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difficulty of pharmacy school compared to medical and law school?

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by PharmD1988, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. PharmD1988

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    I am curious to see how you guys/girls view the difficulty of pharmacy compared to medical and law school. I know its comparing apples to oranges, but I have heard some pharmacy students study a lot (including weekends) but others have time to work part time jobs while in pharmacy school. Not trying to stir up anything regarding pharmacy school being the easiest (who knows med schools may flunk out in a medicinal chem/therapeutics ever they took it)
     
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  3. owlegrad

    owlegrad Uncontrollable Sarcasm Machine
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    Having done all three, I can assure you pharmacy school is the hardest. :smuggrin:
     
  4. Rockinacoustic

    Pharmacist 7+ Year Member

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  5. rxlea

    rxlea Almost a unicorn
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    Well, considering most of us have never been in medical/law school, our viewpoints will be based off opinions of those we know in those other professions or just rumor. The rigor of the curricula will also vary by school. Personally, I had my ass handed to me P1 year because 1) I was working 20 hours a week 2) I had MAJOR relationship drama.

    The classes themselves were not hard for me; it was more a matter of finding the time to study. I performed at a B level in the "harder" classes strictly because I didn't have time to study the minutiae that our professors wanted us to know for exams. As for the material worth knowing? I actually remember most of it because I am not a pump/dump person and I get to apply a lot of the concepts at work.

    I think having an internship is an advantage because you actually see what you're learning in practice and it just "sticks" a lot better. I found my IPPE to be very helpful in this regard because I was able to counsel patients, do some diabetes education, take scripts/transfers, and compound. A LOT of the things I learned during the school year came up and I remember it a lot better now.

    The experience of students will greatly vary. I think the most important thing is to make the most of your time in school and pay attention to the most important concepts. It will be hard if you are really trying to LEARN the material because of the time you will put in. That's just my opinion. We will see how P2 goes where everything becomes increasingly case based and critical thinking skills become more important.
     
  6. IndustryPharmD

    IndustryPharmD Here to Help
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    Well, having seen both pharmacy and law... it's not that one is more or less difficult than the other, they are different. The main difficulty of pharmacy is the amount of stuff you are expected to memorize for the exams. The main difficulty of law school is that your entire grade for the course is based on one single exam where you are graded against each other with no right or wrong answers, but whomever gets the closest to what professor expects to see, wins. I didn't find either to be near as challenging as some upper level undergrad chemistry and physics courses. To be honest, I don't think I found any academic subject to be truly challenging after surviving thermodynamics. :laugh: There I actually had to think hard and often tackle a problem a few times in different ways before being able to solve it. Pharmacy school is not difficult to grasp, it's just time-consuming to learn the minute detail. Law school is fairly easy to bluff through as long as you know anything at all and can write decently.
     
  7. LazyMooch

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    All of the retail pharmacists I've talked to had 3.0's or up and said they didn't attend class a lot (unless mandated) because it was pure slide memorization and book work. If you're a strong memorizer, I'd say pharmacy is easier than law, but if critical thinking is more your thing, then law might be easier.

    Ultimately, one's ability to succeed in their education stems largely from their financial/family/health situation. If you have the time and the resources, there isn't a valid reason for you to drop below a 3.0

    ...Unless you're lazy/dumb
     
  8. Phlame217

    Phlame217 PGY-1 IM
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    Having done 1 year of Pharm before switching to Medicine... they were similar but I have had to put in much more time studying for medicine.
     
  9. PharmaTope

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    i dont know who will say different, but i found pharmacy to be very hard. i remember the nights of no sleep, the weeks of constant studying, lack of social life, loss of myself at times. it was a very grueling curriculum.
     
  10. LazyMooch

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    Right, but from what I heard it's the amount of the material rather than the material itself; there is a lot to memorize, but its not overly difficult (relative to pure math/physics Phd) to understand.
     
  11. njac

    njac Senior Member
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    I had a friend in Medical School at the University of Arizona who said that it was commonly known that the pharmacy students were logging more hours studying in the library their first year.


    I think every program is enough different that it's hard to make direct comparisons.
     
  12. rxlea

    rxlea Almost a unicorn
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    I can attest to this. First and second year at the UA are ridonkulous (second year is worse). You are gonna really work for the A's. Or you could be like me and work a lot and do what you can as many A's and B's as possible. The 4.0 students def spend more time in the library. The med students make fun of us :( but they get killed during their clinicals. You can get totally PWND come rotations depending on where you go. Like njac mentioned, it's pretty hard to compare two schools of pharmacy, much less pharm vs med
     
    #11 rxlea, Aug 12, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2011
  13. WhiteSnows

    WhiteSnows Think Right and Grow Rich
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    They can't be compared. They are different kinds of difficulties and it depends on who are talking here.
     
  14. rph3664

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    One of my Facebook friends is a pharmacy school classmate who later went to law school, and is now a practicing attorney (with a pharmacist license she isn't currently using). She said law school was WAY easier than pharmacy school.

    That is, of course, just one person's viewpoint.
     
  15. GreyFox2002

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    I can definitely attest to the argument that the material presented in pharmacy/med school isn't as hard to grasp as the more theoretical material presented in upper level undergraduate courses. I have a biochem degree and had to take some tough chemistry courses, like physical chemistry/quantitative analysis and of course those upper level, more in-depth biochemistry courses, advanced immunology, etc. Theoretically, they were harder to grasp then pharmacology/pharmacokinetics. In fairness however, my background in those areas probably made it easier for me to grasp those concepts in pharmacy school.

