During our antibiotics teaching at medical school we were told that a recent survey of junior doctors had revealed that a significant proportion didn't realise that augmentin, tazocin, and carbopenems were penicillins and as such should not be given to those with known allergies. I devised a "mind-map" summarising the main antibiotics in use using information from the BNF and my own lecture notes. For me, seeing the information laid out in this manner, pinned above my desk as I work, helps me remember the major classes, their relationships with one another, and their major side-effects.
The “Arterial Schematic” represents the intricate three-dimensional human arterial system in a highly simplified two-dimensional design reminiscent of the London Underground Map. Each “line” represents an artery within the body; a black circle marks a major vessel, whilst “stubs” stemming from the main lines represent the distal vasculature. The coloured “zones” represent the main divisions of the human body, for example; the yellow zone indicates the neck.
The schematic was inspired by Henry Beck’s work on the first diagrammatic London Underground Map. His aim was to represent complex geographical distribution in a simple and accessible form. He achieved this aim by omitting swathes of information that had plagued previous designers’ versions. Beck’s approach was succinct yet produced a design that was immediately successful in clearly portraying to commuters how to traverse London most efficiently. The “Arterial Schematic” hopes to culminate this idea of communicating complex concepts in a concise manner, mirroring what is expected of medical professionals on a daily basis.
The schematic is a prototype design intended to be part of a series of images that will diagrammatically represent the various systems of the human body. The prototype was inspired by a desire to teach anatomy via a fresh and engaging visual medium. Recent years have seen significant debate over reduced undergraduate anatomy teaching and its later consequences. The hope is that the “Arterial Schematic” and its sister diagrams will inspire students to learn anatomy and encourage them to further their knowledge via other sources.
PLEASE NOTE: This image is available for purchase in print, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if interested. Please follow LFarmery on Twitter and considering sharing the Arterial Schematic on Facebook etc. Many Thanks.
When originally learning about the immune system I struggled to understand how the different components developed individually and worked together. I realised that a flowchart would be an excellent way to demonstrate this and was surprised to find that there wasn’t anything suitable on the internet that linked both the innate and adaptive systems.
I developed this flowchart based on information from lectures and several textbooks and disseminated it amongst students in multiple years. The diagram proved to be an excellent tool for revision and in developing a foundational understanding of the immune system.
This has been designed to show how the different components of the immune system develop individually and work together. I realised that a flowchart would be an excellent way to demonstrate this and was surprised to find that there wasn’t anything suitable on the internet that linked both the innate and adaptive systems. I know the diagram looks a bit dry but if you spend 5 minutes reading through it, I hope you'll find it useful. I'll hopefully add some images to make it more appealing at a later date.
The flowchart is based on information from lectures and several textbooks and has proven to be an excellent tool for revision and in developing a foundational understanding of the immune system for many students.
Vitamins A, D, E and K are all stored in the liver, as is vitamin B12. Therefore, in liver damage, you can’t store as many of these as you would like to. Portal circulation Note that there are no valves in the portal circulation. The portal supply is 70% of the blood that the liver receives. The other 30% is supplied by the hepatic artery. The four main veins that contribute to the portal system are: Splenic vein Superior mesenteric
Because of the snail's pace that education has developed at, most of us don't really know how to study because we've been told lectures and reading thousands of pages is the best way to go, and no one really wants to do that all day.
That's not the only way to study. My first year of medical school... You know when you start the year so committed, then eventually you skip lectures once or twice... then you just binge on skipping? Kinda like breaking a diet "Two weeks in: oh I'll just have a bite of your mac n' cheese... oh is that cake? and doritos? and french fries? Give me all of it all at once." Anyways, when that happened in first year I started panicking after a while; but after studying with friends who had attended lectures, I found they were almost as clueless as I was.
I'm not trying to say lectures are useless... What my fellow first years and I just didn't know was how to use the resources we had– whether we were keen beans or lazy pants, or somewhere in between. I still struggle with study habits, but I've formed some theories since and I'm going to share these with you.
While reading should not be the entire basis of your studying, it is the best place to start. Best to start with the most basic and detailed sources (ex.Tortora if it's a topic I'm new to, then Kumar and Clark, and Davidson's are where I usually start, but there are tons of good ones out there!). I do not feel the need to read every section of a chapter, it's up to the reader's discretion to decide what to read based on objectives.
