MS1 is MSover (almost). What will MS2 be?

<p>So.........what will next year bring that is different? </p>

<p>Spent a few days with my unit. She has finished a couple of courses, has several more to go in a week or two. </p>

<p>She has had a great first year. Settling in nicely. The workload is substantial but she's managing to take part in intramurals (basketball, football, softball), doing some extras (not as much as she'd like), and (on the grade grids she's seen) she's doing very well in an anonymous un-graded non-competitive sort of way. And she has a summer research gig she's excited about in a field she is interested in. </p>

<p>So, I think she met her goals. "I don't suck at med school". (Yup. That was the goal.)
;)</p>

<p>It seems MS2 is more of the same but with a giant kicker at the end. USMLE Step 1. In most folks' opinion, a big deal for residencies. Maybe among the biggest. Maybe the biggest. (I still don't understand why y'all would want to put yourselves through this crap.) </p>

<p>So, for those who know......</p>

<p>What is this dang test?</p>

<p>Does it compare to anything? (Other than Hell with traffic?) </p>

<p>Is it all content driven? Tricky? Straightforward? Reasoning or regurgitation? </p>

<p>What do you use for study aids? I've heard the name "Qbank". </p>

<p>Does your school provide specific resources? </p>

<p>Is this something you need to be thinking about all year? Making flashcards specific to test prep? Reading extra texts? Or just spend a month or a month and a half at the end, avoiding all human contact, not bothering to sleep or eat, wearing sweats 24/7? </p>

<p>Anything else going on in MS2 that will catch you out (with your underwear around your ankles)?</p>

<p>Step 1 is just another part of the picture that would never get me to go through repeating the first two years of med school. </p>

<p>So, unlike the MCAT, this is a knowledge test and it covers the entirety of the first two years. There are some clinical questions, but much more of it is basic science. The clinical questions will be much more of "what is this" rather than "what do you do" which will come on the shelf exams for clerkships and Step 2. For the most part it's not out to trick you, but the level of detail is frustrating - on each of the Steps (and I just took Step 3 about a month ago) I've had multiple moments of going "out of everything I could tell you about that topic, you wanted me to learn that!?!"</p>

<p>Step 1 is important, it's the door opener for the more competitive residency fields like Derm, Plastics, ENT, Ortho, Neurosurgery, Ophtho, Urology and to a lesser extent Rads and Anesthesia. It is also important but the more competive programs in things like ER, Internal Medicine, General Surgery and Pediatrics. For some, a poor score on Step 1 will remove all hope for a career in derm or whatever. For others, their overall career trajectory is unchanged - they're still going to match and even be competitive for fantastic residency programs just not the top 5 in gen surgery or internal med. And for a great many, their score is just going to be one more thing that says "yeah, I'm not the best, but I'm doing just fine". </p>

<p>As far as the test goes, in terms of length, it compares most like the old paper and pencil MCAT, logging in at a total of 8 hours, however it is self paced and on computer. </p>

<p>Study Aids should include review sources, a high yield fact source (the most popular being First Aid for the USMLE Step I) and some sort of question source. Kaplan has a variety of products, including high intensity, residential sessions in selected cities across the country, on down to computer based lectures.</p>

<p>I think having First Aid along with you for the second year to make sure you highlight facts that will be high yield later on is good, but any sort of intensive studying should wait until much, much closer to test time. My med school presented several years worth of data that showed that scores were correlated to increased time spent preparing with the largest jumps in scores coming between weeks 3 and 4 and then weeks 4 and 5. After that though, returns diminished and they generally recommended not studying more than 7 weeks.</p>

<p>Overall I enjoyed M2 much more than M1, but not everyone feels that way. Might have been because M1 was a rather soul crushing experience for me, and by the time M2 rolled around, I had a better feel for the expectations.</p>

<p><a href="I%20still%20don't%20understand%20why%20y'all%20would%20want%20to%20put%20yourselves%20through%20this%20crap.">quote</a>

[/quote]
</p>

<p>You say this, and you haven't even had to deal with hearing about residency and 80 hour work weeks! (Says the guy who is on his 10th consecutive night shift in the NICU, last night out of 13 total consecutive nights - previous 3 were in the ER, and who hasn't had a real day off in 3 weeks...).</p>

