Thursday, July 1, 2010
I spent a lot of the first two years of medical school saying, "I just don't memorize well.  I'll be better when we're actually DOING things!"  I did okay during the first two years, but it was nothing to write home about.  And I probably could have done better if I was willing to do nothing but study all the time, but I wasn't willing to do that.  So, I got through it unscathed, but didn't really thrive. 

At the end of the first to years of medical school, you take the first of a three part series of licensing exams, creatively names Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3.  So, we get 6 weeks or so to study for Step 1.  I set up my study schedule and stuck to it, but really didn't ever have much luck grasping all the "concepts" that were really just factoids.  I was a biochemistry major in college, and could tell you exactly what happens to turn a PB&J sandwich into energy, and actually would enjoy it.  But biochem in med school was just memorization without context, and I hated it.  I basically hated most stuff that didn't have context.  So, like the first two years of classes, I survived, but far from aced Step 1. 

So, I went into third year hoping that I was correct in saying that I learn much better by doing, by having context and seeing patients and treating illnesses.  And luckily (and much to my relief!) that basically turned out to be true.  My grades were much better, I got good evaluations, and I felt like I was actually learning things and retaining them.  I can't remember any immunology, but I can tell you what's wrong with every patient on my service, how we are treating it, and when they are going home. 

So, the real test to prove that clinical knowledge really is my forte is Step 2.  It's a much more clinically based exam than Step 1.  You also have less time to study and it's not as hard.  The average for Step 1 nationally is around 220, and it's about 230 for Step 2 (those numbers don't mean anything to most of you, but that's ok!).  Anyway, I felt much better studying for Step 2, but was still afraid that it wouldn't translate to a decent score.  Well, we got our scores back yesterday, and I did WAYYYYY better than I did on Step 1, well above the national average.  My hope is that this score will stand out above the Step 1 score  and (along with my 3rd year grades), will be helpful in getting me interviews at the programs I'm most interested in, which all happen to be top 10 programs.  I finally felt like my harping on learning clinically was finally proven true.  At last, academic vindication that I thrive in the real world!

And it feels so good.


EoE Brewer said...

Congrats you deserve an excellent score for the work that you put into it!

About Me

I am a Family Medicine intern at a community hospital in Indiana, navigating the new world of being a physician. I am privileged to work in a field I love, where every day is a new and unpredictable challenge.
I am not only a doctor, but also a cyclist, runner, DIYer in the making, lover of the outdoors, traveler, and human.
Human, MD is a glimpse into the world of a young doctor who is just trying to stay true to herself through the grueling whirlwind of residency.


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