In my previous post, I laid out my top tips to honor your internal medicine rotation. In this post I’ll walk through each resource I used to score well on the shelf and ultimately receive honors in the internal medicine rotation!
Once you pick your resources, check out my study schedule on how to study for the internal medicine shelf.
You can check out the YouTube version to this video below! Enjoy it? Consider subscribing!
Also before we begin, if you’re interested in learning exactly how to ace all your rotations, check out my free guide How To Study On Your Clinical Rotations!
It’s completely free and will surely help you get honors on your internal medicine rotation!
Internal medicine covers a lot of material so no time to waste. Let’s get to it.
I’ll also have an $80 discount for a resource I love to use just for my readers! Read till the end!
This is the granddaddy of them all. You’ll use UWORLD for almost all of your rotation. But UWORLD for the internal medicine rotation is a must.
You can argue, in fact, it’s all you need. The question bank has over 1400 questions! You’ll be well prepared for the rotation and the shelf if you complete them all.
How is it even possible to fit 1400 questions into a busy internal medicine rotation? It’s challenging but doable.
I’ve actually written a study schedule just for you! Interested?
I’ll include a week by week breakdown and how I used all the resources. Spoiler alert, expect to do at least 40 questions every day. Some days will be easier than others, but that’s the blunt truth of how to get through them all.
After completing UWORLD 1.25 x, I had little anxiety before the test. Make this question bank a priority above all else to excel as well.
Anki Decks: (A)
While practice questions in UWORLD are great for testing my knowledge, I use Anki actually to learn the material.
Early during clerkship I found the Brosencephalon deck for Step 2. (A quick google search is all you need to find the free Clerkship deck)
The Brosencephalon deck is geared towards Step 2 but are also helpful on the shelf. Each deck is about 40-50 cards. For internal medicine, there is about 2000 cards total.
The cards are each brief yet high-yield. I could easily get through a deck of 100 flashcards during a lunch talk (which I should have been paying attention to).
One thing I loved about this premade deck is the questions are presented as vignettes. It gets you into the testing taking mode.
Plus the answers would often include screenshots of the OnlineMedEd diagrams. Thus you get to learn through multiple resources with just one flashcard deck.
I’ll break how I used them in my study post (coming soon). Another spoiler alert, you’ll be able to finish your flashcards for the day during any downtime often. I would have my iPad on me and do 10-20 questions during breaks.
Step Up To Medicine: (A)
Step Up To Medicine was my text of choice and frankly very good and easy to read. Here’s a link to the book.
Similar to BRS Pediatrics, people seem to have a love-hate relationship with this book. Although there’s more love than hate. It’s often the text clinical students use to supplement with for Step 2.
The pros of the book include that it’s easy to follow, hits the high points, and covers a variety of topics well with illustrations.
The cons include that it’s long (>500 pages) and thus hard to get through.
I managed to finish the book cover to cover while doing the questions. Also, I also did a rapid skim two days before my exam.
I used the text as a way to assess my comfort level with different topics. If I were comfortable with the subject, I’d skim through.
But the book became beneficial whenever I cringed reading the headers. For example, I’m terrible at remembering the different types of nephrotic and nephritic syndromes.
So when I attempted to skim through those pages, I had to stop myself. I knew I didn’t know those topics well enough to skim and thus dedicated more of my time to them.
This “weakness designated reading” is how I utilized the book. I recommend you do the same. You don’t need to read in depth about heart failure if you’ve already taken care of 10+ patients with it and understand it well.
If you feel comfortable, skip it. If you keep missing questions on UWORLD, then dedicate more time reading about that topic.
Check out the book here.
I referred to my Anki Deck which had OnlineMedEd notes. If you don’t enjoy the flashcard method, the notes by themselves are great.
Similar to my Family Medicine post, gather all the notes for the sections pertinent to IM and develop a study calendar.
I’ve partnered with OnlineMedEd to get you $80 off for an annual subscription! Just use Code OME17 at checkout! (This is an affiliate link at no additional cost to you!) You can also try out a month trial for cheap!
Check out OnlineMedEd here.
Check out the free sample they provide for some of their videos. See if the structures of the notes would work for your study style.
Determine how many notes you have to get through. This would include the cardiology, respiratory, GI, renal, infectious disease, preventive medicine, hem/onc and rheumatology sections for sure. Then decide how you’ll split them up over your 8-12 week rotation.
Combine OnlineMedEd with UWORLD (plus clinical experience) and you may not even have to use a text.
Pocket Medicine: (A+)
You’ve probably seen this book floating around in all the resident’s white coat.
This is pocket size 250+ page reference guide to everything you needed to know for your internal medicine rotation.
I don’t recommend it as a tool to study for your shelf, but it can make you look like a rockstar on the rotation.
For example, if I had a patient with pancreatitis, I would read the section. Each section is about half a page so you can get through it in minutes.
While I may be comfortable with pancreatitis, I would still read the section to access if there is anything I’ve missed.
Sure enough on a real patient, I noticed the different scoring systems for pancreatitis and my attending pimped me on it.
I looked impressive being able to list 2-3 scoring systems and which would work best for this patient. Without this guide, I wouldn’t have known that info.
A resident of mine gave me a great tip on how to use Pocket Medicine. He said that for every patient, he would read the corresponding section to their disease(s). Even if he had seen it a thousand times already. This helped him solidify all the nuanced details and the big concepts.
NBME Practice Tests: (A+)
There are four practice tests for the internal medicine rotation.
I felt the questions were easier and more straight-forward than UWORLD. So make sure you get through the Qbank! Read my upcoming study schedule post to assure you complete all the questions!
Attempt to take at least 1-2 tests during your final week. You’ll be able to gauge your comfort level and tailor your final studying.
San Antonio Review Powerpoint: (A+)
I haven’t talked about this resource before, but it’s fantastic.
UT San Antonio Health Science Center has excellent review powerpoint slides for the internal medicine rotation (also slides for Peds, Psych, and Surgery).
The slides are high-yield and easy to skim several times 1-2 days before your exam. I got questions correct on the actual test because of these slides.
Each powerpoint slide also has a video lecture if you’re an auditory learner.
Here’s a link to website and slides.
Review Articles: (B)
I referred to review articles in my post about the top tips for the internal medicine rotation.
While my flashcards, UWORLD, and Step Up To Medicine were great, I used review articles to help acquire a deep fund of knowledge.
If you’re taking care of your first patient with a typical complication (heart failure, cirrhosis, renal failure, etc.) google “(your topic) review article.” Save the pdf and refer to it regarding diagnosis and management for your patient.
I was able to have an in-depth discussion with the resident and attendings about treatment plans after reading these articles. Our resources for the shelf are still superficial. Use review articles to receive a more in-depth grasp of the topic. It doesn’t take much time but can result in better evaluations by attendings!
Hope you’ve enjoyed these resources. Perhaps it’s the experience from prior rotations, but the shelf exams and rotations are getting easier. At the same time, the stress preparing has decreased.
Again here’s a link for $80 off for an annual subscription of OnlineMedEd! Just use Code OME17 at checkout! (This is an affiliate link at no additional cost to you!)
Check out similar tips for other rotations below!
You may also enjoy the following posts!
How to Study For Rotations In Medical School (Step-By-Step Method)
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How to Present Your Patients in Medical School:
How to Study for Clinical Rotations in Medical School:
How to Write Notes in Medical School (Step-by-Step method):
How to Build Strong Relationships with Your Patients:
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Until next time my friends…
Until next time…