Medical Schools Prepare Students to Navigate a New Flood of Biodata


U. of Maryland

A student examines a tissue sample at the U. of Maryland School of Medicine, which will emphasize critical thinking in its training program.

Everyone knows how rigorous medical school is—particularly in the sheer amount of information that students have to absorb. According to some estimates, a medical student will have to learn up to 20,000 new words by his or her second year in school.

Memorization has been a standard image of the experience, but educators now say that medical schools need to emphasize a different set of skills: critical thinking, problem solving, and higher-level reasoning. The call for that new