Physiology can be a challenge. Though the concepts may be simple, understanding and applying them is the key. That being said, during the basic science classes and USMLE Step 1 dedicated study period, Physeo was amazing for physiology.
Focus on understanding over memorizing. Physiology is different from studying other subjects like microbiology that require a lot of rote memorization. In physiology,just because you memorize a definition, it doesn’t mean that you can apply it. Do not make the mistake of memorizing all the concepts without understanding what each concept means. The key for physiology is asking the “why?” questions. For example, a good student would be able to explain what is happening in each step of the cardiac cycle and why it is happening the way it is.
In addition, it is important to integrate physiology into your other subjects like pathology and pharmacology during basic sciences. Connecting all the subjects together will save you a lot of time during Step 1 dedication period. To further expand on this, a good student would be able to explain (depending on the cardiac pathology) what a change in the cardiac cycle and cardiac pressure loops would do and why.
In general, physiology is one of the backbones to medicine. Understand physiology and you will not be lost.
The Physeo Videos were super helpful. They are visual and give good explanations for the concepts. Plus, during the videos they ask questions which are good checkmarks to figure out if you understood the concept or not. Though a section of a video may seem long, each video is only about ten to fifteen minutes. It is super easy to listen to and follow along. In addition, I used Boards and Beyond videos to supplement the Physeo videos.
During pre-dedicated, I watched all the physiology videos before lecture as a preread. I usually like to watch them at normal speed or at 1.25 speed so that I can annotate in my First Aid without pausing the videos during my first time watching them. Although, when I would have a question about something I just watched, I would pause and write it down.. This is helpful because I was able to organize a list of questions I wanted to ask my professor either during office hours or right before or after lecture.
I used the practice questions right after watching the videos to see how much I retained in a short period of time. I also used them after a lecture while I was in pre-clinicals. For example, if I learned about spirometry in physiology class, I did the practice questions after class for that specific topic. In addition, they give in-depth explanations and you can repeat the quiz as many times as you like. Also, the questions can give good insight into what you need to work on and can further solidify the concept. After reviewing the questions and answer explanations, I had a good foundation to do more practice questions on Uworld.
During my dedicated USMLE Step 1 period, at the end of each day I would note which topics I missed and rewatch the videos for those specific topics.Over time, you will see a pattern in what types of questions and topics you need to work on. Then, I would use USMLE Rx for those specific topics. For example, if topics I needed to work on were cardiac PV loops, cardiac murmurs, and cardiac congenital defects, I can pick practice questions on those topics on Rx. This method worked really well for me because I focused on improving my weaknesses, which really reflected on my practice tests.
The Physeo textbook was a good resource to read after watching the videos. They consist of thorough summaries of each section and it is great to use them as reviews. In addition to the Physeo textbook, I annotate in my USMLE First Aid when I am reviewing practice questions. The Physeo textbook compliments the summaries in First Aid really well. My Physeo notes go in my First Aid book so that all my notes are together. As a visual person, it was a good way to organize all the information into one place.
At the end of a long study day, Physeo’s Anki deck was clutch. For each section there is a custom-made Anki deck you can download and use at your convenience. Plus, the Anki cards build on each other. As soon as you finish a new deck of cards, you revisit the old cards. These are great to practice active learning, helping you retain much better.
It is helpful to use the Anki decks as practice after watching the videos and doing the practice questions. Usually I use them at the end of the day before I go to sleep as extra practice. According to studies, it is suggested that repetitive active learning is best for retention. I also used the Yousmle physiology decks which followed the same philosophy as Physeo.
Physeo is different because it combines all of its features and resources into one. Plus, along with physiology, it offers other subjects like biochemistry, anatomy, pathology, etc that you can connect the physiology concepts with. For Step 1, it is the all-in-one package to success.
This is my schedule for how I used Physeo and other study resources during pre-clinical and dedicated USMLE Step 1 period.
Dedicated USMLE Step 1 study period schedule:
As mentioned previously, in addition to Physeo’s resources, I used other resources for physiology. In no particular order, here is a summary of the supplemental physiology resources I used:
At the end of the day, physiology is one of the foundations to medicine. You have to understand it in order to integrate it well with other subjects. With Physeo, you are set up to start exactly that process.
If you have any questions or want to see my life through medical school, find me on Instagram @future_artist_md