Opinion: America Needs an Online Medical University

In 2015, a user on the website Quora.com asked the question: How can I become a doctor online? The answers she received were simple: you can’t. A medical student named Shikha Sharma wrote the answer with the highest number of upvotes.

He begins: “Can you be a driver by reading “how to drive” articles and not touching a car? Can you learn to play a guitar without touching one?[…] Can you cook without entering the kitchen?”

The point made is clear. Being a doctor is a highly skilled, hands on profession. In order to become one, you therefore need hands on training. Learning by yourself in front of the computer screen just won’t cut it.

But is the concept of an online medical university really as far-fetched as it sounds? Afterall, there are plenty of other hands on professions which allow you to train online. If being a doctor is hands on, then nursing certainly is too, but the Open University offers several online nursing courses.

Medical Education Already Happens Online

The internet is already used to supplement mainstream medical education. With lectures from universities being streamed online and apps that help students study, it is an accepted argument that the internet can enhance and contribute to the learning process.

Medical lectures on YouTube – such as my own Future Doc House channel – make medical knowledge accessible for free, and frequently garner thousands of views.

Many established schools are also accepting the importance of information technology in helping students learn. Vanderbilt School of Medicine even completely redesigned their entire IT infrastructure to be inline with their new curriculum,

“We launched a redesigned, tightly integrated, and novel IT infrastructure to support a completely revamped curriculum at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine.”

Much Of Your Medical Training is About Memorization

A major portion of a doctor’s education, particularly in the earlier years, involves memorizing complicated facts and scientific processes.

This kind of training can certainly occur online. With some hands on aspects being incorporated into the training element, such as hospital and laboratory visits, it is not hard to imagine how an online medical university could actually look.

No, the real reason that there are no online medical schools is not because it is impossible to acquire the skills needed to be a doctor online. It’s a matter of regulation.

Becoming a Doctor is, Rightly, Highly Regulated

As any medical student will tell you, becoming a doctor is a convoluted process. In the USA, students need to first acquire a bachelor’s degree, then complete medical school, then complete a residency program, then participate in the three step United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).

If you want to train and qualify as a doctor in the US, the above is the only way to do it. While most countries in Europe do not require students to first acquire a bachelor’s degree, meaning they can begin medical training right after high school, they too have a strict series of licensing tests and requirements, with no room for compromise.

It is of course good that medicine is a highly regulated field. When we or our loved ones are ill, we need to trust that the person caring for them has the skills to do a competent job. The difficulty of the qualification system gives us confidence. It is right that only those who can rigorously prove their competence should be licensed to practice.

But is the established system really the only way that it is possible to effectively and thoroughly train doctors?

The Established System is Inefficient and Expensive

While there are benefits to the established system, there are also critical flaws. It takes as much as 10 years to train a doctor in the US. Too few new doctors are entering the profession, and an aging population means that the US already faces a serious doctor shortage, with the problem only set to get worse if things do not change.

Another issue is student debt: medical student’s routinely graduate with $200,000 or more in loans that they may spend decades struggling to pay off. For students from lower income backgrounds, this is a terrifying financial burden that prevents many talented and hardworking people from entering the medical profession.

An online medical university, if properly set up, could make the process of training a doctor cheaper and more efficient. Online training is cheaper, with no need for campuses, and the replication of lectures and reproduction of digital material requiring less staff and administration.

The lower costs for the student and the convenience factor of being able to complete the majority of one’s training at home at one’s own schedule means the possibility of becoming a doctor will finally become open to those who are, for financial reasons, excluded from the current system.

How Could an Online Medical University Actually Happen?

In order for an online medical university to work, changes would have to be made of the existing qualification and licensing requirements. A system would have to be designed that would allow for practical, hands on elements of doctor training to be made available to students whose studies are primarily online, for example with visits to partner campuses, and occasional meetings with doctors and hospital tours.

The residency system would remain in place – this part of the training must of course be done in person at a real teaching hospital – but with students who studied online and those who studied in traditional campuses now working side by side.

American healthcare is in a state of crisis. The country faces a shortage of up to 35,600 primary care physicians by 2025. Wait times for doctors are as high as 52 days in cities like Boston. Entire states including Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming are designated as medically underserved. Healthcare costs are skyrocketing for individuals and employers. Things desperately need to change.

Things Desperately Need to Change

If the medical educational establishment paused for a moment and took seriously the idea of an online medical university, they could create a system that trains more doctors for less money, bringing massive benefits to the whole country.

Working with QUPI.com, I aim to expand their platform to create a comprehensive destination for medical learning. Hopefully this will begin the process that inspires other educational companies and institutions to explore new ways to push medical education forward.

7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Medical School

Lasse Hodne is a fifth year medical student at Poznan University of Medical Sciences. He mentors younger students, and is Poznan spokesperson for the Norwegian Medical Association (NMA). He’s only 23, but in barely one year he’ll be a doctor.

The team from QUPI sat down with Lasse for a chat about what he wishes he’d known before he began his journey. If you’re in your first few years of medical school – or if you’re wondering whether or not being a doctor is the right choice for you – then Lasse’s tips and insights will help.

One: You don’t have to be a perfect student to be a great doctor

I often hear things like ‘I’d love to be a doctor, but I just don’t think I’m smart enough.’

Maybe you’ve had similar moments of self doubt. If so, that might actually be a good thing. Humility is a major asset in a doctor. The fact that you’re willing to question yourself is a sign that your ego is under control. Trust me, that’s not something all future doctors can claim!

I don’t believe for a second that the students I’ve known who dropped out, did so because they’re not intelligent enough. I think many of them realized that being a doctor simply wasn’t the right choice for them. They discovered that they’d be happier in another profession – and that’s totally cool.

If you have the passion and drive to become a doctor, if you know how to study effectively, then it doesn’t matter if you’re not Albert Einstein. You could still have the makings of a great doctor.

