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I can’t believe I have made it through two weeks of medical school. There is so much information to review and master, with so few hours.  The old proverb, “he who fails to plan is planning to fail”, has never been so personally relevant.

In my previous post, I detailed my dream study regimen.  Needless to say, that didn’t last long.  It was taking up too much time, and didn’t make much sense.  Now I take a different approach for each class.

  1. Cell Biology – I read,  Junqueira’s Basic Histology: Text and Atlas (Mescher) and Medical Cell Biology (Goodman).  Our professor also has a collection of handouts that I also intend to purchase.  Honestly, if this professor didn’t take attendance, I would skip class and just study.  From what I’ve heard anywhere from 66 – 80% of the previous class failed this exam.  The test is ridiculously hard because it is allegedly not based on content covered in lecture.
  2. Biochemistry –  I’ve been instructed to just read the professor’s hand outs and supplement with Lippincott’s Illustrated Reviews: Biochemistry (Champe).  I try to read the handouts before class, and annotate them with my class notes and Lippincott’s afterwards.  Biochemistry is my favorite class (I am biased).  Our professor is the best.  He has an extremely cool confident personality.  It is evident he loves the subject-matter and is very knowledgeable.  This is the one professor who has received unanimous praise from every student I’ve talked to.  Most people attend his class, and they don’t have to.
  3. Anatomy – I use a combination of Acland’s DVD Atlas of Human Anatomy, Netter’s Anatomy Flash Cards, and Clinically Orientated Anatomy (Moore).  The Acland videos are a tremendous help, even though they may appear dry.  I love them because the cadavers are well-preserved and I gain a better perspective of how the different muscles, bones, nerves, and arteries interact with each other. This is the class I skip.  We have an hour lunch break from 12 – 1pm and Anatomy continues from 1 – 3pm.  I use this time to study Anatomy.
  4. Gunner Training – This website is a godsend.  Gunner Training is, “an adaptive learning platform that automatically creates a personal review plan to make sure you remember what you’ve learned.”  I use it every night to review recently covered topics in class in the hopes I will retain more information.  This should make my USMLE Step 1 review “less” arduous since I won’t have to re-teach myself older material.

I spend about 6 – 8 hours studying each day.  Surprisingly, medical school is not as “hard” as I thought it would be.  The most difficult task is time management and study efficacy.  Of course, I’m only two weeks in, so what do I really know.  This past week we added to Cell Biology to our class schedules.  So instead of our first class starting at 10 am (which was heaven), he had to be ready at 8am.  In addition to the new Cell Biology class, we also began attending Anatomy lab.  For whatever reason, our class is the first to have anatomy lab 4 days a week.  Anatomy lab goes from 3pm to 5pm.

This upcoming week we will start Program of Medicine in the Community (PMC).  Each student is assigned a hospital to hospital in which he or she will visit once a week for four hours.  According to our school website at PMC we will, “assist in performing H&Ps (history and physical), teaching preventive medicine to patients and learning how to diagnose and treat the variety of conditions which they will encounter.”

Let’s see how PMC will go.  I love the opportunity we have to meet doctors and patients in the community, and the possibility of acquiring new skills.  According to my roommate, I got a great hospital assignment.  However, I’m not excited about losing 4 hours of study time each week.  This estimate doesn’t include the transportation time, so maybe 5 hours in total.  I might have to start skipping Cell Biology, at least the second hour to make up for the time lost.