Improving medical students

Archive for May, 2008

Handy Downloads

Posted by medliorator on May 31, 2008

  • iContact Brings Your Google Contacts to Your Desktop (Windows)
    “Freeware application iContact downloads your Gmail address book to your desktop for quick access to all your contacts’ information.”
  • Some PDF to Word Converter Does What It Sounds Like (Windows)
    “Freeware application Some PDF to Word Converter takes your PDFs and—as the name implies—converts them to Microsoft Word documents.”

This Week’s Top Downloads [Lifehacker]

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How to Avoid Clinical Errors

Posted by medliorator on May 30, 2008

Ted R. Melnick, MD…

1. A common disease presenting in a common way (horses);
2. A common disease presenting in an uncommon way;
3. An uncommon disease presenting in a common way; and
4. An uncommon disease presenting in an uncommon way (zebras).

After seeing horse after horse, we develop pattern recognition and must be careful not to automatically identify every case as a horse, potentially failing to recognize a true zebra.

Attending a QA or PI meeting or an M&M conference is a great way to get exposure to how physicians approach their mistakes and what they do to prevent them in the future.

How Can I Avoid Clinical Mistakes? [Medscape]

Posted in Clinical Rotations, How-To, Medical Errors | Comments Off on How to Avoid Clinical Errors

Graham’s Guide to USMLE Step 1

Posted by medliorator on May 29, 2008

Your bible: First Aid for the USMLE Step 1… You will study from this every day. You will memorize every word of every page of this book… I’d hold out until 2nd year to buy it, as you can get the latest edition… Expert tip: go to Kinko’s, get the binding cut off, three hole-punch it and throw it in a binder. Much easier to study with.

If you buy any other review books, make them BRS Pathology and BRS Physiology.

you’ll want a copy of High-Yield Embryology

I really liked Lippincott’s Illustrated Reviews Pharmacology and Lippincott’s Illustrated Reviews Biochemistry.

Kaplan Q-Bank… It gives you an insane number of questions, and does a number of things:

  • Forces you to practice taking computer tests.
  • Forces you to get used to not knowing the answer.
  • Helps you get really good at eliminating bad answers and guessing.
  • Gives you some feedback on what sections you are doing okay at and what sections you need more work on.

Graham’s Guide to Boards Prep

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Sound Advice for your USMLE Step 1 Prep

Posted by medliorator on May 28, 2008

Kendra Campbell:

1. Make a schedule, and try to stick to it …I usually go as far as creating a schedule down to the hour

2. Get up every day at a similar hour.

3. Don’t forget to schedule in “fun time” or time off from studying to relax. This is incredibly important, and will prevent the dreaded “burn-out.”

4. Do questions. This is a great way to learn. Use an online question bank, or one of the thousands of prep books. And don’t just look at the correct answers. Actually figure out why you got the question wrong (and even right), and learn from your mistakes.

5. Don’t study what you already know.

6. Caffeine is your friend. Never forget your friends.

How to Study for a Big Exam [The Differential]

Posted in Study Tips, USMLE | Comments Off on Sound Advice for your USMLE Step 1 Prep

How to Rock USMLE Step 1

Posted by medliorator on May 27, 2008

From Dr. Dimov at Clinical Notes:

1. Read a concise book to understand the basics, e.g. Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine rather than huge volumes like Harrison’s or Cecil’s. Use the handbook plus a collection of medical images like the Braunwald’s Atlas of Internal Medicine, available after a free registration from Medicine is a visual science, and seeing often equals remembering.

2. Practice with a lot of MCQ. It is a common saying that one needs to solve 5,000 questions for each step of UMSLE in order to pass. If you want to do well, you need to answer 10,000 MCQ, and if you do 15,000 — well, somebody will score at the 99th percentile and it might just be you.

Remember the following useful strategy, when you practice MCQ:
– read the 1st line (age? background?)
– read the last line (what are they asking me?)
– read the answers

Then read the stem (if you have time), with the answers in mind. Do not waste your time reading the long stem first, you will go over-budget (i.e., over-time)

Pace yourself when you practice with MCQ. You need to know how long it takes you to answer each of those questions… after you are done with the practice session, always calculate 2 things: the percent of correct answers and the seconds you spend on each question… It took you 82 minutes to answer 120 questions, 82 minutes are 4920 seconds. This means you spent 41 seconds per question. Google can calculate that for you. Write these 2 numbers on the side of your answer sheet: “62 %, 42 s/Q”. Monitor your progress over time.

