You are in your second year of medical school and it is now time to focus on your domains in problem-based learning. Learning how to work effectively in small groups or teams will help you tremendously in Block III. This is because in Block III, you are assigned to teams comprised of residents and attendings, and you will be presented with medical problems. These problems are related to real patients. Your input matters. You will be asked to come up with clinical diagnosis and treatment plans. Be prepared. Learn to work effectively in your small groups while you have "hired" patients to practice on.

Our advice to you as a Block II student:

Although the nuts and bolts of career planning and residency selection occur in your third and fourth year, there are some things that you can do in your second year that will help you make wise choices later.

  • Go to the AAMC website and check out their careers in medicine section.
  • Go to each of the medical specialty websites.
  • Check out the AMA website.
  • Work in a medical area or a research lab during the summer.
  • Spend some time doing serious self-assessment, clarify thoughts you have had in your first year by talking with family, friends, and physicians of various ages and specialties.
  • Read about health care issues in newspapers, magazines, and online resources. Become a student member of a professional or specialty organization that offers student memberships and read their journals..
  • Listen to what family and friends are saying about your future career plans in medicine. Explore various specialty areas by establishing relationships with at least two mentors who will take a professional interest in you. Take advantage of any opportunities to meet with them and share in their family and community life.
  • Be an active participant in the Mentor/Advisor Program.
  • Pay attention to your grades and prepare well for Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), because some residency programs and specialties place great emphasis on scores when considering applicants.
  • Seek out faculty in your area of specialty interest and learn about clerkships or electives at other schools or internationally.
  • Meet with the chairpersons of each department (maybe take them out to lunch) so they will know who you are when it is time to write a letter of recommendation.