Howard University PA students learn the ropes during their didactic year. (October 2012)
Didactic year is the year of studying, test taking, physical examinations with many hours spent in the classroom and library. It can also be a great opportunity to get involved in the PA profession for the first time. Here are some tips on surviving the didactic year:
- Physical Exam Videos (from Dartmouth Medical School):
- Cardiac Auscultation: rediscovering the lost art by Michael Chizner, MD written in July 2008 – You will have to search for this one in your library. No free link was available.
- A practical guide to clinical medicine: A comprehensive physical examination and clinical education site for medical students and other health care professionals
- Resources for Books: in print or e-books
- Videos in Clinical Medicine by The New England Journal of Medicine
- Medscape: Drugs, Diseases and Procedures
- Khan Academy (Medical Videos)
Anatomy & Physiology
Lab Diagnostics and Radiology
How to read different radiographic studies; quizzes you on the “most common” diagnosis flashcard-style and on “good calls and pitfalls”.
Check out the Radiology Quiz of the Week – a free, weekly quiz offered by Dr. Donald Renfrew, radiologist and author of Symptom Based Radiology.
Health Care Handbook (This is a book written by medical students)
The Health Care Handbook is your one-stop guide to the people, organizations and industries that make up the U.S. health care system and the major issues the system faces today. It’s rigorously researched and unbiased yet written in a conversational and humorous tone illuminating the convoluted health care system and its many components. The Handbook covers:
• Inpatient and outpatient health care and delivery systems
• The different types of health insurance and how they’re structured
• Health policy and government health care programs
• Concise summaries of 32 different health professions
• A clear summary of the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court decision and other reform options.
• Economic concepts and the factors that make health care so expensive
• The pharmaceutical, medical device and medical research industries
Understanding Health Policy: Clinical Approach (Excellent overview!) – this is a FREE pdf
Whether you are a new student studying for your first big test in PA school or an established student who may need to improve your routine study habits – SUCCESSFUL STUDY TIPS are your best friend. This information attempts to offer new, innovative and helpful tips from students who have survived and thrived during the didactic year.
If you are accepted to a PA program, you have probably been a successful student through your academic career thus far. However, PA school is a different kind of ball-game. Whether you need a little boost or a big improvement, Here are some study techniques to help your success and your sanity.
- DETERMINE YOUR STANDARDS Take some time to sit down and decide what YOU want to accomplish. Do you want straight As? Are you ok with Bs and Cs? There is no wrong answer. Decide your comfort zone and stick to it. Everyone is different. However, maintain flexibility when unique circumstances like personal crisis or illness come up.
- DO NOT COMPARE You just decided what was good for you, not anyone else. If you hear others discussing grades or how much they study, do not let it affect your study goals. We encouraged students to not discuss grades – even with your friends. This eliminates the competitive mindset and allows you to be at peace with your goals without the added pressure from your peers.
- TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CLASS TIME Although it is easy to zone-out during lectures, take advantage of the opportunity. Engage the lecturer, read the slides and try to formulate questions as you progress through the lecture. This technique allows you to store more information on the first pass and provides the opportunity to ask questions directly to the lecturer.
- REVIEW THE MATERIAL DAILY Look over portions of the material every day, if possible. Breaking large topics into shorter sessions aids in retention and reduces the stress provoked by procrastination.
- MAKE A STUDY PLAN Decide ahead of time how much you plan to study each day, week or month. Allow for unforeseen circumstances and emergency breaks, if needed. Make sure you schedule time for family and friends, sleep and food.