How to Score Well on the Boards? [Clinical Notes]

Posted in Study Tips, USMLE | Comments Off on How to Rock USMLE Step 1

Access Blackboard with Facebook

Posted by medliorator on May 26, 2008

Blackboard Sync for facebook

You can find out if you have a new assignment, grade, new forum posts, etc., without having to leave Facebook. …cross-references your courses’ Rosters with Facebook to make it easier to connect with your classmates through Facebook.

Blackboard Sync is available for students attending institutions using the Blackboard Learning System, version 7.1 and higher. If your institution is using a version of Blackboard not supported by Blackboard Sync, or if your institution has blocked the application, you will receive an error message when you try to install Blackboard Sync. You can talk to your Blackboard System Administrator on campus if this occurs.

Posted in Software, Tools | Comments Off on Access Blackboard with Facebook

USMLE Step 1 – Insider’s Perspective

Posted by medliorator on May 24, 2008

Even if you do not get the score that you hope to get, remember that there are many ways to compensate for the score on your residency application, i.e. good grades on clinical rotations, strong letters of rec, and rotating away at a place you want to go and doing well there.

try to have some semblance of normality in your life for a couple of hours each day while studying. Take breaks to exercise, spend time with friends/family, and eat well. It will keep your mind clearer and make your studying more effective. No matter how far behind you feel in your studies, do not reschedule your test date! From what I saw from others who did, the extra time was not that helpful and just led to more stress. Get this beast over with and take a real vacation for at least a couple of weeks before you start 3rd year. And avoid stressful situations while you study. This may mean leaving school and heading elsewhere to study if you find other medical student studiers to be more anxiety-producing than motivating.

Step 1 Revisited [Medical Student Musings]

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Simple Steps to Stay Productive

Posted by medliorator on May 23, 2008

1. Use offline tools. Paper products, pens, and other physical tools are a Godsend for those of us who have a hard time focusing throughout the work day. They’re so simple that we can use them quickly, without having to worry about becoming distracted.

2. Take more breaks. More breaks = More productivity. It may sound wrong, but it’s true. Breaks allow us to re-group our thoughts and focus for the task at hand. They also keep us fresh so that we don’t end up burning out after only a few hours work.

3. Smaller tasks to check off. When you’re planning your day, make sure that your “action steps” (aka items in the checklist) are small actions. Instead of “Paint living room”, try breaking it down into many tasks, like “buy paint, buy rollers, pick colors” etc.

7. Plan your day to the T. If you’re finding sporadic periods of laziness throughout the day, it could be because you don’t take enough breaks (see #2), and you don’t have the day mapped out as efficiently as you could. Make sure your list of todos has lots of small, actionable steps that can be done quickly. This will gives a really satisfying feeling when you’re crossing things off your list like crazy.

9. Plan the night before. Planning the night before is a great way to really get focused on the next day. “Sleeping” on your tasks and goals for the following day can really help your mind expect what’s going to happen the next day. Essentially, you’re preparing your mind for the following day. Advanced focus.

16 Ways to Keep A Razor- Sharp Focus at Work [zenhabits]

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Perks of Away Rotations

Posted by medliorator on May 22, 2008

Thomas Robey at Medscape…

Rural Perks:

  • The student-teacher ratio is stacked for you. There may be only one or two students learning from 10 doctors, 15 techs, 25 nurses and hundreds of patients. If there are residents, you can often pick and choose which folks teach in a way that matches your learning styles.
  • It’s easy to maintain continuity of care with the “build your own schedule” setup many away rotations have. I can see a surgical patient’s initial presentation, a pre-op clinic appointment, assist in the procedure, manage the post-op hospital stay, and participate in follow-up care.

Urban Perks:

  • Residency letters sometimes need to come from department big shots.
  • Are you considering a career in a medical or surgical specialty? Good luck finding a cardiologist or urologist in private practice willing to take time out for a student. Away rotations can be useful for the bread and butter of medicine, but there’s a reason why people travel to academic medical centers for care. That’s where the specialists are!

Pros and Cons of the Away Rotation [Medscape]

Posted in Clinical Rotations, Electives | 1 Comment »

Productivity 101 for Physicians

Posted by medliorator on May 21, 2008

A fine slideshow…

Life Hacks for Doctors

[Efficient MD]

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