Amt of studying??

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Anath, Jun 17, 2002.

  1. Anath

    Anath Senior Member

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    Okay ... I *KNOW* that everyone studies differently and at different rates. The long diatribes regarding just that aren't necessary. :) But I'm just curious on average how much med students study every night. Is it "normal" to study 5 hours every night? 6? 2? Just trying to get a general idea and "plan" a schedule for myself although yes, I know I shouldn't base it on other people's numbers, but it'll give me something to work with.
     
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  3. Whisker Barrel Cortex

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    Although I was on the way lower end of the scale in terms of hours spent studying, I can tell you that very few people, if any, study 5-6 hours a night. Most of the people I know in my class studied 1-2 hours a night and a lot of times took weekends off. Then, the week before exams, the hours spent studying increased to 4-5 hours a day. The weekend before exams and nights before exams were usually spent cramming.

    I think a lot depends on how quickly you learn, how efficiently you study, and what your school is like.
     
  4. Dodge This

    Dodge This Senior Member

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    It's not normal to study 5-6 hours a night unless it's right around exam times. For me, I have to study at least 3-4 hours every other day to keep up. If I've fallen behind, it always comes back to get me around exam time. When that happens, it can be upwards of 7-8 hours a day for a week straight. Don't forget that you need to leave time around exams to review. Just because you study it 4 weeks before the test, doesn't mean you'll remember it.
     
  5. wfu2005

    wfu2005 Member

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    You don't want to study 5-6 hours a night. if you do, you'll definitely burn out. I was actually surprised how much free time there was in med school. Now granted, you will study more than you've probably ever studied before, but you definitely have free time and it basically depends on you. some people feel better studying a bunch at night, some don't study at all until a couple of weeks before a test. I like the 8-5 method, basically treating it like a job, and working all day on the weekdays either in class or studying when you don't have class, and then as needed add a few hours at night if you fall behind. I only studied on weekends for the week or two before the test, but I'm married and have a dog and all that so I have some other things that are more important as well. Best advice - study as much as you feel comfortable with and as long as you keep your grades up, don't worry about what everyone else is doing, it's time to be your own person!
     
  6. For my first year at school, I studied every day at Barnes and Noble for about 7-8 hours. On the weekends, I would review and catch up with anything for about 9- 10 hours. I did this all year. This isn't NORMAL!!!! I have one friend who studies just as much as me, so we tend to study together. My other friends party 3-4 times a week, go golfing 2-3 times a week, and always party on friday and saturday. It depends on your goals. If you want to be a neurosurgeon and go to a D.O. school, you better work your ass off(That's me). My other friends have the attitude that they just want to get by. I guess you will find this out for yourself. I have found that many people still act like this is college. I'm not saying that the only people that study their but off are those wanting to go into a competitive field. It just depends on your attitude. Some people devote themselves to achieve their fullest potential and some just want to get by. You will find out soon enough.
     
  7. I should clarify that unlike wfu2005, I am not married! (HUGE FACTOR!!!) You have to respect those that are married or have children and fit in the responsibilities of med school. It is nothing short of incredible!!
     
  8. squeek

    squeek Senior Member

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    For the first two years of school, I generally took the afternoons off and then studied for an hour or two, if that, during the evening. Usually I would reveiw the lecture material for that day, plus do any PBL assignments or read extra material that I thought I needed. If I felt like it, I also skimmed lecture material for the next day (we received weekly packets of lecture notes). There were also 1-2 days a week that I didn't do ANYTHING at all in the afternoon, especially if it was the afternoon or next day after a test.

    We typically had tests every Monday, so I would study for 8-10 hours for two days prior to the test, if it was a Saturday and Sunday. That gave me a lot of time to wake up and relax in the morning, study for most of the afternoon, take an evening break, and then study until midnight or so. If the test was during the week, I might start intensive studying 3 or 4 days before the test, since I'd only get 4 hours or so done each day after school. (I always give myself 2-3 hours of break time a day, if it's possible).

    I always made sure to go to bed by midnight, at the latest, and I tried to be in bed by 11 pm most days. This way I wasn't wasting afternoon fun time napping, and I got enough sleep most of the time.
     
  9. squeek

    squeek Senior Member

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    Oh--I also ALWAYS stopped studying at by 5pm on Fridays and Saturdays, so I had time for relaxing with my husband or having people over for dinner, etc.
     
