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Why do medical students come to LAS, Inc. for academic support?
By Loren Deutsch
People outside of the health sciences are usually surprised to discover that support services and remediation plans are not uncommon in medical education. In medical education, students must learn in a time-sensitive framework. This requires strong organization and self-management skills in order to understand and synthesize the detailed information found in medical school. When study skills have not kept pace with these academic demands, learning and achievement become challenging.
Students come to LAS, Inc. for a variety reasons, but most commonly it’s because academic demands have exceeded capacity. This is why we often hear the following:
I just failed my clerkship exam and I have to remediate it before starting my next rotation.”
“I’m preparing for Step 1 and I need 6 months to study but only have 4 weeks, what do I do?”
“I failed Step 1 and can’t move into M3 until I successfully remediate the exam.”
“My ITE scores have gone down between PGY2 and PGY3. My program director said I need to achieve at a higher level.”
It goes without saying that aspiring doctors and health professionals are, more often than not, achievement-driven individuals. Students who are intelligent and accustomed to achievement develop an identity as a student that is centered around high achievement. When these students find themselves under-achieving, it is often with a sense of greater vulnerability because falling short of expectations is so new to them.
Contrary to how many students feel when faced with underachievement, their struggles don’t stem from a lack of aptitude or intelligence. For some, it usually means their study skills have not kept pace with increasingly complex material compounded by stricter limits on their time. For others, they never developed study skills or study routines because they didn’t need to. Now, when faced with complicated material and tighter and tighter squeezes on their time, these students find themselves urgently needing to develop certain skills – and quickly.
And that’s where we come in as learning specialists. In addition to helping our clients master the aforementioned complex material, medical schools and residency programs seek our services because of our integrated approach to supporting students. We take the essential ingredients in learning and codify them into a study plan that develops habits of mind, as well as clear reading and practice goals, error analyses and progress tracking.