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A few questions

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by DrBiss, Mar 9, 2001.

  1. DrBiss

    DrBiss New Member

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    Hey. I am on my cousins name (he is an internist) but I am not a doctor. I am a few months away from being a freshman in college and would enjoy a few tips from you guys for doing well in pre-req classes (i.e. Chem, Bio). I would really appreciate it.
     
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  3. kellywantstobeapa

    kellywantstobeapa New Member

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    Study,study,study. Old, bad grades will come back to haunt you. As a 18 year old college student, I thought getting by, was good enough. When I thought about appling to PA school 12 years later, those grades still had the ability to hurt me. I retook them to get the soso grades off my transcripts, but it slowed my app process by a full year. On the up side I was a great student at 30 even with 2 kids and a full time nursing administration job. Just goes to show how your priorities impact your habits. GOOD LUCK TO YOU!
     
  4. Dr JPH

    Dr JPH Banned
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    This advice is coming from a college student who didn't apply himself freshman year and is playing "catch up" now with my grades...so listen closely...

    S T U D Y

    Don't take it lightly. When you look back, you will have the feeling that YOU could have taught your freshman classes...and when you are 3rd or 4th year, you probably could teach a great deal of it.

    But, when you are in the middle of it...your first year of college...it is tough.

    You will have plenty of friends who go out and party, you know...the Business or English majors (JOKING!!)...and you will be forced to stay home and study because YOU are PREMED.

    But guess what...by the time you are a Junior and applying to medical school, you will feel much better knowing you are sitting on a 3.7 rather than a 3.2.


    Freshman courses will no doubt seem difficult at first, but they are definately do-able.

    Some professors want to shake you up and make you realize you are in "big kid school" now.

    Other professors will be more understanding and may be easy on you.

    Either way, don't let anything get in the way of that A.

    Most college students don't get A's on their first set of exams...I failed my first exam in Freshman Calculus, Biology, and Chemistry. But I came back. I learned from my mistake. Unfortunately, it took me 3 more semesters before it sunk it.

    Again...work hard. Study hard. Sign up for tutors BEFORE you need them...they will be hard to come by after the first round of tests.

    Find that "sweet spot" in the library. Every PreMed should have one cubicle or comfy chair in the library that makes them feel at home.

    I am at the point now where I actually look forward to sitting down with my Genetics or Anatomy & Physiology book and studying.


    Hindsight is 20/20. If there is one regret in my life it is not applying myself during my freshman year. I look back and think of how well I could have done and how much I could have learned from those courses if I only spent the time. Organic Chem and Biochemistry are a whole lot easier when you remember stuff from Gen Chem...I didn't.

    I wish you the best of luck. Go into college with a clear head, ready to work hard. You can certainly have fun and still get the A's. Just think of all the fun you will have LATER, if you sacrafice a little in the beginning.

    Peace



    ------------------
    Joshua Paul Hazelton
    [email protected]
    University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (2002)
     
  5. kris

    kris Senior Member

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    The students who did poorly in my chem, organic and biochem classes were often the ones who simply tried to memorize "stuff" for the test, but never worked at understanding the underlying concepts. Learning the concepts tends to tie the "stuff" together, and it gives you something to build upon. Then when you get to the next course in the series, you'll have a solid foundation.

    An example might help. In my organic class, some students never realized how important it was to maintain an understanding of orbital structures and their impact upon compound shape and reactivity. I guess they just tried to learn the "stuff" for the first exam and ditched it after that. Some also tried to rote memorize all the reaction mechanisms rather than *understand* the principles driving the reactions. I could reason my way through lots of reactions, and they couldn't. Guess who had the edge?

    Study for these classes to understand, not *just* to try to beat the exam.

    You seem to have the right attitude. Best wishes for a successful undergrad. career.
    --Kris
     
  6. kris

    kris Senior Member

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    I just thought back (waaaay back) to my first year in college. I came from a high school where you couldn't write in your books and got in trouble if they weren't covered. Ditch all that for college (if you don't know this already). It's good to write in your books. It's very very good to learn actively. This means read paragraphs, get the main point, and write that main point down in a phrase or so next to that paragraph. Well, that's one way to do it anyway. You'll learn what you like best. If you don't understand the point of the paragraph, work at it for a bit, but don't spend 1/2 an hour on it. Move on, and have someone else help you clear it up. Besides, you'd be amazed at how many times I got hung up on something, and had I simply moved on to the next paragraph, it would've become clear.

    Don'ts: don't highlight your book so that there's more highlighted than not. That's pretty useless. I suppose even highlighting 25% might be a bit much.

    Other Do's: Some find it useful, especially in science classes, to recopy their notes. I know a lot of students who do this, and I often do it for science classes. I don't just recopy for neatness, but I recopy them and go through the book (or handouts) at the same time. I may get to a point in my notes I'm a little fuzzy on, and I make sure I clear it up before I continue copying the rest of the notes.

    Sometimes I take my lecture notes, and scan them for topics. On another sheet of paper I'll list questions to test myself with. If you do this after each lecture, you'll have a nice set to study from for the exam. This strategy also helps to bring the lecture material into focus. You'll get a good idea of the general topics covered that day, and the specific ones, seeing how it all fits together.