  10. none

    none 1K Member

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    1-2 hours per night sounds reasonable to me. I guess it depends on how you study...but more than 2 hours a night does seem like it would really hurt you mentally. Of course...wanting to be a D.O. neurosurgeon may neccesitate that!
     
  11. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
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    It really depends on your own background, abilities, and learning style. You may need to devote more time if you are weaker in certain areas. In general, plan for 2-3 hours per day, with more or less depending on various factors.

    Someone once told me the best advice is to make time for things in your life outside of medical school (i.e. significant other, hobbies, sports, etc). It is easy to fall into the pattern of constant studying and using it as an excuse not to get out and have fun. Balance is key and promotes sanity during med school. :D
     
  12. jlw2004

    jlw2004 Member

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    Alot of it comes down to how you study, not how much. I have friends that "study" for 6 hour every night -- but only get through 2 lectures because they're BSing with everyone or checking email or whatever for most of the time. Heck, I'm guilty of that myself more often than not. I did get the hang of studying (just in time for second year to end) and found that if I did 1-2 hours of SERIOUS, no one around, no breaks studying each night, with ~12-14 hours / day of studying right before the tests (reading days), I did well. If I was getting stuff out of a class, I would stay and try my best to pay attention. If I wasn't, I'd go to the cafeteria and try to study during that hour. I didn't study much on the weekends unless it was test time because that time was devoted to my husband and kids, and I tried to make my serious study time after the kids went to bed.

    Standard disclaimer <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> -- this is what worked for me, it may or may not work for you. But I really think quality is much more rewarding than quantity studying.
     
  13. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
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    Anath, if you go to a problem-based school, then 6-10 hours per day of studying isn't uncommon. I studied from 2-5 hours per day (8 hours per day during my first year), and I studied less in my class than most other students.

    Unfortunately PBL requires you to learn everything from a book. There is no lecture. Your group time ("class") is spent teaching other students, so you must know it when you go to group.
     
  14. Anath

    Anath Senior Member

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    :) Well, I PM'd Dodge This above -- don't you all agree that his/her (?) icon has an incredibly long ass crack?

    But anyhoo -- in regards to PBL. :) Well, thank goodness that our classes aren't completely PBL. I agree much more with supplementing classes with PBL sort of groupings afterwards, which is what my school does.
     
  15. Mig24x

    Mig24x Member

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    i usually study 1 or 2 hours because im too tired from a 8-5 lecture!! i try to relax for next day, but when its exam time ( which all are on monday's) i go and sleep 3 hours on friday, saturday and sunday, its hell, but its all worth it!!
     
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  17. Iron Horse

    Iron Horse The luckiest man

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    Slow and steady can win the race just fine. It takes discipline, but a no-nonsense 2 hour/day study regimen will make life very workable and decrease stress.

    Clearly there are many other workable options, too.
     
  18. Anath

    Anath Senior Member

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    wow -- that's completely doable! ~2 hours every night ... that's not unreasonable at all and *does* allow for a "life". Where in the world did I get the impression that people study for 10 hours every day?? I dunno ... that is madness.
     
  19. Iron Horse

    Iron Horse The luckiest man

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    The two hours/day gets bumped up before exam time. The amount of increase depends on how efficient you've been and how difficult the material is.
     
  20. scully

    scully Senior Member

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    I am amazed by the variety of responses to this question! I know very few people at my school who would study less than 4 hours per night. Granted, we only have class until noon most days. (Plenty of time for surfing!)

    While my class is not competitive with one another, they really demand top scores for themselves, and often freak out about not remembering the things we are learning now for the boards and for future clinical work.
     
  21. Anath

    Anath Senior Member

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    Scully -- class until noon ... you're not at VCU are you? :) That was one thing I absolutely loved about VCU -- classes ended at noon.
     
  22. Anath

    Anath Senior Member

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    Oh, and I gotta say, I'm absolutely tickled -- this is my first post that has generated 15+ responses! Keep em comin.

    Ah... the lil things in life make me happy!
     
  23. dr.evil

    dr.evil Senior Member
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    My study schedule mimicked Whisker Barrel's quite a bit but I have to say that after a test block I would study NOTHING for 1-2 weeks.

    I also found that the golf courses were less crowded on Thursday & Friday so I usually took those days off. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

    I would study a couple of hours on Saturday/Sunday sometimes. Granted though, I almost never went to class and was not a any type of routine study schedule. I have a wife and a kid so when my wife and I were home at night together, I would not pick up a book. I usually waited for my little one to go to bed (after 9pm) if I needed to study a bit. I just set my priorities and stuck by that. School was second (except for test block week).

