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

Member Profile

Jerry Markar (2017)
Member Type: Student, Junior Member Campus: Chicago
Specialty: Anesthesiology Program: University of California (UCLA)
Advice
M1 Year
M1 year is tough because it takes a while to get used to the rigorous study schedule. That said, in retrospect, it is the year when you have the most free time. If you find that you get in a nice rhythm with studying and are performing well on your exams, then you might choose to get involved in some research. Eat well and exercise. You are in it for the long haul. It’s important to prioritize taking care of yourself. You can’t educate your patients on a healthy lifestyle if you do not follow one yourself.

As for study resources, I do not recall any particularly useful books, but I suggest you study class notes and ONE good review book (e.g. BRS, Pretest, etc.). Do not get bogged down in details and focus on information in review books as this is what will be most important as you move forward.

M2 Year and Step 1

Before I get started telling you what I did during M2 year, I think it is important to remember that everyone studies differently and has different goals. It is important to know who you are getting information from; if you get advice from someone who earned a 210 on Step and you want 240+, then obviously that information is not too relevant to you. The opposite is true as well; if you want a 230 on Step then you don't need to do as much as the guy who got a 250+. The advice you find on this website will come from those who likely scored great than 250 on Step 1.

At the beginning of the year, I decided I wanted to get 250+ on Step and do well in my classes; that said, I was willing to sacrifice my class grades a little to focus on Step. Ironically, the more I studied for Step, the better I did in my classes. So here is what I did during M2 year and it worked out really well for me.

I worked very hard six days a week and took almost all Sundays off (unless it was the day before a test). I would get to school no later than 8 am and would stay there until 7 pm (but I really studied 95% of that time with my only break being about 30 mins for lunch). After I would get home at about 7:30 pm, I didn't' study anymore that night. I would exercise, have dinner with my wife, watch TV, and go to sleep at about 11 pm to get a good night's rest for the next day. SLEEP IS VERY IMPORTANT DURING THIS TIME.

Also, as your time is important, be selective with your resources. If something isn’t working for you, then find an alternative.

My resources listed below are in no particular order.

General
First Aid 2015 - this was my main note-taking book. I wrote anything important from Uworld that wasn't already in it (very few things) in this book. You will likely not write class notes in this.
Uworld Qbank – very, very important - I always did timed random 44 question blocks and spent about four hours reviewing 44 questions afterward. I started this at the beginning of second semester and did about 44 questions per day. After that, I would study for classes the rest of the day using the resources below.
USMLERx Qbank - I used this as a “not so serious” Qbank when I wasn't too engaged or wanted to do subject specific questions, i.e. before a pharmacology test, etc.(save Uworld only to be done on random timed mode).
Goljian Audio - I listened to him on my commute and sometimes at the gym. He is also very good.

Pathology
Pathoma book and its associated online videos - this I believe is by the second most important resource all year (with Uworld being the most important). I watched the videos based on what we were learning in class once and took extensive notes into the Pathoma book. Then I read and re-read the chapter and studied the notes. I watched the videos again when I was tired and couldn't actively study. The videos are amazing - you will see what I mean once you start. This resource is worth every penny and it is not even expensive! Everything he says is golden. There were some lectures in class that weren't covered by this book, such as forensics and autopsy; just FYI - so you need to study those class notes more closely for the class exam.

Pharmacology
Kaplan Pharmacology Lecture Notes (find on eBay)
Kaplan Pharmacology Lecture Videos by Raymon Lionel
Lange Pharmacology Flash Cards (great resource, take notes from Kaplan and add them to these cards for review)
Use USMLERx Qbank for pharmacology questions; also use Tulane Pharmacology website for questions (save Uworld to be done on random for serious Step studying)

Use the class syllabus to know which Kaplan videos to watch. Go to lectures you find useful.

Clinical Pathophysiology (CPP)
Pathoma - studying for pathology was really like studying for CPP as well.
Zar Review Lecture – most important!

Start watching Zar's four hour review and take notes on his review slides as soon as possible and just study that for each test (there is a review for each test). You can find last year's videos and notes for each review session at the beginning of the year on Blackboard - they are essentially identical as the one he will give you before your test - this way you get a jump start and focus on what will be on the test. Don’t miss lectures by Dr. Zar since he is probably the smartest guy you will ever meet. Seriously.

Microbiology
Microbiology Lecture Notes (well-taught class) – Dr. Freitag is awesome!
Lippincott's Microcards - take notes from class notes onto these and use to study.
Use USMLERx Qbank for questions.

There were a few immunology lectures in the beginning of the year that were good as well and will be tested. You also have some prior knowledge from M1 year courses I believe. This is important stuff for Step 1 and for being a good doctor.

Psychiatry
Psychiatry Lecture Notes - don't pay attention to too many details – well-taught class.
Use First Aid – very important and high yield.
Use USMLERx Qbank for questions (again, save Uworld only to be done on random timed mode since that is how the Step 1 exam will be)

ECM
Self-explanatory - try hard and be professional.
Learn physical exam maneuvers well as it will come in handy M3 year.
Don’t blow off this class. It is well-taught and very important. You will likely never have someone spend so much time with you on H&P’s and physical exams in your career. Take advantage now!

Again, everyone studies differently. My classmates who are some of the smartest people I know may tell you something totally different. You need to be true to yourself and find your own way.

Good luck to you! M2 year is a long year but it is amazing how much you learn. And remember, we are privileged to be in medical school and there is someone out there who would love to be in your position.


Jerry Markar
UIC College of Medicine
M.D. Candidate Class of 2017