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Jefferson Medical College Alpha Omega Alpha Guide to the First Year


Dr. Brainard is infinitely entertaining, making neuro a very fun class, but still a lot of work. It's a fast paced class so stay on top of the work. The syllabus is very good and the Nolte book is a necessity.

There are several weekly quizzes. These are a good way of forcing yourself to stay on top of the information. Everything you need to know is in the syllabus, but the textbook is very helpful for reinforcing concepts and providing good supplementary pictures. Many students report that if you only buy one textbook for the first two years, it should be this one. Even though there is no practical component, make sure you are familiar with neuroantomy for the quizzes as there may be diagrams. The most important thing in neuroanatomy is knowing the pathways of neurons and the layout of the spinal cord at each level. You will need to know this for neuro, for the boards, and on rotations.

Dr. Brainard also does weekly "wind-sprint" reviews. They are on Friday afternoons, but absolutely worth attending. You'll get the most out of his reviews if you are already familiar with the material but even if you are behind, you should still go. In the past Dr. Brainard has not permitted these sessions to be recorded. Another great resource is the course website. Make sure you go over the quizzes from previous years. Certain questions tend to repeat themselves, and you don't want to miss them!

The neuro lab can be very advantageous if you read beforehand and elicit the help of a professor to go through each dissection with you. Seeing the whole brain and the sections will help you understand the 3D orientation of the brain. There will not be a practical until the end of the course; however, do not use this an excuse to skip lab. Neuroanatomy can be tough as everything is essentially the same color. The practice practical is typically similar to the actual exam, and if one is offered, it is in your best interest to attend.

The final exam consists of a lab practical, a cumulative written exam, and a clinical practical exam in which pictures of various abnormalities will be shown. Most students find the clinical practical straightforward. The written exam is more challenging than the quizzes, but if you stay on top of the work, you will be well prepared!

Revised: 7/12

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