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Considering how people find Medical school to be grueling, do you see it as the most efficient method of teaching students, or do you feel that the education system could be improved? Do you see it as a necessary evil?
 

NickNaylor

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How do you think that'll affect step 1 performance?
Not at all, because my entire studying regime is centered on the boards rather than what is being taught in class. My performance on qbank questions also seems to verify that.

It certainly isn't the right approach for everyone, but it seems to be working pretty well for me.

(sent from my phone)
 

NickNaylor

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You're still in the pre-clinical portion of your training, correct? Otherwise good students can usually get by with fairly minimum studying at that point, especially if you're in a pass-fail setting. Your free time goes away once you enter your clinical years.
Haha no worries, I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that my half days of screwing around will be ending shortly. :p

(sent from my phone)
 

6svette

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Not at all, because my entire studying regime is centered on the boards rather than what is being taught in class. My performance on qbank questions also seems to verify that.

It certainly isn't the right approach for everyone, but it seems to be working pretty well for me.

(sent from my phone)
Could you elaborate how exactly you focus on the boards while studying? Does your school not focus on board prep?
 
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Did you relocate? How was making new friends in the first few weeks? Any tips for us shyer folks? :oops:
I did relocate. Because I am married I probably didn't have as much anxiety about friends--but I know that is not typical. We had a long orientation with tons of parties/socializing and I think that worked pretty well. I met my best friends during that time, but continue to develop relationships as I get to work with people in groups (clinical skills, problem set groups, anatomy lab groups etc.) I think most people would agree that cliques develop rather quickly- but I honestly feel like everyone is friendly when we work together. If you are shy I would just suggest making the effort to put yourself out there. As simple as it sounds, essentially everyone is in the mood to make friends when school starts- so just putting in the effort to engage is usually enough to get something going!

If there was anything you could have done to make your pre-med life less stressful (especially when application time comes), what would it be?
You know, I found undergrad to be a lot of fun, and the work itself didn't stress me very much, but you are correct in assuming that application time is a bit uneasy. First of all, you may have the best cycle ever- there are people that apply, get their interviews quickly, and get that first acceptance on October 15th. That was not me, ha. I didn't get my first acceptance until after the first of the year, and I was starting to feel frustrated. I don't think there is too much you can do except really make an effort not to obsess, and still soak up and enjoy the end of your undergrad. Patience is genuinely a virtue, and although it doesn't come easy for some of us, if you don't find any it is going to be a loooooong cycle.

My situation sounds very similar to yours regarding the non trad status. I have also worked full time for 6 years before deciding to start my undergrad in my mid 20's, I agree with everything you said about it teaching you hard work ethic and also showing you a glimpse of what you don't want to resort back to, but my MAIN question is did your non trad and work experience come up during your application / interview process? Thanks for all the info!
Ummmmmmm....generally it did, yes. The way that my work experience--particularly the nature of it--was interpreted may be hard to project onto other's situations because of how it fit into my own personal narrative. But, I was mostly under the impression that my differences from the traditional applicant were points of uniqueness that added flavor to my application, and could certainly be seen in a positive light. Anything to stand out and be memorable can help- whether in essays or talking points in interviews.

Considering how people find Medical school to be grueling, do you see it as the most efficient method of teaching students, or do you feel that the education system could be improved? Do you see it as a necessary evil?
Medical school is the fun/easy part. That sentiment has been confirmed to me many times. I don't personally find anything wrong with it being grueling, I really feel like I am earning this degree and the right to perform this role in society. And, let's be honest, anyone that thinks the idea of medical school is too much is definitely not going to like what happens after medical school.

All that being said, many schools--including mine--have either greatly changed or are going to greatly change their curriculum in the near future, per dynamic LCME standards. That doesn't mean less intensive, though.
 
