Differences between MS1 and MS2

So here we are, with the first week of MS2 under our belts.  It's already evident that the format for year two is going to be quite different than last year.  Not necessarily better, not necessarily  worse, just different.  Instead of being primarily lecture and lab based as the entire first year was, the Hubby's school moves into problem-based learning (PBL) for their second year.  

The thought process behind PBL is that students learn best when solving a problem.  Basically, the Hubby's class is divided into small groups and are given a one or two cases per month describing a patient with an illness.  Together, the group discusses the patient's condition.  After spending some time independently studying the topic (in some serious depth), the group reconvenes and determines what is causing the patient's symptoms and how treatment should progress.  

Additionally, while MS1 had classes (Pharmacology, Microbology, Pathology, every other -ology you can name), MS2 has PBL domains (Infectious Disease, Musculoskeletal, Disorders of Thought/Emotion/Behavior, Pulmonary, etc).  Fall semester of MS1 had 21 exams, while fall semester of MS2 only has eight.  Last year had a lot of hand-holding, structure and guidance, while this year is much, much more independent.

As the Hubby explained the difference between MS1 and MS2 to me: Last year was learning how the different systems in the body function.  This year is learning what happens when things go wrong, how diseases and symptoms present themselves and how to treat ailments. 

Sounds better than sitting in a lecture hall all day long to me...but what do I know?  I'm just the wife ;) 


  1. Thanks for your fajitia marinade/mixture/yumminess. We are trying it this week! I will let you know how it goes. Good luck on 2nd year tests and PBL--sounds like a nightmare to me, exactly why I'm not a doctor! Eeek!

  2. Second year is pretty similar round these parts. My husband's school calls those case studies CBIs and they do them once a week along with regular lecture classes (same as they did in first year). Only real difference for them is in their 'doctoring'/assessment class. This year they're doing ::ahem:: invasive exams. AKA sticking hands places they don't belong. :)

  3. My experience: the more they get into actually learning about medicine, the happier they are. That's a good thing, even if the studying house don't improve :)

  4. I think MS2 was the hardest year of med school for C. Those classes were a beating in addition to the PBL stuff he had going on, and when there are only 8 exams, it put so much pressure on each one to do well. Good luck this year! Yay for moving up in the med school realm!

  5. Slight correction to previous post- I didn't read your post closely enough. My husb's MS2 year included the PBL stuff AND pharmacology, microbiology, pathology, along with some other class. That's why it was such a beating. It's awesome those are all out of the way for your husb!


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