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Table 1 Qualitative analyses of students’ shared perceptions regarding insufficient disciplines and organ systems

From: Relationship between students’ perceptions of the adequacy of M1 and M2 curricula and their performance on USMLE step 1 examination

Content insufficiently covered Example of student’s response
Biochemistry (46/78 = 59%) “clinically relevant biochemistry, such as specific clinical presentations of particular metabolic diseases”
“Biochemistry (so many things were brushed over in biochemistry. 1 little worksheet that had cystic fibrosis as an answer choice does not count as teaching CF.and that happened with many of the major biochemical diseases”
“In biochemistry, the enzyme deficiency diseases need to be covered more thoroughly.”
Anatomy and Embryology (27/78 = 35%) “I feel that embryology needs to be covered in more detail in both the first and second year. I feel that this was the main way that anatomy was tested for me for Step 1 and I think I would have benefitted from a heavier dose of this material in our curriculum.”
“I feel that there was not enough coverage during M2 for embryology. Even a 30 min “intro” to start each module would have gone a long way to help us retain this information.”
Pharmacology (25/78 = 32%) “Pharm: top 5 tested/most pertinent drugs should be taught during M1 for a foundation for M2...the remainder added in M2 and most important reiterated.”
“Pharm was not sufficiently covered during the M2 curriculum. There were countless drugs taught that were not tested on step 1 and countless drugs on step 1 that were not taught. The information taught about each drug was not relevant in most cases and pharm vignettes were not representative of step 1 material.”
Behavioral Sciences (22/78 = 28%) “Behavioral science and biostatistics were covered so last minute in the M2 curriculum that I didn’t feel that we were given enough time to absorb and fully understand the important concepts.”
“Biostats and epidemiology curriculum is severely lacking in our M1 and M2 curriculum.”
Physiology (16/78 = 21%) “Physiology - this topic is very broad, but for me I found that it was a weak point going into studying for STEP 1. Most of physiology was covered in the M1 year and I know the topics were covered but not very well. Cardiovascular physiology and renal physiology were the two areas that I struggled with the most M1 year and during Step 1 study.”
“Cardiovascular was not sufficiently covered. We spent way too much time interpreting EKGs and not enough time on basic physiology and pathophysiology.”