Wednesday, December 26, 2012

3rd Term Information and Advice, Saint George's University School of Medicine

Behavioral Sciences and Medicine - 6 units, 6 week course

This six-week course in third-term is similar to the soft science classes you’ve had thus far (Bioethics, CPM). I used BRS Behavioral Science and High-Yield Biostatistics to complement the course. I believe the note packets were sufficient and you don’t necessarily need to buy any books to do well. Your grade is based on two exams (each with 120 questions, 2 ½ hours).

I found this class extremely interesting because we had nine different instructors with each one lecturing on different topics. We covered behavioral science in module 1, biostatistics, epidemiology, and health systems in module 2, and jurisprudence, and clinical ethics in module 3. You also have an opportunity to visit the Mental Hospital in Grenada (1 hour). Some students in my class were allowed to interview patients while others could only observe. I believe it depends on what the tour guide or doctor feels like doing. Try to sign-up after the first day of class because timeslots fill up real fast and you’ll be left with a less-than-ideal time.

Our class was required to watch five short videos: Back from Madness (50 min), When the Bough Breaks (57 min), The Doctor (83 min), Twitch and Shout (52 min), and Sick Around the World (60 min). You can watch these online in the comfort of your home because attendance is not required. “Sick Around the World” was the only video that had questions pertaining to it on the exam.

A big portion of the behavioral science section deals with psychological disorders. You must know the DSM criteria (number of symptoms, duration) for each one. You also need to learn some drugs (less than 20) and the mechanisms of action. It won’t be too difficult to know which medication is needed for various disorders if you understand how the drug works. One thing I found a bit tedious in the behavioral science section was memorizing the various categories (childhood developmental stages, cultural differences, facts of specific age groups).

We had biostatistics pre-midterm and epidemiology post-midterm. I found this section very useful because it teaches one how to properly interpret research articles. It goes without saying that you need to learn a few formulas in order to comprehend the information. The biostatistics portion has a lot more formulas compared to the epidemiology section. The exam has a few simple plug ‘n chug questions but the real meat comes from understanding the why. We had one lab section in this module where our group (you form your own group of 4) used a computer to interpret data. Afterwards each member of the group presented a case to an instructor. Take advantage and ask questions.

You learn about various health systems during part of module 2. This section was not difficult. You get exposed to the convoluted health care system in America compared to the rest of the world. Evidence-based medicine was another easy section post-midterm. You learn a bit more on systematic reviews and will get a chance to interpret a meta-analysis of a specific topic under CAM (Complementary Alternative Medicine). You will present this information to your assigned group.

The last module deals with clinical ethics and jurisprudence. The ethics section was self-explanatory once you have learned the definitions. I did not personally find this portion too demanding. Finally you finish up with jurisprudence. This last section was also pretty common sense (do not have sex with your patients, don’t do things without permission from patient). There are some definitions and specific cases you must memorize (Roe V Wade). If you listen to what the instructor emphasizes you don’t have to read every word in the note packet (it contains a lot of text). You must commit to memory the glossary of terms for this module. I found a lot of questions on the jurisprudence section in the final exam based off the glossary. The instructor will tell you which specific cases to read and understand.

You get a weekend off before you begin the notorious fourth-term once finals are over and done with . Relax and enjoy this “break”.

Great way to learn the stages of Kubler-Ross

Pathology in the Hundred Acre Wood: Winnie-the-Pooh
A fun read after you learn the various psychological disorders


  1. Thank you for your posts! They have been crucial for me each term!

    1. We're glad to be of help! Thanks for your compliment. =)

  2. Thanks for the share!!