Tips for First Year Medical Students (resources, supplies, mental health)


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  1. “All I want in life is for you to do well” is really what I wanted to hear. Thank you Rachel, being in healthcare we are taught to keep taking care of people, it takes so much effort and mental capacity, it gets overwhelming. Someone has to remind us to take care of ourselves too. Thank you again.

  2. This is actually a good video. I️ just finished another video and it was trash. It was the dude just flaunting about how awesome he was and did and to subscribe to his business. Hard pass. But your video is actually genuine and helpful and I️ appreciate it.

  3. Dont buy the Dr. Najeeb lectures course it’s a scam!!!! From this video I watched and I was thinking Im going to check it out I saw the promotion that its going to be 5 Dollars only today and I buyed the course and when i saw my bank account status i was charged 200 dollars their courses are shit and many students that need money and start medicine are being scammed by that site please dont buy that course Dr. Najeeb Lectures they are SCAMMERS !!!!!!!!

  4. I got accepted to your school Rachel and I'm so excited!! I have been watching your videos for a while and I love all your videos, it makes me so excited to start medical school! You are going to make an amazing doctor!!❤

  5. I had a question. How is your class schedule? I’m just wanting to get an idea of how it’s set up or if you are able to choose when to take your classes?

  6. Evidence-based study techniques:
    i) Study. ii) Sleep. iii) Exercise. iv) Eat healthy v) Have fun. Skip one item and your grades will fall. Study, but do so smartly.

    2. Focus on learning concepts, not rote learning. Focus on clinical applications in every topic. Build strong foundation in preclinical and esp. paraclinical subjects. Only then can you build the skyscraper.

    Make brief, illustrated mind map notes of important topics throughout college course (see Ali Abdaal). Ask profs and seniors for topics. Will help in revision and PG/USMLE/PLAB preparation. Scan regularly. Revise previous years' subjects too. Spend 80% in current year's subjects, 20% on weekends revising earlier years' material. Don't wait till last year!

    Reading books is passive (recognition). Instead, ask yourself questions, do exams, teach someone (active recall). In real life, you must extract stuff from your brain. Why is this done? When? Where? What? How? Be curious. Take notes of how profs do procedures and dissections. Make checklists (read Dr. Atul Gawande's Checklist Manifesto).

    3.Watch YouTube videos on the subject, such as Dr Najeeb Lectures, Rose Jose, Ninja Nerd, Medcram, Osmosis, Lecturio the previous night. In morning, review at 2x or 3x speed. Then scan textbook’s chapter heads, subheads and bold-type points, pictures, tables, captions, flowcharts, and most important, questions at back of chapter. Then attend lecture.

    4. In class, don't take notes. Try to write in mind maps (Tony Buzan's videos and book).

    5. Back in your room, don’t read. First, write points of the lecture. Then, read book, asking questions why, what, how, etc. With another colour pen, write points you missed. Watch more YouTube videos, such as Sam Webster, Pathoma, Dirty Medicine to reinforce ideas.

    6. Make up questions. Load onto both ANKI and Excel/Google spreadsheet. Add photos, drawings, cartoons (Picmonic/Sketchy medical), vulgar mnemonics (Google), bizarre stories/skits to remember them, songs, audio in the answer decks. Use mind maps, memory palaces (Google these).

    Revise daily (Anki has edge here with spaced repetition as it automatically asks when retention curve dips, but disadvantage is you have to go through huge stacks of cards unlike the spreadsheet, where you can mark difficult ones in red and read only them. Best is to use both). Use Anki DAILY, even while walking to class or while waiting for professor or next patient. A minute here, a minute there add up.

    7. Colour code syllabus in Google Spreadsheet or Excel. Focus on "must know", then "desirable to know" and then only "good to know". Mark each review (by recalling points; reading books or notes doesn't count as review).
    Mark date after each revision and difficulty in 3-5 colours (easy green, medium orange, hard red. Focus on red). Write in one column why you found it difficult or if just guess. Find solution to problem. Concentrate on red ones. Skip easy ones.

    8. The more you draw, the more you will remember. Use colour.

    9. Read standard books, such as Guyton, Medium Robbins, and Gray's Anatomy for Students rather than exam-oriented point-wise books. Most books, including Pathoma, are available free on Library Genesis; most videos on YouTube or BitTorrent.

    10. Focus on what professors teach. They have read the important books. Pay attention in class. Practicals and clinics are most important. Don't skip classes.

    11. Spend maximum time in practicals and clinics. Dissect as much as possible. Volunteer to do procedures. See how to use knowledge for practical problems. Eg: see videos of "Athlean-X" and "Ask Dr Jo" or quick memorisation techniques of Dr.James Preddy on each muscle and what happens when it is injured and what exercise to do. Do with each subject. Make up questions requiring info from various subjects. Most people have neck ache, backache, knee problems. Can you solve them with exercises and therapeutic yoga (See Krishnamacharya techniques) even as a student? Incorporate Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, Yoga, homoeopathy, naturopathy, alternative medicine, plant-based whole foods. Learn tips from them. Don't automatically debunk them.

