Ibn Rushd

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So I'll officially be starting in August. One of the things I've been wondering lately is how some people do better than others in med school. How/why is it that some students make it to the top of their class while others hover around average or even below average? What accounts for this disparity? I've heard time and time again that "everyone in med school is smart," that the students that make it in were the best students in college.

I figure that the competition becomes insane when you put all of these academically gifted/hard-working people together in one class. Do some people just study harder? Do some manage their time better? Are some just better than others at memorizing?

I hope I'm not coming off as a gunner. I'm genuinely interested in seeing how some people (even at the med school level amongst intense competition) get to the top. What do they do that gets them there? Insight is appreciated!
 
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its called a bell curve...take any group of people and make them do any activity, there will always be ones who are better at it and ones that are worse. this is true whether you are a premed or a med student or a radiation oncologist or a family doctor...welcome to life :rolleyes:

in general though, grade = efficiency x time put in, figure out what grade you want to get in med school, figure out your efficiency, and then youll know how much studying you need to put in every day
 

psipsina

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Some people are naturally gifted with photographic memories and will do amazing with minimal effort. Some people no matter how hard they work will never be in that top percentile. Most are somewhat in between where the harder and longer and smarter they work (including time management) the better they do. Many come to the conclusion that being in the top percentile just isn't worth the time commitment that it will take for them to get there.

There is no way you can know where you will fall in this spectrum until you're in it. All you can do is be prepared to work your tail off, be willing to adapt and change your strategy if necessary and accept that you might be one of those who can't hit the top no matter what.

For now the best thing you can do is get in the habit of working out regularly (most of the people I know have found that they do better when doing so, but its hard to make a new habit like this stick in medschool). I also read a bit about study techniques and time management ahead of medschool, as I had never *really* had to study before and found it helpful.
 
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Personally I think med schools a scenario where you have to have EVERYTHING right to be at the top. It's like trying to golf at a pro level : you can't just work hard : you need to have gotten lucky with the right genes AND you need to have proper technique AND you have to work hard...and you also need to get a little lucky on the test itself. Sometimes the difference between being top of the class and #3 is just one or two questions on a multiple choice midterm. I perceive EVERY question as being a numbers game...no matter how well I know the material, I feel like my chance of getting a particular question correct is still usually less than 100%. There's all sorts of vaguely worded questions, arguable points of view, and so forth on a typical test in medical school. Sometimes you have to pick the answer that the professor is probably looking for...sometimes I hear their voice talking in my head when I am debating over a question.

And yes, I've been able to hit the number 1 spot on exams out of a med school class of a bit over 200 folks. And the times I pulled this off, everything was just perfect. I had studied that material all day every day, starting the weekend before the block started. I used advanced studying techniques honed from experience and a little bit of learning theory. It was an interesting topic, one that I felt I was talented in. I attended every single lecture, made tons of notes that I made an effort to memorize at the end of every day, and tried to memorize every single frame of the power points.

All that, and I beat the next guy down by 2 questions. And he has a much more pleasant personality than mine, and odds are will have a better shot of getting residency.
 
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werd

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some people are a lot smarter than others; some people work a lot harder than others. the people who do "best" in med school are top tier in one and at least 2nd tier in the other. my recommendation is to be as smart as possible so you don't have to work as hard ;).
 

Stixman28

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And yes, I've been able to hit the number 1 spot on exams out of a med school class of a bit over 200 folks. And the times I pulled this off, everything was just perfect. I had studied that material all day every day, starting the weekend before the block started. I used advanced studying techniques honed from experience and a little bit of learning theory. It was an interesting topic, one that I felt I was talented in. I attended every single lecture, made tons of notes that I made an effort to memorize at the end of every day, and tried to memorize every single frame of the power points.

All that, and I beat the next guy down by 2 questions. And he has a much more pleasant personality than mine, and odds are will have a better shot of getting residency.
Jebus. This is how someone does it...to me, it's just not worth it.
 
