How I Study in Medical School

Hello!

The one thing in life that I’m really good at is being a student. Throughout my high school and college years my number one priority was always my grades. I only worked a few hours a week and really focused on studying. So the one thing I’ve been doing pretty much my whole life is studying. After the last year of medical school I’ve establish a really good system. However, everyone is different! And if something isn’t working for you, change it, even if its what you’re comfortable with. There is no time in medical school to waste using a study system that isn’t working to its fullest potential for you.

I study using the “3-pass” method. This isn’t actually a thing and I believe I made it up, but hear me out! I use the first pass as just exposure to the material, second pass as comprehending and understanding and third pass is memorization (which sometimes isn’t necessary). I usually add in a 4th pass the morning before the exam as review ;-).

FIRST PASS – exposure

This usually takes place in lecture. I listen to the professor or listen to the recording and take any notes that I think are important, highlight what topics the professor spends the most time on, and jot down anything that is “BOARD RELEVANT” (the worst two words to hear in med school). I prefer to listen to the recording because I can pause, look things up, and follow along with what the professor is saying.

SECOND PASS – comprehension

This pass takes place at home or the library a few days before the exam. I go through each lecture of the exam in detail. Reading every word of the slide, understanding the processes and understanding the content to a deeper level. During this pass I create a document on my iPad or on paper, that includes all of the things I must know for the exam. I like to transform the information into graphs and charts, to condense and to aide in my understanding. I’m a visual learner and I remember things by writing them and drawing them out.


THIRD PASS – memorization

Memorization. The key to med school even though no one will admit it. For this I use a whiteboard, and I rewrite my note sheet from my iPad and concepts I need to memorize until it sticks in my head. I usually do this the day before the exam. For some exams this isn’t necessary, but for exams with micro, algorithms or even formulas (hello renal phys) it is a crucial step!

REVIEW PASS

I use this final pass as a refresher the morning of the exam. This one is more to calm my nerves than to actually learn any material. I review all the material and convince myself I have adequately prepared and there is nothing more I can do. I usually get up 4-5 hours before the test to prepare, drink so coffee, and head out to take the exam.

Good luck and stay focused! You are capable!

 

One Pan – Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

Hi!

I am three weeks into my second year of medical school and I really can’t even believe it. I feel like even though this journey is tough and I don’t sleep much and I’m always studying, its flying by! And to be honest, I’m not mad about it. I’ve been doing a lot of studying at home lately, I find that I’m less stressed than I am in the library, I can be more relaxed. I’m still at the library 4-5 hours a day, but its not like last year where I was there 10-12 hours a day.

We are in our last block of anatomy lab and I am seriously so happy, I told my lab group I was going to make a paper chain to countdown our days left in the lab (Maybe overkill? Maybe just really over the cadaver lab?) I thought I was going to love the lab, but I really don’t. I’m so grateful for the opportunity, and I do learn a lot being in there, but I’m so ready to not have to shower 3 times a day. I guess its not that I don’t like the lab, its just inconvenient. And I’m not a huge fan of dissecting, so a lot of the time I’m just sitting there reviewing the atlas and trying to make sense of the this crazy human body. Wish me luck in my last few weeks! Only 1 practical left after Friday :-).


I’ve been eating lots of veggie wraps for lunch before lab. I put hummus, guacamole, white (or black) beans, cheese and mustard on a lettuce wrap and chow it down. Its so good, so quick, and it keeps me full until I get home. Oops I think I forget to mention the cup of coffee I have to guzzle down at noon to keep myself alive for the second half of the day ;-).

I ran 3 miles in the morning a few days this week and I forgot how much I love morning runs, I find myself tired and not really wanted to run as the day goes on – I’d rather just lazily take Ivy out for a walk, so I like to get my run over with early. Getting a dog was one of the best decisions I made in med school, because instead of just sitting at my desk studying- she forces me to get up and outside! I can walk around nearby and read notes and get some fresh air. I love it, and Ivy loves it too!


I have some really delicious recipes in the making and I’m looking forward to posting them soon. I hope you all had a wonderful August, I look forward to being around more! I leave you with this amazing one-pot pasta dish, heavy on the carbs but light on the dishes! Enjoy.

