MEDSKL is a new free medical education site with a much greater than average pedigree. It’s a group of 180+ physicians/professors/faculty from medical schools in the US and Canada who are promoting FOAMed (free and open access education) for medical students.

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Its clinical (not basic science) focus is well-suited to third and fourth (and industrious second)-year medical students with brief animated videos, written lectures formatted in a SOAP note format for specific problems (clever), and video lectures. The handful I sampled were polished, high quality, and at a basic unintimidating level.

The educational content is all free. There are a lot of fields represented, but this is clearly a work in progress, and lots of topics have only token coverage. In the future, a paid account will net you self-assessment quizzes, which I imagine is the business model to sustain the project. There are also plans to add official CME this fall.

It’s probably a lot easier to recruit educators for clinical medicine presentations that they’re passionate about than it is to find good basic science educators, who are rare. We now have MEDSKL joining OnlineMedEd in the free clinical medicine lecture series, but no one wants to touch the boring parts of medical school (for free). Still, it’s only a matter of time until these sorts of platforms grow and mature.

I’ve long said that the non-clinical parts of the medical school could be a correspondence course. With the increasingly professional and multimodality online resources available, often for free, this is becoming more and more true. There will be a time not long in the future when the vast majority of schools will have basically nothing to offer students during the basic science years that they can’t get better somewhere else other than friends to commiserate with, a rigid schedule, and an external source of accountability. The current trend of supplanting lectures with TBL/PBL curricula isn’t going to change that one bit.


  1. Great post! I wish we could entirely re-work med school. There are so many things about med school that are so counterproductive.

    For the basic sciences, I’ve found resources like Pathoma, Board & Beyond, and Osmosis Pathophysiology to be pretty good. However, last I checked, the last two are incomplete (especially Osmosis).

  2. Hello,
    First of all, thank you for your writings. Been following for few years (step 1, step 2 etc) and have helped immensely. I have a question but wasn’t sure where to post.

    1) How bad is it to apply to categorical IM and prelim IM at the same place. I am only interested in IM and i can indicate that in PGY-2 interest section. Just trying to increase my chances especially if they don’t feel comfortable giving me a categorical spot. That way I can prove myself.

    Thank you.

    • Not much point in most cases, that’s not really how it works in any prelim medicine program I’ve heard of. Prelim surgery spots are for people who can’t get into surgery and function as you described. Prelim medicine is for fields like neurology, derm, etc that require a medicine year prior to starting their main work. In many places, the majority of prelim spots are earmarked for various residencies and thus not available for the match (e.g. if there are “8” medicine spots and 4 neurology residents per year, then there might be only 4 spots actually available in the match).

      I don’t know if it would hurt per se, but I’d venture that trying to get a categorical job in the SOAP is a better backup plan that carpeting the field with double applications.

      • Yea, that’s what i have heard from various individuals. Usually prelim spots are for people in other residencies.

        Thank you!

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