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sunset823

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Personally I think med schools a scenario where you have to have EVERYTHING right to be at the top. It's like trying to golf at a pro level : you can't just work hard : you need to have gotten lucky with the right genes AND you need to have proper technique AND you have to work hard...and you also need to get a little lucky on the test itself. Sometimes the difference between being top of the class and #3 is just one or two questions on a multiple choice midterm. I perceive EVERY question as being a numbers game...no matter how well I know the material, I feel like my chance of getting a particular question correct is still usually less than 100%. There's all sorts of vaguely worded questions, arguable points of view, and so forth on a typical test in medical school. Sometimes you have to pick the answer that the professor is probably looking for...sometimes I hear their voice talking in my head when I am debating over a question.
I agree with this, especially the part of questions being a numbers game. There is one prof in particular who really takes notes only out of his lectures, and reading the board review textbook (which I do) actually makes you lose points, because the question can be interpreted differently. The ones who do the best listen to podcasts over and over and take notes ad nauseum. Not for me. I seek a level of understanding I need in the wards, not to get some convoluted questions right on a midterm.

And, yes, I do ascribe a certain amount to natural talent with the material. But as a friend who graduated summa cum laude and PBK in chem-e once told me "I did 80% of the work for 20% of the grade" - average (or if you're smart, below average) effort will get you to the middle of the class, but if you want the top, your effort curve becomes exponential.
 

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What has been said previously sums everything up nicely. You have to know how to play the game, so to speak. People who are talented in this way know what material to cover and for how long, can tell what is going to be emphasized, and have great memory.

I am not one of these people, and work my rear off to sit just above the average. Im not blowing anyone away grade wise. As long as you are doing your best (emphasis on this) and passing, then you have to accept it and move on. Some people are just smarter then others, and thats OK. I hope you end up where you want to :).
 

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A very pleasant man wearing all red and strangely carrying a red tipped pitch fork said he could get me there if I just promised my soul to him. Being an atheist I agreed... best decision I ever made!
 

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its called a bell curve...take any group of people and make them do any activity, there will always be ones who are better at it and ones that are worse. this is true whether you are a premed or a med student or a radiation oncologist or a family doctor...welcome to life :rolleyes:
:thumbup:
 

lildave2586

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I agree with the OP that this is an interesting topic. There are a lot of smart people in my class. Interestingly enough, I think the smartest people in my class are somewhere in the middle rank-wise (this is just a theory). They are the people who are content with passing (we are H-P-F), they've figured out that pre-clinical grades don't matter much, so they study what they need to get the P (which is not much) and are pretty happy about it.

The people at the top of the class are the ones who like to study. They've got no problem putting in 12 hour days. By no means are they "smarter" than the others, they just care more about learning the material to get a high grade.

I think the whole-bell curve thing does have a lot to do with it as well, but I know there are people in my class that could kill every test if they would study more, they simply don't care to.
 

njbmd

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Some people are naturally gifted with photographic memories and will do amazing with minimal effort. Some people no matter how hard they work will never be in that top percentile. Most are somewhat in between where the harder and longer and smarter they work (including time management) the better they do. Many come to the conclusion that being in the top percentile just isn't worth the time commitment that it will take for them to get there.

There is no way you can know where you will fall in this spectrum until you're in it. All you can do is be prepared to work your tail off, be willing to adapt and change your strategy if necessary and accept that you might be one of those who can't hit the top no matter what.

For now the best thing you can do is get in the habit of working out regularly (most of the people I know have found that they do better when doing so, but its hard to make a new habit like this stick in medschool). I also read a bit about study techniques and time management ahead of medschool, as I had never *really* had to study before and found it helpful.
I have far from an "photographic" memory but I am an excellent student. I went for mastery of the material and not for quick memorization. Quick memorization puts information in your short term memory where it isn't likely to stay unless you use it daily. If you master the material and link it to your present knowledge base, it stays in there and you can recall it with a solid review.

I never let myself get behind the class. If I was sick or missed a study day, I went to where ever the class was and mastered that material. I could catch up on the weekend but I didn't use the weekdays to "play catch-up" because that was unproductive for my study strategies.

I studied in 50-minute bursts with 10-minutes of break in between. I never sat for hours staring at a page because after 50 minutes, my attention span was gone. I made sure that I tailored my study routine to my attention span. On those 10-minute breaks, I would run up and down a fight of stairs or get something to drink but I got completely away from my study materials to let my brain get a break.