Two: More than anything else, doctors need to care

When you become a doctor, you’re going to be pulling 18-hour shifts at the emergency room. Imagine you’re exhausted, it’s 3 am at the end of long shift, and a patient comes in, yells at you, acts aggressively, causes problems. Can you see through your frustration and exhaustion and still feel empathy?

Instead of asking yourself if you’re smart enough to be a doctor, ask yourself if you care enough. At the end of an 18-hour shift, can you still find that compassion and manage to motivate yourself to keep doing your job? This level of caring matters far more than raw brainpower, and it will keep you going through the tough times.

Three: 70% of what doctors do is paperwork!

Ok, that number is probably an exaggeration, but I was shocked when I learned just how much time doctors have to spend filling out forms. Insurance forms, drug records, social reports, applications and so on. Especially if you want to be a family doctor / general practitioner, paperwork is gonna be a big part of your day!

Editor’s Note: Lasse is not the only one to be surprised – an article in Forbes recently joked that, if medical school was based on what being a doctor is actually like, then ‘Medical school admissions essays would be on “why I really want to do paperwork when I grow up.”’ We asked Lasse if this discovery affected his desire to become a doctor:

There’s a reason paperwork is such a major part of the job: it exists in order to maximize communication and minimize the risk of mistake and wrongdoing. Yes, it’s a bummer, but it doesn’t make me want to be a doctor any less. It’s that other 30%  – when you get to be there for your patients and sometimes even save their lives, that matters most.

Four: Medical school does NOT have to mean giving up your social life

Many new medical students get terrified by the expected workload, and shut themselves out of university life. In the long run, this is counterproductive. Sure, you have to learn a tonne, but you’re still going to have free time! Don’t hide away in your room all Friday night with your textbooks. Instead, go out, have a beer and make friends.

Effective doctors need to have good social skills, and making friends is one of the highlights of your time as a student. You’re definitely going to be putting in a lot of long, hard hours in front of the books, but don’t feel guilty about checking into the pub every now and then as well. The people who go on to succeed as doctors are the ones with balanced lives. You need to be happy too.

Five: There’s a HUGE difference between being a doctor and studying to be one!

I’m not a doctor yet, but I’ve started to work side by side with them during my rotations. I see now that the difference between being a medical student and actually being a doctor is the difference between night and day.

As a medical student you’re safe. Even when you do start seeing patients, the hard decisions are made by someone older, with more experience. But eventually, you’re going to graduate, and you’re going to be on your own.

One day you’re going to be alone in the emergency room, and someone’s life will literally be in your hands. Medical school will teach you what to do, but you have to have the courage and presence of mind to actually do it.

Now that I’m nearing the end of my studies, I can see this as the next stage ahead. It’s frightening, but it’s also exhilarating.

Six: Being a doctor is a hands-on job

In some ways, being a surgeon is like being a really sophisticated plumber. Both careers demand that you can push, pull, screw, drain, block, twist, fuze and, well, you get the picture. Plumbers also need to have stamina, the ability to think laterally, and of course a strong stomach! Again, all traits that are essential for surgeons too.

Obviously, there’s a massive difference between the two careers, but it’s important to remember the physical demands of being a doctor. You need to have strength, and you need to have dexterity. At the risk of sounding too much like a doctor before I’m qualified… look after your health! Play sport, exercise, and keep fit. Being a good doctor (or medical student) is about the body as well as the mind.

Seven: Don’t feel guilty about using technology to help you study

There’s a whole world of knowledge out there and, while you need to be discerning and critical, there’s no point in ignoring such a vast resource as the internet. My classmates probably spend more time watching video lectures than reading textbooks. We are millennials after all, might as well embrace it!

The people who make the best students are those who use these resources to channel their natural curiosity. If you’re the type of person who encounters or hears about a new illness, or a new medicine, and spends that evening looking it up online, then that’s a great sign that you’ve chosen the right career path.

Conclusion: The World Needs More Doctors

By the time many of us are in our 40s, the world will be short almost 13 million healthcare professionals. Becoming a doctor is a long and sometimes scary journey, but it’s a rewarding one as well. Hopefully these tips from my 4+ years of medical school will help make your time there that little bit easier.

lasse_hodne_profile

Lasse Hodne is in his fifth year of medical studies at Poznan University of Medical Science. Originally from Norway, Lasse frequently mentors younger students from his home country, and in recognition of this has been appointed spokesman for the Norwegian Medical Association. He believes that compassion is a doctor’s number one asset, and that the future of medical learning is digital. He is an advisor and brand ambassador for QUPI.com, the world’s largest medical question bank.

How To Pass the USMLE Even If You Only Have 5 Hours Per Day

The United States Medical Licensing Examination, commonly referred to as the USMLE, is perhaps the most important stage of your medical education. It’s also extremely difficult, and food good reason. Passing it means you’re on your way to being a doctor, with responsibility over life or death decisions.

Despite its well-known difficulty, you do not need to be a genius to pass the USMLE. You just need to do the work, and study effectively. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the exam, even if you only have 5 hours per day.

Get to know your own strengths and weaknesses

The USMLE is a competitive exam and has many modules for you to get through. It is important that you have a focus on what you expect to be in the exam and show up fully prepared to avoid nasty surprises.

Preparing for the exam differs from individual to individual, depending on your strengths and self knowledge. Some students are good at writing; some are good at MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions). One who is good at MCQs might not necessarily be good with longer answer questions. So before you sit any exam the first thing is to understand yourself, your capabilities, your weakness and your strengths in answering questions.

Gather information about the exam

Now you know yourself better. It’s the time to understand the main elements that you need to focus on for the USMLE. You have an exam paper, you have a CCS simulation, you have question blocks. So first have a clear idea as to what is that main thing you need to focus in the exam. You can talk to your seniors and get some insights as to how the experience is and what was the framework, so you know now how this game needs to be played. Gathering as much information as you can about the exam will pay off.