<p>My theory is that most med students/residents/fellows/physicians have a deep seated need to please and that supercedes reasonable considerations like sleep, hobbies or family concerns. We've jumped through the hoops for years now and it's kind of hard to stop...</p>

<p>Brm, thanks a bunch. </p>

<p>Follow-ups. </p>

<p>Why was MS1 so "soul-crushing" ? I think some of my D's friends at other med schools have expressed similar feelings. Especially at schools with grades. Is that it? The competition? And why would MS2 have been better for you? </p>

<p>
[quote]
Study Aids should include review sources, a high yield fact source (the most popular being First Aid for the USMLE Step I) and some sort of question source. Kaplan has a variety of products, including high intensity, residential sessions in selected cities across the country, on down to computer based lectures.

[/quote]
I'll pretend I know what this means and forward it to my D. Any other specific products to add? </p>

<p>
[quote]
My theory is that most med students/residents/fellows/physicians have a deep seated need to please and that supercedes reasonable considerations like sleep, hobbies or family concerns. We've jumped through the hoops for years now and it's kind of hard to stop...

[/quote]
I think there is a DSM diagnosis for this.........I'll check. ;)</p>

<p>DD is DONE with MS1, finals last week, white coat ceremony, etc. She and many of her classmates felt that the second term was easier than the first term simply because they had figured out how to do it and do it well, the initial panic as to how much to study and what to study had been addressed.</p>

<p>In Dds satellite campus everyone passed and the program really seems designed to make that happen. There were some people in the first term who did not pass a final and who had to retake it, but DD said that was mainly poor study choices rather than not knowing the material.</p>

<p>DD leaves in a day or two for her summer internship and seems in a very good place. It was a ton of work and an all encompassing experience, but not nearly as bad as some people made it sound (on SDN) DD worked with 3 preceptors and has spent one afternoon a week in clinical settings, which was the fun part of the week.</p>

<p>It was great to meet the faculty and see how they care about their MS1s.</p>

<p>
[quote]
So, I think she met her goals. "I don't suck at med school". (Yup. That was the goal.)

[/quote]
</p>

<p>My daughter and I recently had a "How's it going?" phone call and as she spoke of her first year she said the same thing. She had been an humanities major as an undergrad and had spent two years afterward doing a humanities based graduate degree so she started medical school having been away from the hard sciences for a while. She also knew that the science majors by definition had many more passes at the science during college. I know that she was nervous going in.</p>

<p>By the second half of the year she had begun to find her place in the scheme of things and knew that she would be able to combine her medical anthropology background with her medical education. Her particular program starts clinical rotations in January of M2. The classroom work was necessary but this is what she has been waiting for. Not every day is golden but she is enjoying it.</p>

<p>She takes the Step 1 sometime next winter (I think).</p>

<p>M1 was "soul crushing" because it was actually the first time I had to really put the nose to the grindstone everyday. Prior to med school, I did well enough putting a little bit of preparation leading up to test week and then putting in a solid but not inordinate amount of time (cramming was a rarity for me and I never pulled an all nighter in college). I mean all through college, I did school Sunday through Wednesday nights, but my weekend started Thursday. I might wait tables one night out of the weekend, but I rarely missed a Thursday night out, particularly during my senior year. It was a really schedule that worked for me in a number of ways and certainly allowed me to be successful in undergrad, but obviously not something that was sustainable. My med school was arranged in cores (ie, the first 10 weeks of first year was nothing but anatomy and embryology for 4 hours of lecture or lab each morning), and so we had a basic science exam at least every third week, sometimes every 2nd for some stretches. It was completely different for me to have to spend 4 to 8 hours every day studying, and I'm absolutely not someone who can study at home so that meant either the coffee shop or the library. And those test weeks (our tests were all on Saturdays), easily putting in 10 or 12 hours per day leading up to the exam...I calculated it out, but I essentially "lost" 8 whole months of my life during the first two years of medical school just to test weeks. When you're only in session from Mid August to the end of April, that translates to almost a third of your time spend with heroic study efforts.</p>