I would also move around and pace as I recited things back to myself or to others. The pacing helped to relieve stress. I would master the material alone and then on study group days, we would discuss the material. Since our medical school had the most awesome syllabi in the world, we had everything that we needed to know in front of us when we studied. We didn't have to go searching through multiple books to find information.

I would preview before a lecture, take notes during the lecture and study the lecture later that day filling in anything that needed to be added for my understanding. I would then link the material to the preview for the next lecture. The next day, I would repeat the cycle. On weekends, I studied the previous weeks material as if the test were on that next Monday. By exam time, all I needed was a quick review and I was ready.

When I took exams, I would skim the entire test and answer the materials that I knew right off. If I couldn't answer a question in 30 seconds, I moved onto something else. I would then come back to unanswered questions after I had seen the entire exam. I was almost always the first or second person to finish an exam.

I also did not change answers unless there was something compelling that I noticed (clerical error). When one changes answers, they will invariably change 8 out of 10 answers from right to wrong and 2 out of 10 from wrong to right. In addition, I looked at questions carefully for answer clues which would lead me to the correct answer every time.

I have stone normal intelligence and memory but I maximized what I had. I also never let anyone (including myself) talk me into believing that I was somehow not going to be able to completely master the material. Your "inner voice" can sometimes "talk" you into believing that you are somehow inferior to other students which is far from the case. There is no material presented in any medical school that is unmasterable.

Finally, tune out the folks who boast about having "photographic" memories because they are the ones who "crash and burn" on Board exams. Run your own race and tend to your own work. Challenge yourself to hone what you do best and ignore the boasters who are trying to undermine your confidence. They are human just like you are and have to go from Point A to get to Point B.

You can decide (no matter what your past performance) that you are going to change your attitude and thinking as you approach your studies. Decide right now that you have every tool that you need to do well. Take a deep breath and start working on whatever the class is working on with the attitude that you will completely master it.
 

osteohopeful09

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njbmd, good response.

one more viable study strategy I want to add, is the philosophy that if you can teach it, you know it.

Getting a huge-ass white board, and literally creating your own "lectures" for some given material is an awesome way to finally consolidate/address any weak points you may have. Try doing it once you are finished reviewing a section. Walk around your room, lecturing invisible students, draw diagrams on the white board, create lists of topics you'd put on your own "exams" for them-- essentially, look like a fool, hahaha.
 
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oh guys i thought iam the only one who have problems with memorizing and medical study but i think there are too much people who have the same problems but i think every thing will be better when we adapt the new conditions in the medical study;)
 

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njbmd, good response.

one more viable study strategy I want to add, is the philosophy that if you can teach it, you know it.

Getting a huge-ass white board, and literally creating your own "lectures" for some given material is an awesome way to finally consolidate/address any weak points you may have. Try doing it once you are finished reviewing a section. Walk around your room, lecturing invisible students, draw diagrams on the white board, create lists of topics you'd put on your own "exams" for them-- essentially, look like a fool, hahaha.
I m glad im not the only freak that does something like this. I find this + the whole pacing around the house and reciting stuff to yourself like a crazy person works well too (like njbmd :p ). However both study strategies make other people think im crazy :laugh: :laugh:

I find sitting at and rewriting notes, or reading and doing the normal study things are just a waste of time for me. I like to be active while i study i find the walking really works well, im sure theres some scientific reason as to why...at least i hope or else maybe i really am crazy lol.
 

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excellent stuff
How do you feel about staying caught up vs. diminishing study returns? If you felt you studied best for 8 hours/day (lecture included), and staying caught up would push you to 9.5, do you push or go home?
 

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I think, that after reading njbmd's post above, most rational people will agree that it's prolly just not worth it. that leaves the irrational people to be at the top of the class
 

njbmd

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How do you feel about staying caught up vs. diminishing study returns? If you felt you studied best for 8 hours/day (lecture included), and staying caught up would push you to 9.5, do you push or go home?
I didn't need anything close to 8 hours per day of studying for any reason. I was far more efficient than that. My limit was 5 hours and generally 3-4 hours of consistent work daily. Like I said in my posts, I didn't sit and grind through things but stayed ahead. I kept my material organized and nibbled in 50-minute chunks rather than sit and lose efficiency.
 