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta 

  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 1 lb fettucine pasta
  • 1 (12 oz) jar roasted red peppers, cut them into pieces
  • 1 large sliced onion
  • 1 (15 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 4 oz cream cheese (or greek yogurt!)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Boil the veggie broth, add in the fettucini pasta and onion and cook until al dente. Remove from heat. Add tomatoes, garlic powder, cream cheese, and diced red peppers. Stir on low until warm. Serve!

 

 

 

Everything I learned in Med School: Cardio/Pulm Block

Hello!

I’m a second year medical student!

First year of medical school… DONE. How crazy is that? I remember like it was yesterday how anxious and excited I was to start, and now I’m relieved and thankful it’s over. It’s really funny how quickly you become overwhelmed and almost bitter with the amount of work you’re putting it. My month long summer is very well needed, and I’m excited to get a break from the books!

Don’t forget everything else I learned in medical school! Here is Musculoskeletal and Neuro!

Everything I learned in Medical School: Cardio Pulm Edition

  • I love babies. I love learning about congenital defects and preterm births. I love it all.
  • On that same note – babies are tough, and they can fight through a lot to survive.
  • Before birth you can have a defect called Transposition of the Great Vessels which basically means your aorta and pulmonary vessels are swapped around. This defect does not have a heart murmur associated with it, making it easy to miss.
  • Many people have holes in their hearts that they’ll never even know about! However, in some people it can allow a blood clot from the leg to get to the brain = stroke
  • Infant lungs are not developed under 21 weeks and are the main reason that preterm babies under this have a much lower survival rate.
  • Not all lung cancer is associated with smoking- there’s even a type of lung cancer that’s target population is female nonsmokers (adenocarcinoma)
  • Aortic dissections are deadly. Patients present with “tearing” chest pain and their status deteriorates within an hour. (If you watched 8 Simply Rules, like I did, this is what killed John Ritter in real life 😢)
  • I love my medical school. Our faculty and staff really care about us, and after 4 blocks I’m starting to really realize this.
  • I didn’t sign up to be a medical student forever, and sometimes I have to remind myself of this. I will make it through this!

I hope you enjoyed this! Time for our GI/Renal block – but first, my last summer break.

Philly “Cheesechicken” Sandwiches

Hello!

I have a wonderful recipe for you here today. It will be 3 years in November since I stopped eating red meat and to be honest – I haven’t missed it one bit. I wasn’t a huge fan of hamburgers, bacon, steak, pork chops, or anything of that nature to begin with so it wasn’t really hard for me to do. The only thing I still find myself craving now and then are Philly Cheesesteaks! They were one of my favorite foods and honestly the only way I even liked to eat steak. I found this recipe on food network and tweaked it a little bit to make it more fitting to what I like to eat! THIS RECIPE WAS AMAZING. I’m seriously still in awe and really hope you choose to try it out!

Ivy, my wiener dog, also approved of the recipe by trying to steal my plate after I was done… okay, maybe I let her take a few licks 😉

Philly “Cheesechicken” Sandwiches

  • 4 whole wheat rolls
  • 4oz sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4oz Monterey jack, shredded
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 2/3 cup cream
  • 2lb chicken breast
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 1/2 TBS flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and sear it in a skillet about 2min on each side, place on a tin foil lined baking sheet and cook in the oven for 15 min. While chicken is in the oven slice up the peppers and onions into thin strips. sauté in a sauce pan for 5-10 min until cooked. Then, make the cheese sauce. Melt butter into a skillet pan, once melted add in flour and mix until a roux is formed. Then, add in the cream. Whisk together until mixture is bubbly and thick. Turn heat to low and add cheese. Wisk together until sauce is melted. Assemble sandwhiches with chicken, vegetables, and cheese on top. Roll each sandwich in tin foil tightly, and pop in the oven for 5-10 mintues. Unwrap and ENJOY! 


Meet Ivy, the Mini Dachshund!

Meet Ivy!