If you do not have time for detailed reading, there are some wonderful simplified books that will give you enough to get through exams (ICT and crash course do some great ones!). I start with this if exams are a month or less away.
Later, it's good to go through books that provide a summarized overview of things, to make sure you've covered all bases (ex. Flesh and Bones, the 'Rapid ______" series, oxford clinical handbook, etc.). These are also good if you have one very specific question about a subject.
After all that reading, you want the most laid back studying you can find. This is where Meducation and Youtube become your best friend. (I can post a list of my favourite channels if anyone is interested).I always email these people to thank them. I know from the nice people that run this website that it takes a tremendous amount of effort and a lot of the time and it's just us struggling students who have much to gain.
Everyone should use video tutorials. It doesn't matter if you're all Hermione with your books; every single person can benefit from them, especially for osce where no book can fully portray what you're supposed to do/see/hear during examinations.
Some youtube channels I like
We're all thinking it, lectures can be boring. Especially when the speaker has text vomited all over their slides (seriously, If I can't read it from the back of the lecture hall, there's too much!. It's even worse when they're just reading everything to you, and you're frantically trying to write everything down. Here's the thing, you're not supposed to write everything down. If you can print the slides beforehand or access them on your laptop/ipad/whatever you use and follow along, do that.
You're meant to listen, nod along thinking (oh yes I remember this or oooh that's what happens? or Oh I never came across that particular fact, interesting!). It's also meant to be a chance for you to discuss interesting cases from the a doctor's experiences. If you're lucky to have really interactive lecturers, interact! Don't be shy! Even if you make a fool of yourself, you're more likely to remember what you learned better.
If you happen to be in a lecture you're completely unprepared for (basically 70% of the time?). Think of it as "throwing everything at a wall and hoping something sticks." Pull up the slides on your smart phone if you have one, only take notes on interesting or useful things you hear the speaker say. If all else fails, these lectures where tell you what topics to go home and read about.
My university has gradually increased its use of tutorials, and I couldn't be happier. Make the most out of these because they are a gift. Having the focused attention of a knowledgeable doctor or professor in a small group for a prolonged period of time is hard to lock down during hospital hours. Ask lots of questions, raise topics you're having trouble understanding, this is your protected time.
In group study activities, this is particularly hard to make the most of when everyone in your group varies in studying progression, but even so, it can be beneficial. Other people's strengths might be your weaknesses and vise versa– and it's always helpful to hear an explanation about something from someone at your level, because they will neither under or over estimate you, and they will not get offended when you tell them "ok I get it that's enough."
Myself and 3 of my medic friends would meet once a week the month or two leading up to exams at one of our houses to go through OSCE stations and concepts we didn't understand (food helps too).
Besides peer discussions, you should take advantage of discussions with doctors. If the doctor is willing to give you their time, use it well.
I am a practice question book hoarder. Practice questions book not only test and reaffirm your knowledge, which is often hard to find if your exams are cumulative and you have little to no quizes/tests. They also have concise, useful explanations at the back and, they tell you where the gaps in your studying are. For my neuro rotation, the doctor giving the first and last lecture gave us a quiz, it was perfect for monitoring our progress, and the same technique can be used in your studies.
Practical Clinical Experiences
If you freeze up during exams and blank out, and suddenly the only forms of text floating around your brain are Taylor Swift lyrics, these are bound to come to your rescue! "Learn by doing."
Take as many histories as you can, do as many clinical exams in hospital, and on your friends to practice, as you can, see and DO as many clinical procedures as you can; these are all easy and usually enjoyable forms of studying.
Have you ever had an experience where one of your peers asks you about something and you give them a fairly good explanation then you think to yourself "Oh wow, I had no idea that was actually in there. High five me."
If there is ever an opportunity to teach students in the years below you or fellow students in your year, do it! It will force you to form a simplified/accurate explanation; and once you've taught others, it is sure to stick in your head.
Even if it's something you don't really know about, committing yourself to teaching others something forces you to find all the necessary information. Sometimes if there's a bunch of topics that nobody in my study group wants to do, we each choose one, go home and research it, and explain it to each other to save time. If you're doing this for a presentation, make handouts, diagrams or anything else that can be used as an aid.