Saturday, September 6, 2008

Fall

Well, since I haven't exactly been a blogging machine lately, I felt the need to change it up around here. I think I'm a fan of the change.

It really feels like fall is officially here. The weather is distinctly brisk and the farmers markets are full of great stuff! Fall is my very favorite time of year, partly because I've always gotten a jolt out of starting a new school year, and partly because I just love everything about it. But the fact that it's fall is definitely distracting when it comes to school work. All I want to do is get out of the house, try new fall-y recipes, curl up with a good book at night. Alas, this kind of apathy can't go on unchecked. This is a big year for me, and the big bad boards are going to be in my lap before I know it. I feel utterly unprepared. In fact, I don't even know how to prepare. It's just a big ominous black cloud in the distance. I can't see through it (I don't even know a thing about what to expect 3rd year, but can't seem to care because it's past B-day) and I don't know what it holds. There is such a mosterous pile of information I need to weed through that I don't know where to start. Not to mention, I want to keep up with course work so I'm not doing double duty in the weeks before the actual exam. No reason to completely need to learn the neuro/endocrine/micro sections on my own because I spent the fall studying pharm.

I know from experience that panicking is not a good strategy for me. I can't let myself think about the entire big picture or panic sets in and I am like a deer in headlights. I try to do everything and then suddenly can do nothing.

Oh well, blogging about it at length isn't going to help the situation either. And the exam is still 7 months away. My plan is to actually start, schedule in hand, in October. By then I will know more about how to study for the exam and what kind of schedule is reasonable. Until then, J and I are planning the vacation we will take after the boards. I think it should help with the motivation issue. I have several little nuggets of motivation scattered throughout the year, so that should help me focus. Should....

2 comments:

medicine girl said...

Okay, so this is the longest comment/unsolicited board prep advice missive ever. Love the new look! :-)

LG, I know you'll do well on boards. They're not as hard as everyone makes them out to be, just a lot of material to get through. You'll find a method that works for you, get through the material, and do fabulously well.

For example, I loved Goljan audio + his Path book. I wrote everything from his audio in his book if I could, or resorted to First Aid if it didn't fit well in his book. You can start doing this now so it'll be old hat by the time you hunker down to study the month before the exam. His High Yields are great once you've studied some. I plan to cover all his Step 1 material during my clinical years in addition to his Step 2 review b/c I like the way he thinks.

I also loved Kaplan QBank and wrote down key points in FirstAid or put them up on my wall. You can get a discount on QBank early and even use it to study for your medicine modules if they're comprehensive, as my PBL exams were. I found that I recalled many QBank tidbits when I encountered them months later during board study.

I also found the Kaplan behavioral science videos (I mainly got to the epidemiology & biostats portions) & the Pharm basic principles videos useful. Ask your friends (or me) about how to find these if you don't take the massive Kaplan course. I'm pretty good w/my Pharm b/c I compulsively review mechanisms every time I hear a drug name (& look up if I don't know the drug) so more Pharm might be helpful to those who have trouble recalling drug classes/names/mechanisms.

I researched anything I wasn't clear on in my favorite books/resources, none of which changed from my first two years of study. I don't learn well from review books because I like to understand mechanisms & have exposure to details I can always shelve later if necessary.

Your favorite resources will likely differ from mine. Your school almost certainly subscribes to a ton of online textbooks & resources through AccessMedicine, Books@Ovid, &/or MDConsult. You can do text searches in key books like Harrison's, Robbins & Cotran, Current Medical Dx & Tx, & more subject-specific texts that can be equally valuable when you have a question for school or life. You may not have used these resources if your lecture notes are very good, but I can't sing their praises enough and encourage you to at least check 'em out next time you have a medical question so that you can effectively use them during 3rd year & beyond. A resource like AccessMedicine is better than a handheld textbook in some ways b/c you can search many books at once and find exactly what you need.

I hated First Aid as a primary study resource (I know, blasphemy) and mainly used it as a repository for what I learned when it didn't fit in the Goljan book (Pharm, Micro, more) or on my wall. I didn't make it through FA once tho' I did review my notes on an ongoing basis while adding new ones. Meanwhile, a good friend of mine went through FA at least twice in addition to what I did. We both did very well on both allopathic & osteopathic board exams, and I know I could have done better if I'd made it through more material and avoided both a useless boards prep course that my school made me take & a downright terrible relationship during my study block.

In summary, you're obviously a smart cookie who will find what works for you (keep in mind I never had lecture so our needs probably differ) and do super well. Do lots of practice questions, understand how things work (you teach physio, so I'm pretty sure you're stellar here), & make it through the material. The more you read/see the better you'll do. What's on the test is not rocket science -- board prep books or courses will guide you!

Oh, and don't worry about 3rd year just yet. :-)

The Lewis' said...

I just wanted to drop by and say hello and that I like your new page. Hope you guys are doing well. Miss you!