The next two weeks are going to focus on Hematology, i.e. the physiology and pathology of blood. Given that we have so little time (a common theme in medical school) we are going to focus primarily on coagulopathies in week 1 and lymphoma / myeloma in week 2. This block has been well taught in the past and the blockhead … I mean … block chair has promised not to be a complete bastard when it comes to exam time. This is incredibly reassuring as it means (most likely) that the material tested will be that covered in class. This might seem like a given anywhere else but with medicine it isn’t necessarily so. For example, if you take the last block we covered (the GI block) the exam has traditionally been based on sources outside of the class. This means that you are given a set of lectures that cover some testable materials but at the end of the day you have to find sources for the other materials that appear on the exam. It makes a bit stressful when it comes to exam time because it is hard to know what to focus on.
I have found that there seem to be two approaches to getting information to medical students (I am no expert here just an observer). One method is to throw a hundred different facts and details at the class and hope that one or two stick. The other teaching method seems to involve selecting choice material, common presentations and focusing the time and energy on these. Which teaching method do you think is most prevalent? Well the “throw a hundred facts” method seems to be the teaching style of choice – which again makes focusing for exams difficult. With the hematology block chair admitting that he will be reasonable this also tells me that he will probably focus on common presentations within hematology as opposed to the absolute obscure. It takes the guess work out of exam prep and, even though it will be a lot of work over the next two weeks, it will be (overall) less stressful.