new: mike tutors and offers personalized advice for the usmle (click here for more info)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Developmental Milestones are HY for the USMLE Step 1

Questions I saw while preparing for the USMLE would often give the amount of blocks stacked as an important clue to figure out how old the child is
A formula that may help you to guess the age among the multiple choices
(AGE in years) x 3 = blocks stacked
I doubt that you will have to rely on the amount of blocks stacked alone, but rather as a piece of a larger picture in real life and therefore also on the exam.

Other Clues:
Something I dreaded trying to memorize were the ages of different milestones. Childhood and adolescent milestones are often easier to guess at but infants just seemed much harder for me.

Some sources list so many milestones in tables it was daunting to have to try to cram that in a brain filled with a lot of other stuff that seemed more important for a 2nd year medical student.

I figured I would make myself an easy way to actually REMEMBER it for answering questions. It wasn't all inclusive or exact, it was a little silly, but it worked pretty good to weed out wrong choices. Again, if the below works for you - awesome, use it.

I admit some are a stretch (for example, making a 12 look like a baby laying on its back is no easy task), but at least you can draw them yourself and maybe it will stick this time!

So without further adieu...

Mike's Milestone Chart

(click the image to make it larger)

Each age (in months) is written in a different color on the left. Then, on the right is the sketch that may help you to remember the milestones - the number in the sketch and the number written in the left column match so you can see where I stuck it. I used dark blue in each row to add the "fluff" that makes the numbers represent the different milestones.

In the "7-9 months" column I also included the pincer grasp, even though its normal for a child upto 12 months to not have one. 12 is also looks more similar to an 'R' than a 9 does, which is also nice.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. It's super helpful as I am taking my test in less than three weeks. Do you have anything similar for viridae classification?

Mike said...

great to hear that it helped you. it really helps motivate me to post more.

Viridae classification is a tough one that I also had a problem with so don't get discouraged! I think the best way to approach it is to first of all remember the herpes virus family. They are all DS linear DNA. That is a must know since the herpes includes HSV 1, HSV 2, CMV, VZV, EBV etc. Then I would know the hepatitides. After that, use whatever helps you. I intend to devote a post in the future to this but for now I would use first aid for their memory tools.

Michael said...

Excellent image. Very useful. I'm doing my 3rd yr med school exams in the UK and its really helpful.


bubblee said...

i've been tryin to remember these milestones since years!! thanks so much!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ben said...

Hey mate. I'm a medical student from Australia and found this really helpful. I printed it out and added some stuff of my own. If you're interested I can email/upload it. Either way great idea. Have bookmarked your site.

Anonymous said...

Hi, just discovered your site and its wonderfull!! I regret not finding this earlier...would have made my life so much easier!!
Also wanted to ask if you by any chance will be posting the "update" version the guy above me "Ben" said he has??

Once again....your site is great and THANK YOU!!!

Jinal said...

Useful... thank you

Anonymous said...

Excellent! Thank you very much!

Mana said...

hi mike

this is very creative...useful for peadiatrics too...good work!!

mehakinder said...

thanx a lot

Sheesa said...

Thank you for posting this! I'm giving the PLAB part 1 next month and was finding it really hard to remember all the milestones. This is so quirky that I'm sure I'll be thinking of the three with its head held up when I see a question on the exam!

Umar said...

Was searching this for Pediatrics. Thanks a lot bro!!!

Anonymous said...

This has seriously helped me!!! Finally a way to remember this. Thank you so much. Cheers mate.