    I finished undergrad with a 3.85 gpa; I'm a pretty damn hard worker and honestly it didn't kill me. Comparably, P1 year wasn't bad at all. It was similar to undergrad, with perhaps more courseload. P2 year was like a bat of hell. The pharmacology/kinetics, med chem, and onslaught of therapeutics (Wayne State's curriculum is very therapeutics heavy) just came so fast and got so in-depth. If the subject matter was as difficult to understand theoretically as undergraduate level courses, then it would be impossible to make it through the curriculum. In retrospect, my undergrad was about a 5/10 in terms of difficult and pharmacy school was 9/10.

    I think curriculum wise pharmacy school may just be slightly easier then med and dental school in terms of didactic training. In terms of clinical rotations, there is no comparison. Med school's rotations are harder, longer, and require more hours, plus the USMLE steps, etc. However, depending on the rotations you do in pharmacy school, you can get a very challenging (and rewarding environment). Rotations IMHO are what make a great pharmacist. I for one did almost all of my rotations in various ICU environments at a trauma center and I had a killer HIV/Amb care rotation. Spent about 60 hours/week at my site. Still not as tough as med school, but tough.

    I can't comment on law school because its so different. I think what makes law school hard is the competition between students (this is also somewhat true for med school). Pharmacy school really doesn't have much competition beyond those striving for residencies. Also, in law school you got one big exam at the end that can make or break you. In comparison, pharmacy school is a continuous onslaught of exams that constantly keep you on edge with that pit of fear in your stomach. It's a totally different learning environment and I think both are similar in terms of difficulty.
     
  16. Rockefella

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    Were you in a six-year program or did you apply to pharm school and then quit? how did that work?? I'm going in my second year of pharm school and I would just hate to quit at this point, however, I know I'm not very passionate about what I'm doing at this point and last semester was just brutal since I was so unsure of what I really want to do.
     
  17. Rockefella

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    idk why difficulty matters. I've heard goods and bads of all three. Personally, I'm in pharm school and I find it hard, however, I think many of my classmates passed with flying colors since they had experience working in a pharmacy and seem to know really what they want to do. I know picking grad schools and careers is tough, but you have to really think what you want to do realistically as a job for the rest of your life. School will be hard regardless, but its practical application is very different from sitting and studying all the material you learn in school, imo.
     
  18. PharmacyStud

    PharmacyStud Junior Member
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    Graduated with a PharmD 2 years ago and currently 3 weeks into medical school. Purely my opinion. Pharmacy school was moderately difficult, besides a couple of classes, it was just basically grouping things together and memorize. Not to sound arrogant, once you start getting the big picture, it wasn't that bad at all. On the other hand, the material so far in medical is not overly difficult, but the amount of material that you need to know is A LOT. I mean, A LOT, borderline ridiculous and in a short period of time.

    The rigor of medical school is harder just for the amount of material you have to know and in the short amount of time. Medical school only have 2 years of lectures, compared to the three years in pharmacy. At this rate, the amount of material I will be exposed to in the two years of med school will vastly exceed the material I had in my PharmD program.
     
    #17 PharmacyStud, Aug 22, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
    Maruko likes this.
  19. Chris co2012

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    I'm in one of the 3-year programs, and I've been wondering how hard I have it compared to a typical PharmD student. The work isn't hard at all... but it just feels like I get beat mentally over and over again with no break. So, I feel like I'm running a marathon at a mediocre pace. I think I would perform better under 4-year conditions. Oh well... 4 days of class left and then I'll be out on rotations. Thank God.
     
  20. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 imagine sisyphus happy
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    From people I've talked to that have done both, just like pharmacy school, medical school isn't really that intellectually challenging as it just seems like the amount of material needed to be memorized never ends, yet needs to be done in a finite amount of time. Pharmacy school is like trying to drain a lake with a bucket...medical school is like trying to drain a slightly larger lake with same bucket, but with several less months to do it in.
     
  21. Phlame217

    Phlame217 PGY-1 IM
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    Sounds about right; In reality being in 2nd year right now, I am getting a greater understanding of the medical process. 1st year is the equivalent of compressing your entire bachelors into 1 year. Think of trying to do a keg stand and drinking the whole keg. You have to put in the appropriate amount of breaks, breaths, etc otherwise you'll suffocate or die from intoxication lol. Same goes for 1st year of medical school; how much you get depends on previous knowledge, stamina, and ability to learn/retain. 2nd year has been purely review with building on top. Its finally that point you reach when the memorization is mostly over and you're playing connect the dots while brushing up on your rough areas from the year before. Therefore this year is like sipping beer from a stein.

    Yes I was in a 6 year program; Technically made it through 3rd/1st year and then changed my mind. Was able to knock out my bachelors in the 4th year and went on to medical school.
     
  22. Farcus

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    I'd say upper level undergrad is harder than > med > pharm > law but the relative difficulty isn't by a huge stretch other than med's USMLE

    just my personal opinion from what I seen, although clearly i'm only a p3 not a m3 or a l3 or anything.
     
  23. lorain

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    it all depends on the person and their skills

    i do believe med school is much harder compared to pharm school since they have to take more in depth anatomy + learn the diagnoses aspect.
     
  24. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Did you just say something?
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    i think medicine is harder in general, but pharmacy is hard in that you're ready to practice the day you graduate (or i hope so). MD/DO students have their most important formative years ahead of them on the day of graduation.
     
  25. Farcus

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    True, most PGY1 Med resident are not really doctors, hence high rate of medical error during summer. From what I seen of my med fellows, there is a great deal of raw memorization esp gross anatomy and neurology. The stuff of which most pharmacy school doesn't really cover much unless you're in cali.
     

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