Post-Neurology Rotation Update: On Studying and the Shelf

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the neuro shelf. Because the neuro block that our class went through was reimagined from the ground up, we all felt that we did not have as solid a foundation in the neuroanatomy as classes before us. Some people told me that the neuro shelf was the hardest one they had taken. Others told me they didn’t finish in the allotted time. So I fully expected to walk out feeling pretty awful about how I did. It ended up not being that bad; it was definitely a really tough exam, but I didn’t walk out kicking myself.

Since this rotation was only 4 weeks long, study time was of the essence. I found myself trying to “reinvent” my study plan based on how much sleep I thought I needed or how early I needed to get up. I technically didn’t get through everything–there were tons of provided reading materials that I just did not have the time or stamina to touch–but I feel like I accomplished quite a bit anyway. The resources I used:

  • Blueprints in Neurology: The first book I went through. I felt the same about it as I usually feel about the Blueprints books: lots of information, tiny print, hard to get through.
  • CaseFiles Neuro: I like the CaseFiles series quite a bit. The 53 cases were like brief “refresher courses” on some common presentations encountered in neurology. Sometimes I would read a case at night and see a patient with a similar chief complaint the following morning!
  • Pretest Neuro: I hit this book hard. Actually got through all 500 questions this time. It was worth it; going through questions is one of the best ways to prepare for the shelf exams, although I’m not sure I’d feel very confident if I went through questions exclusively.
  • UWorld: Didn’t use it this time. There’s not a separate neurology section in the Step 2 question bank (there are about 150 questions in the medicine section instead) so I focused my attention elsewhere.

That’s all for now. After about 6 months of being on the wards, I’m on a much-needed week-long break at home. After that, I’ll start on OBGYN.


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