I had a chance to observe the University of Arizona Medical Student Bridge Program. We would like to start a similar program at SCNM in order to help “nontraditional” medical students get ready for their first quarter of medical school.
Since I never went to medical school, I am not very good at providing medical students with advice for how to survive in medical school. I’ve long been amazed by the vast amount of information that medical students are able to learn and apply. I benefitted from seeing how the U of A Bridge program advises its new students about how to remember, integrate and use information from their basic science classes.
One of the U of A students that I spoke to said that he was a mathematics major as an undergraduate and that he had never really needed to study previously since mathematics came naturally to him. I had a similar experience in my schooling, being able to select and attend only the classes that I was interested in and not being subjected to a flood of information.
I’ve long had an interest in learning and memory, so I’m familiar with the importance of repetition and the idea that we can all benefit from thinking about information while using multiple sensory modalities. When I was in school I never found it useful to study with someone else. There always seemed to be a temptation to goof off and not study or one person would understand the material and be bored while the other might just be bored with the topic and not understand it.
In the U of A Bridge Program there is an emphasis on the students working together with a partner to either preview material before a lecture or review the information from a lecture that has already been attended. I can see that if medical students follow this approach then they will experience useful repetition while they read, listen to, write and talk about the subject matter. Yet another learning option provided in the U of A medical school is practice exams. Rather than being provided with prectice questions in the form of question sets at the end of textbook chapters or in a board review book, all of the U of A exams and practice questions are online as part of their U of A medical school learning resources.
I’d be interested to hear from SCNM students who can answer this question: What do you now know about how to survive in medical school that you wish you had been told before day 1 of the first quarter?