Throughout third and fourth year of med school, students work with a team of residents and attending physicians either alone or with another med student. At least in internal medicine, each student has his/her own patients and reads up on and follows those patients. Different teams may specialize in different types of patients and even within a single group, the types of patients followed by one student (by chance) could end up being very different from those followed by the other. This leads to a lot of variability in what each student learns from their experience on the rotation. For example, most of the patients that I've followed in my internal medicine rotation so far have had liver disease or a bile duct/gall bladder problem. I've read up on these conditions a lot and think that I'd do a pretty good job at examining, diagnosing and treating a patient with these disorders. But other students on the rotation with me have completely different patients, some have more cardiology patients, others have more kidney patients, and each (I assume) are more familiar with those conditions than I am. I hope that it evens out soon... these practice questions that I've been doing for the final exam really shows the bias in my experience with patients. I switch teams (and hospitals... and cities) next week, so I hope to get some exposure to the type of patients that I haven't gotten a chance to see yet.
btw... (can't believe it's already been a month, only 22 more to go).