In this video, I sit down with six rising 2nd year med students who had just completed the STATMed Class. They all took the class proactively in the summer between 1st and 2nd year.
This is the long-form, unedited version of the video (approximately 54 minutes); students, advisors, and educators can find value in watching it to get a better sense of the following:
- The STATMed philosophy of medical education
- Our thoughts on why med school is so hard
- Strategies that are popular but do not work (for everyone) in medical school
- How the STATMed Class methods work and why they are appealing to these rising MS-2 students.
A crude guide for some of the discussion topics are as follows:
- 1:00 – 11:55: Stuff that does not work: Why med school is such a “ridiculously challenging construct to get through” and study methods that no longer hold up under the killer equation of time (speed) + volume + density demands of med school: more of the same, work harder, work longer, re-copying, re-reading, the trap of familiarity, reorganizing materials (PowerPoint to Word), cramming/short-term memory loading, flash cards/note cards, constantly trying to “reinvent the wheel” of study methods while the wheels are turning, the need for a diverse set of tools (foundational skills plus an array of augmented skills) as opposed to a single tool or method
- 11:55: Pivot to talk about the philosophy and core methods taught by The STATMed Class
- 12:40 – 16:30: FRAMEWORKING: Talk about the STATMed skill of FRAMEWORKING, our essential first step for learning in med school, which emphasizes extraction of structure from a given learning event (lecture notes, PowerPoint, review chapter, etc.)
- 16:40 – 23:00: Other strategies that no longer work: Pre-reading (this is often vaguely defined and often has multiple possible meanings; either read in advance, skim to get “familiar,” or there is no real instruction regarding how to do this), memorize every word on every slide, “find the big picture first” (but not told how), not having core methods versus augmented methods, being taught skills by being shown the end product and not how to step-by-step learn them (like maps or memory palaces), or the fact that some of these students have never been taught them how to study for med school (because no one teaches smart students how to study). We also talk about the perils of trying to do practice questions as a first-year student along with accusations of not studying “hard” enough or not making a “good enough” schedule. Great analogy about building a house at 20:30, then talking about the strategy of making your own questions.
- 23:50 – 33:00: The mystery of “active learning,” the importance of how to use retrieval practice, and making notes that will allow for self-testing, organization, efficiency, and effectiveness…
- 34:00 – 38:00: Memory Palaces and the instructional design of The STATMed Class
- 38:00 – 41:30: STATMed approach to boards-style test-taking
- 42:00 – 42:50: Back to FRAMEWORKING, the key STATMed skill and should be used to start all studying to help get more from lecture and beyond
- 42:50 – 47:30: We talk about how we teach visual mapping, along with some time management, and I talk about the hidden curricular design (49:10) of the class as students interact and learn from each other
- 47:30 – 49:30: Final thoughts: “We like learning but it gets beaten out of us…”; and at 48:44, our student to the front RIGHT drops this quote:
- “If I was to say one thing, I would suggest everyone take this course…I feel like this course, even though medical school is difficult, it helps you to go with the flow a little, so you don’t have to battle as much…. There is something about going in and feeling like I am not going to be fighting medical school and fighting to understand this stuff, and I am just going to use the method (from the STATMed Class) that I know will really help me to solidify everything and I can feel like I am going down stream.”
- 49:42 – 52:00: Various students and I talk about when the best time to take The STATMed Class is for various students
- 52:00- 54:00: Final thoughts and this quote: “After first year, I was disenchanted with med school…. learning these skills has been transformative for me,” and we wrap up by talking about quality life as well as grades in med school
This was an incredibly rich and diverse conversation, and I genuinely appreciate all of my students sitting down to talk with me after the class. I think their enthusiasm, empowerment, and insight is reflective of what most of our students experience, which speaks to how great The STATMed Class is for med students—entering, repeating, and rising, for both classroom learners and boards prep students alike!