Block I Links

I started this study blog last semester to help my own studying….and, it worked well for me.  But, I started it in Block II (if you start at the bottom of the blog in the October posts), which leaves things a little bare for Block I.

BUT, if you can do the flashcards that are linked, and can youtube some videos, you’ll have a basic idea of what’s going on.  And, if you can’t do those things, and are totally lost, get help….now…..stop reading… or FB for a tutor….seriously….  Don’t take this class twice if you can avoid it!

Dr. Van Oost’s “Summary Slides” are great…..meaning, you need to know that stuff, both for his exams and for the Step.  For Block II, I reworked each of the Summary Slides as questions (and then answered them, if you need it).  For Block I, it’s great practice to do the same.  The genetics material this block is pretty basic…..when you get to Block IV you will look back and know it all backwards and forwards.  But, be sure to know and understand the info on those first week slides!  If you don’t get  it now, see Dr. McIntosh or find a tutor.

As always, the previous semester tutor slides are gold…..there are actually a lot of practice questions in those folders for MCB I, as well as some great tutoring slides that are annotated and marked for high-yield info.

Good luck, hope this blog is helpful for you on your MCB I journey, and let me know if I can help.



Block IV: Genetics, Genetics, and More Genetics

Well, here we are…..the Block every was waiting for.  This one is easy for some (often, those who had trouble with the first couple blocks), but is a beast for others.  Hopefully, these links and resources will help you review and break it down into manageable chunks.

1)  The Diseases….

Know the diseases…..especially the ones that are mentioned often and lovingly (CF, DMD/BMD, Sickle Cell, OI, etc).  The ones that are listed just as other examples do come up in Kaplan and in future classes, so you might as well add them to your brain now, anyway.

For each, know the GENETIC MUTATION, the CONSEQUENCE of that mutation (improper folding, deletion, restriction site), the PHENOTYPE (presentation of disease), INHERITANCE, and how to TEST for it.

THIS table should help you with that:   MCB1 Block IV Disease Study Table.  If you print it, you can fold on the column lines to test your knowledge, or rearrange them alphabetically, or by inheritance.  If you know the table reasonably well, and can fill in the blanks or at least recognize the genes and phenotypes, you’ll be in a good position.


A monster set (!):

Intro/review set:

Links to Benji’s notes (skip the glycogen storage diseases):

2)  The Overall Questions…

Memorizing all of the clinical stuff will get you pretty far, but there seem to be three essential questions for this block:

*What are the TYPEs of mutations? (single base pair, indels, rearrangement, X-inactivation, multi-factor diseases….)

*How do you TEST for these mutations? (When do you use PCR v. FISH?  Southern Blot v. Gene tracking?  Know the flow chart!

*Why should we care?  (Inheritance……interpreting pedigrees, social ramifications for CF and Hb-S, risk of mutations, practical applications…..)

3)  Read the &*($)#&*(&@$ Question :-).

The Read & Donnai questions are great practice.  There are LOTS of practice questions on Angel.  Kaplan books and QBank (if you can find access to it) are solid.  It’s less of a “what random microscopic thing that you memorized fits in this blank” test.  Be able to answer the “whys” and “hows” of pedigree, testing, the principles behind the different types of mutations, etc.  Take the time to read the questions outloud (in your head, anyway), as small words like “most” or “many” or “single” can change what the best answer is.

Signal Transduction

So, yeah, I fell off the MCB study wagon for a bit there…..I blame Biostats :-).  Really, though, I was working on Immuno and Physio, and got behind in MCB.  Yeah….that analogy about how med school is like eating five pancakes a day?  Five is a bit much, but manageable, but if you get behind and have to eat 20 pancakes, it gets nauseating.  Eat your pancakes…..note to self.

Quick note about the signal transduction pathways?  They are muy importante…..for this test, yes, but you’ll see them literally every week in Immuno and Physio next semester.  Be able to write out each pathway, as well as be able to draw out that last diagram she showed that includes all of them and how they overlap or work differently.  It’s straight-up memorization, but being able to talk through the different pathways helps for remembering.  Good luck!


Great explanation of Signal Transduction:

Another easy way to look at it:




Practice Questions:  

Lysosomes, Peroxisomes, and Mitochondria

Videos:  Dr. McDonell has several (especially the one for ATP Synthase in Mitochondria) in the folder on Angel.


Practice Questions:

Clinical Correlates:

Block III: Cell Membranes and Nucleus

Sorry for the delays on these….the Biostats final was today.  You’ll understand…..


Awesomely bad:





Practice Questions:


Clinical Correlates:

Block III: ER and Golgi, Exocytosis, Endocytosis


Import, lol:

Endocytosis basics:

Nuclear Transport:




Practice Questions:


Clinical Correlates:

Intro to Block III

Well, survey says that this blog is at least moderately helpful for about twenty people, and it’s been valuable for my own studying, so I’ll keep it up.

After a week with Dr. McDonell, this block is clearly different from the last two….to which I say, “Thank goodness!”

The rumors are true, and her tests are tough, but there are no trick questions and it will be very straightforward.  After each lesson, you should be able to explain the components and mechanism of the cell and connect those to the clinical correlates.  Using the Block III Diseases powerpoint will definitely help to cement all 80 or so of the diseases, but don’t forget to remember the cellular components, as well!

The mechanisms that she presents are important…..import export, signal transduction, etc……they will all resurface in future classes.

Use the tutor slides to highlight important information and some practice questions.  The BRS and PreTests books in the library  are also great for practice questions and overviews…..they’re near the Histo books on the far left of the bookroom.

If you keep up with your notes during the week, and do practice questions and flashcards for the diseases on the weekend, you’ll do just fine.

Instead of summary slides questions, my goal is to make basic check-in quizzes for each lesson to help you gauge your memory of cellular components and the connected diseases.  If you can’t answer those, get help.  It’s out there, just waiting for you!

But, don’t forget to go to the beach, climb Pic Paradis, and hit up the Philipsburg boardwalk this month, as well.