Know your timeframe

Look at your calendar. Look at how much time you can spend to study. If you are busy with some other work going on, then you have limited time and limited resources to get prepared. Then that is where you have to strategically weigh your options on time. Whether you need to study in the night or day or in the early morning.

If you have only five hours per day and you have five weeks. That means you have 35 hours per week and a total of 175 hours left for the final exam. If you count in days, basically you have a total 7.2 days of pure study. That may not sound like a lot, but it’s better that you know in advance. Now you can work on dividing up that 7.2 days per subject, according to the modules that you will face in the exam.

Are you overwhelmed by all your medical learning material? There's an easier way - learn more

It’s important that you prioritize your daily study time according to what will actually be in the exam, and according to your own strengths and weaknesses.

Recall, recall and recall

In a high pressure situation where you have limited time, it’s important to recall fast so that can efficiently answer all the questions. Take 30 minutes everyday to review what you studied the day before, and increase your recall speed. If it took 30 mins to remember 10 pages today, by your 3rd week, if you practice this well, you will be able to recall the same thing in just 10 mins. You are training your brain to remember things faster.

Try to find more time

If it’s possible, try to find more time than 5 hours per day when you are nearing your exam to give it your best. You may have to make some short term sacrifices, but you’ll be glad you did when you pass the exams and go on to become a doctor!

But even if you can’t, and you only have these 5 hours per day, then you still stand a strong chance of passing if you study consistently and intelligently. Research the exam, divide your time according to your strengths, and focus on improving your recall.

USE IT or LOSE IT, future Docs!

Have you all ever heard the phrase: “If you don’t use it, you lose it”? To what degree is this true? When it comes to medical knowledge, it makes perfect sense–specially by considering the amount of info involved.

Each med student has many tasks to deal with so keeping up with the updates and refreshing one’s core knowledge doesn’t seem that easy. Yet, it isn’t that hard if you integrate it into your lifestyle. In view that what works for some doesn’t work for everyone, I’ll present a few best practices for you to decide wisely.

Try to think of knowledge as a lifestyle

In fact, learning should be a lifelong practice; just like the lifestyle changes you’ll be asking patients to make when they are diagnosed with a chronic condition. Let’s put it simple: make it a habit naturally incorporated into your daily life and then it won’t look so overwhelming.

If you are not the kind of student who likes sitting down with a pile of books in a room at the end of the day or during breakfast/lunch/dinner, you might be one of those who prefers learning while being on the go. For example, you could do it on the elliptical machine at the gym or on your daily bus/tram commute. As you sweat it out on the machine, you’ll absorb relevant information that could be beneficial afterwards.

While exercising, you could also listen to specific podcasts. Some suggestions are the New England Journal of Medicine podcast with Steve Morrissey or the one with Joe Elia: NEJM Journal Watch, as well as general news podcasts from NPR or The Economist. It’s not about listening to them all every day; just some of it.

Your smartphone can turn into a useful learning tool while commuting

For instance, you may read Journal Watch content in general medicine, hospital medicine, diabetes, etc. This method might be interesting for those who hear something once and don’t have it down cold, so they need to reinforce the information they get (e.g. some of the daily headlines from First Watch get explored further in Journal Watch stories).

Others are more of visual learners and for that, I would recommend using some question banks as you’d be able to go through a great deal of questions at a manageable pace. You’d also have more time to review what you didn’t answer right. Speeding up your test-taking skills is as critical as increasing your knowledge, as advised by Judi Kesselman-Turkel & Franklynn Peterson in their bestseller work Testtaking Strategies.

Keeping up with the latest information is just part and parcel of the job, and that’s when Qupi enters the game. It makes students review essential topics; the core medical info that is to be constantly reviewed if you want to be a respectful clinician right after your med studies. I believe that is your main goal, isn’t it?

It may sound like doing all this means spending countless hours on learning

Yet, it’s not really the case. It amounts to maybe 15 minutes a day (or a bit more depending on your availability). Just put in a little time up front by signing up for alerts from products like Qupi and it will all come to you. My advice to someone who thinks this is too much work: start small, and build a habit. Don’t bite off more than you can chew (:

Some YouTube channels are handy too

For example, Future Doc House explains medical issues and shares the knowledge he gained through his medical studies. You can also find material linked with microbiology via easy-to-understand and straight-to-the-point practical videos. In this way, you’d benefit from the net.

Go find the sources that suit you better and discover your personalized routine (remember not to compare yourself though, as per my previous article). Once you set it up, sticking to it turns out not to be that tough.

Does any of the recommendations above make sense at all? If so (or if not) please leave your comment or any doubt/question below. A last phrase I’d like you to remember: practice makes perfect, so keep trying and assess your own outcome as you move forward. To subscribe to Qupi, click on the link that follows => Continue with Facebook

Pathophysiology Quiz Flash Cards

Pathophysiology is an extensive subject and is filled to the brim with complex interactions and extensive changes, features, symptoms, and signs. It can take forever to try and remember all of the complex models of different diseases and as students, we value all the help we can get. A great task is memorizing the extensive volumes by heart. However, there is an easy way of doing it. Pathophysiology quiz flash cards. Yes, flash cards are some of the fastest ways of committing information to memory. You can easily transfer some useful information to flash cards and swirl them up to embed that information deep within your brain. Here are 3 reasons why these flashcards are so beneficial.

They help you recall information actively

Once you look at the front of a flashcard, you stimulate your brain to think if the answer, a process called active recall. This works better because you are creating the concept from scratch, instead of recognizing it from a textbook or identifying it in a multiple choice bank. Studies have proven that active recall builds interneuron connections and strengthens the knowledge in the brain for long-term retention. An extensive subject like pathophysiology quiz can be easily accomplished using these flashcards. Also, they are very easy to revise and repeat, which makes flash cards extremely efficient at providing and solidifying the knowledge.

