Before doctors became who they are now, they had become medical students. As you see,no successful doctor can ever skip the tedious medical school package of fun and dilemmas. Hmmm, Ever wonder what they are thinking back then? Like them, you probably snapped, “If only I knew this and that…I would have..”
So I asked some doctors I know. Because of that, I received various reactions regarding this. Nonetheless, no one was hesitant to give their opinions. And for that, Thank you doctors for giving us your time and for imparting your words of wisdom:)
The question goes like this :If today you meet yourself as a young medical student, what advice can you give to yourself to better prepare yourself for the boards and future practice?
Let us see and learn from their answers:)
I diligently did the studying part so i don’t have to advice myself on that. I will tell myself to humbly ask questions on things i do not understand, to truly understand concepts and not just memorize facts. To go beyond the prescribed books and read more. To constantly update yourself on new things
-Dr. Jocelyn Quinto Gacasan, Department of Pathology
Equally divide your time when studying the subjects. But the best way to prepare for the boards is during med school. The answers you will shedding out during the exam actually came from the knowledge you have acquired during med school which you stored in the memory bank of your brain cells. The purpose of studying prior to the boards is to review and be refreshed with what you’ve learned during the 3-year didactic period.
-Dr. Lylah D. Reyes, Department of Pharmacology, Dept of OBGYNE
I was fortunate to have great mentors who emphasized that medical life is ruled by numbers: NMAT score, medical school GWA and rank, board rating. So in 2nd year I read Robbins cover to cover, because i love patho. I did read other Mama books. Medical school is the time to read the big books because you will never have the time to read on it during clerkship and internship. I’m glad by doing so I had a good foundation. When I got into clerkship and internship it was all about integrating the theoretical part with actual patients.As for board review.. its all written in my article.
-Dr.Thad Hinunganan (Read more here )
“The only regret i have is that i studied only to pass the exams and be able to graduate which is short term only”
1) Start reviewing JI pa lang. 2 subjects per 2 months.
2) Review ulit during PGI. 2 subjects per 2 months.
-Dr. Ronald Allan cruz,Dept. of Physiology
Well. . .when I entered Medicine I am fully aware it is a tough course. But I didn’t know it is really “Herculean” if I may describe it. Graduating with Latin honor and with several other awards made me confident enough that I will land on one of those Latin honors. But as I hurdled my first few shiftings and my First Prelim. . . .I felt I know nothing. So, I devised a prayer inspired by The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. “Lord, let me remember the important things I will need to take care of and heal my patients.” This was inspired as well by the question when we were interviewed “Why Do You Want To Be a Physician?” And the answer is soooooo cliche’ “Because I wanted to help the people in need on medical attention.”
So How Can I prepare myself as early as first year for the Boards. . . .that is if you are really serious of becoming a Medical Doctor (M.D.)
- YOU SHOULD have that inspiration. . .(am not referring to your lovelife. Dig up on your real reason why you really want to become a MD) so YOU COULD always see difficult situations as a challenge and that it will make you a better doctor.
- YOU SHOULD never be afraid to tell yourself you do not know or do not understand . . . so YOU COULD always improve yourself and ask others’ help and by that you learn.
- YOU SHOULD NEVER be afraid of terror professors. . . .they wanted you to learn. . .so YOU COULD ask them things you do not know.
- YOU SHOULD always be inquisitive and never limit yourself on knowledge provided to you by your professors during lecture.. . .seek informations, the idea/s of your professors maybe obsolete and you can contribute in updating them. Just ask politely. . .SO YOU COULD enrich everybody’s minds.
- YOU SHOULD NOT depend on transes (transcriptions) they are just guide, they do not give all the ideas (transes are just a short term plan and that is to pass the semester) instead read from books So YOU COULD better understand them when correlated.
- YOU SHOULD always correlate basic (Physio, Patho, Anatomic bases, etc) and clinical (Pharma, Medicine, Surgery, etc.) sciences when discussing cases SO YOU COULD answer your board exams in the future. Remember questions on Physician Licensure Examinations outcomes – based now-a-days, so correlation are basic in test question constructions.