Jorski

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I didn't need anything close to 8 hours per day of studying for any reason. I was far more efficient than that. My limit was 5 hours and generally 3-4 hours of consistent work daily. Like I said in my posts, I didn't sit and grind through things but stayed ahead. I kept my material organized and nibbled in 50-minute chunks rather than sit and lose efficiency.
:eek:

I have three hours of lecture, 1/2 hr lunch, and then 5 hours of studying that days material. I read your 50 min study/10 min break method before I started and have followed that. I can barely stay caught up, let alone get ahead. If there are afternoon activities then I come in before lecture the next day and get done what I couldnt get done the day before.

With that said, I am afraid to do a whole lot different then what I have been for fear of it not working.

I rewrite notes. Maybe that is a waste of time.
 

chiz2kul

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I have far from an "photographic" memory but I am an excellent student. I went for mastery of the material and not for quick memorization. Quick memorization puts information in your short term memory where it isn't likely to stay unless you use it daily. If you master the material and link it to your present knowledge base, it stays in there and you can recall it with a solid review.

I never let myself get behind the class. If I was sick or missed a study day, I went to where ever the class was and mastered that material. I could catch up on the weekend but I didn't use the weekdays to "play catch-up" because that was unproductive for my study strategies.

I studied in 50-minute bursts with 10-minutes of break in between. I never sat for hours staring at a page because after 50 minutes, my attention span was gone. I made sure that I tailored my study routine to my attention span. On those 10-minute breaks, I would run up and down a fight of stairs or get something to drink but I got completely away from my study materials to let my brain get a break.

I would also move around and pace as I recited things back to myself or to others. The pacing helped to relieve stress. I would master the material alone and then on study group days, we would discuss the material. Since our medical school had the most awesome syllabi in the world, we had everything that we needed to know in front of us when we studied. We didn't have to go searching through multiple books to find information.

I would preview before a lecture, take notes during the lecture and study the lecture later that day filling in anything that needed to be added for my understanding. I would then link the material to the preview for the next lecture. The next day, I would repeat the cycle. On weekends, I studied the previous weeks material as if the test were on that next Monday. By exam time, all I needed was a quick review and I was ready.

When I took exams, I would skim the entire test and answer the materials that I knew right off. If I couldn't answer a question in 30 seconds, I moved onto something else. I would then come back to unanswered questions after I had seen the entire exam. I was almost always the first or second person to finish an exam.

I also did not change answers unless there was something compelling that I noticed (clerical error). When one changes answers, they will invariably change 8 out of 10 answers from right to wrong and 2 out of 10 from wrong to right. In addition, I looked at questions carefully for answer clues which would lead me to the correct answer every time.

I have stone normal intelligence and memory but I maximized what I had. I also never let anyone (including myself) talk me into believing that I was somehow not going to be able to completely master the material. Your "inner voice" can sometimes "talk" you into believing that you are somehow inferior to other students which is far from the case. There is no material presented in any medical school that is unmasterable.

Finally, tune out the folks who boast about having "photographic" memories because they are the ones who "crash and burn" on Board exams. Run your own race and tend to your own work. Challenge yourself to hone what you do best and ignore the boasters who are trying to undermine your confidence. They are human just like you are and have to go from Point A to get to Point B.

You can decide (no matter what your past performance) that you are going to change your attitude and thinking as you approach your studies. Decide right now that you have every tool that you need to do well. Take a deep breath and start working on whatever the class is working on with the attitude that you will completely master it.
Great post, but the highlighted is sooo not true for me. I guess I must be an outlier?
 

FutureDoc17

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I have far from an "photographic" memory but I am an excellent student. I went for mastery of the material and not for quick memorization. Quick memorization puts information in your short term memory where it isn't likely to stay unless you use it daily. If you master the material and link it to your present knowledge base, it stays in there and you can recall it with a solid review.

I never let myself get behind the class. If I was sick or missed a study day, I went to where ever the class was and mastered that material. I could catch up on the weekend but I didn't use the weekdays to "play catch-up" because that was unproductive for my study strategies.

I studied in 50-minute bursts with 10-minutes of break in between. I never sat for hours staring at a page because after 50 minutes, my attention span was gone. I made sure that I tailored my study routine to my attention span. On those 10-minute breaks, I would run up and down a fight of stairs or get something to drink but I got completely away from my study materials to let my brain get a break.