<p>Further, medicine for me had always been about the social aspect. It's absolutely what makes it worthwhile for me. The intellectual challenge is nice, but if I couldn't talk an interact with people, I wouldn't be able to do this (hence why I'm not in some sort of technical field where the majority of tasks are completed individually...there's no way I could I have a typical cubicle job.) My Myers-Briggs Type is ENTJ so this is my classic E characteristics coming out - all that time in solitude in the library just was unbearable. Second year was better because I at least knew what to expect. I had found a reasonable study set up that included studying with trusted friends every so often and I moved in with a couple other classmates (my roommate first year was a fraternity brother and a great roommate, but he was a first year pharmacy student, and our schedules rarely matched up, so the isolation at home was also pretty frequent). So my roommates were on the same schedule as me which also helped.</p>

<p>The other thing was that while I was studying I wanted to be doing anything but, however, while I was doing something else (out with friends or family, watching a football game, working out) I felt guilty that I wasn't studying. Not a healthy set up.</p>

<p>I think that MS1 is "soul crushing" because almost everyone has moments where they think that hours in the lecture hall and then going to the library or going home to study isn't what they signed up for. The classroom feels nothing like what they want their future to be, which is good because it's NOT what their future will be. It's absolutely a necessary step, but it feels like you're not doing anything remotely related to medicine.</p>

<p>I found M2 year to be more challenging than my M1 year. Our M2 lectures are longer (around 70-100 slides per lecture compared to the 30-50 slide M1 lectures). And we had around 25% more lectures. Basically, this means there's more material that's covered in the second year compared to the first year. And of course there's the USMLE. I didn't really study for it until the end of M2 year but I don't think it's unreasonable to do light studying as you go along (just get first aid and read the relevant sections as you learn each organ system in school).</p>

<p>Nothing can compare with the amount of time I've spent in M3 year. In my opinion, M3 is the toughest year of med school by far.</p>

<p>For study materials, First Aid + a reputable qbank (I suggest USMLE World) alone can net you a good score if you know FA inside out. That's really all I used.</p>

<p>Other possible study materials include Rapid Review Path by Goljan (as well as his audio files), High Yield Neuroanatomy, Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple, etc. I had all of those books but never opened them. </p>

<p>The key is lots of practice. Each qbank is around 2000 questions. You should try to finish that. The NBME also makes practice tests available (which are excellent score predictors). I think I took 3 full length practice tests.</p>

<p>As a current MS2 (actually finished MS2 and will be starting MS3 in 3 weeks), I am studying for the USMLE Step 1 as we speak. Yes, I probably shouldn't be posting, but I needed a distraction for just a few minutes...plus it's almost my bedtime anyway.</p>

<p>MS2, I thought, was MUCH better than MS1. You actually learn why things go wrong, as opposed to the nitty-gritty stuff that I actually had done a lot of already in undergrad (human physiology major). BUT, I would have to say that overall M1 is better because I have been freaking out about the Step 1 since 2nd year started.</p>

<p>My exam is in under 2 weeks now, but here is what I did during the year. I have never been a good standardized test taker. I was in an early acceptance program to med school so only needed a minimum MCAT score, which I got without really studying. So I did not know how to study for this test. My school enrolled in the Step 1 Method, which basically tells you how to study and how to answer these questions and how to plan your intensive study period. As Bigred said, Step 1 is really the more basic material. However, the boards questions are all in 3 or 4 steps. You have to know the patient's typical presentation for a specific disease, figure out what that disease is, know how to treat it, know the mechanism for the disease, know the side effects for the treatments, etc. So you get really excited reading the first line of a clinical vignette, going "Oh I know! That's AML! Got it!" and then the question goes something like "For this disease, which of the following is the toxicity for the medical treatment that is used?" Then you're not so excited anymore.</p>