Utilize metacognitive faculties

When you reveal the answer side of the flashcard, you compare your answer with the one written on the back. This work like a feed-forward pathway, where your brain makes amends for the next cycle and then the next, tuning the answer as you go. This helps solidify information and also makes it easier to recall. Also, as the answer improves with repetition, you are likely to get the best answer at the end of the revision. Pathophysiology quizzes as well as quizzes for other subjects Ike anatomy and biochemistry can be learned in this manner with efficiency.

too much? studying medicine can be easier

Confidence based repetition

Books are bound in a cover and are difficult to separate according to needs. Flashcards, however, can easily be separated into different piles according to which ones you need more often than others. This helps you attack that pile of information that needs polishing. This is called confidence-based repetition and is proven to be one of the most effective methods of learning and retaining information. Pathophysiology quiz is just one of the many different quizzes that you can easily tackle, once you have done the flash cards.

All these points point to the extreme usefulness of flashcards. They are convenient, easy and effective, which makes them the perfect aid for learning different things like the pathophysiology quiz. Try them out! You will be surprised at how well they work, for sure!

Three Biggest Mistakes that Students Make with First Aid USMLE Step 1

USMLE is no laughing matter. There are so many things that can go wrong even when everything you did was write! It needs proper planning, vigilant preparation and thorough understanding of the subject to be able to overcome this gigantic exam. First aid USMLE, in particular, requires you to have all your wits about you to identify and diagnose every scenario by the minute. The clock keeps ticking and it’s important that you think fast to get to your answers. In all the rush, there are many common mistakes that candidates make, which are easily avoidable. Here we discuss, 3 of the most common ones so that you don’t end up making them as well.

Not starting the preparation for first aid USMLE early enough

The most common excuse that students make is that they just finished MED school and were saving it up for later. Although the course is high yield, the book still has 583 pages for you to go through. No matter what others say, it is impossible to complete the book in a few weeks, if you want to learn it enough to do your profession justice. Let alone that, it isn’t enough to allow you to pass. The best way to learn first aid USMLE is by taking it side by side during your regular classes. This way, you would have covered a major part of your course beforehand, allowing you to easily revise the book when it’s time.

Taking too many notes

On the other extreme are those students that try to digest every bit of information, scribbling down notes from class on the first aid USMLE book. The problem with this is that the book itself has been fine-tuned to give you the most refined and manageable knowledge that you will need to pass the exam. When you distort with added info you end up confusing the text that was supposed to be learned as well. Your brain fails to retain all the extensive information and steers to the next available option, which is drainage. This way, you are left with nothing.

too much? studying medicine can be easier

Reading instead of memorizing

You need to understand the difference between reading and memorizing. Simply reading the text won’t make you memorize it. You need to commit the information to your memory and if you don’t motivate yourself to make that effort, vital pieces of information will slip through your mind at the moment you need them. This is why you need to sit down and learn off those pages so that you can command the knowledge instead of going round in circles. If you find it difficult to differentiate, simply read the pages first and then recall. Repeat the process until you are sure that you have learned that USMLE first aid book by heart.

It can be hectic and trying, having to cram all that information into your brain. However, it’s a necessary part to excel at your job. Unless you do it now, the other information that you need for the exam will vaporize. Since you are fresh, the knowledge is still ripe, and you still have the time and energy to do it, it’s best to get these boards out of the way at one go! If you follow the rules and study right, USMLE first aid, won’t be that big of a hurdle to overcome. You just need to drive your guts to it!

The Best Way to Learn Medical Terminology

Medical terminology is a complex part of learning medicine, but is a critical foundation for your medical knowledge as well. Many students get intimated by the towering task of memorizing medical terminology. However, there are simple ways that you can use to learn medical terminology fast. Yes, you can actually master these complex words faster by following a well curated medical terminology course, attending a special medical terminology class or by taking a medical terminology test. This particular manner of learning helps you to learn and reinforce your knowledge of medical terminology, allowing you to remember information for the rest of your professional life.

Medical terminology course

There is a specific course that you need to follow in order to get the most out of your medical education. There are specific books that actually collect all the different definitions and present them in alphabetical order. Repeatedly learning them and revising them constantly will help you to seal them into your mind. It acts as a convenient method of allowing your brain to view and review the information so that it fixates in your long term memory.

Medical terminology class

Teachers at your university or college realize the importance of learning medical terminology which is why they are likely to conduct a medical terminology class at the start of each section. This is done to help you form a basic understanding of all the complicated words that are likely to come in the text. A relatively easy way to learn medical terminology is by attending these classes, which allows you to gain knowledge by a relatively easy and convenient manner.

Medical terminology tests

Finally, once you are done with the learning process it is important to test yourself. Try out some medical terminology tests online from a range of tests offered at our site. Stimulating your brain to recall knowledge allows you to realize the deficiencies and fill in gaps in your brain. You may have noticed how you know everything once you open a book but forget half or more once you close it. Well, to prevent this from happening try and quiz yourself so that you know what you need to work on more and what you have already learned.

too much? studying medicine can be easier

Group discussions

The ultimate way of learning and fortifying your knowledge is by teaching it on. This fulfills all the basic requirements needed for good memory. As it allows you to learn, revise, recall and finally correlate your information, all the medical terminology that you memorized transfers from your short term memory, into your long term memory.

These simple ways of contouring your study allow your brain to progress through the stages of learning and claim the full knowledge. Medical terminology course, classes, and tests, all play a vital role in fortifying the information in your brain. Growing through them progressively will help you learn medical terminology by heart easily and fast!

