Curious about perception of my school's rigor

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Dec 2, 2020
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Hey everyone, preclinical student here. I know the discussion about which schools are "harder" than others has been perpetual and some will argue that it's pointless since curricula and certainly boards are standardized between schools. Despite the similarities between schools, I've been talking with some friends/peers in my class and we were just curious what students or alumni at other schools would think about the rigor at our school. I've heard from others here that our school is pretty difficult, but also that it's pretty forgiving, so I'd like to get a sense of grounding and see what you all think.

I know it's hard to get a complete perception without knowing the difficulty of our exams, but here are the objective policies:

-We have an accelerated 1.5 year preclinical curriculum that is true P/F
-Exam frequency varies significantly depending on the class/block, but they are typically every 2 weeks on average.
-For example, during our anatomy course, we had exam days every 2 weeks where we'd have two 2-3 hour written exams in the morning, and then an individual practical followed by a shorter group practical in the afternoon. We also had quizzes throughout. During our physio course, we had exams every two weeks typically. In our combined cell path/micro course, we would sometimes have weekly exams or two exams in the same week because the two courses were essentially stacked together to save time.
-We have other, "smaller" classes like clinical skills, health policy, anti-racism, ethics, biostats, etc. with either regular quizzes or final presentations/essays depending on the class.
-Lectures can run anywhere from 8-12 to 10-12, and they are optional with occasional exceptions. We have required attendance at all discussion groups which is usually about 3-4x a week.
-We must pass each exam; our scoring is not based on the entire course/block and the cutoff for a pass varies from a 60-70%.
-If you fail an exam, you are allowed one retake. We do not have remediation for entire classes (AFAIK), so failing a retake means that you would have to repeat the entire year again. Also, at least to my knowledge, there is not a blanket policy of having to repeat the year if you have to retake X exams or more.
-I have heard from older students that there is leniency to the "official" policy; if you are otherwise in good standing, they will work with you and usually allow you to have another retake if it's not excessive.
-During preclinicals, we have OSCEs every 2 weeks usually; however, most of them are not graded.
-I have not gotten to clinicals yet, but I know it's graded on a H/HP/P/F scale (for core rotations) based on a mix of evals and shelfs.
-We do have AOA.
-Attrition is low and the % of students who drop out for academic reasons or have to repeat a year is usually close to 0.

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Tbh nobody cares lol, and you won't care soon either. Just pass your coursework and pass your board exams.
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Edit: lol I thought OP was a premed, sorry

Is this post like a "my med school is better/worse than yours" thing?

I have no idea, and neither do you. No way for us to know.
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Like mentioned above, no one gives a ****!
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No one really cares - perhaps you are confusing "rigor" for "reputation."

Since you specifically asked:
Lectures can run anywhere from 8-12 to 10-12
So, you have 2-4 hours of lecture/day? That does not seem like a lot.

If you fail an exam, you are allowed one retake.
-I have heard from older students that there is leniency to the "official" policy; if you are otherwise in good standing, they will work with you and usually allow you to have another retake if it's not excessive.
Is this one retake per exam? Again, since you specifically asked, if your school allows you 1-2 retakes per exam failure, this is about the least rigorous policy I have ever heard of. Of course your school has a low attrition rate (in preclinicals, at least); they are passing people who other schools would fail.

Again, none of this matters because much of medical education is self-directed, and you can equally thrive at a terrible school or struggle at a great school. It's on you.
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Why does this matter to yall? Nobody gives af. Focus on being successful in school and passing your board exams…
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The small community of curriculum designers are the only ones who would really engage in this discussion. Someone can correct me, but we can redact your school name from your ERAS/residency application, right?
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Seems pretty similar to my school. People had to repeat full years, but in general, if someone wanted to finish, the school did everything in their power to help instead of just letting people go.

I think that's just being supportive though opposed to representing rigor or difficulty. Despite different curricula and such, I think most schools are going to be similar in difficulty due to the material and the level at which it is taught (no free rides).

I think the more important thing is the caliber of students admitted and how supportive the school is to its students.