As a first time clinical student, along with many other things, I wanted to know how I was supposed to study. Rotations are much different since you deal with patient care during the day but still have to study when you get home.
Here is my study schedule for the pediatrics rotation. I broke my study schedule into weeks.
There will be fluctuations in your energy level and clinical schedule, so you can shift your schedule accordingly. At the very end, I gave a sample schedule of what a typical day would look like.
Study Schedule During the Pediatric Rotation:
I picked BRS Pediatrics as my text of choice. It’s a 600 + text that discusses everything you’ll need to know for your shelf. You can find info on BRS here. To learn more about other resources I recommend for the pediatrics rotation, click here.
BRS is a lot of information for the time the rotation provides. I was able to just put my head down and finish most chapters (20-30 pages) in an evening.
Accounting for some unexpected or lazy days, I planned to finish the book with 3.5 weeks. Each chapter had a designated day or two (depending on length) on my Google Calendar.
I would try my best to stick with this and overall was very successful. My peds experience began with two weeks of a subspecialty rotation (Hem/Onc).
To make sure I did well on the service, I began with BRS chapters which would be helpful on my Hem/Onc rotation; there’s no rule that you have to start on chapter 1.
Besides reading BRS and doing the corresponding questions, I didn’t do much else this first week. It was my first rotation and I didn’t want to overdo it.
I continued my BRS reading but now started to begin UWORLD for Step 2.
Since I was still on Hem/Onc I only did questions related to the field. This kept me up to date during the rotation and was able to finish these questions within a few days. By the end of the week, I had finished a little less than half of BRS.
More importantly, I had finished some of the more dense topics such as Cardio, GI, Hem/Onc, and Respiratory.
Since my Hem/Onc service started early in the morning and went into the evening(including weekends), I was happy with how much I was able to do. If your schedule is easier during these two weeks, try to get more done.
This was the easiest week for me since I was on my ED week.
I only had 4 required shifts and had a lot more time to study.
During this week I began doing blocks of 40 UWORLD questions on random mode.
I also had almost finished BRS pediatrics. Had maybe 3-4 chapters left to go and still 3 weeks left in the rotation. Not bad!
During week 4 I was on newborn nursery service. (Yay babies :D) While the service was easier, the schedule was still a typical 8-4 day.
Still, I had finished the remaining chapters in BRS.
I had also ramped up my UWORLD questions to 40 a night and was almost done with the question bank.
Along with reviewing all the questions, I had begun doing Pre-Test Questions. There are 500 Pre-Test questions and I aimed to finish them before the very last week.
By the end of week 5, I had reviewed all the UWORLD questions twice.
I didn’t actually do the questions again, but reviewed the explanations and made notes on the key info. During this week I also began using OnlineMedEd. (Read more about my review of this resource here).
The videos were great and refreshing after having spent 4 weeks reading texts. The videos were high yield and effective during the latter part of the rotation. After having learned everything at least once, the videos were nice to put all that information together nicely.
Last two weeks I returned the busier inpatient service. Time was a limited luxury and I was happy I had finished UWORLD and reading prior to this point. I could thus use these final two weeks to focus on weaker topics.
I also took my first NBME practice exam this week. I recommend everyone take at least one if not two during the rotation. The style of questions and timed environment helped make test day a little less stressful.
I finished the Pre-Test Questions by the start of the week. I had also quickly flipped through BRS for topics I had read about way back in week 1 and 2 to become refreshed.
Finally, I had found a useful Anki deck that covered high-yield topics which were a great form of active learning my last week.
I also took an additional two NBME practice exams because I appreciated as many questions as possible.
I will note that I did score better on the actual thing then I did on any of my practice exams! Altogether I used a lot of resources, planning helped me hammer in the information.
My Daily Schedule during the Pediatric Rotation:
Now I’ll quickly break down what a typical study day would look like. If you want to know what a day on pediatrics looked like, you can click here.
For now, I’ll focus on just my study schedule.
- 6 AM – 4 PM: Clinical Duties
- 4 PM – 5 PM: Eat, Relax, Anything besides medicine and study
- 5 PM – 7 PM: Read scheduled chapters and/or questions
- 7 PM – 8 PM: Dinner/TV
- 8 PM – 9 PM: Read about patients or topics attending may have asked me to look up
- 9 PM-10 PM: Finish any leftover reading and questions for the day
- 10 PM-5 AM: Sleep
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Until next time…