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Interactive video lesson plan for: How to Study in Medical School

Activity overview:

A review of successful study strategies in med school, including retrieval practice (testing effect), spaced repetition, and varied practice. I also discuss common learning myths, including learning styles. And I end with a discussion of popular study resources for med students, including Pathoma, First Aid, Picmonic, SketchyMedical, Anki, Firecracker, Osmosis, Najeeb, and more...

In direct response to some comments, I would like to emphasize that I'm not asserting "Sketchy" doesn't work - I'm just saying that the study technique it uses is unproven and is novel enough to not yet have established a conventional wisdom about it among learning scientists. Also, regarding First Aid, I appreciate that Step 1 is perceived to test the long lists of unconnected esoteric facts that First Aid is great for, however, I also see students use First Aid as a primary resource for their courses, which I think has major drawbacks.

Selected references include:

Make It Stick - The single best layperson guide to learning theory (

Learning Scientists Blog - Another great resource for all things related to the science of learning. (

"Paradoxes of learning and memory" - Free book chapter outlining some successful study strategies, with discussion of how they can be counterintuitive. ('s/Butler%20&%20Roediger%20(2011).pdf)

"The Learning Styles Myth is Thriving in Higher Education" (

"Metacognition and the spacing effect: the role of repetition, feedback, and instruction on judgments of learning for massed and spaced rehearsal" - Also touches on our inability to accurately judge successful learning (

"The effect of selected 'desirable difficulties' on the ability to recall anatomy information" - Also touches on retrieval practice and the testing effect (

"The Picmonic(®) Learning System: enhancing memory retention of medical sciences, using an audiovisual mnemonic Web-based learning platform." - Peer reviewed paper written by founders of Picmonic (

Links to Resources:

Anki (
Firecracker (
Osmosis (
UWorld (
Kaplan Qbank (
SketchyMedical (
Picmonic (
Pathoma (
First Aid for Step 1 (
Dr. Najeeb (
The Noted Anatomist (
Armando Hasudungan (

Tagged under: studying,learning,study strategies,med school,medical school

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