Αξιον Ωφελειν τους Αλγουντας.” --Be Worthy to Serve the Suffering.

Member Profile

Anthony Lucero (2014)
Member Type: Student, Senior Member Campus: Chicago
Specialty: Emergency Medicine Program: Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Advice
A little disclaimer about the study plan I lay out is that it highly personalized to the way I learn. Other classmates of mine had a completely different plan of attack that worked equally well for them. The key is to know how you learn best and to study in a way that optimizes that method. A little piece of advice is to make sure you give yourself a daily break (at least) and to get enough sleep every night. Those two things will help you a lot more than the extra 2-3 hours of studying you'll get. Plus, you'll probably be a lot happier a person too. With that, here is what I did for M2/3 year and for Step 1. Good luck! If you have any questions, you can reach me at anlucero86@gmail.com

Step 1

1. UWorld - I can't emphasize this resource enough. UW by itself has an encyclopedia of Step 1 material, but what it has that no other resource does is it trains you to read/think the way the testmakers want you to. I hate to be cliche, but phrase "practice makes perfect" absolutely applies here. The questions from UW are the most similar in terms of difficulty, length, structure, and material covered that you will come across. The more you do it, the more you train your "gut" to be right. I competed it once on the last day of classes, redid my wrong ones, reset it, then did it all again. I put all my annotations in FA throughout both passes through UW Qbank.

2. FA - this became my central repository for all the sources that I used (UW Qbank, Kaplan videos, Najeeb videos, and Goljan Rapid Review, Robbins). As you've probably noticed, it's just an outline of the most high yield stuff, so by itself I think it's not all that useful. I tried to contextualize all the info I learned by writing in snippets of clinical vignettes I saw from UW, or more explanations I heard from Kaplan/Najeeb/Robbins. Adding my annotations to FA really helped in solidifying the mass of info I learned.

3. Kaplan - this was also a very valuable resource. I prefer it to
DIT because Kaplan lecturers actually EXPLAIN key concepts instead of merely reciting FA verbatum (which I felt DIT did). I really feel that the better you understand concepts and know now to integrate them, the better you will do. The Kaplan videos really helped with that. I also copied some important diagrams (like of multiple biochemical pathways integrated together) into FA. I'm a really visual person, so this really worked for me. I split a Kaplan registration with several people. Others used bootleg copies. It's really the same either way.

4. Najeeb - I feel like this is the best kept secret for Step 1. Dr. Najeeb is basically a Step 1 guru who videotaped himself giving lectures on key Step 1 material. If you can make peace with the fact that his videos are kinda poorly done, it's an incredibly valuable resource. What I liked about him is he DRAWS out the key CONCEPTS of high yield Step 1 material. Again, I'm a very visual and concept oriented learner, so this really worked for me. When I used it, all the videos were on youtube, but i think you can subscribe to his website for really cheap. I would actually annotate some of his diagrams on a blank sheet of paper, and paste what I could into FA.

5. Goljan's Rapid Review and Audio lectures - I'm kinda killing 2 birds with this one b/c they're very similar in the material covered. I think RR is just a more detailed written version of what he says in his audio lectures. Nevertheless, there is something to be said for hearing the same material you've read. For me it really highlighted and solidified the information. I went a little crazy with the audio lectures and probably listed to all of them >10 times. I listened to it pretty much anytime I could with the exception of when I ran--running for me was my break from everything. The lectures are like 10 years old, but I swear there were a handful of questions I got right only by listening to it.

6. Robbins - I know not everyone reads this and it def feel like a supernerd for admitting that I read (most of) it. I read and highlighted Robbins throughout all of 2nd year. I pretty much just read the chapters that were covered in the Pathology class at the same time the material was covered. I just kept my reading to what I felt was the most important body systedms (CV, Pulm, Heme/Onc, GI, GU, Renal, Neuro). After reading each chapter, I actually typed out the text I highlighted, and sometimes even annotated it with what I heard/read from Goljan. At the end of M2 year, I holepunched it and added it to my FA, chapter by chapter. Did I go overboard? Probably, but I know it really helped me in mastering the concepts of Step 1.

7. Pharm Cards and Micro Cards

M2 year

I really just focused on Step 1 > classes. Again, I really feel that by learning the key concepts and how to integrate them throughout M2 year will make that month of dedicated Step 1 studying so much easier. I focused most of my studying on Path and Pathophysiology. I didn't go to class, but watched almost all the videos for Path and CPP. I didn't do that for any other class, especially pharmacology. For pharm, I really just did pharm cards, and looked through the druglist a couple times before the test.

For Path, my main resources were Robbins and Goljan RR/audio. For pathophys, my resources were the Kaplan and Najeeb videos, as well as the lecture recordings. I also, downloaded Dr. Zar's review and listed to it a couple times before the test.

M3 year

My biggest piece of advice is to keep and open mind about every rotation you're on. You may think you want to do surgery and the end of the day go into IM. It happens a lot more often than you think, so do yourself the service of going into every rotation, even ones you think you may not care for, with an open mind.

Stay interested. Residents know when you don't care, aren't interested, ready to leave, etc. They were in your shoes just a few years ago and know how you feel. If you respond positively to the questions/teaching they give you, the more they will respond positively to you. On the other hand, please don't go opposite extreme and go overboard with them.

Don't be a gunner. This goes along the same vein as the last sentence above. I can't stress this enough. If you feel the need to answer every question before all of your piers, be the first one there very day, doing needless favors for people (get coffee/lunch, etc), and above all throwing other people under the bus, DO NOT DO IT. Again, residents were in your shoes not too long ago, and they know how to identify even the slightest gunning, and most likely will not respond positively to it. I can't tell you how many times a brilliant med student on one of my rotations answered questions out of turn, tried to teach other students/residents concepts when they didn't ask for it, and said/did things to make others look bad; I can tell you that few of these people got the grade they wanted.

Read when you get home. I'd advise trying to read or do questions at least 1 hour per day. I know that with some rotations like surgery and OB/GYN that that's really a tall order. But if you're consistent with it, it'll help reinforce the concepts you were taught while on the wards and will help you nail the shelf.

Have fun! M3 year was my favorite year at the time (M4 being the best for obvious reasons) because it's the first time you actually get to do what you signed up for. I thought seeing patients was way more fun than reading about them in a book. If go in everyday with a positive attitude and try to have a good time with your residents and other med students, you'll be a much happier person, and it'll show.

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Anyways, I hope all this helps. Again, if you have any questions, my email is above. Good luck and enjoy the ride!