    12. If you want to remember something really well, write down key points and read it 15 times immediately before going to bed and 15 times within first five minutes of waking up.

    13. Google the topic “medical punch words”. Questions contain these words. Load in ANKI and revise daily.

    14. Use Pomodoro technique to study. Buy a small alarm clock, not phone alarm. Study in 25-min blocks, then do anything else for five minutes. Do it again. After two hours, take a 30-min break. Reward yourself. Do NOT look at phone, saying "only one minute". It will suck you in.

    Study with a friend (More than 4 people gets disruptive). In groups, tap on desk to start, tap again to indicate break, tap to resume. Study in library rather than in hostel to reduce distractions.

    15. Teaching someone without using notes is the best form of recall. If there is no one, just walk around (don't sit) and lecture to empty bedroom. Use drawings, write points  on whiteboard and hand gestures.

    16. Write very brief points, flowcharts on sticky notes (also called Post-It Notes) above your desk for every topic (Anas Nuur Ali how to memorize). Scan them for 15 min daily. By the end of the year, you would have seen them hundreds of times, sometimes while doing other tasks. Unlike ANKI, it jumps at you any time you stand there or walk by.

    17. Don't study one after the other. Do topic 1&2, then test yourself by recalling topic 1. After studying topic 3, test on topic two. Do same with the rest. While studying several subjects, jump from one subject to another and come back to any of them at any point.

    18. Before sleeping, write out plan for tomorrow. Mentally review what did you studied today and what you want to do tomorrow. The brain will focus on these when sleeping. Sleep 7-9 hours daily. Sleep by 10 pm and wake up at 5 (no wonder military institutions worldwide do that). Immediately exercise vigorously. Then study. Most students stay awake all night, sleep for 4-5 hours, wake up 15 min before class and run there! Tests showed that they retained only 30% of what they had studied all night. Studying in the morning after a good sleep helps in better retention.

    19. Studying daily for one hour over a week is better than studying the whole thing in seven hours in one day. Before exams, concentrate on studying and recalling your weak areas. Read the red chapters.

    The night before exams, sleep rather than study all night. If you study without sleeping, you will not remember what you studied. If you must, first sleep, wake up early and study.

    During exams, stop every 30 minutes and take three breaths of 4 sec inhalation, 7-sec hold and 8-sec exhalation. Sure, you could have answered a few questions in those 57 seconds but did you get them right? Doing this exercise will boost oxygen level and make you more alert to tackle the other questions correctly.

    20. Other than this channel (excellent, btw), also watch Marty Lobdell, Ali Abdaal, Kharma Medic, MDprospect, for tips.

    21. Spend weekends, holidays and whenever possible helping people and listening to their stories in cancer wards, old-age homes, schools for children with special needs,  physically and mentally  handicapped people. Be empathetic. Never be arrogant. Everyone is a teacher. Nurses have a lot of experience as they spend more time with patients unlike doctors. Be extra courteous to them. Involve them in treatment decisions. Get 2nd, 3rd,4th opinion from various doctors. (Read Dr Lisa Sanders "Diagnosis" about rare cases that doctors couldn't identify but solved by the public using common sense).

    Ask seniors and professors for tips, their memorable experiences and what they would have done differently today. Learn from them. Listen to patients without interrupting them or getting impatient. If you listen long enough, you will know the problem. Rely on brains, not costly diagnostic tests to decide. Imagine you are in deep forest without them.

    22. Don't focus on money in life. Don't be greedy and seek commissions or do unethical things even if others are doing it. Prescribe cheaper drugs. Read inspirational articles about doctors who went out of the way to serve people, often getting no money.

    23. Improve your handwriting. Nearly all doctors have terrible handwriting! Many drugs have similar names with only one letter different.
    24. Be punctual. It will help you in life. See how many minutes it takes to go from room to classroom desk. Learn self defense during college. Will make you fit and will make you safe in life.
    25. Read fiction. Read books or watch lectures in humanities, such as Michael Sandel's "Justice" series at Harvard. They expand your horizon.

    Study of 1,000 world leaders, CEOs found that they all sleep well, and wake up early, often at 4 a.m. They do not look at phone on waking up. Instead they immediately exercise vigorously, do pranayama, meditate and write a daily journal (mentioning three things they are grateful for that day and why). Only then they touch their phone. They all focus intensely on the job on hand. They work like crazy during the week and party like crazy in the weekend! They all have a hobby that they actively pursue. They read a variety of books lifelong. Their aim: be happy, healthy and helpful to all.

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