Learning syndromes afflicting beginning medical students: identification and treatment--reflections after forty years of teaching

Med Teach. 2006 May;28(3):230-3. doi: 10.1080/01421590600632920.


During 40 years experience teaching beginning medical students primarily microscopic anatomy (cell biology, histology and embryology), but also occasionally neuroanatomy and gross anatomy and while serving as the course director for Microscopic Anatomy for 18 years and counseling students with academic performance problems, a set of syndromes were identified that impact on student learning. Each of these syndromes were given names reflective of the underlying problem, i.e. 'Oh Yeah', 'Too Many Books', 'Six Chambered Heart', 'Old Test Question', 'Slip and Slide', etc. syndromes. In this paper each syndrome is presented and discussed and specific treatments for each syndrome are presented. In addition, advice for beginning medical students on how to study ('The Split Brain' method), developed in association with the treatments for the syndromes, is presented.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / trends*
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • Humans
  • Learning / classification*
  • Students, Medical
  • Teaching / trends*