    Do (usually) attend class. Profs may assign chapter 7, but only cover a few main ideas in it. Their choice material for tests is usually what they emphasized in class. How do you know that? You went to class. (I can't believe how many students cut class, do poorly, and don't understand why).

    Do try to keep up. The pace from high school to college is pretty different. I found that getting behind is easy. Catching up sucks. If you have the self-discipline, regular studying can be your best friend.

    Do flip through your book and see what resources are available. In the front you'll usually see a list of learning resources (if there are any), and each chapter or section of the book might have a nice review/summary. There may also be a really useful glossary in the back, tables, charts, etc. I know this might sound elementary, but again, I've witnessed this stuff. The prof will ask a question of the class, and then will point out that the answer was in some part of the book nobody even noticed existed. So go ahead, give that book a quick flip-through before classes begin. I ordered a solutions manual from Amazon.com for my calculus class. I got tired of getting stuck on problems, and it really worked for me to be able to move on in my studies. I just needed to see where I was going wrong. My studies didn't suffer because I only consulted it as a last resort. My classmates hadn't noticed it was a resource listed right in the front cover!

    That was a bit long-winded, but I remember what it was like to start college. The lecture format is a big change, and you'll adjust. I hope this helps. If I think of other techniques, I'll let you know.
    --Kris
     
  7. Cobragirl

    Cobragirl Hoohaa helper ;)

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    I have to agree with Kris on the usage of books...and take it one step further!

    You'll find that many of your classmates buy their textbooks because they HAVE to and are concerned only with their trade-in value at the end of the term. I have found that most "A" students KEEP almost ALL of their textbooks to use as reference at a later date (which DOES come in very handy...especially in Chemistries & Math!) Because you are going to keep your textbook, there is NO NEED to keep it from getting "marked-up" with notes. WRITE IN IT...WRITE ON IT!!! Personally, I have found that it's easier to take my book to class (with profs that USE the book) and write my notes directly in the margin next to the text or illustration they are lecturing about. Then, when I go home to study, I have everything in one spot and don't have to try to flip back and forth to match my lecture notes with what's in the book. Makes studying faster and more "connected".

    Some may argue that this is the "expensive" way to go...and it can be, but you can alleviate some of the expense by doing a little footwork. First, get to the bookstore EARLY and seek out the best USED books you can. Remember, all those other people DIDN'T write in their books so you should be able to find a decent text fairly easily if you go in a couple weeks before the semester begins (most people wait to buy books AFTER classes start). Second, go to the Prof and ASK them how much they use the book. Obviously, some profs might not use it at all, and in this case, buying the book may not be worth it. In other cases, they may only use it occasionally, so dragging it to class EVERY day would be silly. As for KEEPING the books...I guess that's really a personal preference. I have kept 95% of mine and ALL of my "harder" course texts. I have found time & time again that my old texts (and the notes IN them) were a great way to refresh myself on forgotten lessons. They were also an invaluable resource when it came time to study for the MCAT....because most "study guides" assume that you remember the basic concepts of things (I didn't in quite a bit of the physical sciences!). Having my texts made it easy to go back and briefly re-read the areas I needed help in and helped solidify my knowledge of those concepts.
     
  8. These are some things that I've learned in my years as an undergrad that might help you...

    1. GO TO CLASS. As others have said, this sounds obvious but it's true. The best way to do well is to attend the vast majority of your classes.

    2. Don't overload yourself. Don't take Bio, Chem, Physics and Calc in the same semester, especially your freshman year. Take your time... Even if it takes you five years for a BA/S, its better than doing poorly.

    3. Talk to your professors. You'd be suprised how much of your grade (in many classes) is discressionary. I've gotten a B+ in a couple of classes that I should have gotten D's in because the professor knew that I was interested in his class. Visit office hours as much as possible and don't be afraid to let the prof. know that you wan't an A in his/her class.

    4. Get involved. Find something on campus that you can devote time to that you love. Volunteering is a good idea if you're pre-med but if you don't love it, make sure you do something else also.

    5. Start early. Don't wait until the first exam to start studying. Review material daily and write down questions to ask your profs.

    6. Attend "optional" review sessions. You'd be suprised how much you can learn by listening to the answers to other people's questions.

    7. Have a plan. If you know that you want to go to medschool, find out what schools require and make sure you take it. (Some require biochem, calc. while others do not). Visit your advisor often to make sure you are on the right track.

    8. If a class is full, don't worry. Go to the first day(s) of class and ask for an override. If you show you're interested, the prof. will usually let you in.

    9. Find a way to stay interested. You will eventually find yourself bored with classes. Finding a way (sometimes this takes a lot of creativity) to keep yourself interested in the material will help you stay focused and do well.

    10. HAVE FUN. Hang out with people in your classes. Study outdoors. Stay in touch with your family. Play sports. Do things you never thought you'd do (Just some ideas, you'll have to figure this out for yourself). This is VERY IMPORTANT. If you don't enjoy yourself then you will not do well. Also, by choosing medicine you've committed yourself to many years of hard work. You don't want to burn out.
     

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