Saturday, December 10, 2011

First Term Class Information and Advice

COURSE BREAKDOWN (Anatomy, Histology, Biochemistry, Bioethics)

ANATOMY (8 units)
-Anatomy is comprised of Anatomy lab and Anatomy lecture (lecture is broken up into 3 Parts: Wet lab, dry lab, and small group discussion)
-you will have anatomy lab 1/week from 7:45-12pm
-The section you start out at will depend on which group you are in
-Need to wear scrubs for lab. Bring 1-2 sets. No open toed shoes allowed.  You can wear your white coat on top of regular clothes if want.  Brian did not because he told me it's difficult to wash off the smell of cadavers.


Wet Lab Section
-Cadavers and body parts are laid out at different stations.
-Each lab there will be a couple of professors floating around just in case you need help.
-There are about 7 stations and you will have 7 minute per station with your group.
-When you ask a professors to help out, keep in mind that they may only cover a fraction of the “list” (what you’re expected to learn) in the given time frame.  You’d have to come back on your own time to learn what was missed during class.   
-Best way to study is to watch online videos posted on Sakai.  Video will cover all structures you need to know.  In addition, use Netter’s Anatomy book (supplied).
-Before going to wet lab, make sure you know the general area in which muscles, nerves, and blood vessels are located and where they go.  This helps facilitate the learning process and allows you to get the most out of class lecture.
-For spring term 2012, SGU may get new equipment that will help project labeled cadaver parts on overhead screens.  For past Fall 2011 term, students only had 5-7 professors (for ~60 students) to help with confirmation. 
-For some stations, you’ll have radiographs (MRI- T1/T2 weighted) CT scan, plain x-rays, angiograms and skeletal pieces to help with visualization.  You will need to point out structures. During the wet lab practical you won’t be tested on identifying any bones (they only show you bones in lab just to give you an idea of where things are located).  For the final, they will give questions in regards to radiographs.
*You’ll be put into groups of 4 and rotate around 7 different cadavers/prosections.
Most important book for wet lab- Mcminn’s Clinical Atlas of Human Anatomy (book is included in tuition).  Use the book a lot because it has pictures of real life cadavers (the virtual portion of the midterm and final examinations will take pictures directly from this book).  But first, use Netters Anatomy book (pictures are drawn out) to get a general visual understanding of all the structures.

Dry Lab Section
-For all labs (Bioethics, Anatomy, Biochemistry), you’ll be divided up according to your last name .  However in histology, groups are based on where you decide sit.  You will be with this group until the end of the term.  Quite a few students dropped or decelled in Brian's histology lab session, so his group was separated towards the end.  
-3 sets of questions are given out to each group.  You will spend the whole time answering questions on your own.  There are only a few professors to go around helping confirm the answers.
-You will be placed in groups of ~8
-Spent time implementing ultrasound, but didn’t get tested on it because it’s a trial run.  Next term may get tested on it.

Small Group Discussion Section
- 4 sections
1. First 5 min you spend taking a quiz. Each is worth 2  points. 1st point is for showing up and ½pt. for each question right.  Every point counts right? So don’t take these quizzes lightly.  
(*Grading system not based on grades and instead, based on percentages. )
2. ~5 clinical cases will be given with follow up questions posted online a week prior for you to prepare before they are discussed in class.
Format- Each group will have one clinical tutor. He/she will start at one end and work his/her way around asking questions to everyone.  Advice- Don’t just memorize the answers when doing prep work. Understand the whole process as the professor may ask you for it in group discussion. They may even ask you to draw!
3.  You will need to read a journal article that will be discussed in lab.  Same format as above in regards to group discussion.
4. Conduct physical exams on local patients. Go over physical exams (included in lab manual) before lab. Sakai also has instructional videos on how to conduct physical exams.

