absorbed by ethics. The official text for this course is the BRS and he teaches directly out of this book. In your USMLE studies you will realize that this is truthfully all you need along with the first aid. Pay heavy attention to the Biostatistics section as it is very high yield. Since Dr. Vij** is also the pharm prof he loves to throw in questions that require you to not only diagnose the patient's behavioral disorder, but also to treat it. (eg. Patient XYZ suffers from symptoms ABC, what is your recommended treatment?" There are no internal exams for this course, only a final exam. Study hard for it, since there is only one exam it is easy to blow it off until the end but realistically you should be following along with the course in your brs and first aid (which isn't hard to do since it's only twice weekly). All in all just show up to class, pay attention, follow along in the BRS and you will be just fine, the people who have serious trouble with this course are those who put it off until the end.

    Textbook: None (he gives out packets)
    Review Books:
    a) None
    Question Bank:
    a) None (He gives out questions)
    USMLE Materials:
    a) None
    How to study for Ethics: This class is every friday, once weekly. It is by far one of the most interesting and intellectually stimulating classes I had when it was taught by Dr. Marg**** but unfortunately Dr. Gug**** ended up taking over half-way through the semester and really dulled it down. So this could be hit or miss depending on who teaches the course. Dr. Marg**** has a great way of teaching this course so that he makes you look deeply into ethical dilemmas (eg. Terry Schaivo Case) and allow you to form your own personal opinion as well as present it (sometimes argue) to the class but then he will teach you the legally correct methods and viewpoints as well as the viewpoints as to which one should be expected to conduct himself/herself as a medical student/physician as well as how to answer ethical questions for the USMLE. Since this course is only once weekly and its final exam questions are combined into the Behavioral final, it is easy to slack in this course and not pay any attention or care at all but if you really do make an effort to learn in Ethics then it will go a very long way. I found this course to be one of my favorites even if it was considered a minor course gpa-wise.

    Now that you have completed MD-IV, at some point between the near-end point of MD-IV and the beginning of MD-V you need to take an NBME exam to evaluate how you would stand if you were to take the USMLE exam that day. Remember that as a student that has completed his/her basic science courses you should be able to pass that exam by now. Most of you will not be up to that level, that is the statistical fact. By taking an NBME you will see just exactly where you stand, and where your weakest areas are. Once you take one of the NBME forms and evaluate your weaknesses you can schedule your MD-5 semester according to that. Then, after a few weeks of studying on your weak areas, take another NBME and re-evaluate yourself. This is the method to a successful MD-5. I will write more about MD-5 once I have completed it but you MUST come in here with some idea as to where you stand already, and how you plan to improve upon it. Don't, I repeat, DO NOT come to MD-5 without a plan. This is your USMLE review semester, if you come in here expecting someone to hold your hand and magically grant you a passing score for having attended then you will be in for a big surprise. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, then plan accordingly, then work with that plan, then re-evaluate. Repeat this method until you are attaining a score on the NBME's that you are comfortable with and then take your Step exam.


    Updates: 6/10/12

    addendums should be made to some of the change in teaching staff for a few classes.

    dr. gugn*** has left and no longer teaches microbio or comm med. i think dr. ven**t*** does that. dr. Ja** does path 1 entirely and for md2, dr s**u left (last semester actually) and dr. stew*** teaches that now. for micro, it has been mostly dr. s*m and minimal of dean gu***. histology is also taught by dr. ro**** instead of dr. Pa**.

    while studying for these classes shouldnt change much, teaching style has changed
    Last edited by houmd; 06-10-2012 at 05:32 PM. Reason: HTML

  2. #41
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    medic300107 is offline Supermedic Moderator 10497 points
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    I would say 1 or 2 years old no big deal. But honestly 9 years old is too much. A lot of the drugs have changed since then and such. I would recommend something more current.
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  3. #42
    PnS11 is offline Senior Member 6123 points
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    This thread is like a snapshot of a little less than three years ago. Like a yearbook. I remember my time on the island when this was posted and where I was at and how far some of us have come since then.

    Definitely houmd going from an MD4 fledgling to a matching student (definitely started PGY-1 by now). Crazy.

    The books, teachers, and material may have changed but the advice still stays the same. Make the most of basic science years. Windsor has changed from being a school that dragged its feet and in turn made the students do the same, and changed into a bit more of a frantic pace to get accreditation. Still, students are not pushed hard enough during their time on the island and so they fall into a trap of not keeping up with the material or even learning it in the first place.

    I'm not sure how rampant cheating with old exams is these days, but even if there's a chance to do so, you owe it to yourself to learn the material the right way and thoroughly the first time through so that subsequent passes of the material in MD5 and beyond are just review. houmd said to make the most of the BSc years, and that is incredibly important.

    If current students do not know what it means to struggle post BSc, they should talk to students that are going on their second year now "studying for the Step" since finishing MD5 and are still no closer to taking it than when they began. I promise you, they will all curse "using old exams to pass" their retakes when they had them, and have it listed as their #1 regret. That ties in directly to making the most of the island time and not saying "I'll do it in MD5." Because with that mentality, you won't.

    Don't be one of those people that delays their exam for years because of their poor foundation or study skills. Many students take so long because they even fail the exam multiple times. And that's not helping their CV either. Couple with that the extended time taken to take the exam (over six months post-MD5) and you are only weakening your CV for PDs for residencies.

    Stay smart about your work. 230+ Step scores don't happen over night.

  4. #43
    giants2 is offline Junior Member 511 points
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    I as well remember looking and memorizing at this advice Houmd posted before I went to the island for MD1.

    While the advice on studying remains the same, some professors and courses have changed. These are the books which helped me tremendously during my time on the island. I recommend you all to get these books, so that your foundation is strong enough to utilize MD5 properly.

    It is worthwhile to invest in First Aid, Kaplan MedEssentials, and Crush Step 1 before coming to the island and use these alongside all your courses.

    Rapid Review Anatomy and Embryology (the clinical vignettes in the pink boxes are the best and has images straight from netters)
    Elsevier Integrated Histology
    Kaplan Anatomy Lecture Notes
    Grays Anatomy Review Book (Question Book)

    Elseviers Integrated Physiology
    Elseviers Integrated Biochemistry
    Guyton and Hall Physiology Review (Question Book)
    Kaplan Qbank for Biochem

    Elsevier Integrated Immunology and Microbiology (For IMMUNOLOGY ONLY)
    Kaplan Microbiology Lecture Notes (For MICROBIOLOGY)
    Kaplan Pathology
    Goljian Pathology Audio
    Kaplan Anatomy (the neuroanatomy section)
    Rubbins Pathology Q and A (question book)
    Lippincott Microbiology Q and A (question book)
    Lippincott Neuroscience Q and A (question book)

    MD 4:
    Kaplan Pathology
    Pathophysiology for Boards and Wards
    Goljian Pathology Audio
    Elsevier Integrated Pharmacology
    Rubins Pathology Q and A (Question Book)
    Lippincott Pharm Q and A (question book)

    If you diligently use these books while taking the respective courses in MD1-4, MD5 will be a review
    Last edited by giants2; 08-29-2014 at 09:53 PM.

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