I would also move around and pace as I recited things back to myself or to others. The pacing helped to relieve stress. I would master the material alone and then on study group days, we would discuss the material. Since our medical school had the most awesome syllabi in the world, we had everything that we needed to know in front of us when we studied. We didn't have to go searching through multiple books to find information.

I would preview before a lecture, take notes during the lecture and study the lecture later that day filling in anything that needed to be added for my understanding. I would then link the material to the preview for the next lecture. The next day, I would repeat the cycle. On weekends, I studied the previous weeks material as if the test were on that next Monday. By exam time, all I needed was a quick review and I was ready.

When I took exams, I would skim the entire test and answer the materials that I knew right off. If I couldn't answer a question in 30 seconds, I moved onto something else. I would then come back to unanswered questions after I had seen the entire exam. I was almost always the first or second person to finish an exam.

I also did not change answers unless there was something compelling that I noticed (clerical error). When one changes answers, they will invariably change 8 out of 10 answers from right to wrong and 2 out of 10 from wrong to right. In addition, I looked at questions carefully for answer clues which would lead me to the correct answer every time.

I have stone normal intelligence and memory but I maximized what I had. I also never let anyone (including myself) talk me into believing that I was somehow not going to be able to completely master the material. Your "inner voice" can sometimes "talk" you into believing that you are somehow inferior to other students which is far from the case. There is no material presented in any medical school that is unmasterable.

Finally, tune out the folks who boast about having "photographic" memories because they are the ones who "crash and burn" on Board exams. Run your own race and tend to your own work. Challenge yourself to hone what you do best and ignore the boasters who are trying to undermine your confidence. They are human just like you are and have to go from Point A to get to Point B.

You can decide (no matter what your past performance) that you are going to change your attitude and thinking as you approach your studies. Decide right now that you have every tool that you need to do well. Take a deep breath and start working on whatever the class is working on with the attitude that you will completely master it.
Great information. Thanks!
 

plsfoldthx

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its called a bell curve...take any group of people and make them do any activity, there will always be ones who are better at it and ones that are worse. this is true whether you are a premed or a med student or a radiation oncologist or a family doctor...welcome to life :rolleyes:

in general though, grade = efficiency x time put in, figure out what grade you want to get in med school, figure out your efficiency, and then youll know how much studying you need to put in every day
the bell curve is not a cause, it's a description... :rolleyes:
 

futureboy

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If/when you get in, you're already among the best of the best. Don't worry too much if you're not at the top. Remember, SOMEONE has to finish at the bottom of the Johns Hopkins med school class--it doesn't mean he/she won't be a good doctor.
 

futureboy

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its called a bell curve...take any group of people and make them do any activity, there will always be ones who are better at it and ones that are worse.
I'm taking statistics right now--it's amazing how so many things are normally distributed (described by the bell-shaped curve).
 

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There are different levels of smart. There are different levels of dedicated & hard working. I believe that the latter makes the biggest impact on your grade.

njbmd's experience is very similar to mine. First semester I read a lot, stayed on top of the material by going to class, read after lecture, and did very well in my classes. Unfortunately, it also burned me out a bit.

This semester I took it easier, started skipping class and sleeping in, and did what most people do -- put material off for a week or two, then cram for a week or two straight. My grades have been 5-10 points lower this semester than last semester. On the other hand, I think mentally/emotionally I'm in a much better place, except when I stress out about my grades being lower.

There's a big tradeoff for a lot of people between amount of work put in and emotional health. People like njbmd who can make extremely effective use of their time without burning out are the best of both worlds, but I imagine quite rare.
 
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Narmerguy

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I have far from an "photographic" memory but I am an excellent student. I went for mastery of the material and not for quick memorization. Quick memorization puts information in your short term memory where it isn't likely to stay unless you use it daily. If you master the material and link it to your present knowledge base, it stays in there and you can recall it with a solid review.

I never let myself get behind the class. If I was sick or missed a study day, I went to where ever the class was and mastered that material. I could catch up on the weekend but I didn't use the weekdays to "play catch-up" because that was unproductive for my study strategies.

I studied in 50-minute bursts with 10-minutes of break in between. I never sat for hours staring at a page because after 50 minutes, my attention span was gone. I made sure that I tailored my study routine to my attention span. On those 10-minute breaks, I would run up and down a fight of stairs or get something to drink but I got completely away from my study materials to let my brain get a break.