Side Note: Anatomy wet lab open 8am-12pm.  No appt. necessary with visiting professors.  Appointment necessary to be with in-house professors.  You have to be in  groups of 3 and can make a total of two appointments, up to 2 weeks ahead of time. 2 times for midterms and 2 times for finals allowed.  You can also walk in and stand with other groups, except you’re not permitted to talk because it’s not your appointment (don't be rude and take away the learning experience from your fellow peers).  Don’t wait until the last minute to go to lab (at this time, the crowds will be too big and you will have a more difficult time seeing and hearing the professors).  If you’ve been going to open lab from the beginning, you might be more prepared and decide to review on your own with some friends.  Go to available body parts and make sure you can identify the muscles/nerves/plexus/ganglion/neurons/blood vessels provided in your prosection manual.  If you can do this, you should be fine for the practical.


*Format- You start learning the upper limb, thorax, and abdomen (covered for midterm). For final- pelvis, peritoneum, lower limb, head, and neck.
*Brachial plexus seems daunting at first...but it gets easier with time.  Same can be said with the blood vessels in abdomen...and with everything in the head and neck.   Repetition is key...but so is doing practice questions in Grays Anatomy Review by Dr. Loukas.  Questions won't be the same, but the wording is similar.  The questions will make you apply your knowledge in a clinical manner.   Not all questions in the review book is testable material.  All information in lecture note packets and what professors SAY during lecture IS testable material. 
*With lecture, they will start off every new region pointing out muscles on the screen (most of them supplied on notes). Brian feels like he really can’t learn this way because there are too many structures being identified in such little time.  Instead, he used Netters Anatomy book to learn himself.  He still watched lectures at home at 1.4-1.8 times the regular speed since professors sometimes say important points in between identifying structures.
*You’ll be going over embryology- you don’t need to know all the steps involved.  Instead, you need to know what could go wrong in the process and the clinical outcomes.
*Understand the function of all the nerves and what can result if there is a lesion in a specific area. 
*Before midterm and final, the school posts pictures of slides online that they will test you on.  Use these slides to study.
*Exam- ~2.5-3hrs for written and 25 minutes for web-lab. First ~30 minutes are slides- mostly identification.  Next, multiple choice.  Lastly, wet lab. You will be sequestered until everyone is finished with their exam. Expect to sit there for 3 hours after the midterm wet lab exam if your last name begins with an A. Things switch around for finals. If your last name begins with a Z, you will be sequestered for 3 hours.  See if you can leave notes in the room to study.

HISTOLOGY (4 units)
*you meet 1/week in small groups for lab potion. 8am-12pm. Lab slides given a week before. Structures are identified during lecture. Don't forget to notate what professors are saying on your packet. Need to know for lab.
*lab- each person must present a specific number of slides in front of your group (~6 people in Brian's group). Clinical tutor in every group. Advice- make sure that you look over slides before lab and read lab  manual given so you can get the most out of lab. Learn during lab, not lecture because you get everything clarified.  Brian suggest printing out the slides and bringing it to lab for filling in and identifying unknown structures.
*clicker questions at the end of every lab session reflects the degree of difficulty for the exams. After midterms, ¾ of your time in presenting slides and ¼ physical exams on patients.  2-3 weeks before exam, slides posted on Sakai.  You are only tested on these slides for the virtual portion of the exam.
*exam- 150 questions. 60 slides/1 minute per slide. 2nd part is multiple-choice.
*Final exam had many questions regarding the specific epithelium. Know them well! 

*Up until midterm, you don’t learn too many pathways. For the final, there’s a lot of pathways to know.  They will ease up with material about 3 weeks before finals.  No more new pathways, just tying in most of the information you already learned into a clinical situation such as diabetes, hypertension, alcohol intoxication, fasting...etc.  All lectures a week before midterms and finals do not cover any new material (biochem, anatomy, histo).  For midterm not as much information was given compared to finals, but the midterm examination felt tougher than the final exam for Brian.  
*Go over questions they post a few days before small group discussions at home.  There will be a clinical tutor in each lab group.  They go around your group asking questions for you to answer out loud in front of everyone.
*Everything is fair game unless otherwise instructed. Meaning you need to know the big picture and all of the little details in between. 
*You must know pathways/enzymes/co-enzymes/co-factors down COLD (unless they specifically state you don't need to know x..y..z..).
*Make flashcards of the drugs after lecture so you won't waste time during studying to look for them. 
*Brian only used the biochemistry book provided for clarification and to view diagrams.