- YOU SHOULD not take all subjects (Major and minor) for granted (all of these are part of board examinations) SO YOU WOULD not regret if they are asked in the board exams.
- YOU SHOULD not frown and despise difficult questions. . .they are challenges if you really have understand your topic/s and besides patients are not MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions) when they enter your clinics later on. . . .SO YOU WOULD not have hard time analyzing questions in the medical boards. . .remember . . .practice makes perfect, it is like doing appendectomy several times but with twists in every case.
- YOU SHOULD not forget SAMPLEX (sample exams) – YES SAMPLEX. . . but remember to answer them when you finished studying. They are hints on how questions are asked in different ways. . . .SO YOU COULD answer similar questions confidently.
- YOU SHOULD only stick on one book when studying. . .basic concepts are similar in all books, they would only differ in presentations and additional informations maybe given during lectures or discussion . . . SO YOU WOULD not get confused in the future.
- YOU SHOULD always listen to your proctor during examinations. . .it is a practice of listening skills during actual board exams. . .SO YOU WOULD not have issues on not following instructions in the boards. There are several examinees who contested on their scores on a particular subject to find out later on that they did not follow instructions.
- YOU SHOULD practice answering 100 item questions in 60 minutes (even if it is supposedly 100 minutes) SO YOU COULD practice yourself answering questions fast but correctly. Make sure it is not only fast but CORRECT. It is just a training in the field on medicine that you think fast in difficult situations so your patient may live.
- YOU SHOULD not forget to socialiize not only with your schoolmates but with other medical students from other universities as well SO YOU COULD get some hints on how does a certain board examiner make questions. . .remember that board exam questions are given by Board of Medicine who are not from your school of origin. If they are then you know how they make questions.
- YOU SHOULD not forget to have your leisurely activities / hobbies SO YOU COULD cope with the stress/es of TOPping the medical boards.
- YOU SHOULD aim high like be on the top 10 SO YOU COULD still pass even when you did not land in the top 10 places. Remember you studied to be on top.
- YOU SHOULD know how to budget your time and follow them. Discipline is one key to success not only in Medicine but in all aspects of life. SO YOU WOULD not cram every exams including your board exams.
- YOU SHOULD always review your notes the night after every lecture. . .reading them the 2nd, 3rd, nth times may mean differently. . . SO YOU WOULD not cram the night before your examination.
- YOU SHOULD attend on ALL cases and case conferences, they will provide you with informations the books may and may not provide you. SO YOU COULD end up browsing these cases fast when you are reviewing. You just wanted to refine your knowledge about these cases because as the saying in medicine goes “Once you see it, You will never forget it.”
- YOU SHOULD share your knowledge to everyone you know SO YOU WOULD not forget them. Remember . . .listening to lectures makes you retain 5% only but when you teach. . .it will make you retain >80%.
- YOU SHOULD always ask the assistance of the ALMIGHTY SO YOU WOULD feel you are not alone. When necessary. . .CRY, yes CRY to someone you know who will listen to you or SHOUT in an open field. It will help you vent out stress.
So . . . .In Summary 1. LOAD – learn as much as you can starting first year and do not forget them. 2. DISCIPLINE – set a time table and follow them. 3. VALOR – Fight. As the saying goes . . .”Ang Umaayaw ay Di Nagwawagi.” 4. Read one book per subject. Reading too many books will just confuse you and make you panic. 5. Test yourself by taking your SAMPLEX. Do not cheat on yourself by knowing the answers ahead. If you got low, review again. 6. Should I say. . .SLEEP? Sleep at least 4 hours before an exam. Remember Parasympathetic will rejuvenate your body and will make you feel relaxed on the day of examination. 7. PRAY. Just Pray. GOD helps those who help themselves.
-Dr. Leandro D. Vila, Department of Physiology
(This post is being updated from time to time:)