Before the school year begins, the sophomore med students will discuss in detail most of the material in this survival guide, especially concerning the individual classes. Thus, it is recommended to wait and buy textbooks/class materials/etc. until that discussion takes place. There is a great deal of interaction between the first and second years, so feel free to ask any older student for advice on the first year.
Class attendance for all first semester classes is mandatory, though exceptions can be made. There is no note taking service available, but each teacher provides detailed handouts that will require little, if any, note taking. One nice part of the small class size is that teachers are flexible in changing test dates, as long as the class can all agree; the class will set their own final exam schedule. Finally, in the second semester, the classes include Neuroanatomy, Microbiology/Immunology, and Physiology, but there is no reason to start worrying about them first semester.
Gross Anatomy – Dr. Vilensky, Ph.D.
Know the handouts “cold,” being able to recite every word from memory. This point is often disputed until after the first test, when the students realize that knowing each and every item is required. Most exam questions will come from the handouts, with other questions coming from clinical correlations in the textbook, and sometimes from guest lecturers.
For exams, take a look at the old answer sheets, since many of the short answer/essay questions are the same from year to year. You won’t be able to look at actual old exams (exams are given via computer), but you can get an idea of what the question was from the answer sheets.
Try to get involved in lab dissections as much as possible, since there are separate lab exams. Don’t be afraid to ask Dr. V. questions, especially when trying to find the ever-elusive nerves in lab. It is highly recommended to own the textbook, Moore’s Clinically Oriented Anatomy, Grant’s dissector for lab, and both Grant’s and Netter’s Atlas. Most students prefer Netter to Grant’s, but many of the lecture handouts are referenced to Grant’s, so it is convenient to own both. This will undoubtedly be the hardest class, but the material is manageable, and as long as a concerted effort is made towards learning the anatomy, most students get a lot out of the class.
Biochemistry – Dr. Redman, Ph.D.
Know the objectives for each of the lecture handouts, as most exam questions will come indirectly from those main points. There is really no need to buy the textbook—all test material will come directly from lecture notes. Any decent undergrad textbook will be fine. If you don’t have an undergrad text, don’t bother buying one, because there are copies of several good textbooks in the library on the third floor. Utilize old exams for review, but to do really well in the class, it helps to know the handouts backwards and forwards.
Histology/Embryology – Dr. Hoversland, Ph.D.
The lab section of exams is critical to doing well in this class. For the most part, lab is self-taught, and you can learn the images at your own pace. The written sections of exams are quite lengthy and relatively detail-oriented. Since lab exams are 50% of the total exam grade, a good lab score gives you a cushion in the lecture section. Review microscope slides, laser disc images, and figures and electron micrographs from textbooks for lab exams.
As with other classes, knowing the notes well is important for the lecture part. Wheater’s Functional Histology is a good reference for lab and lecture. The text by Junquiera goes into a little more detail and tends to follow class notes relatively well.
According to several second year students, a good understanding of histology this semester makes pathology somewhat less painful (although not completely painless) next year. For embryology, Langman’s Medical Embryology is the textbook. There are no lecture notes for embryology, so going through the lecture objectives is recommended. For embryology, some students benefited from using board review books and embryology/development related websites to explain difficult concepts.
Introduction to Clinical Medicine – Dr. Blusys, M.D.
Compared to the other classes, this one is quite a bit easier, and much more enjoyable. This class will introduce you to many areas of medicine that you might not see in any other environment. Class participation is crucial. In addition to classroom discussions, you will also be introduced to the family medicine setting through occasional visits to a doctor’s office. These visits are critical to developing good history-taking skills, which are said to be more important than anything else in making a correct diagnosis.
This class is also a good way to meet many local doctors and other healthcare professionals who come to speak in class. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions. Try to take this class seriously, because you can learn quite a few valuable lessons that could be useful down the road.
The Follett’s Bookstore on the lower level of Kettler Hall carries all textbooks for medical students. Besides the "required" texts, many students found other books helpful. Feel free to ask any of the second-years which books they found useful or completely worthless. Also, some second-years will be willing to sell their old texts at prices much lower than the bookstore’s prices. Most books can also be found online at places like Amazon or VarsityBooks.com, sometimes for less money than the campus bookstore. Members of the American Medical Association, which you can join during orientation, can also purchase books at a discount through their online catalog. Check out their website at http://www.ama-assn.org.
The center maintains a computer lab on the third floor of the Classroom-Medical building for the use of the faculty, staff, and students. The computers are more than adequate, but not modern technological marvels; there are CD-RW drives, and the availability of a zip drive.
Printer usage is free, and the lab just acquired a color laser jet printer. There is no wireless access at IPFW, so laptop users do not tend to bring their computers to school. Most students have home computers, which are a benefit for classes with internet resources—in anatomy, lecture presentations will be placed online, as will MRI scans that are tested in lab. Many off the slide sets for neuroanatomy second semester will also be online.
The center maintains a small library on the third floor that has various reference textbooks and a wide selection of journals. Through the Ariel computer system, faculty and staff can request copies of specific articles that can be transmitted electronically from the Ruth Lilly Medical Library at IUPUI. Additionally, all students have access to all online resources, such as MedLine and various online textbooks. For the latest information, check out the library website: http://library.medicine.iu.edu/.
The best advice for studying is to find something that works and stick with it. Everyone in the class tends to study in different places, some in groups, and some individually. In terms of study locations, the majority of students will study in the library, classroom, or their own apartment. Other places include the IPFW student library in the Helmke Building located across from the center, Border’s Bookstore (corner of Coldwater and Coliseum), and various coffee shops located throughout Ft. Wayne. Be sure to take at least one hour out of the day for yourself whether it be relaxing in front of the TV in the lounge or exercising at the IPFW workout facility.
A wonderful summer opportunity exists for any IU Medical School student in the form of scientific and clinical medicine research. Some of the Ft. Wayne students choose to do the program in the summer between their 1st and 2nd years, some participate in the summer before they begin school, and some even choose to work on a project both summers.
Scheduled time for the nine-week project is normally very flexible, and opportunities are available to do research in various clinical specialties. A $2300 stipend is available for each student through the Midwest Alliance for Health Education, which sponsors the program. Also, Dr. V generally chooses one student to be a teaching assistant for the St. Francis PA student’s anatomy course for the summer with a $3000 stipend. More information will be mailed to incoming students, and can be obtained from the medical office.
The Fort Wayne Center for Medical Education (FWCME) is located on the Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne campus (IPFW). The center occupies the third floor of the modern Classroom Medical Building.
We really look forward to seeing you on the Fort Wayne campus..