BIOETHICS (1 unit)
-Class ends one week before midterms (total of 6 weeks).
-A visiting professor taught 90% of class.
-You’ll only be tested on what’s given to you in the supplied note packet.  You will need to know all of it, except the cases where you role play during lab. Don't forget to read articles found in the end of the lab manual.
-You will meet once a week in a small group.  There will be a clinical tutor in each group that will go around your table asking questions.
-At times, you will role play with given scenarios in front of your group.
-This class was not difficult for Brian.  He studied the day before the final exam. He got an A.


  1. This has been so helpful. Thank you both for putting this together!

    I will be starting Term 1 in Jan 2013. I saw that for the classes you two had shared that the exam's format. I was wondering for the Virtual Slides portion of the exams are they also in MCQ format like the later part of the exam? Or is that part fill in the blank?

    Thank you!

    1. Hello,

      You're welcome. We're so glad to be of help. All exams are MCQ except physical exams.

      Let us know if you ever have any other questions. We'll be glad to answer them if we're able to.


  2. Your advice is amazing!! Are all the notes printed out and provided to us or do we have to worry about bringing a printer??

    Thank you!!!

    1. Hello! No need for a printer... every student is given a quota on how much they can print. SGU has already started to phase out print outs (I'm assuming to save money). About half of my husband's classmates use their tablets to take and view their class notes.

      Brian has never had a problem with the amount of quota given. Should you go over your limit, each page will cost 25 cents EC.

      Good Luck and let us know if you have any other questions.

  3. wow i cant believe we do all this in first term. this is pretty exciting! thanks so much!!!!

    1. Hey Patrick, 1st term was pretty exciting and challenging for Brian... amongst may other (unpleasant) things hahahaha, but nonetheless, he did make it to the finish line. Good luck to you!

  4. Hi..just wondering in first term do they make u perform physical exams on ur classmates during small group..It's kinda awkward to do chest and rectal exams on ur peers lol

    1. Hey, Yes we sure do, but when doing chest, we only do them on males. As for private parts... we stay away from them completely with both males and females. For rectal and breast exams, we practice on mannequins. 2nd year, you do breast exams on actual patients (locals) but still are directed to stay away from private parts.

      Good Luck!

    2. Cool md how many ppl r typically in ur group

    3. If you read term one (under anatomy) and term 4 (under communication and physical diagnosis) you'll be able to find more details on group sizes. Let me know if you have further questions. =)

  5. Did Brian buy any other supplemental books from the US and bring it down to Grenada with him for Term 1? Or did he use whatever was given to him when he got on the island?

    1.  Anatomy - used what was provided by SGU (Netter, Gray's).  I found it helpful using the lecture notes alongside Netter.  Make sure you have a good visual image of the anatomy (vessels, nerves, ligaments, muscles, bones) before going to lab.  I felt my time was best spent in wet lab solidifying what I studied for.  The more you see the anatomy, the easier it gets. 

      Histology - Used lecture notes and histo book provided.  Looking back, wish I would have spent more time learning the images from that book.  Make sure you print out all the slides before lab starts.  Take special note of everything the clinical tutor highlights on each picture.

      Biochem - Notes are sufficient.  Lippincott book provided had some good diagrams.

      Bioethics - Note are sufficient.

  6. Hello! I'll be attendidng SGU in a year or so and found your blog extremely helpful. Is there any way to get my hands to the notes before starting my time at SGU?!

  7. Various note changes occur between each term based on student feedback and depending on which professor is lecturing. In my honest opinion, there is no need to read ahead prior to starting medical school. Enjoy your time and'll be a while before you can do so again.

    - Brian