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NickNaylor

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Could you elaborate how exactly you focus on the boards while studying? Does your school not focus on board prep?
Well, first, once you hit MS2 (or once you start doing pathophys), studying for class is very much studying for the boards. It's a lot of the stuff covered in MS1 that isn't important. I suppose the difference is that I don't attend class or even look at lecture notes. I just use our syllabus, read the assigned pages in the textbook, and then make sure I hit all of that material in my review sources. During MS1, I was sure to learn all of the material that was covered in board review books as well as I can while not putting as much emphasis on the remaining material. Unfortunately I doubt we would be able to pass (60-65% for most courses) if you just studied the boards relevant material so you have to learn some of the minutia to get by, but I kept that as minimal as possible. Basically, if were studying a topic and some info wasn't covered in a well-regarded review book, then I wouldn't bother learning it or wouldn't put that much effort into it.

If you are at a true P/F school for the first two years and are comfortable with not going well on your exams, simply studying for the boards is easy to do. It's the people that are at schools with grades OR aren't able to get over the fact that they will likely barely pass using this strategy that have issues. I will admit that I had my doubts about this method, especially when you see plenty of people in the allo board implying that you won't do well on step 1 if you don't do well in your courses, but I don't think any of that has borne itself out. Admittedly I haven't taken step 1 yet so we'll have to see, but I'm not too worried about it.
 
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alpinism

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Amen. I think that SDN is quite far from the reality of things. On this site you usually notice people saying how they enjoy medical school, they only spend a few hours a day working, and still have time to enjoy life. I know of a couple people in my MS-1 class that are like that, but the majority of people in my class including myself, work non-stop virtually all day. There is no time to attend classes or enough time to get learn everything you need down before an exam. It's nothing like undergrad.

There was this thread in the Allopathic forum about people having more fun in medical school than undergrad. I would cringe every time I'd see it, and I'm assuming a majority of my class would feel the same way.

For most part SDN =/= reality!



If this means what I think it means, then... :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
This is THE huge difference between going to a school with grades and a true P/F school.

At my school (P/F), the majority of med students study at most 3-4hrs a day after lectures and even less on the weekends. Hell, there are prob 1 or 2 days a week where I don't even study at all, and I studied even less during M1. Sure, there are always few students who are constantly in the library late at night, but these are the people who are either going for competitive specialties or are super neurotic.

If you go to a P/F school, develop good study habits (no FB/YouTube while "studying"), and manage your time wisely, you will have lots of free time during the pre-clinical years.

But that all changes once you start 3rd year...
 

Cyal

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Yup, I feel the same. When we first started and I heard that, I thought I was missing something or just not getting it. In reality, I think those people were either way overstudying or are just the kind of people that spend a lot of time studying. One of my good friends says that studying is actually therapeutic for him; it relieves some of his stress and makes him feel comfortable just by putting in the time. I wonder how many people have the same approach.

For me, studying is at the bottom of my list of things I want to do (even though I like the material), so I naturally do it as little as possible.
There is some comfort in overstudying, however, I don't think there is such a thing given the volume of info one needs to memorize. Perhaps students who study 10 hrs/day are doing something right. So I'm thinking of stepping up my time input. I'm under the (possibly false) impression that an extra one or two hours will pay off come Step I time, although I'm a year away from that craziness.
 
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Not at all, because my entire studying regime is centered on the boards rather than what is being taught in class. My performance on qbank questions also seems to verify that.

It certainly isn't the right approach for everyone, but it seems to be working pretty well for me.

(sent from my phone)
So you're passing out step 1 advice without having taken the test yet? :/
 

6svette

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This is THE huge difference between going to a school with grades and a true P/F school.

At my school (P/F), the majority of med students study at most 3-4hrs a day after lectures and even less on the weekends. Hell, there are prob 1 or 2 days a week where I don't even study at all, and I studied even less during M1. Sure, there are always few students who are constantly in the library late at night, but these are the people who are either going for competitive specialties or are super neurotic.

If you go to a P/F school, develop good study habits (no FB/YouTube while "studying"), and manage your time wisely, you will have lots of free time during the pre-clinical years.

But that all changes once you start 3rd year...
Is your school P/F ranked or unranked? Does P/F ranked basically negate the P/F aspects of a particular school?
 