Ivy is the newest addition to my life in medical school and I love her so much. I got her two weeks ago, when she had just turned 13 weeks old, and I’m in love with her. She is a smooth coat English Cream Mini Dachshund and she has stolen my heart! She is less than thrilled when I wake her up at 3AM on exam mornings (need that last minute time to cram!) but I think she’s adjusting to life in medical school just fine. We’ve already met lots of our neighbors and she gets along well with the big dogs around the area, and she loves it! She is pretty brave for being a whopping 4.3 pounds!

I have begun crate training her (… and I prepared for the worse), but she has been an angel! She took to the crate immediately and I often find her sleeping in it throughout the day, even when I’m home! She is a little bit of a shy puppy, and I think the crate makes her feel safe. I always try to take her on long walks in the afternoon to make sure she’s tired before bed, but so far she’s slept through the night every night!

I’m so excited to have a tiny companion to help me through the next year of medical
school!

Fajita Stuffed Peppers

Hello again!

In the midst of everyone else I know from different medical schools being finished with their 1st year, we are still in school. Its kind of a bummer, but I just keep thinking about the glorious 4 week vacation thats coming my way. We’ve had a pretty crazy few weeks. We learned how to read EKGs, how to intubate a patient, how to start central and peripheral lines, and about every type of arrhythmia known to man – all in the last 14 days. They aren’t kidding when they say med school in a whirlwind. Since I think I want to go into Pediatrics, and Neonatology specifically, I especially love learning about congenital heart defects, but I know some of my classmates hate it. Its so funny how everyone finds their niche in medicine even early on. Its hard to believe anyone makes it out of the womb with a functioning heart, but yet millions of babies do daily! Life is truly a miracle, and its my goal to never forget that throughout my career, even if I’m really grumpy and tired and need more coffee ;-).

I’ve been trying to switch my diet over to more fruits and vegetables, and less everything else lately. But often times I feel like after my run I just want to eat everything. Does anyone else have this problem? I often make myself a green smoothie but 30 min later I’m hungry again! I’ve been running 5 days a week averaging about 4-5 miles each day. I’ve been consistent for about a month with this routine and its really been working for me. On the off days I either do 30 minutes on my exercise bike, or go to yoga (my absolute favorite!). We have the most adorable yoga studio here, but its downtown, so its a hassle to get to and find parking if you’re on a time crunch (which I always am…).

We have 4 exams coming up this week, and our week is only 4 days long… only in med school! I’ve been trying to become a master at reading EKGs and let me tell you, its really challenging. The amount of time and energy I have to put in just to figure out if its normal sinus rhythm is insane, I will forever bow down to cardiologist!

Anyways, this is a yummy recipe for stuffed peppers that I made today that were so good, I hope you enjoy!

Fajita Stuffed Peppers 

  • 4 red peppers
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked (you could also use quinoa!)
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Parmesan cheese, fresh
  • 1 package of mushrooms, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut the tops off the peppers and hollow them out, removing the seeds and the insides. Cook the ground turkey on medium heat until brown, drain. Add cooked rice, corn, mushrooms and tomatoes. Cook until mushrooms are soft. Add spices, salt and pepper to taste. Place the 4 peppers in a glass cooking dish and fill each half way with the turkey mixture, sprinkle some of the parmesan in, and then fill to the top with more of the turkey mixture. Top with lots of parmesan! I put them in the oven for about 25 minutes, but the pepper was still a little crunchy, so if you like the pepper soft I would do an extra 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!

Caprese Stuffed Chicken

Hi everyone!

We are now in our 4th week of cardio block and my life pretty much consists of study all day every day. Our whole class took a hit on our last Pathology exam – it was so hard. The entire class morale is pretty down in the dumps. I often find it hard not to get beaten down by med school. Here I’m surround by some of the smartest and hardest working people and it’s tough to see us all feel so defeated and low. I suppose this is part of the “right of passage” that all medical students go through but it’s still tough. Next time you go to your doc thank them for working their butt of in med school to help take great care of you! 😉 

Onto a yummy recipe I threw together in between my run and heading back to the library yesterday. 