    The week before tests is CRAM city though.

    You'll have plenty of time.
     
  24. Doctora Foxy

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    OK, so my plan is to treat each day like a job :D Class is at 8am for me, so after class I'll continue to study til 5 everyday :) I hope that's enough, but I'll find out soon.....
     
  25. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
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    Doc Foxy, I would stick with whatever routine you use now. I couldn't study in the afternoons. For some reason I was always tired and distracted. My energy doesn't come out until the evening.

    So I would tape all my evening shows that I normally watched and would watch those in the afternoons. Between 7 pm to tenish, elevenish, or even later, I would study. If I tried to study in the afternoon, well, let's just say my eyes were scanning the pages and that's about it.

    If you normally study at night, then don't force yourself into studying in the afternoon and making it a job.
     
  26. Espion

    Espion is a girl

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    In this case, I'm in trouble. =P

    I didn't study hardly at all in undergrad. My learning was mostly a combination of actually listening during class and perhaps going over notes before a test.

    I *know* this method will not work for me in medical school. I'm not some kind of super-genius, and while I didn't do badly at all in undergraduate school, I wasn't stellar either. (I was just a microbiology major, which was just interesting anyways.)

    I think I'll probably spend the first two, maybe three, weeks trying out different study styles and times. Hopefully I'll have the hang of it before the fit really starts to hit the shan. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Geek Medic:
    <strong>Doc Foxy, I would stick with whatever routine you use now. I couldn't study in the afternoons. For some reason I was always tired and distracted. My energy doesn't come out until the evening.

    So I would take all my evening shows that I watched and would watch those in the afternoons. Between 7 pm to tenish, elevenish, or even later, I would study. If I tried to study in the afternoon, well, let's just say my eyes were scanning the pages and that's about it.

    If you normally study at night, then don't force yourself into studying in the afternoon and making it a job.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">
     
  27. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
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    Espion, you will do well. I never studied well in undergrad. During class I would read magazines or write treatment protocols for the ambulance service I worked for. (This is the reason why I chose a PBL school because I knew I wouldn't pay attention during a lecture.)

    My studying for an exam consisted of getting up a few hours early the morning of the exam and cramming for it by skimming the text. I distinctly remember doing this for physics by getting up at 4 am, reading the text, and doing practice problems. Luckily it was only 2 chapters per test. I would actually study for finals though.

    You'll adapt to med school studying a lot better than you think!
     
  28. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior

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    Man it's going to be crazy! I was with a friend in the health sciences library the other day when I spotted some dude with three 1-ft high stacks of paper. So I stopped and asked him what's up with all this paper; then he told me he was studying for clinical neuroscience. I was in shock <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" /> . My major was math in which 50 pages for an entire course was plenty. It seems med school on the other hand will be like 50 pages per minute. I think med school requires alot of focus; which might be a formidable task considering that I'm from the streets <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> .

    I'll never forget what 2 (cute couple) friends of mine told me the other day; "make time for fun in med school, but not too much time". It sounds kinda obvious but it hit me in a new way. I guess it was the we've-been-there-and-done-that look in their eyes.
     
  29. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior

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    Question:
    If one has class from 8am-4pm and plans to study at least 3 hrs per day, run or work out 2 hrs, and be in bed by midnight, where is the time for anything else? I'm not really seeing how there can be any free time in there. I'm sure free time varies from school to school based on class time and so on, but is it just a myth that there's free time in an 8-5 system? Can someone please tell me what I'm missing here?
     
  30. Here's the thing: If you go to an 8-5 school like I do and really take medical school seriously, then you won't have free time like you used to. Yea you will have time to hang out and relax but that's not what your are there to do! It may surprise you but some people don't take this learning process seriously, as you can obviously see from the people that say they cram for tests the morning of or study minimally at best. These people always give you the excuse that you shouldn't sacrifice your life and have some fun. These are the same people that would say to me not everyone studies every day because its not necessary. This may be true, but don't let this complacent attitude make you think you can just slide by in school and really know what you need to know. Before I started med school, I thought everyone was going to be extremely dedicated and passionate about learning and excelling. I guess I'm just very naive. No matter where you are in life you will find complacent people. It is your job to disregard what others do and really give 110%. I think your patients would say the same.
     