TheWeeIceMan

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Is your school P/F ranked or unranked? Does P/F ranked basically negate the P/F aspects of a particular school?
To kind of piggyback off of this question, I'll be going to a school with what are essentially letter grades but the school does not rank. Does this do anything to negate the drawbacks of not having a P/F system?
 

angldrps

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Well, first, once you hit MS2 (or once you start doing pathophys), studying for class is very much studying for the boards. It's a lot of the stuff covered in MS1 that isn't important. I suppose the difference is that I don't attend class or even look at lecture notes. I just use our syllabus, read the assigned pages in the textbook, and then make sure I hit all of that material in my review sources. During MS1, I was sure to learn all of the material that was covered in board review books as well as I can while not putting as much emphasis on the remaining material. Unfortunately I doubt we would be able to pass (60-65% for most courses) if you just studied the boards relevant material so you have to learn some of the minutia to get by, but I kept that as minimal as possible. Basically, if were studying a topic and some info wasn't covered in a well-regarded review book, then I wouldn't bother learning it or wouldn't put that much effort into it.

If you are at a true P/F school for the first two years and are comfortable with not going well on your exams, simply studying for the boards is easy to do. It's the people that are at schools with grades OR aren't able to get over the fact that they will likely barely pass using this strategy that have issues. I will admit that I had my doubts about this method, especially when you see plenty of people in the allo board implying that you won't do well on step 1 if you don't do well in your courses, but I don't think any of that has borne itself out. Admittedly I haven't taken step 1 yet so we'll have to see, but I'm not too worried about it.
what board review books would you recommend to an incoming M1?
 

NickNaylor

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what board review books would you recommend to an incoming M1?
I used BRS Physiology for physio, Clinical Micro Made Ridiculously Simple for micro, and First Aid for some path/immuno. I didn't use anything for anatomy, biochem/cell bio/genetics, or biostats.
 
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what board review books would you recommend to an incoming M1?
I used BRS Physiology for physio, Clinical Micro Made Ridiculously Simple for micro, and First Aid for some path/immuno. I didn't use anything for anatomy, biochem/cell bio/genetics, or biostats.
These above recommended by Nick are good. I used and liked BRS anatomy as well. I have heard good things (but haven't used) BRS biochem. BRS is nice with the practice questions.
 

angldrps

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I used BRS Physiology for physio, Clinical Micro Made Ridiculously Simple for micro, and First Aid for some path/immuno. I didn't use anything for anatomy, biochem/cell bio/genetics, or biostats.
These above recommended by Nick are good. I used and liked BRS anatomy as well. I have heard good things (but haven't used) BRS biochem. BRS is nice with the practice questions.
thanks. :thumbup:
 

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Can you provide us an outline of your typical schedule on a weekday and weekend day?
 

NickNaylor

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Can you provide us an outline of your typical schedule on a weekday and weekend day?
Not to toot my own horn here, but I and a few other MS1/2s did this exact thread at the end of the last academic year. You can find answers to this and many other questions in that thread here: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=929521. I'm sharing it only to provide some additional perspectives in addition to whatever is said here.
 

alpinism

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Is your school P/F ranked or unranked? Does P/F ranked basically negate the P/F aspects of a particular school?
P/F unranked preclinical years with grades clinical years.

Not really, it still takes a lot of pressure off you (and your classmates) to get As on every exam and makes learning more enjoyable.

At the same time, its not as good as P/F unranked IMO.
 
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3-4 hours of studying a day?! Oh the joys of a P/F school.

I probably study 6 hours a day at minimum. Average is probably closer to 8, if not more (if I'm going to be honest with myself...even that might be below average on some days). Admittedly, the following factors probably play into my near-gunnerness:
1) I go to a school with grades
2) I have a scholarship to keep that requires me to basically get A's in almost every class
3) I don't have any huge time-commitment priorities
4) I'm a slow learner.

Med school is hard, no doubt, but you'll never really know how it feels until you're here.
 

Cyal

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3-4 hours of studying a day?! Oh the joys of a P/F school.

I probably study 6 hours a day at minimum. Average is probably closer to 8, if not more (if I'm going to be honest with myself...even that might be below average on some days). Admittedly, the following factors probably play into my near-gunnerness:
1) I go to a school with grades
2) I have a scholarship to keep that requires me to basically get A's in almost every class
3) I don't have any huge time-commitment priorities
4) I'm a slow learner.

