I realized mid way through my first year that microbiology was going to be a struggle for me. My brain works more like a flow chart. I like to build a skeleton and add the details later. But microbiology is just collection of information you need to know, so it doesn't allow for systematic learning like the other subjects. For that reason, I mostly just passed microbiology first year.
The second year, it was tougher, and further I got along the year, more I understood I need to do something drastically different to learn these bugs. Unlike some other subjects, microbiology does not just disappear once you finish the first two years of med school, it is one of the few subjects that literally sticks around your entire life as a physician. So I bit the bullet and signed up for sketchy micro and it was one of the best decision I have made. I paid for pharmacology as well, and it was well worth my time and money, which I will talk about in a different post.
So when I found out Sketchy was selecting a campus representatives, I applied for it, because I was already telling everyone to use Sketchy. I was super happy, when I was selected as one. So here is my second post as a sketchy representative.
Sketchy content is extremely thorough and comprehensive. Although the videos are short, every second is high yield. During my step 1 studies, I wanted to make sure Sketchy was comprehensive enough, so I could use it as a sole study source. I read Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple and compare the content to Sketchy. To my surprise, there was not much Sketchy Micro missed, so I was super comfortable with Sketchy Micro as my primary resource to study.
Watch The Videos Covered in Class
Our microbiology class covered bugs by organ systems, so it did not follow the sketchy organization. So I just watched all the bugs that is going to be covered for my unit exam. During my step 1 studies, I just watched the videos from the beginning to the end. So in short, it does not matter where you start, as long as you start somewhere. After I was comfortable with the videos, I read my handouts for class to make sure I was not missing anything that was covered in class. For the most part, I got most questions right after I consistently used Sketchy on my exams.
Repetition Is The Key
I needed to watch each video at least 3 times. The first time was for getting familiar with the story. I remembered nothing from the first pass. So don't really stress out. The second round is actually for getting to remember the important points. The third round is reenforcement and getting the extra browny points. After the third round, I was pretty comfortable most videos. More you watch the videos, quicker it will get. So it is not going to take as long.
Watch Whenever and Wherever
We as med students freak out over following plans and schedules, which is important. But when it comes to Sketchy Micro, you can really have fun with it. You don't have to dedicate an hour of the day to Sketchy if you don't want to. I watched a video while I brushed my teeth or waited to go out or cooked dinner or just before I went to bed etc. It takes 8-10 minutes on average to watch a video on 1.5x-2x speed, so even if you are not in it for 100%, you will still remember something from the video. That is the best part about Sketchy. It is seriously relaxing, yet effective way to learn microbiology.
Using The Review Function
Sketchy has an option to review the paintings without the videos. I used them when I was pretty comfortable with the bugs that I only need to confirm a quick point or two. For me, it is the story that brings the information together, so having both visual and auditory content simultaneously is the reason why Sketchy works.
Step 1 Studying
We had NBME shelf exam for microbiology, pharmacology and pathology at the end of second year before our dedicated Step 1 study time. So I dedicated full 3 days for microbiology. I went through Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple during this time as I mentioned before and watched the entire Sketchy Micro content the day before. The Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple had chapters on general basic microbiology techniques and tests that were important to know, which was not covered by Sketchy Micro. Otherwise, I honestly got through my shelf exam solely on Sketchy Micro and I did really well. Afterwards, I watched Sketchy Videos during my lunch breaks and before bed during my Step 1 studying. I picked the videos that I don't remember well or got questions wrong on Uworld. It was more than enough for Step 1.
Surprise, you still need to know microbiology and antibiotics on the floors. I honestly think it is one of the most common topics to be pimped on. I get questions right to this date because of Sketchy. I honestly don't think I would have learned the content otherwise. Everybody struggles with remembering microbiology and antibiotics coverage, so when you know something as simple as knowing if a bug is gram positive or negative, you look really good!