I would also move around and pace as I recited things back to myself or to others. The pacing helped to relieve stress. I would master the material alone and then on study group days, we would discuss the material. Since our medical school had the most awesome syllabi in the world, we had everything that we needed to know in front of us when we studied. We didn't have to go searching through multiple books to find information.

I would preview before a lecture, take notes during the lecture and study the lecture later that day filling in anything that needed to be added for my understanding. I would then link the material to the preview for the next lecture. The next day, I would repeat the cycle. On weekends, I studied the previous weeks material as if the test were on that next Monday. By exam time, all I needed was a quick review and I was ready.

When I took exams, I would skim the entire test and answer the materials that I knew right off. If I couldn't answer a question in 30 seconds, I moved onto something else. I would then come back to unanswered questions after I had seen the entire exam. I was almost always the first or second person to finish an exam.

I also did not change answers unless there was something compelling that I noticed (clerical error). When one changes answers, they will invariably change 8 out of 10 answers from right to wrong and 2 out of 10 from wrong to right. In addition, I looked at questions carefully for answer clues which would lead me to the correct answer every time.

I have stone normal intelligence and memory but I maximized what I had. I also never let anyone (including myself) talk me into believing that I was somehow not going to be able to completely master the material. Your "inner voice" can sometimes "talk" you into believing that you are somehow inferior to other students which is far from the case. There is no material presented in any medical school that is unmasterable.

Finally, tune out the folks who boast about having "photographic" memories because they are the ones who "crash and burn" on Board exams. Run your own race and tend to your own work. Challenge yourself to hone what you do best and ignore the boasters who are trying to undermine your confidence. They are human just like you are and have to go from Point A to get to Point B.

You can decide (no matter what your past performance) that you are going to change your attitude and thinking as you approach your studies. Decide right now that you have every tool that you need to do well. Take a deep breath and start working on whatever the class is working on with the attitude that you will completely master it.
What kind of stuff did you do during clinical years?
 

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I also did not change answers unless there was something compelling that I noticed (clerical error). When one changes answers, they will invariably change 8 out of 10 answers from right to wrong and 2 out of 10 from wrong to right.
This isn't true. For both Step 1 and Step 2, according to USMLE World, I was at least twice as likely to change it from an incorrect answer to a correct answer as I was to go from correct to incorrect. It varies from one person to the next.
 

njbmd

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So I'll officially be starting in August. One of the things I've been wondering lately is how some people do better than others in med school. How/why is it that some students make it to the top of their class while others hover around average or even below average? What accounts for this disparity? I've heard time and time again that "everyone in med school is smart," that the students that make it in were the best students in college.

I figure that the competition becomes insane when you put all of these academically gifted/hard-working people together in one class. Do some people just study harder? Do some manage their time better? Are some just better than others at memorizing?

I hope I'm not coming off as a gunner. I'm genuinely interested in seeing how some people (even at the med school level amongst intense competition) get to the top. What do they do that gets them there? Insight is appreciated!
The key to doing well in medical school is to become an "efficient" student. The material is not difficult but there's a "ramp up" in volume that medical students must adjust to quickly. It doesn't make any difference how "hard-working" or "gifted" a student might be as everyone has to adjust to the volume. The folks who are able to do this quickly and consistently are the ones who head to the top of the class.

Many people who prided themselves on getting all "As" in undergraduate or graduate, will often crash a bit on those first rounds of exams in medical school because they have faced nothing close to the volume of material that one is expected to master. If you don't get things mastered efficiently, you will be playing "catch up" (deadly) or trying to make "trade offs" ("I will study the "high yield" stuff which leaves you not learning everything that you need).

I studied for thorough mastery and not for a particular grade in medical school. In the end, I consistently performed better than my classmates who focused on grade alone. I studied efficiently and was able to master what I needed. Does this mean that I walked into every exam feeling "on top" of everything? Not in the least but I knew that I had covered all of the material at least once. I also didn't waste time "worrying" about the volume but divided the material into manageable "chunks" for learning.

Plenty of my more "gifted" classmates were crashing and burning while I just simply got the job done without angst or fanfare. I also studied the materials that I was given to study and didn't try to go to a bunch of review books or outside "stuff". I didn't let anything take away from what I had to master. When Step I time came around, the review books were useful at that time but not for course study (not detailed enough).

