Student-Produced Guides alongside First-Year Medical Curriculum: How Peer-Produced Textbooks Change Student Success within Neurology, Cardiopulmonary, and Mixed Systems Courses

South Med J. 2023 Feb;116(2):162-169. doi: 10.14423/SMJ.0000000000001517.


Objectives: In the United States, medical schools do not have a unified curricular plan that integrates basic sciences and organ-based systems in undergraduate medical education. Instead, institutions rely on independently created lecture material during the first-year medical school curriculum. The drawback to this approach is that no commercial or organizational resources cater to this individualized study plan. This study explored whether students who use student-produced "course guides" experience increased first-year success and improved skills.

Methods: First-year students at an allopathic medical school completed anonymous surveys about their reference guide usage, time management, organization, stress level, and examination scores. Statistical analysis was performed using Spearman's coefficient of correlation and χ2 tests. All of the tests were performed with a significance level of α = 0.05 and a 95% confidence interval.

Results: In total, 186 total students received the survey three times immediately after completing each organ system-based course. A total of n = 49 viable responses were received. One-fourth of the respondents used the guides for ≥3 hours/week. Respondents who used the reference guides reported improved time management, organization, self-confidence, and reduced student stress levels during the first year of medical school, but examination scores were unaffected.

Conclusions: Access to student-produced guides increased confidence in self-rated measures of time management skills, organizational ability, and ability to balance medical course expectations. Because of the small sample size, future work will expand the survey population to increase the power to detect differences in these factors.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Humans
  • Neurology*
  • Students
  • Students, Medical*
  • United States