Med school is hard, no doubt, but you'll never really know how it feels until you're here.
I go to a H/P/F school. The bulk of my studying is done 3-4 days before exams (6-10 hrs per day). But I have a set of days where I do nothing. So the average is closer to 4. I did 6 today (8 pm - 2 AM) after doing nothing yesterday. WIll try to put in 8 tomorrow. Exam is on Monday. I study less than at least half of my class but I'm well above average. If I put in 6 hrs a day consistently I would be getting 90+ on every exam.

Most of my study time is spent memorizing details because the exams here tend to emphasize those. "What nerve runs underneath that tendon?", "the second branch of this artery supplies this muscle of this branchial arch", etc etc. This is the part that ruins the fun in medical school. As an M1, medical school is really an exercise in rote memorization, thankfully I have a decent recall so I can get away with less time.
 

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I go to a H/P/F school. The bulk of my studying is done 3-4 days before exams (6-10 hrs per day). But I have a set of days where I do nothing. So the average is closer to 4. I did 6 today (8 pm - 2 AM) after doing nothing yesterday. WIll try to put in 8 tomorrow. Exam is on Monday. I study less than at least half of my class but I'm well above average.
Not that it's a bad thing, this actually sounds like an above-average amount of studying, particularly if it's "quality" studying (i.e. without distractions).

If I put in 6 hrs a day consistently I would be getting 90+ on every exam.
Anyone can say that, but if you aren't able to do it with the amount of studying you're putting in now, I doubt upping it a few hours would make much of a difference. You're either an honors student or you're not. I can pretty much guarantee that there are students in your class that study less than you and do better.

Most of my study time is spent memorizing details because the exams here tend to emphasize those. "What nerve runs underneath that tendon?", "the second branch of this artery supplies this muscle of this branchial arch", etc etc. This is the part that ruins the fun in medical school. As an M1, medical school is really an exercise in rote memorization.
Yep
 

Cyal

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Not that it's a bad thing, this actually sounds like an above-average amount of studying, particularly if it's "quality" studying (i.e. without distractions).


Anyone can say that, but if you aren't able to do it with the amount of studying you're putting in now, I doubt upping it a few hours would make much of a difference. You're either an honors student or you're not. I can pretty much guarantee that there are students in your class that study less than you and do better.
There are people who probably study less than I do and do better, but I can surely guarantee they will be on the far lower end of the class's effort level.

I backload a lot of my studying. If I average my time it sits at 4 hrs a day. In my class, that's definitely below average. I feel lazy in my class so I'm trying to up my time to about 5 hrs per day, especially as we are doing neuroanatomy/neurophysiology/head/neck in a lovely 6 wk period.

Secondly, I feel like I'm studying more now compared to when I was at Hopkins taking some of the organ systems classes with the medical students. I was a doctoral grad student then. I was just average on the exams with roughly 3 hours of daily studying. My purely grad school classes took even less time from me because they were mostly conceptual, but they were hard exams nonetheless.

The exams here at my medical school emphasize more details and facts and to guarantee a high score you just have to memorize nearly all the slides. I have honored 3 courses so far out of 4. I was close on the last one.

I felt like my grad school exams required more thinking/logic. Medical school exams here are largely "effort-in-memorization" oriented. So more time yields better results. So if I doubled my time I'm sure I would definitely do better.
 

NickNaylor

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I felt like my grad school exams required more thinking/logic. Medical school exams here are largely "effort-in-memorization" oriented.
Yeah, I've been waiting for the day when critical thinking is actually necessary for in-class material...

Patiently, patiently waiting...
 

Tyw

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A lot of students mention the importance of studying "efficiently". I was wondering exactly what that means. My studying was wildly inefficient during undergrad, as I just kept re-reading the textbooks until I thought I could recall enough information. What are some better ways to study material. I'm wondering because this is a serious concern for me, and I really don't think my undergrad study methods will translate well to med school. Flashcards? Outlines? Focusing on lectures rather than the books? Using board review books as a study supplement? Any answers from current students would be much appreciated!

Thank you all for taking the time to answer our questions!