Learning Strategies

Educational Skills Specialists are available to meet individually with students at all levels of medical education to help them assess academic needs and develop and implement individualized learning plans. Individual student support efforts address a variety of needs including:

  • Learning skills such as previewing for lecture, reviewing after lecture, and spaced review
  • Test taking strategies
  • Time management
  • Identifying and using resources such as text and reference books, multiple choice questions and related study aids
  • Study schedules and Review for block exams
  • Study schedules for USMLE Step exams
  • Study skills for shelf exams
  • Small and large group workshops

Learning Skills Programming

OSLER provides on-going programming for students who wish to further develop their learning skills and achieve a higher level of academic success. These programs are designed to meet the changing needs of students as they move through the educational program. On-going programs include:

Pre-Matriculation Program:
This pre-matriculation program provides students from diverse backgrounds an early introduction to learning skills that will facilitate success in medical school. Using course content presented by faculty members, educational specialists help students learn and practice a variety of learning strategies in a highly structured and lower stress environment prior to beginning their first semester of medical school.

Year 1 Learning Skills Workshops
These sessions, offered throughout the first year, engage students in a variety of activities designed to provide a focused review of block content while developing skills and strategies appropriate to the block. Strategies include quizzing, developing frameworks, and using a variety of educational tools for applying knowledge and integrating detail.

Comprehensive Basic Science Exam
Offered at the mid-point of year 2, the Comprehensive Basic Science Exam provides students with feedback related to their readiness for USMLE Step 1. This exam allows students to identify areas of strength/weakness, and to assess their learning strategies and determine if they are facilitating application and long-term retention. This exam also provides information to help students develop individualized review schedules and plan intensive Step 1 study. Educational Specialists are available to work with students to review exam results and create individualized learning plans.

USMLE Step 1 Workshops
These sessions, offered throughout year 2, focus specifically on strategies and skills for Step 1. This includes effective use of boards review resources, incorporating Step 1 resources into block study, how to use “board’s-style” questions as review tools, and construction of individualized schedules for guiding students through their six-week focused Step 1 preparation.

Step 1 Boards Review Course
The Step 1 Boards Review course is offered for students at the end of year 2, in preparation for USMLE Step 1.  This course provides students with a structured and supportive environment for preparing to take Step 1 of the USMLE.  Students have the opportunity to utilize a variety of intellectual tools to effectively and efficiently master content tested on Step 1 of the USMLE.  In addition, this course provides students with regular one-on-one coaching and the accountability necessary to address individual academic needs.

Educational Accommodations

Disability Services
The University of California, Davis, School of Medicine is committed to ensuring equal educational opportunities for students with disabilities. An integral part of that commitment is the coordination of specialized academic support services through the Student Disability Center (SDC). The philosophy of the SDC is to promote independence and integrated participation in campus life for students with disabilities. The SDC is staffed by professional Disability Specialists who specialize in different areas of disability: learning, vision, hearing, medical, psychological, and mobility. These professionals each work with an assigned caseload of students, determining their eligibility for academic accommodations and ensuring the provision of accommodations necessary to allow the students to participate meaningfully in educational opportunities on campus. 

The School of Medicine contact for SDC is Dr. Joanna Arnold at jcarnold@ucdavis.edu. You can also call (916) 734-8785 or come by the OSLER office if you have any questions.  All services are confidential. You may also visit the UC Davis Student Disability Center for more information.