You can also get the idea of "competition" out of your head. You are only in competition with yourself to do better on your next set of exams than on the last set of exams. The quicker you get over the "pre-med" syndrome, the better you do.
 

DrSmooth

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Man I am glad I caught this thread, so helpful! Makes me excited to get started. Thanks for all the posts. :thumbup:
 

amine2086

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When one changes answers, they will invariably change 8 out of 10 answers from right to wrong and 2 out of 10 from wrong to right.
79.99% of statistics are made up. I think if you have solid reasoning behind why you are changing your answer, you should go ahead and change it. I have noticed that more often I change from wrong answer to right answer compared to the other way around.
 

URHere

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No matter what your method of attack may be, you have no guarantees in medical school. You may work as hard as humanly possible and still not break average. On the other hand, you may land excellent grades with less effort than you expect.

It depends on the person. All you can do is figure out what gives you the best outcome for yourself - hanging your hopes and dreams on class rank rarely works out well.
 

Sesom

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Do any of you med school students use the livescribe pen? My brother who is in law school uses that and seems to like it a lot.
 

Narmerguy

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Do any of you med school students use the livescribe pen? My brother who is in law school uses that and seems to like it a lot.
That's pretty awesome looking :eek:
 

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I have far from an "photographic" memory but I am an excellent student. I went for mastery of the material and not for quick memorization. Quick memorization puts information in your short term memory where it isn't likely to stay unless you use it daily. If you master the material and link it to your present knowledge base, it stays in there and you can recall it with a solid review.

I never let myself get behind the class. If I was sick or missed a study day, I went to where ever the class was and mastered that material. I could catch up on the weekend but I didn't use the weekdays to "play catch-up" because that was unproductive for my study strategies.

I studied in 50-minute bursts with 10-minutes of break in between. I never sat for hours staring at a page because after 50 minutes, my attention span was gone. I made sure that I tailored my study routine to my attention span. On those 10-minute breaks, I would run up and down a fight of stairs or get something to drink but I got completely away from my study materials to let my brain get a break.

I would also move around and pace as I recited things back to myself or to others. The pacing helped to relieve stress. I would master the material alone and then on study group days, we would discuss the material. Since our medical school had the most awesome syllabi in the world, we had everything that we needed to know in front of us when we studied. We didn't have to go searching through multiple books to find information.

I would preview before a lecture, take notes during the lecture and study the lecture later that day filling in anything that needed to be added for my understanding. I would then link the material to the preview for the next lecture. The next day, I would repeat the cycle. On weekends, I studied the previous weeks material as if the test were on that next Monday. By exam time, all I needed was a quick review and I was ready.

When I took exams, I would skim the entire test and answer the materials that I knew right off. If I couldn't answer a question in 30 seconds, I moved onto something else. I would then come back to unanswered questions after I had seen the entire exam. I was almost always the first or second person to finish an exam.

I also did not change answers unless there was something compelling that I noticed (clerical error). When one changes answers, they will invariably change 8 out of 10 answers from right to wrong and 2 out of 10 from wrong to right. In addition, I looked at questions carefully for answer clues which would lead me to the correct answer every time.

I have stone normal intelligence and memory but I maximized what I had. I also never let anyone (including myself) talk me into believing that I was somehow not going to be able to completely master the material. Your "inner voice" can sometimes "talk" you into believing that you are somehow inferior to other students which is far from the case. There is no material presented in any medical school that is unmasterable.

Finally, tune out the folks who boast about having "photographic" memories because they are the ones who "crash and burn" on Board exams. Run your own race and tend to your own work. Challenge yourself to hone what you do best and ignore the boasters who are trying to undermine your confidence. They are human just like you are and have to go from Point A to get to Point B.

You can decide (no matter what your past performance) that you are going to change your attitude and thinking as you approach your studies. Decide right now that you have every tool that you need to do well. Take a deep breath and start working on whatever the class is working on with the attitude that you will completely master it.

good post :thumbup:
 

drizzt3117

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"photographic memories" are overrated. B
I can essentially remember anything I commit to paper which is helpful but isn't the end all be all one would think it is. You have to make sure you 1)understand things and 2) are studying the right info. It does help though. It also doesn't mean you don't have to study, I put in a lot of hours and also did 20-30 hours of research a week.
 

