Why Premed Students Should Take Statistics Before Medical School – Yahoo Finance

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Among the prerequisite courses for medical school, the subject of statistics doesn’t usually pop into one’s mind.” data-reactid=”11″>Among the prerequisite courses for medical school, the subject of statistics doesn’t usually pop into one’s mind.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Statistics is the study of data collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation. Another way to think about statistics is that it provides the framework to generate and share new knowledge about our world, including in biology and medicine. Having a solid grasp of statistics in college can help students succeed in medical school and beyond.” data-reactid=”12″>Statistics is the study of data collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation. Another way to think about statistics is that it provides the framework to generate and share new knowledge about our world, including in biology and medicine. Having a solid grasp of statistics in college can help students succeed in medical school and beyond.

Medicine is an incrementally growing, self-correcting field, and the most powerful stimulus for improving care often originates from large, well-designed clinical trials. By understanding statistics and how studies and trials are conducted and analyzed, students will be able to read through studies on their own and assess how a study’s purported findings should or should not affect how physicians provide care to patients.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="[Read: How to Plan College Courses to Prepare for Medical School.]” data-reactid=”14″>[Read: How to Plan College Courses to Prepare for Medical School.]

Not all clinical trials are created equal, and having a background in statistics will give students the ability to understand how data is collected and awareness of how data can be skewed or misrepresented.

By incorporating more knowledge of statistics in the medical field, physicians will be able to discern new studies and how to incorporate them into practice, helping us to think of the best practices in our increasingly data-driven profession. Understanding the strength of a piece of scientific evidence and when to apply it will be a key component of being a competent clinical student and future physician.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="And because medicine is becoming increasingly evidence-based, many medical schools offer structured opportunities to conduct medical research. Conducting research is especially important if a student is interested in pursuing competitive medical specialties such as dermatology, neurosurgery, plastic surgery and ophthalmology, or if they are interested in training at the top programs in any field.” data-reactid=”17″>And because medicine is becoming increasingly evidence-based, many medical schools offer structured opportunities to conduct medical research. Conducting research is especially important if a student is interested in pursuing competitive medical specialties such as dermatology, neurosurgery, plastic surgery and ophthalmology, or if they are interested in training at the top programs in any field.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="[Read: What Type of Research Helps You Get Into Medical School?]” data-reactid=”18″>[Read: What Type of Research Helps You Get Into Medical School?]

To apply successfully into these residency programs, productive research experiences and peer-reviewed publications are a must, rather than just nice-to-haves.

With a basic knowledge of statistics, students will be able to understand and determine the strength of existing research papers in their field of interest.

Furthermore, knowing how to collect, analyze, interpret and present data will help students get a head start on their research and become future clinician researchers who will be able to advance medical knowledge.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="[Read: 3 Types of Research Publications Premeds Can Work On.]” data-reactid=”22″>[Read: 3 Types of Research Publications Premeds Can Work On.]

Finally, besides playing a role in future discoveries and applications, statistics is a key part of everyday practice for any physician. One example lies in screening and diagnostic tests.

Medical tests, from pregnancy tests to HIV tests, are not foolproof; there are false negatives, false positives, true negatives and true positives. Assessing the usefulness of any medical test depends on having a general understanding of the pretest probability, specificities, positive likelihood ratio and negative likelihood ratio.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="This sort of knowledge is not inherently intuitive, and for this reason, biostatistics is already a part of a medical student's preclinical education and is heavily tested in the United States Medical Licensing Examination — Steps 1, 2 and 3 — and in the clerkship-specific Shelf exams during the third and fourth year of medical school.” data-reactid=”25″>This sort of knowledge is not inherently intuitive, and for this reason, biostatistics is already a part of a medical student’s preclinical education and is heavily tested in the United States Medical Licensing Examination — Steps 1, 2 and 3 — and in the clerkship-specific Shelf exams during the third and fourth year of medical school.

Having a basic knowledge of statistics before attending medical school will prepare students to understand practical biostatistics used in everyday clinical practice.

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