<p>But anyway, I'm rambling now. I watched all the Step 1 videos about how to handle these questions and how to study. I read through every First Aid chapter while studying for the tests for each organ system, basically to help me with the 2nd year tests rather than study for the boards. And I finished the whole QBank for USMLE World and annotated my first aid with notes from the QBank before my intensive study period started. I took an NBME diagnostic test about 8 weeks before my exam, and another one 3 weeks before. I may take one more this weekend. So then, my intensive study period is a total of 4 weeks. I'm going through 1st Aid in more detail, working through mechanisms, and only using supplemental sources when I don't understand something in 1st Aid or I need some additional info. I'm doing all the questions a second time and it goes a lot faster this time around. I start my morning listening to Goljan Audio for whatever topic I'm studying for that day. I'm also using BRS Physio and Goljan Path for some subjects. And then I'm spending about 5 days before the exam doing a comprehensive review. Total study time is about 8:30 am until 8:00 pm every day, with a 10 minute break here and there and I have been taking a half a day off on the weekends to see a movie, go to lunch, etc.</p>

<p>Word to the wise, I spent hundreds of dollars buying every review book for every topic in the beginning of 2nd year. DON'T DO IT. There isn't enough time in 2nd year and the intensive period to go through every review book. Only get supplemental materials about 3 months before when you know your weaknesses.</p>

<p>Hope this helps, feel free to PM me and ask me any other questions about MS2 or USMLE Step 1...but I probably won't answer for about another 2 weeks or so ;-). And if it's 3 weeks out, I'll be immersed in rotations...don't know how much of a time suck that will be compared to boards studying, but I just know it will be better than this. No 2nd year should get too into boards studying until at max 2 months in advance, because the intensive study period is honestly the worst month of your life (so far).</p>

<p>:eek: Just peachy. Again. Why did y'all sign up for this? I think I might rather work at the Burger Doodle.</p>

<p>that is scary!</p>

<p>On a slightly relevant note to this thread, I found out yesterday that I passed Step 3. In comparison to what Ali has done for Step 1, the amount of "studying" done by me was minimal. Bought First Aid for Step 3, bought USMLE World Qbank and Clinical Scenario Simulator (Step 3 has this somewhat bizarre section at the end where you go through 9 cases - you basically ask for any information you need, can order any test, and start any sort of treatment and you get graded for efficiency/cost-effectiveness/appropriateness of your actions). </p>

<p>All told I studied maybe a maximum of 30 hours (if that) over about 6 weeks...usually in 2 or 3 hour bursts of working through questions. </p>

<p>The biggest problem with Step 3 is that it's very heavy on Internal Medicine. While I scored exceptionally well on the peds questions (duh), there was so much material that I've long since forgotten or that I never knew in detail to begin with or that I never learned because why would I?</p>

<p>The old axiom in regards to studying for the USMLE was Step 1: 2 months, Step 2: 2 weeks, Step 3: Number 2 pencil.</p>

<p>^^Congratulations.^^ :)</p>

<p>thats comforting to know, bigred. i'm so sick of studying for this test, and NEVER want to have to study this volume of information in this time span ever again!</p>

<p>Well, D. starts MS1 in less than 2 months. She is used to studying very hard, hopefully it will help. I will peek in here, any advice is appreciated. She is abroad now and has planned several other trips, got her summer reading assignment, ordered book and got her schedule.</p>

<p>LOL!
So, Miami-your d's abroad. So's mine. Her reason: It's the last vacation I'll get in...forever.</p>

<p>Curm's DD and my DD were both abroad last summer, that last gasp of fun!</p>

<p>Miami- DD says the hardest thing was for bright kids who never had to study much to determine just how much they now need to study and how to do it effectively. Some were panicky and studying every free moment and still not doing well on tests. They needed to discern what the exams were like and how they needed to commit their time. DD had no issue as she has always had to study more than average due to her LD, so it was just more of the same. She felt weird initially as everyone else was obsessively studying so much more than she was, by the time finals rolled around, every one else was breathing, too.</p>

<p>
[quote]
So, Miami-your d's abroad. So's mine. Her reason: It's the last vacation I'll get in...forever.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>My S and 7 of his med school classmates spent their entire two week spring break last year in Europe....in their case as they were heading to to be MS3s it really was their last vacation in forever....</p>

<p>my son and several classmates are returning tomorrow from spending the week in Puerto Rico-they graduate from Medical School next week. That's the last vacation for awhile-no responsibilities to return to, something that will not happen again.</p>