  31. scully

    scully Senior Member

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    Hey Anath,

    No, not VCU. I go to UC Irvine.

    I think that Doctor Foxy's system of treating school like a job, studying from 8-5, is a very good one. I am trying to do that myself -- good practice for the future.

    Birdman - well said.

    This is a great thread -- very enlightening!
     
  32. souljah1

    souljah1 Attending

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Doctora Foxy:
    <strong>OK, so my plan is to treat each day like a job :D Class is at 8am for me, so after class I'll continue to study til 5 everyday :) I hope that's enough, but I'll find out soon.....</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Foxy, that is exactly what I am planning on doing. I'll have class from 8 to 12 most days (with some labs and other obligations during some afternoons), afterwhich I hope to take a nice lunch and then get 3 or 4 hours of good concentrated studying. I hope to have most evenings free so that I can eat a good dinner, play basketball or go to the rock climbing gym, and be in bed by midnight. I think one can excel in medical school without spending every waking second of the day thinking about what there is to learn (I've seen it done). Although I really enjoy studying and learning, I need to have other activities in my life. I have a friend who studies far less than most people, but amazingly excels at what she does. She parties a lot, but is by no means complacent. I think that an 8 to 4 med school curriculum is scary. I thank the good lord of medical school curricula that I'll be going to a school that does not keep you locked up in lecture halls for over 25 hours/week.

    oh..to my friend original...duke is intense..and it is known to be..no wonder you can't imagine having time to be doing much else. :D good luck to you. the notorious will get you through.
     
  33. jcschultz

    jcschultz Junior Member

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    You know, I think that we have all been around people that are naturally gifted academically, and it is no surprise that they are in the field of medicine, that is where many smart people end up:) That being said, I think that studying differs from person to person a great deal. I, for one, am not the most gifted person in the bunch, I have worked hard for what I have accomplished, and take great pride in making it to medical school... But, I also like to have fun, and think that being a doctor is more than memorizing the innervations of every muscle or the articulations of each and every joint. A general knowledge of people is imperative and should be desired by every doctor. I spend a good amount of time partying and learning about people, because in reality, that is who people really are:) I plan to study very hard, less than others but more than some to learn the material, but in the end medical school should be about making yourself the best doctor you can be, and the process by which that occurs is different for every person. Studying in medical school is relative, and should be treated as such, we all deserve to be there, or we would not be, so we should not label people who study less as slackers, but rather gifted people who acquire knowledge at a faster rate than the rest of us. Am I jealous? Hell yeah! But, in the end we will all work for the same cause, despite the amount of time we put in at medical school.

    Just my 2 cents as well!
     
  34. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
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    One thing that students often don't realize is that there are several opportunities to learn and re-learn material in medical school. It isn't just about your first two years. You have to study for the boards, during which time you'll review and learn things you didn't know before. During third-year clerkships you have to read up on your patients and learn more about their diseases and treatments. During fourth year, you will be doing sub-Is and electives during which you'll learn even more.

    My bottom line, which I'll reiterate in this post, is that one should try to maintain a healthy balance of work and play during medical school. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of studying constantly to the extent of avoiding social situations and participation in class life. At my school, we get ample opportunity for free time, during which I take electives, graduate courses, do extra-curricular activites, or just jog on the beach. I don't particularly feel my education is being impaired, yet I'm managing to live a relatively healthy and reduced-stress lifestyle. Even with 9-5 schedules, it important to take care of the basics: eat regular meals, get enough sleep, exercise, and get out and have fun every once in a while. Well-being in the medical profession is something that has only recently been regarded with some degree of value (take a look at resident work hours and recently imposed limits).

    I'm a strong believer in that a healthy physician makes a better physician. :D
     
  35. bonecutter

    bonecutter Member

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    Med school is tough no doubt about it. There are many different ways to approach it. When I started I studied a lot more than most of my classmates (4-5 hours a night). I stayed sane by interspersing my studying with nights out to the movies etc. I am now a fourth year, married and have one beautiful little baby girl. I am very happy I put in all that time. I feel that because of the knowledge base I created during the first two years I was much more comfortable on the wards. I also feel I was better able to internalize the clinical presentations of my patients and was able to learn at an accelerated pace. However you decide to approach school just make sure you learn the material. A couple of extra hours here and there will pay huge dividends in a couple of years

    Bonecutter
     

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