Med School Done Right: Don’t Let Others Tell You What You Should Care About – Part 1

By Luke Murray

This post is part of a series called “Med School Done Right,” which will look at not just succeeding in medical school in the narrow terms of “getting good grades,” but at shaping the kind of experiences you want to have during these (usually) four very important years of your life.

Everyone told me that Step 2 CS was easy and didn’t matter, so I didn’t start studying until a couple days before the test. This was half way through my 4th year.

But when I opened up the First Aid for Step 2 CS book and began reading through it, I started kicking myself for not getting started MUCH earlier…like in the beginning of my 3rd year. This book was the EXACT kind of mental exercise I needed (for those interested, the book is structured: clinical problem, history questions, physical exam maneuvers, diagnostic tests, the differential diagnosis).

The value of this resource and the mindset for this test blew me away. I should have been using this book as my guide for months! I knew that I felt I was deficient in my differential diagnosis, history, interviewing, and note-taking skills (basically, everything that wasn’t: ‘Knowledge for the shelf’). It would have made me a much better medical student and doctor by now had I prioritized these things by taking Step 2 CS seriously.

But I procrastinated studying for the exam because it was popularly lauded as “not a big deal” and “sooooo easy.” I didn’t come across a single student at my school or others that spoke of the test with any amount of concern about preparation or studying for it. Even with the recently increased standards for Step 2 CS, most people seemed unconcerned.

Though I found out the value of this resource two days before I needed to actually use it, fortunately, I was able to pass the test, and I have all the time in the world now to utilize First Aid for Step 2 CS to improve an area of weakness for myself that I know is important. But it’s not the only thing I know I need to work on and that’s important to me, yet gets blown off by classmates or others in the profession as ‘not important.’

Unfortunately, my ignorance of other things I know I need to learn better but have been unpopular among my classmates have proven to have much more dire consequences. In fact, that ignorance may have cost someone her life….an experience I’ll share in my next post…


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