Having completed 4 medical foundation blocks (approximately a year and a half) of preclinical studies I have had the chance to reflect on PBL. For most of my peers, PBL was a new concept, however, I was fortunate to have been exposed to it during my undergraduate years as well. This method was the primary reason why I chose my undergraduate program. As a young child, I used to always ask the question why, and seek answers to these questions. This was my primary method of learning and exploring new ideas and concepts. I value the limitless nature of this method, and I believe that has helped shaped my medical learning as well.
When we are given a tutorial case and set our learning objectives we are never told how much in-depth we must research the objective. During the first medical foundation block, I would often get floundered by the details. This led me to prepare for almost 8 hours for a 3-hour tutorial. I also realized that a significant chunk of time was spent finding the right source of information. This made the tutorial preparation process less about discovery and exploration and more of a compulsion to find all the minor details.
Over time, I have realized that medicine is more than just a cumulation of facts but it is also about the context the patient presents to you in. Hence, my sources shifted from not only looking at the hardcore science behind the illness but also the psychosocial impact of illness and its context. I also became more efficient at weeding out the minor details and focusing on the larger concepts. There was also a change in my confidence level as I felt content in not knowing every answer but rather having faith in my problem-solving abilities. This was further reinforced by many tutors who emphasized that this ability is far more important than knowing every answer.