The Benefits of Taking a Basic Medical Terminology Quiz

For those of you studying the vast branch of medicine, complicated words are no news. We get to know these hard words on a daily basis and they can be hard to pronounce, let alone understand and memorize. Even after frequent repetitions and endless amount of time memorizing important terminologies, they all end up mixed together in the end. You can’t just understand them as part of a process, nor can you relate them to a specific function, it’s simple, old, learning by heart. So, is there any easy way to remember them? A basic medical terminology quiz offers you to remember these hard to learn words, in an easy and fast way. You may have frequently heard professors and seniors urge you to use a basic medical terminology test. Well, here are the reasons why these tests are so useful!

Repeated retrieval aids in retaining knowledge the long run

When you take a basic medical terminology test, you are repeatedly trying to make your brain remember information. When you do this frequently, the brain strengthens its synapses and transfers the information from the short term to the long term. This makes your study much more productive.

Organizes information in the brain

Testing yourself with these quizzes helps to create co-links and allows your brain to relate. Reading the context is one thing and then allowing your brain to find the vital link is another. This solidifies what you learned in the books and helps retain information easily.

Improves in correlation with the new context

You will advance through several years of education, learning new and adding to your knowledge every time. If you take a basic medical terminology quiz frequently, it will allow you to build on your knowledge and will help you with linking the previous information to the new one. This accelerates the learning process, especially as you don’t have to flip back every few minutes to check the meaning of a word.

Basic medical terminology test helps identify gaps

Learning from the book makes it feel like you know everything. Unless you are tested, you will never find out which pieces were missing. The tests and quizzes help you to identify the potential weak spots in your learning so that you can work on them harder to make your knowledge foolproof.

too much? studying medicine can be easier

Prevents interference

If you do not solidify your knowledge, there is a really good chance that whatever new you learn will jumble up with your past knowledge. Everything will mix up so that in the end, you are not sure of anything. In order to prevent this, it’s better to assess and reassess your knowledge prior to learning something new and these basic medical terminology tests can help you do so easily.

Medicine is an art. You need to learn it in the proper manner to ensure that you remember all of it at the right time. It’s no easy business remembering pages upon pages of never ending books. However, if you learn them right, correlate every step of the way and regularly assess your skills, by taking a medical terminology quiz, for instance, you can claim any amount of knowledge you desire. The brain has fascinating capabilities, you just need to know how to work it!

How to Study Physiology?

Physiology is an extremely interesting subject if you set your mind to it. However, at the same time, it can be intimidating for those of you who don’t know the right way to process it. Physiology contains uncountable processes of the body with precisely detailed steps that hold major clinical significance, what’s more, unless you figure out the natural processes, learning the complex abnormalities will be harder than you can imagine. However, if you implement the two together, learning a topic and then learning about its abnormalities will fortify one another and help you remember the subject better. Here are some tips that you can use to learn physiology fast and effectively.

Flashcards

A great way to remember concepts and processes is by forcing your brain to recall them again and again. Most tests are based on critical thinking and unless you learn to correlate the critical points, the chances of getting a good grade are obsolete. Try to link in the pathology of the subject you are studying and then integrate them into flashcards. It may be tough to do so at first, but it will create a cycle of recalling and reinforcement which will solidify your knowledge.

Quizzes and question banks

No subject is complete unless you assess yourself. You may know everything when you open the book, however, there can be big gaps in your knowledge with the book closed. The only way to overcome this is by taking frequent quizzes and questionnaires. Half of physiology is about learning what new names mean and the remaining half is about learning what they do. A Medical terminology quiz is one of e fastest way of learning these complex words by heart for the long run.

Apply your knowledge

Learning something isn’t enough unless you apply it. This creates a whole new web in your brain that connects your learned knowledge with practical implementation. Teaching others, taking tests, solving clinical scenarios are all ways that you can implement knowledge and make it last. Plus, as most questions are critical based learning, solidifying knowledge in this manner will make solving these questions considerably easy.

too much? studying medicine can be easier

Correlate with Pathology

The best way to get the normal processes in mind is by integrating them with abnormal physiology. This will help you to link the two together and remember it forever. We often forget the normal events, however, if we link the problematic states with these situations, they get etched in our brain. Similarly, physiology works in the same way and you can use the same concept to learn it as well.

These tips and methods of learning physiology are sure to help you extract important information from the subject. You need to realize the fact that reading the book will not be enough. You will have to extract the information, implement it in solving questionnaires and medical terminology quiz. This will help you grasp the information better so that you can solve any type of test with ease.

Practice Mcat Questions: 4 Tips for Physics

The Mcat is a turning point in every medical student’s life, it seems like the ultimate goal, the final destination of all those long years of study. Everything will fall into place after this one test. We understand why this test is of critical importance, however, it isn’t easy either. This test attempts to test almost every aspect of your past academics, even physics. Yes, for most medical students, physics and math were never welcome.

Still, you need a good understanding of these subjects to get a good grade. On top of this, the pattern of the questions changes every few years, making it extremely difficult to follow. No matter how hard you try and practice Mcat questions, some of the new questions will hinder you and you end up with head in your hands. You don’t need to worry, here are 4 tips that will help you understand the pattern and solve the new Mcat physics questions.

Integration

The new questions seem to have shifted towards integration. Now, the physics concepts are tested with relation to living systems. A practical example is created for you and you are asked to solve the problem. Many students who practice Mcat questions know that the new trends don’t ask questions similar to the past years. However, the concepts are same. Hence, for a good grade, you need to understand the concepts behind all those equations.

Passage structure

Usually, physics questions are short and require to the point answers. However, as the trend has changed, more and more questions have increased their passage length in order to explain a scenario better. These questions assess your understanding of the problem and target the core concepts. Hence, it’s a good idea to practice Mcat questions that are passage based as this is the new format of these questions.

Time management

As the new quota of questions will disperse your time, it’s important to divide your time accordingly. Set out a specific time period for the passage-based question and try to recover the lost time with the other, not-so-long questions. Once you practice Mcat questions frequently, you will familiarize yourself with the technique and will easily adapt to this manner of attempting the paper.

