After Acceptance

defuturemedstudent

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    I graduated undergrad in 2019 and somehow got an A to a NY med school!

    Now that the shock has worn off, I need some help planning my next steps. After graduating I spent the last 3 years teaching (1 year teaching 5th grade and 2 years teaching HS Science). I wasn't an especially strong student to begin with, and am concerned that I'll have a hard time catching up to classmates who've not taken any breaks from the academic setting.

    What would you do in my place? I've got about 8 months until school starts, and I've gotten all sorts of advice. Some people have told me to re-review the basic sciences, some people told me to do nothing, and one guy told me to learn a language just so I can practice memorization skills.
     

    samc

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      I vote with the people who say to do absolutely nothing. What you’ll be doing in med school is memorizing the PowerPoints with special emphasis on what the lecturer points out—you can’t pre-memorize because you don’t have them. The one exception I’d make is if you had a lot of trouble with biochem.
       
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      Meridian32

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        Congrats! I agree with the advice to do nothing and enjoy the next 8 months doing something non-medical, with one exception - I think it will be high yield to figure out your optimal learning style now. If you know whether you are an auditory vs. visual vs. text-based learner, whether you learn best from going to lecture vs. staying home and reviewing material on your own, etc., that will be helpful to know upfront because med school is a firehose of information once it starts.
         
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        DocJanItor

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          Congrats! I agree with the advice to do nothing and enjoy the next 8 months doing something non-medical, with one exception - I think it will be high yield to figure out your optimal learning style now. If you know whether you are an auditory vs. visual vs. text-based learner, whether you learn best from going to lecture vs. staying home and reviewing material on your own, etc., that will be helpful to know upfront because med school is a firehose of information once it starts.
          Not sure there's any external situation that can simulate the speed, intensity, and pressure of med school. Lots of methods are effective at the college and even master's level. Few at the med school level.
           

          esob

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            There is a reason why spaced repetition works. There is also a finite amount of material that you will be expected to cover by your school and by the NBME if you hope to one day earn an MD. That amount of material is vast and unreasonable.

            If you have the opportunity to make a ton of money to help you get through med school or have some significant life event that you don't want to miss (wedding, birth of a child, etc), then I would recommend taking those opportunities.

            However, if the choice is playing super smash bros for 8 months VS taking a first pass at material (particular stuff you are weak on), do yourself a favor and get a head start. Again, the amount of material will not change. You can either do a few hrs per day for 8 months and have some breathing room or you can do an all-out sprint when med school arrives.

            Even if you enjoy the pain of long study days, there is plenty of evidence demonstrating that spaced repetition leads to better retention.

            I won't argue with people who say do nothing. However, I do tend to wish people had put more thought into the decisions when I see them having to push step back (red flag on application), posting on FB about their mental breakdowns, or getting recycled to the next graduating class. At least two that I know of are no longer in medical school and I honestly feel like they might still be if they hadn't followed bad advice.
             
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            defuturemedstudent

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              There is a reason why spaced repetition works. There is also a finite amount of material that you will be expected to cover by your school and by the NBME if you hope to one day earn an MD. That amount of material is vast and unreasonable.

              If you have the opportunity to make a ton of money to help you get through med school or have some significant life event that you don't want to miss (wedding, birth of a child, etc), then I would recommend taking those opportunities.

              However, if the choice is playing super smash bros for 8 months VS taking a first pass at material (particular stuff you are weak on), do yourself a favor and get a head start. Again, the amount of material will not change. You can either do a few hrs per day for 8 months and have some breathing room or you can do an all-out sprint when med school arrives.

              Even if you enjoy the pain of long study days, there is plenty of evidence demonstrating that spaced repetition leads to better retention.

              I won't argue with people who say do nothing. However, I do tend to wish people had put more thought into the decisions when I see them having to push step back (red flag on application), posting on FB about their mental breakdowns, or getting recycled to the next graduating class. At least two that I know of are no longer in medical school and I honestly feel like they might still be if they hadn't followed bad advice.
              This is what I was looking for. The odds are good that I'll play plenty of super smash bros over the next few months anyway, but I'd like to have some stuff to study in between rounds.

              Do you have any specific fields/resources you'd recommend I use? I feel shaky on biochem and Anatomy & Physiology, but I don't know where to begin and what to use
               

              esob

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                This is what I was looking for. The odds are good that I'll play plenty of super smash bros over the next few months anyway, but I'd like to have some stuff to study in between rounds.

                Do you have any specific fields/resources you'd recommend I use? I feel shaky on biochem and Anatomy & Physiology, but I don't know where to begin and what to use

                Unfortunately, "everyone learns differently" is a phrase you will get sick of hearing in med school, lol. If I could do things over again, I would purchase a subscription to boards and beyond and go over the topics that I am weakest at OR the topics that I was going to encounter first in med school (personally, I would choose the latter. I think that Dr. Ryan does a great job of explaining 99% of stuff. Personally, I tried a lot of the stuff samc recommended and none of it stuck. That's not because they are bad resources because they are great resources for some folks, they just didn't work for me. I like to read, but I hate to learn from reading. I like to learn from observing things. I understand pathophys by seeing pictures better than by reading about it. But, that's just me.

                The other resource that is almost universally loved is Sketchy. Sketchy micro and pharm will be useful in pretty much every month of med school.

                In the end, it is true that some people don't start studying until day 1 of med school and do just fine. Some, unfortunately, try that approach and they don't do fine, and there is really no good predictor that I've seen to tell them apart. My GPA was 4.0 and my mcat was avg and I definitely need to prestudy to do well. I know a guy who scored a 528 on the MCAT and was in remedial classes before the end of first year.
                 
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