In med school, you learn more diseases than you thought could possibly exist. Initially, I was struggling hard to keep them all straight. After looking into First Aid and talking to upperclassmen, I realized there is a nice way to organize them and help you to remember the high yield points about each: creating tables to classify each one. It doesn’t matter whether you form these tables on Excel, Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, or hand write them, as long as you organize your diseases in such a way, you’ll be able to recall the information better and it’ll be so easy to refer to when it comes to studying for your Step exams. The essential components of each table (in my opinion) include:
- Clinical signs and symptoms
- Diagnostic criteria
And that’s really all there is to it. This is also the information they provide you in the Step studying materials, so you can always refer back to outside resources to make sure you haven’t forgotten any crucial facts. It took me a while to be able to streamline all the information they provided us in lecture to include only high yield concepts in my tables. I would include everything I learned about each disease and struggle to go back through the tables/not want to look at them again. Something that may help is to limit yourself to 4-5 bullet points for each section, or even less, to ensure you do not overload the tables, which would defeat the purpose of them. I attached an example of one of my spreadsheets to this post (Zoonotic diseases).