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Certain topics have been removed

Much to the delight of students, certain questions and concepts have been deleted from the paper. For example, there is no sign of the Newtonian mechanic’s concepts. Momentum has been dropped and gravity is also tested less than usual. Also, periodic motion and wave characteristics have also been removed from the paper. The section on electricity has also been altered and you don’t need to learn the alternating current as thoroughly as was the custom.

Clearly, all these changes represent significant differences in the physics section of Mcat. You can notice all these changes firsthand if you practice Mcat questions by yourself. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with the trends of the medical admission paper as it is your key to the college that you have dreamed off!

How to Study Biochemistry?

Biochemistry takes matters down to the molecular level. It’s all about the enzymes and reactions and every bit of detail around it. Basically, you get to learn about how the complicated machinery of the body is kept in constant motion. The subject can be one of the easiest you have ever studied or one of the hardest, all depending on how you take it. A major factor that is important when studying this subject is correlating. You may not know it at first, but all the cycles link together and it’s this aspect that is usually tested. This is why even after memorizing cycles repeatedly, without the critical co-links, finding answers to the test can be challenging. Here we present some easy ways that you can counteract this problem.

how to study biochemistry 2 - pixabay.com

Flow charts

One great way of learning the cycles as well as the links between them is by making flow charts. Get all the cycles on a large chart and then join the links in between to create a visual representation of the words in the textbook. This will allow you to memorize the whole process as a whole and will also introduce the links to you so that you know how they are connected.

Repeated revisions

Biochemistry is a volatile subject and unless you repeatedly analyze the information and learn it frequently it’s hard to remember. You need to put the entire chapter together countless times and learn all the information repeatedly to be able to perform well on the test. It may seem ominous at first, but after a couple of revisions, things simplify and get much better. In the end, you may be able to revise whole sections without effort.

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Medical terminology quiz

More than half of biochemistry is about learning what the words mean. Once you get the basic meanings down, understanding its function is the easy part. A great way to do this is by using a medical terminology quiz that assesses all the complicated names of the topic. This constant recall makes it easier for you to learn and remember the problematic names in the long run.

Flashcards

Some aspects of the book like nutrient deficiencies and important enzymes can be learned by putting them on flash cards. Recalling information from scratch will help your brain stir up all the information solidifying the synapses to create the long-term memory. Flash cards are helpful in a number of scenarios and they can work great for biochemistry too.

A medical student is usually bothered by the complex interactions of biochemistry. However, if you follow these steps, you are sure to Ace the subject. Not only will it be easier to learn, but it will also guarantee you great marks on the very next topic or sure!

How to Study Anatomy?

Anatomy can be one of the hardest subjects for a medical student. There are 206 bones in the body, hundreds of muscles attached to these bones with thousands of blood vessels and nerves supplying them continuously. It can be extremely tough to memorize all their paths, locations, functions and then on top of that even their constituting cells. Memorizing the huge stack of notes is just impossible, which is why every medical student dreads this subject, however, if you associate the knowledge, things start to look better. Ultimately, you will realize that anatomy is an interconnected web of knowledge, once you start to make connections, things become easier to remember. This is just the way our brain works. There are specific ways of studying that you can use in order to facilitate fast learning. Here we describe three methods that will help you memorize anatomy fast!

Visual aids

Our brain has 3 modes of input, sight, touch, hear. Once you stimulate all of them, you have three different modes in which the information was stored and hence, it is easier to remember. This is why, it good to learn but hearing the lecture by your teacher, however, writing these notes down and memorizing them transfer your information into the long-term memory. Now, add to this the information that you saw while you dissected, while you saw the pictures, the models and so on. This will make your knowledge full proof making it hard to forget.

Associate

Try to learn a specific topic by studying all relevant information about it. For example, if you study the gross anatomy of the brain, try and learn its histology, and its major pathologies also. This will help you make an association which makes you remember things faster and more efficiently.

Medical terminology quizzes

The best step in fortifying your memory is by recalling it. A quiz is a perfect way to do so and with so many terminologies, it helps you to remember most of them. Anatomy is filled with similar sounding words that can sound almost alike and yet mean completely different. This is why it is best to test yourself repeatedly, and there is nothing better than a medical terminology quiz for that task.

too much? studying medicine can be easier

Teaching

The final way to fortify your anatomy knowledge after you are done with the medical terminology quiz is to teach the topic. Once you sit down and explain the concept to another person, it helps you to remember all the things in order, which will further fortify your knowledge. Repeatedly revising the information yourself and by teaching it to others, you can enhance your anatomy and gain the confidence of what you have learned.

These tips for studying anatomy are sure to help you out from all that gloom. Anatomy can be hard to study, but it isn’t impossible. Plus, it is the basis of what you are going to study in the years to come. Unless you have a profound knowledge of the basic structures and their composition, how in the world will you learn about the defects? Hence, using your time efficiently, going through medical terminology quiz, repeated revisions and practice are all important to get through this subject. It’s demanding, yes, but not impossible.

DEPRESSION & MEDICAL STUDENTS – stay mentally healthy during your journey to becoming a doctor

Medical school is mentally and academically demanding so it is not surprising that rates of depression and burnout are higher than in other schools. Not only are there a considerable number of depressed students but those who are, believe that they would lose the respect of their future colleagues and professors if they spoke out.

A research published in Journal of the American Medical Association shows that out of 505 med students in Michigan, at least 1 out of 10 were depressed which is almost three times as many as in the general population of the United States.

