THIRD SEMESTER OF MED SCHOOL: REVIEW AND TIPS

5991e0d3bf176f6dae5ec461e6d28b11Courses:

Microbiology
Pathology I
Pharmacology
Psychiatry
Research Methods II

Summary:

There really is no way to sugarcoat it…this, semester, was, brutal. In a way though, it was unpleasant in the same way that a band aid hurts as it’s ripped off – painful yet quick, and leaves a sting after. Why? Well, if you look at the courses listed above, you will note that they are some of the most material dense subjects encountered in the basic sciences (think Micro, Pharm, and Path). And these courses, on top of an 8am-5pm schedule Monday-Friday, leave little room for down time or (USMLE) board prep, the two essentials for second year med students. So, I found myself stressing, procrastinating, gaining weight, not exercising, and generally wishing it was Christmas earlier than I had ever before…by the first week of November! Furthermore, by the time the break rolled around, I was left feeling exhausted and drained for almost 2 weeks after the final exam.

Due to the heavy course load, intense daily studying and memorizing (not just a review of the day’s lectures) was essential. Because of this, and thankfully, time flew by! My only qualm looking back is that I wish I had had more time to study for the USMLE Step 1. I wished that some of the profs could have trimmed some of their material down to the more board-relevant topics, as I often felt like I was stressing over concepts that I ultimately didn’t need to know long term. Although I wanted to, I couldn’t skip over those topics, as many of them were tested on by the monthly block exams. Additionally, I wish I felt I had the time to exercise, as that would have helped relieve me of the daily stress I felt by 10 fold. In brief, it was all, quite simply, too much (and saying that in medical school means a lot!).

Things that made the semester bearable included: multiple birthdays (and therefore parties/events), Friendsgiving, my birthday (had a surprise party!), and that final day of exams when I walked out of the building knowing I had 3 weeks of vacation awaiting me!

Tips:

  • Pathoma, Pathoma, PATHOMA!!! Studying from these videos in combination with Fundamentals of Pathology helped me feel somewhat prepared for boards even though I wasn’t directly studying for them. If you only want to buy 1 textbook, or 1 video subscription for MS2, this should be it!!
    • I only purchased the Pathology Rapid Review text over the holidays, so I didn’t study from it in Path I — it’s also a great resource, though I prefer to use it only when I need a more thorough explanation of concepts (longer and more textbook-y)
    • I opened my course required Robbins Pathologic Basis of Disease textbook once. Honestly, don’t bother with it unless you really don’t understand a topic. Otherwise you will be highly overwhelmed and will have no time to do anything else (almost 1500 pages)
  • Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple is a book that many of my friends used, that I didn’t, but only because I forgot to buy it. It proved to be a great resource, and is also one of the most popularly recommended texts for the subject other than First Aid itself
  • Lippincott Pharmacology and Kaplan USMLE Step 1 Pharmacology were both fantastic aids, both of which I had on PDF. I would recommend buying a hard copy of the Kaplan book if possible, as it helps to make notes and diagrams in the margins (especially when it comes to drug mechanisms). Once again, I would refer to Lippincott for a thorough explanation, and Kaplan in combination with lecture notes for most occasions. I’ve also heard the Kaplan Pharmacology Flashcards are really great!

That’s pretty much it for the re-cap. Hope some of this is useful to you readers out there!

Kc

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