Tag Archives: med school honors
It is finally time to review Goljan: Epic King of Pathology. All of the legends and rumors you heard were true. He’s an arm wrestling champion, rides a white stallion around his massive pathology fun house, and can break a man’s finger clean off during rectal exam. Indeed, some believe that the mere act of saying his name aloud increases their board score by one point every time. If you don’t understand these things, it is simply because you are not yet enlightened.
Edward Goljan is a world class Pathology Chair from Oklahoma State University. Back in the day, he began doing pathology review courses for his medical students, which have been condensed over the years into the most comprehensive yet concise pathology review available. More importantly, it is perfectly tailored to the USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CK, and even USMLE Step 3 boards exams, as Dr. Goljan has further refined his teachings based on constant feedback he receives from students after they take the boards. As he states:
These notes took 25 years to put together over time. And it dwindled down to the absolute quintessence. It’s like espresso. You just have a little drop and you’re already fixed.
At some point, one of his students recorded his epic lecture series, which continues to float around the internet and med school back-alleys to this day, obtained and abused like crack for the boards. To complement his lectures, he handed out his condensed notes, mentioned above. Over time, these notes coalesced into Edward Goljan’s Rapid Review Pathology book.
The book itself is newer than the audio and has undergone further revisions, whereas the audio remains in its temporally frozen preservation.
Specific chapters of Goljan’s Rapid Review Pathology include: Cell Injury, Inflammation and Repair, Immunopathology, Hemodynamic Disorders (Acid, Base, Electrolytes, Water), Genetic and Developmental Disorders, Environmental Pathology, Nutritional Disorders, Neoplasia, Vascular, Heart, Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells, Lymphoid Tissue, Hemostasis, Immunohematology, Upper and Lower Respiratory, Gastrointestinal, Hepatobilliary and Pancreatic, Kidneys, Lower Urinary Tract and Male Reproductive Disorders, Female Reproductive Tract and Breast Disorders, Endocrine, Musculoskeletal and Soft Tissue, Skin, Nervous System, and Special Sensory Disorders.
Goljan’s Rapid Review Pathology also comes with Student Consult, the online portal and electronic copy of the book, giving you access to all of the text remotely, as well as the images (which come in handy for powerpoint presentations). Student Consult for Rapid Review Pathology also comes with a little over 400 USMLE style pathology questions related to the book itself. However, to truly lock in the information with a fantastic complementary USMLE style pathology question bank, Robbins and Cotran’s Review of Pathology (reviewed here) is the recommended book of choice.
Robbins and Cotran Review of Pathology, 3rd Edition, AKA “Red Robbins,” is the best pathology USMLE style question bank/book for the boards, and a great complement to Goljan’s review books and audio. The true strength is mixing clinical scenarios with pathology concepts, which makes a topic that is easily boring for many medical students into a very relevant and high yield exercise in the thought process necessary for excelling in pre-clinical class exams, USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CK, and USMLE Step 3 boards.
The pertinent questions is: should this be used with a question bank such as USMLE World or Kaplan? The answer is definitively yes. At some point, you’re going to hit up Goljan (to be reviewed later), and this book is what will lock in that information with an alternate perspective on the same topics. This should not replace or be used as a substitute for a primary question bank. As for using it with “Big Robbins” or “Baby Robbins,” neither are really needed for the boards past Goljan. At times you may want to reference these resources for topics that require a bit more detail, but they are not a necessity, and can usually be borrowed from friends or the library. (Both of these will also be reviewed in more detail later.)
Robbins and Cotran Review of Pathology does a particularly good job of pulling glossy high resolution color microscopic and gross images that are actually representative of the pathology being reviewed. This really is one of the most important aspects of any pathology teaching. Explanations are thorough, including why the wrong answers are wrong, and the questions are representative of what comes up on the boards.
The three major pathology review sections are comprehensive. Unit 1, General Pathology, covers Cellular Path, Acute and Chronic Inflammation, Tissue Renewal and Repair, Regeneration, Healing, Fibrosis, Hemodynamic Disorders, Thromboembolic Disease, Shock, Genetic Disorders, Diseases of Immunity, Neoplasia, Infectious Disease, Environmental and Nutritional Diseases, and Diseases of Infancy and Childhood. Unit 2, Organ Systemic Pathology, has individual chapters on Blood Vessels, the Heart, Diseases of White Blood Cells, Lymph Nodes, the Spleen, the Thymus, Red Blood Cells and Bleeding Disorders, the Lung, Head and Neck Pathology, the Gastrointestinal Tract, Liver and Biliary Tracts, the Pancreas, the Kidney, the male and female lower urinary tract, the Breast, the Endocrine System, the Skin / Bones / Soft Tissue Tumors, Peripheral Nerve and Skeletal Muscle, the Central Nervous System, and the Eye. Clearly, all of these chapters combined hit every organ system from the large to the microscopic, but I listed them as a reference. The final Unit III, Integrative Reviews, has two long chapters on Clinical Pathology and a Final Review and Assessment that combines information from prior chapters. Robbins and Cotran Pathology Review can also be purchased for Kindle as an eBook on Amazon, but that is not recommended.