Caprese Stuffed Chicken

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Fresh mozzarella 
  • Fresh tomatoes 
  • Fresh basil
  • Olive oil 
  • Salt + Pepper

The first thing I did was pound the chicken breast each into thin strips, I cut them each in half so I had four. Then I cut the tomatoes into strips and the fresh mozzarella into chunks. I stuffed each breast with basil, tomatoe, mozzarella, and rolled them up into little chicken “roll ups”. I put them on tin foil and drizzled them with olive oil! I cooked them for 25 minutes at  375, or until the chicken reaches 160 degrees. I served it with some pasta. Enjoy!

    

Buffalo Chicken Bake 

Hi everyone,

I’m at this weird point where I’m trying to do everything at once and it’s stressing me out. I’m in the process of getting my new house set up for next year, event planning for Pediatrics Club, getting things ready for the incoming first years (yay!) and studying for medical school. It’s a mess! I’ve also been cooking more, running more and trying to go to yoga more. I can’t keep up with everything sometimes, but I try! I hope I’m not the only one who looks at their schedule and all of the sudden can’t figure out how it got so full – ah.

This recipe is so easy and so good. I hope you enjoy! If you don’t already, follow me on Instagram! I post more often there! @theplumstethoscope

Buffalo Chicken Bake 

  • Package of organic chicken breast 
  • 1 cup buffalo sauce (I did 1/2 cup mild, 1/2 cup spicy) 
  • 1 tbsp butter 
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella

All I did was spread a pan with olive oil and placed the chicken breast in. I covered them with the sauce and stuck them in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 350. Then I added the mozzarella on top and popped in back into the over for 5-10 minutes. I served mine ontop of quinoa. I hope you enjoy!

  

Crunchy Fish Tacos 

Hello everyone!

Another hectic week of medical school down. We had a ton of labs this week, and by 6pm everyday I was completely spent! I ran 5 days and totaled 26.3 miles this week which is actually pretty high for me. 

We have our very first cardio anatomy practical coming up this next week and I’m pretty nervous! The heart actually seems fairly intuitive so I’m hoping this one is easier than what we’ve been faced with in the past. I’ve been using my Pathoma subscription a ton already during this block and it’s really been helpful- I highly recommend it if you are clueless about cardiovascular pathology like I was :-). 

Okay- enough boring stuff! Here is a super summery recipe that I hope you love!

Crunchy White Fish Tacos 

  • Any type of white fish (I used cod) 
  • Crushed pecans
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 limes 
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • A little bit of cilantro 
  • Cabbage

The first thing I did was crush up the pecans, then I cut up my fish into strips and dunked them in the egg, I put them in the crushed pecans after and set them on a tin foil lined baking sheet. I popped them in the oven at 375 until the fish began to brown, the I flipped them and cooked them a little longer. I removed them from the oven and put them in small flour tortillas. I mix the yogurt, lime juice, mayo, and cilantro up until it tastes yummy, then topped the fish with the sauce and some cabbage. So good!!  

 

Cheesey Baked Ziti

Hello!

One week into Cardio block and I actually don’t like it as much as I thought I would :-(. Right now it’s a lot of physicis and I think I’m having horrible flashbacks of MCAT studying haha! I’ve also been doing a lot for our Pediatric Student Interest group so I’ve been super busy! I hope you all had a lovely April! I got to travel home to see my parents and their puppy, Olive, and it was so great!  Look at this goofy face!


I have a yummy recipe today that is not low on the carbs! But it’s a hit and super easy to make! Enjoy!

Cheesy Baked Ziti

  • 1lb box ziti (or rigatoni)
  • 2 jars of tomato sauce (I didn’t quite use the whole 2 jars)
  • Shredded Parmesan
  • Shredded Mozzarella

Boil all of the pasta, drain and add in the sauce. I added the first jar and about 2/3 of the second jar. Mix it together and get out a dish. I layered the dish with half the pasta, then sprinkled the two cheeses over it, and added the other half. I topped with more cheese and popped it in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes. I broiled on high for the last 3 minutes – although watch it closely because cheese burns quickly!