The influence of the group to a medical student's growth and development cannot be denied. There are many good things that people do in a group and there are good many ways in which they are affected by the group. The student depends on the group for satisfaction of many of his needs, yet these group approve and disapprove his behavior and force him to continually learn and mostly modify his behavior. Practically, all learning takes place in the presence of others, either children or adults. This tendency can be utilized in USMLE review programs to the best advantage.
Both in the classroom and the USMLE review sessions, students' social tendency forms the instinctive forms of the social group which is so essential in USMLE preparation. A mentor can make use of this innate tendency in the USMLE review plans and programs.
Gregariousness means the desire of the medical student to be with others or other medical students. It is a self-evident truth that you can readily see in children as well as adults. Normal beings are always found working and playing together. They feel satisfaction in working and playing with others. As a medical student, would you not prefer to be with colleagues or classmates of the same course? Would you be motivated and happy to take on the challenge of each review sessions if you are alone? Like any other students, medical students are inherently sociable.
On the other hand, competition implies a struggle between two or more persons for the same object or purpose with the aim to equal or excel others. Competitive behavior is something that medical students learn in groups. For example, comparing scores on USMLE practice tests. This is also the same way that they can learn and practice cooperative behavior.
A simple medical procedure like venipuncture, is better appreciated when the participants are grouped together: whether to act the principles of venipuncture through a game of charade or equate a successful needle insertion to a prize or points to the team who has the most number of successful one-time venipunctures. Through the innate nature of the student for gregariousness, learning is maximized, stimulated, motivated and retained because he enjoyed the activity linked to it.
In the same way, when a medical student is engaged in some activity, such as a USMLE review, he instinctively does better work if there are other students in the same activity. If he can do the best work, there will be a resulting satisfaction. The development of competitive spirit is desirable and aids in arousing the desire for progress in learning success on the USMLE Steps. This tendency can be used to stimulate group activities and establish a sound spirit of true sportsmanship and fair play.