Yet, more than half of those who were depressed felt that telling a counselor would be risky and that other medical students would respect their opinions less if they knew. Based on that, here are three pieces of advice to stay healthy mentally during your journey to becoming a doctor:

Do physical activity to get rid of stress

Stress is a common problem: it affects negatively not only med students but also the general population. It can lead to sleep problems, irritability, weight gain, and put you at a higher risk for burnout. All around the word medical students report multiple stressors in their lives, many of which are linked to academics. There are many effective stress management techniques that do not take much time. Exercising is a critical technique—not only does it help to control your weight; it is also good for nearly every bodily system.

It is worth mentioning that medical students often forget about it due to their hectic schedules and little time. Yet, it is feasible to reach healthy activity levels during your med studies. The key here is to be multitasking, that is: combining exercise with other activities. For instance, prefer the stairs over the elevator and you might be surprised about how much extra activity this gives you. If possible, walk or bike to university instead of taking the car. When you are shopping, park at the end of the parking lot so that you must walk in. Bring your book with you to the gym or fitness center, place it on your treadmill and start walking. Try to bring friends to make something regular out of this. These tips can help to fit activity into even a busy schedule.

Make friends and you will not regret it

Friends are an invaluable resource for keeping you on top of your med studies, as well as providing vital stress relief. There are a million opportunities available for you to meet new people right from the start of the first year. As you will be studying together for many years, there is a good chance you will be making some life-long friends. Be proactive: hang out with your peers after lectures, start a conversation with whoever you sit next to in class, sacrifice a few bucks and buy someone a coffee. The important thing to remember is that everyone is in the same situation: nervous about starting med studies, often new in town, and shy about sparking up a conversation with a stranger.

Isolating yourself is one of the worst things you can do in med school. One of the best pieces of advice I got from my friends who studied medicine was to not neglect the community surrounding you. Spending quality time with others will also help you find reasons to be thankful and remember why you decided to go for med school. Just try to avoid comparing yourself to anyone. “He is already doing research and I am not.” Rather than being jealous, try to appreciate them. You may think that some med students have everything put together but everyone is struggling.

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Be consistent but have some rest too

Finding your own way to study is pivotal. Are you a flashcard person? Or do you like making outlines? Maybe you are all about doing as many practice tests as possible and for that, question banks like QUPI are worth to check out. Regardless of how you study, do not be too stubborn to not change your ways if you realize that the one you chose is not effective. You might have heard/read this before but here I go again: being consistent by sticking to your schedule is important. However, do not beat yourself up when not doing that perfectly. Schedule study time but also know when to take breaks. And do not forget about scheduling time for rest. Rest does not just mean sleeping or lazing around. It also means finding rest for your mind and soul which is different for each person. Some people (for example myself) let loose and find rest by going clubbing and dancing the night away. Others like to have Netflix marathons and ordering food in.

Whatever you go for, resting well is just as important as both studying and working hard. If you love yoga or going to the gym, do not start neglecting these activities just because you are in medical school. Keep doing the things that make you happy! Just remember to prioritize wisely and remember that they are just as important as doing well in school.

What do you think about these 3 tips? You can leave your comments below and also join medical students from all over the world who use QUPI to practice their medical knowledge and prepare for their exams.

5 Things You Should Know Before Taking the USMLE Step 1 Exam

The USMLE step 1, more commonly known as the boards, is a critical point in every doctor’s career. The brain wrecking questions, quizzes and the thorough interrogation of the examiners can send any student running for the hills. Regardless, you will have to take the boards at some point, so, it’s better to prepare for them beforehand. Although, the exam has 3 parts, here we focus on getting you through the first step. There are some fundamentals of the exam that you need to know and even before you start studying for the test. To help you out, here are some of the most important things that you should know before taking the USMLE step 1 exam.

The format

Basically, the USMLE step 1 is a computer-based analysis of your knowledge. It’s multiple choice, with 7 sections, each having 42 questions, making the total amount to 322. You are given 1 hour for every section. You can also take up to 45 minutes break split in as many as 6 different occasions. If you finish a section early, you can add this time to your break time, but not to the time for the other section. The exam lasts for a total of 8 hours in a single day, which is pretty long, especially considering all the brainstorming that you will need to do.

The content

The exam covers all the basic grounds that you learned in med school, including anatomy, physiology, pathology, biochemistry, pharmacology and behavioral science. On top of this, the specialized anatomy, physiology, pathology and medicine of the particular specialty you have chosen is also included. The exam aims to find out your basic understanding of concepts, the definitions, and problem-solving ability.

When to take the test

The best time to take the test is in between your second and 3 years of Med school. At this time, most of the primary knowledge is fresh in your mind and with a little extra studying, you can easily attempt the exam with minimal effort and maximum result.

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What is the passing score?

You need a score of at least 192 to pass the USMLE step 1. This was much lower back in 2013 but has risen since.

Repeats

You need to acknowledge the fact that you will not be able to retake the exam, simply to improve your score. However, if you fail the USMLE step 1, you can retake the exam for a maximum of 3 times within 12 months. If you still fail, the 4th attempt has to be 12 months after the first attempt and at least 6 months after the date that you last attempted the exam.

Before you make up your mind to sit the boards, you need to give the factors discussed above some thought. They will surely help you figure out the best plan of action to tackle the USMLE step 1 with good results. The exam isn’t very hard, but you need to be prepared thoroughly before you attempt to take it. After all, it’s the first step to achieving your postgraduate degree!

Which study aids you should use to help master medical school?

Studying in medical school is what I call “an inexact science”

Although the concepts you will learn are backed by evidence-based studies, the way in which they should be gone through is still trial and error. Due to the bunch of information students of the medical school are exposed to, they are prone to cram material for exams and as a result, they forget stuff when shifting subjects.

