Med School Must Have Study Resources: The Second Year

Goljan Pathology

Goljan Pathology is the best reference book you could ever use that is not Robbins Pathology. It is in bullet point style, so it is hard retain anything by reading. Every word in that book is high yield, so you must know them for Step 1 eventually. So I would use it as a main study guide. You will notice it covers more than pathology. High Yield pathophysiology, pharmacology, microbiology and diagnostic tools are included. So if you see any of them, it means you must know them for either Step 1 or your other classes. It is a must have book that is only useful if you utilize it early on in the second year. 

Robbins Pathology

If your learning style is reading, then I highly recommend reading Robbins Pathology from the get the go. It is extremely well written, so it is going to be a smooth read. It honestly won't take as much as time as you would think it would. And pathology makes much more sense with all the extra information. On the side note, you can skim over the molecular biology part for the most part unless it is highlighted. I personally did not read every chapter. But every time I had a unit that I had trouble organizing, reading Robbins was super helpful. There is a smaller version which might be sufficient if you don't want to dive into the full version. 

Kaplan Pharmacology

Pharmacology is a hard class, because it is literally clusters of factual information you just need to know. You should to be able to organize the drugs into major categories in your brain before memorizing, and Kaplan Pharmacology course does that very well. It gives you a good framework to build pharmacology onto, thus you should go through the lectures with the Kaplan Book before you jump onto your lectures and other question banks. 

Sketchy Medical

Sketchy Medical consists of microbiology and pharmacology. It is an alternative to PicMonic, which has been around longer and covers more content. I personally found Sketchy more memorable and mentioned it in my first year study resource post. Sketchy Micro is definitely better done than pharmacology, but sketchy pharmacology was the only resource that worked for me to know all the high yield random information.  

BRS Behavioral Science 

Behavioral Science consists mainly of soft science content that can come naturally to many people. However, the specific details get lost in the process. So when you think you know 80% of the content, you end up getting 60% on practice questions. It is because tests cover the nitty gritty details that you glance over. That is why BRS Behavioral Science is a great book. It emphasizes the details you need to know in very user friendly form. 

The First Aid

I only included First Aid here, because it is the holy grail for Step 1. It is the one book that you will see around from the first day of med school on some people. I am sure some people probably use it throughout the year or two, but I was one of the people who had it, so I didn't feel like I was missing out. I did not use FA at all and I don't regret it. I would not recommend FA as a main study resource. It is so condensed that nothing really makes sense unless you know the content well. So it is a good review material for the day before the test if you really want to use it. However it is definitely a great study guide for Step 1. 


Q Bank: USMLE Rx, UWorld, Kaplan

You must use some sort of question bank for three reasons. First, it is the way to solidify your knowledge. Second, it directs you to the major content you must know. Third, it familiarizes your to the way things get tested on step 1. It is a pattern recognition and test taking skills that you learn from question banks in the long run. I will review all three Q banks in the future post.