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PrePA94

5 Months Before School- What to do?

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I start PA school in 5 months, and I am BEYOND ecstatic! However, I am also extremely nervous, as I have been out of school for about 2 years. I read the book "Surviving PA School: Secrets You Must Unlock to Excel as a PA Student," and I am working full time (as I support my family) until school starts. I am looking for any other advice for before school starts. I know many people discourage studying before hand, but I want to know if theres something I can do that my future self will thank me for.

 

Thank everyone!

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Great question.  I had the same one myself years ago.  With 5 months you could put in a just few hours of study every week with plenty of time to rest and relax with family and still get a lot of benefit.  I personally found physiology by far the most beneficial.  Not just superficially cramming for a test like most people do in undergrad, but really internalizing it and knowing it backwards and forwards.  Those physiology building blocks will come up time and time again in many parts of medicine (diagnosis, pharmacology, toxicology, critical care, etc); many classmates had to relearn physiology before new material would make sense each time it came up over the years, whereas you can have it already done once from the beginning and the new material will just makes sense with very little studying needed.  

Focus on these systems the most: 

-cardiovascular like the alpha / beta receptors, how the heart works as a pump, how blood pressure is regulated ("oh, this is a beta 1 blocker... ok I can predict what that does" etc)

-neuro.  The very basic subparts of brain, what blood vessel supplies them (anterior or posterior circulation) and what their main function is... predict what would happen if a big clot clogs up part of the system and kills off that part of brain, and you'll immediately internalize what professors mean when they say "the patient had a posterior stroke with cerebellar dysfunction".  

-going off of neuro, the *autonomic system* is a hugely recurring area.  Know it to the point where you could predict how abnormalities would present if a part of the system is hyper stimulated or hypo stimulated.  cross check vs "toxidromes" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxidrome .  If you know these, when you hear countlessly throughout school "this has properties that are largely cholinergic, anticholinergic, sympathomimetic, etc, you'll immediately know what they're talking about.  

-renal system.  RAAS system.  *acid base system* boy if you have a decent grasp of this you will be lightyears ahead of your classmates.  

-pulm.  conceptualize as 2 separate / independent processes: oxygenation and ventilation.  What are all of the different ways that each unique process can be negatively impacted?  

 

Try to find resources that apply the physiology to real world scenarios so it makes sense and sticks.

Hope this helps,

-SN

 

Here are some prior threads also discussing this question for some more perspectives:

https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&ei=YAU1XMGWHoLU8AOlkKRw&q=studying+before+pa+school+site%3Aphysicianassistantforum.com&oq=studying+before+pa+school+site%3Aphysicianassistantforum.com&gs_l=psy-ab.3...7560.10159..10462...0.0..0.67.1239.25......0....1..gws-wiz.6Abl3hBVfpQ

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However you choose to spend your remaining time, I just wanted to say you'll surprise yourself with how well you can pick it back up. I was out of school for 3 years before starting. I thought I would completely forget how to read, let alone study, but it only took about a week to readjust. Try to enjoy your free time :]

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11 hours ago, PrePA94 said:

I start PA school in 5 months, and I am BEYOND ecstatic! However, I am also extremely nervous, as I have been out of school for about 2 years. I read the book "Surviving PA School: Secrets You Must Unlock to Excel as a PA Student," and I am working full time (as I support my family) until school starts. I am looking for any other advice for before school starts. I know many people discourage studying before hand, but I want to know if theres something I can do that my future self will thank me for.

 

Thank everyone!

Did you find the book "Surviving PA School" helpful?

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10 hours ago, Monet said:

Did you find the book "Surviving PA School" helpful?

I haven't started PA school to know just how useful it is- but I do like the advice. If I follow through with it, I think ill successful.

The book explains how one should study throughout school for PANCE, be professional always, and how to conduct yourself during clinical year (and didactic year as well obviously). I imagine I will read it one last time before May.

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Current student: I am in the camp that you should not study at all but rather enjoy time with friends/family, and travel as much as you can. If you have to pick up a book make sure its non-fiction/recreational reading.

 

You will figure it out as you go along. It was 3 years between graduating and starting PA school, and was able to get back into the swing of things quickly.

 

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I personally am also in the camp of not studying before PA school. I didn't and still surviving.  You'll be studying enough in PA school. As far as studying for physio, for my ass it was the easiest course. 

I would rather chose reading hour favorite books. Work on increasing reading speeds. And most importantly enjoy your time with family. 

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On 1/8/2019 at 11:36 PM, Monet said:

Did you find the book "Surviving PA School" helpful?

No. We were given it at orientation. I'll tell you how you survive PA school. Plan ahead, pay attention, be humble, take care of yourself, and don't be an asshole. 

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