Flash cards, question books, anatomy images…

You could use a great deal of old-fashioned visual aids to attempt mastering medical school. The truth is that there’s no right or wrong way to study because each medical learner is different. With that in mind and by taking advantage of this virtual era, here I propose the best study apps that I gathered after interviewing medical graduates. Do you want to rock in med school? Check it out and good luck, folks:

Medscape is the first app that my doctor friends recommended

After checking its ranking in Google Play (4.4) and its reviews, I can write: “Argumentum ad populum.” I think it’s worth to try as it features peer-reviewed medical journal articles, daily medical news, major conference coverage, and more. Upon registration, you can use it right away.
Medscape - Google Play Store - Medical School

Medscape – Google Play Store

 
Medscape - Google Play Store - Medical School

Medscape App for Android

 
Medscape - Google Play Store - Medical School

Navigation in Medscape App

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MedCalc is a more technical app designed for statistics linked to biomedical sciences

And it’s not only in the English language, but also in Spanish, Italian, French, German, and even in Polish (by the way, I live in Poland so it caught my attention). It has a spreadsheet for data input and can import files in several formats (i.e. Excel). Fancy statistics? Then this is for you.
MedCalc Screenshot - medical school

MedCalc screenshot of the app – https://www.medcalc.org/

 
MedCalc description - medical school

MedCalc description taken from their website – https://www.medcalc.org/

 
Medcalc pricing - medical school

Pricin of MedCalc – https://www.medcalc.org/

 

Last but not least there’s QUPI

You know what they say: “Last will be first”. There’s a brand-new tool that my friends both in the USA and Poland are trying out: QUPI, which is described as the largest user-generated medical question database. If you visit its website you’ll find medical knowledge quizzes to help you succeed in passing medical schools or license exams. There are also tutorial videos, step-by-step explanations, and more useful medicine-related features.
QUPI Home page - Medical School

QUPI Homepage – qupi.e-msi.pl

 
QUPI features - Medical School

QUPI features – qupi.e-msi.pl

 
A medical quiz on QUPI - medical school

A medical quiz on QUPI – qupi.e-msi.pl

  Hopefully, these tools are able to somehow ease the stress caused by studying medicine. Whether you want an app to read the latest news, for complicated biomedical calculations, or to access a handy database to review specific terminology and questions, these three tools were highly advised by some of the medical graduates I know. Remember: “Advice when most needed is least heeded.” Hence the sooner you start getting used to any study aid, the better. As usual, I’d like to get your feedback. Have you heard of other apps that every medical student should download? Which ones do/did you use the most? Let’s exchange best practices!

5 Tips for New Medical Students

What advice could I possibly give to fresh students of medicine?

I mean, I didn’t go for medical studies (and don’t plan to do so, to be honest). However, I hold a translation diploma and I’m currently studying a master in communication. Thus, I believe you guys will find this article useful and if so, might somehow apply some of these 5 tips for new medical students. In case you are still skeptical, I’ve also asked among the doctors and medical students that I know and most of them agreed on the following:

1) Don’t let yourself down

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dissapointed - new medical students

Don’t let yourself down – 5 Tips for New Medical Students – courtesy of flickr.com.

[/custom_frame_center] Medicine is tough and so is translation (and many other degrees). Even if you didn’t perform as well as you thought you would, smile and move on. You may have tried hard but we are all humans with our ups and downs. Hence, do your best without getting discouraged. One does not need to be the best in every single subject; you’ll like some more than others… and it’s perfectly fine! Look: the person who graduates with the lowest grades will still be a doctor. Just put some effort and you’ll get there someday.

2) Avoid learning by heart

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bookworm - learning by heart

Avoid learning by heart – 5 Tips for New Medical Students – “Bookworm” Carl Spitzweg painting.

[/custom_frame_center] Learning, from Venezuela to Poland, should be about understanding the concepts, not memorizing the words. “What is Luis writing about? C’mon, there’s no other way to study anatomy without cramming!” The truth is that there is, in spite of the long texts you must go through (trust me: I’ve learned a couple of languages this way). For that, I would recommend you all read texts in advance the actual lecture so you are ready to ask specific questions to your professors (and you’ll remember things in the long term).

3) “Focus on me” (as Ariana Grande’s hit)

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ariana grande - focus on me - 5 Tips for New Medical Students

Ariana Grande – 5 Tips for New Medical Students – courtesy of flickr.com

[/custom_frame_center] Are you overwhelmed by all your medical learning material? There's an easier way - learn more When I was in the translation and interpreting school, I didn’t have the distraction of a smartphone (I only had a BlackBerry: it was the fad of my university times!). Do you really have to check your Facebook account every minute? If you decided to go for medicine, then focus on it as much as you can (whether you attend a lecture or study by yourself). I’m not urging you not to use your smartphone at all: just try to do “smart” things with it such as visiting the largest user-generated medical question database: Qupi.com

4) Go green by recycling

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recycling - 5 Tips for New Medical Students

Go green by recycling – 5 Tips for New Medical Students.

[/custom_frame_center] Ask advanced students for the tests they had. By learning the concepts from previous exams, you are on the right track to learning properly—and therefore passing your tests. I know professors like to ask about the most important aspects of given subjects (and if they decided to go into details, you’d already have the whole idea because you wouldn’t learn things by heart, right?). This is why it’s likely that some questions are similar (if not exactly the same). I did it for several theoretical subjects and it worked. Give it a try…

5) Don’t worry, be happy!

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Young Doctor - 5 Tips for New Medical Students

Don’t worry, be happy! – 5 Tips for New Medical Students.

[/custom_frame_center] One thing you should always make sure of is finding some leisure time. Even if you had a tough week—and a long oncoming weekend to study for other tests—relax on your own or hang out with your friends (not too often, though). After lectures, if you don’t have any difficult test in the short term, try to act normal (yes, you are normal in spite of your medical studies!). Some of my coolest memories (and not so cool pictures at times) were from parties. Have fun, I mean… it’s just a degree and you’ll surely nail it (: Did you like this new article? Yes? No? Either way, please feel free to leave your comments below and stay tuned because my next blog is about to come. By the way, don’t forget to check the Qupi.com
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