Rohen’s Color Atlas of Anatomy: A Photographic Study of the Human Body, more lovingly referred to simply as “Rohen’s” has a deceptive cover. The anatomy picture on the front looks cartoonish, and the “color atlas” in the name sounds like it’s a coloring book. Do not overlook this med school anatomy book, as it is a big push to increasing your chance of getting Honors on your first med school class.
It is another anatomy atlas, yes, but instead of using drawings like Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy, it excels by using actual cadaver photographs to directly show the anatomy. What this means is that the images in Rohen’s Color Atlas of Anatomy closely approximate what will be seen on every one of your anatomy practical exams in full color, but without the smell of having to actually go into anatomy lab. Later in third year, in comes in handy on surgery to identify key anatomic landmarks and surgical planes of dissection.
One of the other benefits of this atlas is that it labels structures with numbers which are referenced on another part of the page. This legend can be covered, turning the Anatomy Atlas into an instant study guide for quizzing oneself on anatomic structures. It also comes with access to the online text, which makes it portable and viewable on many smart phones.
Some med students make the mistake of trying to bring this book into anatomy lab. As with any other resource, the lab is not the place for Rohen’s Color Atlas of Anatomy unless you want to ruin your book. Everyone at medstudentbooks has the utmost respect for cadaver donors, but this warning must be expressed: liquefied adipose and fixatives get over everything brought into the lab. You do not want to bring that home on your books and have it touching anything else. Use older free copies in the lab, even though they are mildly outdated, or hope your anatomy laboratory partners haven’t found this site or don’t care if their books are ruined.
The book hits on all of the expected anatomy, being everything. The order of its units is as follows: General Anatomy Principles, Skull and Muscles of the Head, Cranial Nerves, Brain and Sensory Organs, Oral and Nasal Cavities, Neck and its Organs, Trunk, Thoracic Organs, Abdominal Organs, Retroperitoneal Organs, Upper Limb, and Lower Limb Anatomy.
As with any real cadaver pictures, care must be taken where the book is opened. While this is a superior resource for studying anatomy, it should not be opened in public areas such as buses or parks out of respect for those around you. As young medical professionals, it is easy to overlook the sensitivity of this issue. However, we are charged with maintaining professional behavior, which includes restricting the sights found in this book to other medical professionals.
If you’re the type of person who needs to visualize real images to crystallize the learning, Rohen’s Atlas of Anatomy is the book for you.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) produces a number of resources, but MKSAP For Students 4 is one of the best things they have to offer medical students on inpatient internal medicine or outpatient primary care medicine clerkships. There are a number of USMLE style question banks and books out there, but this one really covers all the bases in these fields. In case you were wondering, it stands for the “Medical Knowledge Self Assessment Program”.
More valuable than the physical text itself is the CD that comes with every copy. Questions can be loaded directly onto a computer, which comes in handy if you like to study around town with a laptop. Your progress and answer choices are tracked and can easily be reset at any time. My personal favorite use is loading the question bank onto my smart phone so I can listen to music and answer questions while waiting for the bus. Keep in mind that certain Android browsers do not support linking through websites that are on the phone itself. All this means is that you will need to hit the back button and load a new question from the browser instead of just hitting “Next” on the question page itself.
There are a number of different MKSAP question sets, which gets confusing. Bottom line: As a medical student searching for a good book, get MKSAP 4, followed by MKSAP 3 if desired. An article will be posted soon regarding all the differences, including the higher numbered books.
As for MKSAP 4, it covers all the expected topics, complete with dermatology images and EKG interpretations. Specific chapters include Cardiovascular Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, General Internal Medicine, Hematology, Infectious Disease, Nephrology, Neurology, Oncology, Pulmonary Medicine, Rheumatology. By the end of the book, you will know every etiology of common presentations such as cough, chest pain, abdominal pain, etc. It really is a great tool for inpatient Internal Medicine, outpatient Internal Medicine, a large portion of Family Medicine, shelf exams, and the USMLE Step 2 CK exam.