…but… what if you completely fail to figure something out on your own? why would somebody deliberately not offer help? is medicine not a team sport?
I think his point in not helping us (besides just being a jerk) was to teach us to rely on ourselves, and then on our group members when we couldn’t figure things out on our own. Of course, the VAST majority of our tutors were always available for questions and help during office hours too.
He ended up being my least favorite tutor (and one of my least favorite attendings) in all of med school. He had a bad attitude all the time, was extremely sarcastic, and never helped us at all in group. But the one thing I did learn from him was not to expect tutors to spoon feed us any material. I learned from day 1 that if I didn’t understand something, I needed to figure it out on my own. It probably made me more of a self-learner.
Er uh, I looked online for a list of schools with PBL, and the only list I could find was for the UK.
LOTS of US schools use PBL now. Some will have a traditional vs. a PBL track, while others will integrate the two in varying proportions.
Sorry, I looked, but I couldn’t find a good list. Check with individual schools when you start looking to apply.
Anyone got an answer for this? Help a sister out.
I’m a big picture person. Details are only useful to me if I can fit them in the big picture. So for me, learning all subjects at once—as they related to an organ system or particular disease process—made sense. After all, when you see a patient, you think about how all their diseases work in tandem to produce an effect you see on the patient, right? When thinking about a patient’s kidney function, you would consider how their diabetes and their uncontrolled hypertension affects them, right?
It would be much harder for me to draw connections between anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry as they relate to diabetes, for example, if I had learned each subject separately. Instead, I started with diabetes and then delved into more specific details, like the histological appearance of pancreatic beta cells and the biochemical structure of insulin.
I dunno, it worked for me. I suppose I would have gotten it eventually the traditional way, too, though.
20. How much do you study?
Well, since I did a problem-based learning curriculum, I’m willing to bet we studied more than your average student at a lecture-style school.
During my first 2 years of school, I pretty much did nothing but read all day, everyday, with breaks for class and church on Sunday. On class days (9-12 MWF) I would start my reading at 1:00 and stop around 10 or 11, so that’s 9-10 hours unless there were lectures. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, if we didn’t have clinical skills or supplemental lectures, I’d start around 8:30 or 9 and read until about 10pm, with 30 minute breaks for meals and sometimes an hour of gym time. So that’s probably about 10-11 hours as well.
I added up all the pages I needed to read in the 6 week phase (actually we set the goal of finishing the reading by the 4 week mark to leave 2 weeks to study for the test), and divided it into 25 days (I always left a few extra days in there just in case something came up or I got behind). As long as I read the allotted amount of pages every day, it didn’t really matter how long it took. Some days it took much longer than others. If I got through it quicker one day, I’d read some extra pages to make up for slow days. Number of pages varied from 30-75 a day, which doesn’t sound like much, but when it’s Robbins or Boron, believe me, it is a crap-ton.
I read on weekends, too, though I made room for some social events.
13. What is this Problem-Based Learning stuff?
So my school does nothing but PBL, and I think it works really well.
Some schools are using 50/50 programs that are half PBL, or they’ll do some small bit of PBL to help students incorporate everything they’ve read.
The way it works at my school is that we meet 3 days a week (MWF) from 9-12 in groups of 8-10 students plus one tutor who is an MD or PhD (their job is not to teach. It’s to keep you on the right track during discussion). We read a medical case and then set issues to discuss about it. We teach each other the material. By the time we’re done, we are able to explain the basic science behind every tiny aspect of the case. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we have some optional lectures plus clinical skills training.
We learn in 6 week phases where we study all subjects at once as they pertain to a certain body system. There are 6 phases in a year. Our 12 phases are: Biochem & Cell Bio, Genetics, Host Defense, Heme, Neuro, Musculoskeletal, Cardio, Brain & Behavior, Pulm, GI, Renal, and Endocrine. We also have community medicine dispersed in there too. So if you’re in GI phase, you’re learning the biochem, physiology, anatomy, pathology, etc etc that relates to GI. And you learn it as it relates to your patient case, so you can put all your knowledge in context.
14. What are the advantages to PBL over lectures?
You learn how to study and learn on your own, which is very important when you get to your clinical years and residency. Plus, you learn more comprehensively. You make connections between all the subjects that are more difficult to make if you studied each subject separately.
At my school, it definitely keeps people from being so competitive. We all depend on each other to help us learn the material, so we share notes (we have an online database where we upload our notes) and study together.
Also, the scores we produce are just as good or better than traditional schools.
15. What are the difficulties of PBL?
You have to learn on your own. You don’t get spoon-fed the material through lectures. But we do have some extra optional lectures for extra help. And all of our professors are super helpful and are available to discuss the material any time.
Research vs. Service: Is one better than the other?