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

Member Profile

Jason Silberman (2017)
Member Type: Student, Junior Member Campus: Chicago
Specialty: Emergency Medicine Program: University of Tennessee College of Medicine
Advice
Medical School In General:
I remember feeling very anxious about medical school during M1 orientation as I heard several faculty members and students talk about how hard medical school was going to be. I think what should have been emphasized is there is a lot to learn and staying committed to trying to learn effectively, efficiently, and with confidence each day can take you a long way. Making sure to use your academic time efficiently will allow you to take time for yourself to be a person each day as well. My approach to M1 and M2 years was slightly different, but a few things were constant for me. Each day I spent 30-60 minutes for exercise, as it is very important to mental health for stress relief and staying well physically. I also cooked for myself as much as possible, trying to prepare some healthy food for the week on weekends because it saves money and can actually save a lot of time having to go grab food somewhere for meals several times a week. I try to get 7-8 hours of sleep every day because it helps with long term memory and my ability to focus on my studies. Make sure to spend some time each day connecting with people and hobbies that are important to you because you can’t just be a medical student 24/7.

M1 Year:
During M1 year it is way to early in the game to be thinking about Step 1. I attended classes and stuck with class notes for review as well as a few simple text books for each course. It is important to not have too many resources to try to learn from. Find one that explains the concepts well for you. Success in medical school is all about learning concepts and knowing the basics of each subject really well. Concepts will stick with you through medical school and help you succeed on tests. Little details may be on the test, but the majority of questions are about “core concepts” so making sure you get all that information before you learn peripheral details is important. For anatomy I read Grey’s and used the U Michigan practice questions. For physiology I read Costanzo (big and little Costanzo in that order if I had time). I do not really remember other resources that I used first year, but class notes are usually pretty good and if you have questions, try to find them in a book or ask the professors.

M2 Year:
At the start of M2 year I knew that Step 1 was something I wanted to incorporate into my classwork more. I purchased firecracker at the beginning of the M1 summer. For M2 year I would attend all lectures and then flag topics from firecracker each day that I learned about. I reviewed each card and then would do all of the questions each day. I never would do more than 150 questions a day, but I made sure to keep up as best I was able because it is an important resource for spaced repetition. It was a big game changer for my success in class and on step 1. Focusing on the materials for each class was the way I structured studying for Step 1. Towards the second semester I just added in a few older topics on firecracker that I was less confident about, but kept up with the class topics too. I stopped studying from class notes for the most part, just listened carefully instead of writing anything down during class, and used firecracker and a few study resources I’ll describe below for each class.

CPP: for CPP I still attended all lectures, but towards the end of the second year I watched lectures at 1.5x speed. All you need to study to do well in this class is the Dr. Zar reviews which you can download from last years lectures and watch a few times before the test. All of the questions will be things he covers in his review.

Pharmacology:
I did not attend class for this subject with exception of the clinical quandaries sessions which were very helpful. Lectures may be better now so check it out for yourself.
I used Kaplan Video Series for learning the content initially, then firecracker and First Aid.
Micro and Immuno:
I attended lectures, firecracker questions, and the microbiology flash cards that were great and available on the google drive.

Pathology:
I went to class, but made sure to watch the pathoma videos before every subject was presented in class. Pathoma is a very important resource for Step 1 and some Step 2 type questions as well. Dr. Satar explains things very clearly. I took notes, took notes on my notes, and then just watched his lectures again for step.

ECM:
Show up and be professional. Make the most out of your experience during practicum because it is critical to develop good clinical skills before your third year. Try to find some clinical resources that work for you, learn to develop clinical questions and answer them, and learn learn learn from every patient you see. I found that I didn’t miss any practice questions, or actual questions on Step 1 if they were about something pertaining to a patient I took care of.

Step 1 dedicated time:
Like I mentioned above, ever day you learn your first two years, you are preaparing for Step 1. I went through UWORLD Q bank once on timed testing mode during the second semester of M2 year and took lots of good notes in my First Aid copy. I also bought USMLERx and did this question bank 2x while I took the train too and from school on tutor mode. I stopped using firecracker when I got to dedicated study time because it is not a resource that I found practical to cover so much material in a day. Starting at 7am each morning I would do a practice test in USMLERx of 22 questions about the subject I would study on the train to school and finish up on campus. I then would watch the appropriate section of Pathoma at 1.4x speed. If it was long pathoma, I would go to the gym in between, and if not I would go right after for a morning break before I studied some more. I then would review the entire section in First Aid and make sure I could explain each topic well and identify any details I was less familiar with. I then would do 22 more review questions on that topic in USMLERx. Then in afternoons/whenever the topic based review was finished, I would do 1 or 2 blocks of 44 questions in UWorld on timed mode and review the questions as needed. I made sure to finish by 7pm for dinner so that I was only studying 12 hours with a lunch break and gym break in between. Some nights after dinner I would spend 15 minutes at most reviewing the microbiology cards. I made sure to take a half day off once or twice a week.

Remember that medical school is supposed to be fun and you can make it fun. Find things that make you passionate about learning and passionate about becoming a future clinician. Try to keep your mind and body healthy and take time for yourself. Good luck and enjoy the process!

Jason Silberman
UIC College of Medicine
M.D. Candidate Class of 2017