medschool

Studying Made More Enjoyable: The Art of Brewing Coffee

If you don’t like coffee, you should definitely start trying to. Pulling an all-nighter studying in the library will be much more enjoyable if you don’t want to spit out what’s keeping you alert. If you’re one of those people who prefers energy drinks for a late night studying, you’re doing it all wrong. They’re more expensive, loaded with sugar, and don’t warm your soul like a cup of coffee does. There are ways to acquire a taste for coffee – and it’s not by loading it up with cream and sugar. You must learn the art of brewing the perfect cup to enjoy all that coffee has to offer. And, if you already are a coffee addict, believe it or not, there may be a few tips you’ve missed out on… Buy it and keep it fresh– You never pick out the rotten strawberries at the grocery store so why do it with your coffee beans? Instead of digging through your pantry trying to find the coffee you bought months ago when you made your first attempt to become a coffee connoisseur, go buy fresh beans! To keep them fresh, the beans should be stored in a cool, dark area. If you don’t plan on using them within two weeks, keeping them in the refrigerator will ensure that they stay as fresh as when you bought them. Use...

Picmonic: the Secret to USMLE Success?

Human memory is a fickle thing. How is it that we can remember a line from our favorite movies years later (“ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?”) yet forget somebody’s name before they are even finished talking? For medical students, memory is an especially frustrating topic. The ultimate memory tests are the USMLE and COMLEX Step 1 board exams, 8-hour long marathon tests taken at the end of the second-year of medical school that cover all the material presented during the first two-years. At 649 pages long, First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 is considered to be a “condensed” version of the high-yield material tested on the exam. Adding to the stress of the exam, Step 1 scores are considered to be one of the most important factors in selecting candidates for residency interviews. Capitalizing upon, and perhaps worsening, this frustration has been a vast array of board preparation services offered: online courses, review books, and question banks to name a few. And while a 2003 study found no improvement in USMLE scores for those who took a commercial course versus self-study, there are no shortage of options available to students for board prep. One of the newest and fastest growing board prep companies is Picmonic, an Arizona-based start-up founded by two third-year medical students, Adeel Yang and Ron Robertson. Spreading through medical campuses with an impressive word-of-mouth campaign, Picmonic...

Top 10 Tips for Residency Interviews

Jeanne Farnan, MD, from the University of Chicago Internal Medicine Residency Program, knows what she’s talking about when it comes to interviewing. She’s a dedicated faculty interviewer for the Pritzker School of Medicine and is on the internship selection committee for the Department of Medicine. Pay attention to this one!   For more information on Dr. Farnan and the University of Chicago Medical Center, visit...

The World’s Most Sophisticated Algorithm for Choosing a Med Speciality

Decisions, decisions… You’ve spent the majority of your life in school working hard for the big prize: the prestigious two letters after your name, “MD”. But, now that your real life dream is creeping closer, you have to make that difficult decision, what kind of MD? This highly accurate algorithm is for the “almost” MDs who are still clueless and could use some help. Check out more cartoons from Dr. Fizzy here.       Featured image from Flickr / Butte-Silver Bow Public Library | Original Source of Image from Dr. Fizzy’s...

Wisdom of the Crowd: Finding the Most Promising Innovations to Teach Value

Earlier this year, we launched the Teaching Value and Choosing Wisely Competition in conjunction with Costs of Care and the ABIM Foundation.  Why a competition?   Not surprisingly, traditional “literature review” yielded little by way of promising strategies for educators who wished to learn how to teach about value.  However, we had all learned of isolated stories of success, occasionally through attending professional meetings, sometimes via networking with colleagues, or more often through just plain word of mouth.  To help bring these stories of success to the fore, we relied on a crowd-sourcing model by launching a competition to engage a larger community of individuals to tell us their story.  Of course, there were moments we wondered if we would get any submissions. Fortunately, we did not have anything to worry about!  In June, we received 74 submissions, from 14 specialties with innovations and bright ideas that targeted both medical students, residents, faculty and inter-professional learners. Reviewing each abstract to determine the most promising practices that could be easily scaled up to other institutions was not an easy task.  One interesting struggle was the inherent trade-off between feasibility and novelty – what was feasible may not have been so novel, while you were left wondering whether the most innovative abstracts would be feasible to implement.  Fortunately, due to the outstanding expert panel of judges, we were able to narrow the field.  While all the submissions were interesting...

7 Pre-Med Tips for Med School … and the Real World

It is 2 AM. You smell like sweat and coffee, but that doesn’t concern you because everyone you’re studying with at this hour does, too. You are leafing through hand-written class notes and the textbook your professor authored all while eating dinner/breakfast/snack courtesy of the vending machine. You look like this more often than not: Your eyes are half-closed and burning, but you can’t stop, won’t stop because you haven’t even reviewed the copies of past exams. You’re pre-med.   I graduated college two years ago, yet the memories of being a student and staying up until the wee hours of the morning to study for an exam have not faded. After three too many cups of coffee, I would lose momentum and motivation and often questioned the value of hard work. What was the purpose of being a good student? Why am I working this hard? Now, as a member of the working world, I sincerely appreciate the hard work I put in to each assignment for every class. I earned my stripes. I say this because in the first week of my job, I relied on the basic skills I developed as a conscientious student. These are the skills I think are critically important to master if you want to be wildly successful in the workplace or in the classroom: 1. Deadlines Work is like final exam...

Beginners Guide to TBL Groups

In this rapidly evolving and high-tech world of medicine, it has become imperative for doctors to be able to work in groups due to the increasingly team-based nature of modern healthcare. More specifically, hospitals are now comprised of specialists that have to work together with not only each other, but also a plethora of workers including Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, Speech Pathologists, Nurses etc. Because the physician profession has a tendency to attract a medley of strong and unique personalities, we need something that will blunt our edges and allow us to work together with regular people. Abracadabra Team Based Learning: a group exercise designed to simulate team-based problem solving. Now to be honest, TBLs should really be called, ”how to deal with people without hating everybody”, but don’t worry it can be fun; especially if you’re aware of the people you’re going to work with. To help you, I’ve compiled a list of quick, easy, and horribly superficial stereotypes that you can use to judge the people you’re going to be working with. The random fact person. Some people will have little to no productive input into the discussions in TBL, which is actually completely fine, whatever, medical school is tough. However, trying one’s best to be a productive member doesn’t mean it’s cool to go spouting off hundreds of useless facts throughout the discussion. Everybody has already...