Monday, July 1, 2013


Live chat on my blog today (July 1) at 11 a.m. Eastern Daylight time in the US or GMT-4.

Chat app is located in the right lower portion of your screen.

The topic is "Should students and residents memorize information or should they google it?" If it's the latter, how should they be tested?

If you want to review some background information before the chat, I suggest you read the following:

Dumber Doctors?

Will Today's Medical Students Make Inferior Doctors Because They Google Medical Information Instead of Memorizing It?

Not Dumber, but Different? Counterpoint from a Millenial

Other topics may be discussed if time permits.


NeuroTrumpet said...

Would it be possible to post a transcript? Additionally, would be be feasible for you to host these chats at 12pm EST?

artiger said...

Yeah, I would be interested in the transcript as well. I know you can't please everyone, but 12pm CST is better for me. Everyone, submit your preferences.

Seriously, Scalpel, if you are able, give us a little more advance notice, no matter the time. You post a lot of interesting topics.

Anonymous said...

dumb me, I couldn't find the chat app link anywhere.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Neuro, I think it is possible to post a transcript but yesterday's conversation was very brief and not very enlightening. I am trying to find a better time for the chats. 11 am went great last Thursday but wasn't good on Monday.

Artiger, see above.

Anon, it may not be you. The chat app is not yet available for mobile users. My tech staff is working on that 24/7.

Sandra Wayne (who posted a comment on the chat app 16 hours ago), sorry I missed you. You wanted some suggestions about study skills. That's a tough one. If you've read the links I posted above, you will note that med school is mostly about memorization.

I have no magic for that. Some people underline textbooks, some make flashcards, some go for mnemonics, some feel that studying in groups is better. I'd say that varying your methods might help.

I'd be interested in what some current med students have to say.

Anonymous said...

There are several excellent books on Amazon that describe study skills specifically tailored for medical school. Doing a lot of practice problems is also important.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Here's a link to a nice post about how to study in med school.

Anonymous said...

My take on studying in medical school:
1. Yes, SS is 100% right, memorization is where it's at.
2. Caveat to #1: compare and contrast when possible, categorize, organize, make mnemonics (or use those of others), understand*** when possible. Try to minimize memorization without understanding.
3. Never read, only memorize. Do not read page after page of material, without stopping periodically and telling yourself what you just read. Writing flash cards on key points is better.
4. Active learning beats passive learning, hands down. Quizzing/testing is 100% active (fellow classmate, tutor, flash cards, Q&A book, old test, etc.) Highlighting/underlining is 10-20% active. Reading, facts going in one eye and out the other, is passive. Going to lecture and then failing to memorize the concepts/facts ASAP** after the lecture, is passive. Passive "learning" does not result in memorization; it is the kiss of death.
5. Make flash cards for highly memory intensive subjects (e.g. pharmacology). Only** ask yourself cut-and-dried questions when you make flash cards (e.g. what is the lab test used to monitor Coumadin? answer: PT/INR), otherwise you will demoralize yourself with read-my-mind questions.
6. Making flash cards is relatively slow; a like-minded, diligent classmate who will ask hundreds of cut-and-dried questions/hour, with you, is faster. (But such classmates are rare as hen's teeth.)
7. When you get it wrong, ask yourself the same question again 10 minutes later, an hour later, etc. (e.g. put the flash card 20 cards down in the stack so you encounter that question again soon.)
8. Study on your feet as much as possible. Walk with your lecture notes, your review book, your flash cards. Study five minutes, do 30 sit ups, then turn around and tell yourself what you learned in those 5 minutes. Repeat.
9. Go to lecture. A person can memorize 8 hours a day, but 12-14 hours a day is beyond brain wearying. Understand in lecture, then memorize the info the rest of the day.
10. I have an average memory. Not photographic at all. Went to med school in the 1990s. USMLE 1 and 2 scores were approx. 270. Was first in a class of 150. I flogged my memory for all it was worth. I know what I am talking about.
11. It takes a ton of work.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Anon, thank you for an excellent detailed answer. You said it much better than I.

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