How to be successful in MERP
Eat your pancakes
The first day of orientation, one of our faculty assistant's (FA's) Dr. George said "Medical school is a lot like eating pancakes. First morning you wake up and you eat 3 pancakes and it feels easy. The second morning, you eat 3 pancakes and it feels okay. Third morning, you only eat 2 out of your 3 pancakes. Fourth morning, you plan on eating that morning's 3 pancakes plus your left over pancake from the day before. BUT only eat some of those pancakes. Pretty soon you have so many pancakes from the days before you can't eat anymore pancakes. Moral of the story… eat your pancakes." Finish your studying for each class THAT day and "eat your pancakes".
Classes or organized as follows:
M-F: 8am-12pm - two subjects for two hours each
Usually every other Monday for 1 hour: total 8 quizzes
This is graded online and you will have a password provided by the professor given that morning
You must bring your laptop to take the exam
One piece of scratch paper is given
Each quiz is worth 1% of your grade
Immediately follow individual quizzes from 9am-12pm
Groups are assigned randomly at orientation (separated AUC and Ross students)
Highest 4 group grades are recorded and worth 12% of your grade
Every 5 weeks on Friday (besides MINI 3 which is Thursday)
MINI 1: 2 hours and 30 minutes - consists of 100 questions; 25 from each subject
MINI 2: 2 hours and 15 minutes - consists of 100 questions; 25 from each subject
MINI 3: 4 hours and 30 minutes - consists of 200 questions; 50 from each subject. 50% new material 50% MINI 1 and 2 material.
General Study Tips:
EAT YOUR PANCAKES EVERY DAY. After class go home and study the material you learned THAT DAY. Even getting one day behind can be overwhelming. Somedays you will only study 3 hours and understand each of the concepts taught that day. On a normal day, you should be spending 4-6 hours studying for the two classes that day.
8am-10am: Class 1
10am-12pm: Class 2
12pm-1pm: Gym and Eat Lunch
1pm-4pm: Study Class 1 material
4pm-7pm: Study Class 2 material
Somedays I would be done earlier and somedays I would be done later. It just depends on your day and the material being taught. Keep up with the material or you will be VERY overwhelmed.
After each class I would go home and write one white printer paper sheet about EACH subject chapter learned that day. Example: If I learned Biochemistry and Anatomy I would go home and write one sheet on all the important concepts of biochemistry. Then I would write another sheet about anatomy with definitions, pictures, and blue boxes. Sometimes I would draw a graph or a picture and then draw arrows and describe each part we needed to memorize. When you are done writing your one sheet of paper put it in a binder sectioned off by subject. Then try to rewrite it on your white board or on another sheet of paper. HACK: buy a clear sheet protector and use dry erase markers to go over the graph/picture to test your knowledge. Doing this will instill the concepts and will confirm that you understanding each of the subjects and their important concepts being taught that day. Applying these techniques made it very easy to review one day of material and then study an entire week for the quizzes and MINI exams.
Out of all the subjects, I had the most difficulty studying for biochemistry. Make sure you go to Dr. Sengupta's office hours and talk to her about
the important concepts (or the FA) especially if you are confused about a concept. Make sure you are writing out the pathways and understanding the irreversible reactions. She really likes the clinical applications to the different pathways. She also loves to emphasize the importance of glucose, insulin, and glycogen. The best advice I can give you about biochemistry is GO TO HER REVIEW SESSION. Her review session is a very accurate representation of her MINI. She basically tells you which concepts you should know and understand and how you should be studying for each of the concepts. She is usually very fair with her questions on the MINI exams. Out of all four subjects, I struggled the most with biochemistry. I believe the only thing that helped me completely understand and tie up the concepts I didn’t completely understand was going to the review sessions.
There are also some really fantastic YouTube videos that help you understand the pathways. Sometimes these can explain the concepts better than the book. Just make sure the videos are focusing on the same material as Dr. Sengupta and you aren't learning any extra information you don’t really need.
Here is an example of my MINI 2 study guide. I used ONLY one sheet of paper for the majority of the studying for MINI 2. The key to success in biochemistry is learning how to condense the enormous amount of material you're learning. Flow charts and graphs make it much easier to memorize.
The best way to study physiology is to understand each and every lecture very well… Easy for me to say right? For each class, write a graph or picture of the MAIN concept. Then draw on the picture/graph the other important concepts. Dr. George will help you do this correctly. She does a fantastic job holding your hand through different types of study guides and the BEST ways to study physiology. Physiology is NOT an easy course. So understanding this in a picture or a graph will help you apply it to any question asked. Make sure to understand the axis of the graphs. Make sure to talk yourself through the graph. Overall this is the best class to study in a group or to teach other students about the graph being drawn. This way you do not make any mistakes on the exams or quizzes.
For MINI 1, I wrote out my concepts like I started above. Dr. Linder's MINI 1 material is rather difficult but she does teach this material extremely well. The one page sheets helped me understand this material very well. For MINI 2, I made a PowerPoint for each of the viral processes and made a map on my wall with half sheets of paper. She will give you an amazing acronym that will really help with the virology generally concepts. Makes sure you have the general concepts down well before you start memorizing the individual diseases associated with each virus. HINT: DNA dependent RNA polymerase is a DNA that makes an RNA. So a RNA dependent RNA polymerase would be an RNA that makes another RNA (this took me 2 weeks to figure out). MINI 3, is all bacteria. Make sure you understand GENERAL concepts of bacteria or you wont understand any of it. Also you need understand each of the individual features for each bacteria and which media is used for which virus. The best way to study for MINI 3 bacteriology is to separate Gram + and Gram - bacteria write out each of the individual genius, species, features, and media used for detection.
USE THE BOOK! Don’t use her PowerPoints. Her PowerPoints are word for word from the book. The book has much more information than her PowerPoints. She will say to you "so you will remember it when you see it" or "so you understand this". These usually are the things she will test on. READ YOUR BLUE BOXES and use the Netters anatomy flashcard on the concepts you're studying. If this is the first time you are studying anatomy than you need to do many flashcards over and over. This would be something great to do right before bed.
There also is a GREAT tool that MERP offers called Net Anatomy. Net Anatomy has CT, MRI, X-Ray, Cadaver pictures that test your knowledge in anatomy. This is an amazing resource if you have never taken anatomy before. You will struggle unless you do this. Make sure when you are using Net Anatomy that you are orienting yourself first and take time to quiz yourself on each section you're studying.
NET ANATOMY HACK: You can only use this when you are on campus. BUT if you login while you're on campus, close your computer and go home… it will stay logged in. You just have to make sure to stay within the same part of the body you're studying on net anatomy when you were on campus. For instance, If you're in the head section, you cannot switch to abdomen or it will log you out.
Just take MERP one day at a time and study SMART not just a ton of hours. Stay positive my friends. Hope this helps. GOOD LUCK!