Friday, May 05, 2006

4th Term

Good luck with 4th term. Lot of work, lot of fun, lot of time in the library.

These courses are going to overlap a great deal, mainly with infectious agents, immunology, and diagnostic procedures. The review books that were the most helpful: First Aid for USMLE, Micro/Immuno BRS

MICRO (5cr):

The department does an excellent job on some sections and horrible on others. You really need another resource to handle and structure the information. I used the First Aid for USMLE step 1 book and the Micro/immuno BRS. I highly recommend each. I did not buy the Micro text. Too much information. Several times in the notes, a reference will be made to a table or figure. When it came time to prepare for the tests, I just checked it out of the library, found the figures and moved on. Save your money.

PATH (13cr):

Path is challenging because of the alien teaching style (group lab work) and the volume. Topics in Path are broken into Modules. You will have 6 before the first exam, 4 before the second, and the rest for the final. Each module consists of around 30 slides that are descriptive of different pathologies. Among your group, you will split up these slides, go to the library to prepare a presenation on whatever you were assigned, and then present to the group. For the first half hour of every lab you are free to say as many wrong things as you want, but then the tutors descend. Once present, they will listen like hawks for the first piece of stupid to fall from your mouth, and they will then punish you for saying it by asking you questions that you cannot answer and slowing down the group (your fault). Then, since no one could answer correctly, your tutor will explain the problem to you. Don't get hostile towards the tutor; it's only because you screwed up that they had to fix it. That said, some tutors will insert comments here and there and hijack the lab. If this isn't the way your group wants to work, all you have to do is say so and the tutor will stop. They're there to help you, I promise.

So if the members of your group take their responsibilities seriously and don't try to bullshit through an answer, things will run smoothly and you'll cover your slides in the time allotted. If not, then there is going to be some disappointment and hostility when a pattern emerges. You'll have to come in on days off to finish when you could be studying. For this reason, I beg you to pick a Path group full of people that you think will DO THE WORK. If one of your best friends is a lazy bastard, then she needs to be in a group with her kind. Don't feel bad about any of this: the less work they do, the more work you do, the harder path is for everyone. Groups on top of their game are having fun. Be that group.

The biggest problem that hits the Path student is Volume. VOLUME. There are going to be three and four and five good sources for information, and if you try to pull the best from each to make your notes then you can kiss the rest of your life goodbye. With all that volume comes the mistake of thinking that it is all important. It isn't. For example, when researching C.neoformans, you could either write a book or you could write:

"small cell, thick capsule, india ink, AIDS meningitis."

When the test comes, it's hard to memorize 300 books. One liners are just easier for this kind of volume. I'm sure you'll find your own happy middle.

As for books:

The Path manual with black and white pictures is available in color .pdf on angel. I never used the path manual that I bought and instead worked from my computer. So I wouldn't buy it a second time around. However, many people used it to write down their notes in lab, and then would also annotate with the lecture handouts. The great advantage of this is that ALL THEIR INFORMATION WAS IN ONE SPOT. Having three different books open along with can be a bit overwhelming, especially when it comes time to study.

Make sure you get the macdaddy. It has audio files (Sokumbi's Reviews). Indispensable. It also has every lecture slide completed in PowerPoint format from previous terms, so you can get an idea of what the hell you're supposed to be doing that first week. It's also the great equalizer if you're confused by something your tutor said that week.

Big Robbins: amazing text. Pocket Robbins: also amazing. Bought both, used both every day. I also bought the Pathology BRS but it was too much. I stuck with my Robbins books and the notes and did alright. DO NOT BUY THE ROBBINS REVIEW OF PATHOLOGY QUESTION BOOK. Look to links...

Now for the websites.
Pathguy: Path professor famous for his easy explanations. Architecture of the sight is a little odd.
WebPath: Website with quizes, timed quizes, quizes with slides, path case of the week. Amazing preparation for the tests. Has all the questions from Robbins Review of Pathology, so you don't have to buy it.
eMedicine: Went to this website almost every damn day.

Clinical Skills:

Yup, you get to hang out with your Path group one more time. All in all my favorite course of the term. I bought Pocket Bates' and a stethescope. The PD kit was a little too expensive for my tastes and I wasn't won over by the tourniquet and tongue depressors. And what use I'll ever have for a BP cuff, well, I may never know. Of course if everyone decided that then we'd all be screwed since I did rely on at least two people in my group of 6 to have the kit. My vote is that the CS program should supply the kit for labs and tests themselves. End rant.

The Powerpoints on angel are good review and a video is shown at the beginning of every lab. Channel your inner-trained monkey and you'll get through it. When you're examining your classmates make sure you go with confidence. The tutors can smell your fear and uncertainty.

Remember that the majority of your CS grade comes from Saint Vincent's, so it isn't the end of the world if you have to come unprepared every day in order to stay current in Path/Micro.

I have yet to begin Nutrition, but trust the people that told me to just buy the book.

Hope it helps, topher.


At 6:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who is about to begin 4th term at SGU, thanks for the info. Good luck at the other island.


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