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I can't say they'd necessarily perform differently in medical school, but there is generally a large difference in terms of intelligence between someone who scores a 30 on the MCAT and someone who scores near a 40. So saying simply, "everyone is very smart" doesn't explain the whole story.
 

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Wow, this is one of the better threads ive read
yeah and without all the name calling and back biting that most threads in SDN eventually break down into.

I personally agree with what's been said, being the "top" of your class sometimes just isn't worth the amount of time you have to put in. Not to mention that your first 2 year basic science grades are often less important in the grander scheme of things when applying to residencies. And whether or not it'll help you on the boards is also a common topic of debate.
 
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So for those of ya'll in the crowd who study to pass and be average, is it because there are other things that you would rather be doing? Fun activities that you like to do and that sort of thing? Or is there more to it than that. I have always been under the impression that medical school will scavenge every last free minute you have in favor of studying for the next exam.
 

Ischemic

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So for those of ya'll in the crowd who study to pass and be average, is it because there are other things that you would rather be doing? Fun activities that you like to do and that sort of thing? Or is there more to it than that. I have always been under the impression that medical school will scavenge every last free minute you have in favor of studying for the next exam.
Well man, everyone in med school is brilliant and so for the administration to separate people they'll ask questions that come from a tiny ass picture on slide 15 of lecture 33. Really, considering that you have 30 or so lectures per class (2-3 per day) and each lecture is crammed full of information you can spend every waking moment studying useless minutia so that you can get 1 or 2 extra questions right? What's the point? STEP 1 is going to test you on more general and clinically relevant material not the "hotest research" that your professors will be presenting to you in lecture and since your STEP 1 scores carry far more weight than your whole first 2 year grades combined ... yah I'd rather be out drinking, working out, hanging with friends and enjoying my life. I can live without honoring every class as long as I understand the material and not just "purge" after every test like most of the memorizers do.
 
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Its good to get a fresh perspective on that! Of course you remember these kinds of myths floating around the premed world.
 

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Well man, everyone in med school is brilliant and so for the administration to separate people they'll ask questions that come from a tiny ass picture on slide 15 of lecture 33. Really, considering that you have 30 or so lectures per class (2-3 per day) and each lecture is crammed full of information you can spend every waking moment studying useless minutia so that you can get 1 or 2 extra questions right? What's the point? STEP 1 is going to test you on more general and clinically relevant material not the "hotest research" that your professors will be presenting to you in lecture and since your STEP 1 scores carry far more weight than your whole first 2 year grades combined ... yah I'd rather be out drinking, working out, hanging with friends and enjoying my life. I can live without honoring every class as long as I understand the material and not just "purge" after every test like most of the memorizers do.

I think we are the same person.

I take a 4 week vacation, study for about 7-10 days and do just slightly below average. At my school they have shown that there is NO correlation between pre-clinical grades and step 1 unless you are the at the very top or bottom. I really don't see the point at killing myself just to get a better pass than the next person. Most of the difference between people at the top of the class is determined by who memorized which completely useless fact that has no relevance to your success as a doctor later in life. Luck also plays a significant factor, because they tend to test minutia in order to create a bell curve, not to test your actual understanding.
 

PreMedder

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So for those of ya'll in the crowd who study to pass and be average, is it because there are other things that you would rather be doing? Fun activities that you like to do and that sort of thing? Or is there more to it than that. I have always been under the impression that medical school will scavenge every last free minute you have in favor of studying for the next exam.
I feel like this was my impression of what med school was like as well. For those of you who don't waste their time with the minutia, how much extra time do you think you have per week/day than your peers who are striving for the top? How would you consider the stress-level if you aren't cramming useless **** day in and day out?
 

45408

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So for those of ya'll in the crowd who study to pass and be average, is it because there are other things that you would rather be doing? Fun activities that you like to do and that sort of thing? Or is there more to it than that. I have always been under the impression that medical school will scavenge every last free minute you have in favor of studying for the next exam.
Very, VERY few people actually spend that much time studying in med school. Just two weeks into residency, and I'm longing for the all the free time I had as an M1 and M2.
 

mic2377

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a
 
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