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Disgruntled Testtakers

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by ERJunkie, Dec 10, 2005.

  1. ERJunkie

    ERJunkie Member
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    Its my first semester of the first year. I study my [email protected]% off and understand the material very well. However, after each test I am only a few points above the class average. However, I find that I have a better understanding of the subject material than some scoring at the top of the class. Whenever I receive my tests, it turns out it is the "dumb" mistakes that cost me my score. Is anyone else experiencing this now? Any recommendations on decreasing testing errors?

    I hope the extra work pays off next semester in Gross Lab!!!

    Sincerely,
    Pissed Off
     
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  3. thackl

    thackl 1K Member
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    This seems pretty common in med school. I have a lot of friends struggling with the same problem.
     
  4. Taus

    Taus .
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    I have found that the difference between understanding the material and getting around the average score verus getting an A has been to really focus on studying from previous years tests (if they are available through the school or upperclassmen). By doing this and really analyzing all of the past questions, you can pick out some of the "bull$hit minutia" that the teachers will ask. Combine that with a good understanding of the material and you should be able to rock the exams.

    Also you have to keep in mind that this isn't college anymore...you are in a class with some very smart people so getting above the average is still an accomplishment.
     
  5. duvals101

    duvals101 Junior Member
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    Dude, chill out.....I had the same problem and I know it's frustrating. Just make sure you can apply your basic science knowledge to the clinical rotations and keep the same work ethic and you'll be straight. Oh, and also bust it on the Step 1's.

    Peace.
     
  6. nala

    nala Member
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    hey I had/have the same problem...it helps me to go through the exam a 2nd time and really check to make sure I've read each question right and marked the answer I want to. It takes a little patience but I've caught a lot of my mistakes this way
     
  7. riDer

    riDer ooohhh right!
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    ++++
     
  8. synapse lapse

    synapse lapse tokyo robotic
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    Yo I'm with you man, I have a decent grasp of the material and yet can't seem to really bust it to the top of the class. NO suggestions here as I am trying to figure it out myself... So different than undergrad!
     
  9. beastmaster

    beastmaster Senior Member
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    "Understanding" is the bare minimum that you can possibly do to a chunk of information. Next you have to master, and then finally, to manipulate it :thumbup:
     
  10. dynx

    dynx Yankee Imperialist
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    First, admit that this isn't true
    Second, fix that problem
     
  11. Furrball2

    Furrball2 Stll Faking Sincerity
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    You have spent the last 22 years being one of the more intelligent and higher achieving people in all of your classes. You have gone from being in the top 10 to 5 percent to being average in a group of the top 10 to 5 percent. I think if you had access to everyone's records you would find that there are a lot of people right around average in your class. Get used to it, this is the rest of your life.
     
  12. bigdan

    bigdan SDN Donor
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    OP-

    I hear ya bro. My lab partner had an insightful quote after the midterm in anatomy: "I've never worked so hard to show that I am mediocre".

    Keep at it. Nail the step 1.

    dc
     
  13. thackl

    thackl 1K Member
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    Well, being at UTSW won't help your cause. That's the #1 gunner school of the southwest (even more so than Baylor from what I've been told). I'm sure my Honors at TTU wouldn't amount to a hill of crap there :)
     
  14. beastmaster

    beastmaster Senior Member
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    Bingo
     
  15. Antigunner

    Antigunner This is a chill pill.
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    As a very wise man once said, "RTFQ!"

    Do it twice if you need to (go back over every question after completing the exam if you have time)
     
  16. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I'd have to agree with this. If you were talking about one test, then perhaps you got unlucky or they got lucky. But if we are talking about every test, then face it, you do not "have a better understanding of the subhect material" than those that are consistantly doing better. They are clearly keying in on something you haven't been. Figure out what.
     
  17. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Hi there,
    Doing well on an exam has little to do with how much you study but more with how WELL you study. One of the biggest adjustments that I made in medical school was learning to study smart. Old exams are a start. There are no rewards for sitting around staring into a book for hours. Ratchet your efficiency up a few notches.

    njbmd :)
     
  18. MeowMix

    MeowMix Explaining "Post-Call"
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    I spent last year on the left side of the curve, and I know it sucks. Instant partial solution to your frustrations: stop comparing your % scores with your classmates. Even with your best friends, knowing individual scores makes for unhappiness. My study group only talks P/F among ourselves. It's too stressful otherwise.

    In many of our courses, those who do better on exams are not necessarily the ones who know the material best. I personally have achieved several amazing exam scores this year on material that I really did not know particularly well. Again, comparison breeds unhappiness. Just do your best, and everyone else will do their thing.
     
  19. Psycho Doctor

    Psycho Doctor *** Angel
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    TESTS SUCK!!!!! I'm so frustrated after working so hard. I hear you, bro
     
  20. trudub

    trudub Senior Member
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    This definitely said it best.
     
  21. tupac_don

    tupac_don Senior Member
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    That's not neccessarily a false statement. I think he might actually have better GENERAL understanding then people who get top scores, provided its not an exaggeration. But people who get top scores are very good at picking up the IMPORTANT points from lectures, working thru old tests, word of mouth, what is imp to focus on and what is not. I mean if you try to be a hero to study EVERYTHING you will not master it. That's where teachers come in. And I think people who study everything, might have a better GENERAL knowledge, but don't know the stuff that is tested on. I for example used have excellent knowledge in my first years of undergrad, but they didn't correlate with my grades. Why, b/c I never went to class, I strictly read from the book. I started going to class, and my grade jumped 20%, so to say that it's a false statement is tough to really say that.

    To say that they are not studying the right material despite claiming to have superior understanding per their opinion is more of an accurate statement.

    But in any case, if you know the material and still have average grades, that individual is doing something wrong.
     
  22. mommy2three

    mommy2three PGY-1
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    i am right there with you. i feel like all i do is study 24/7 and get the extra help thru tutoring and i still have difficulty on the exams. it is incredibly frustrating!!! i feel like i am banging my head against the wall sometimes. i just keep reminding myself though that even though some people may be better test takers (which is really all it amounts to in these cases) or are stars at memorizing information (which i am by no means great at) that i have personal skills that can run circles around them and come the clinical rotation years i am hoping to kick their butts for a change ;)
     
  23. YouDontKnowJack

    YouDontKnowJack I no something you don't
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    you'll find that some of those A students will still get clobbered on Step 1, because all they did was study for the class. If you have better broader general knowledge, it'll pay off.
    It's hard to find a balance between spending so much time on stupid 'low yield' details that teachers like to emphasize, and reading to get the big picture. some classes are designed like that.


    on the other hand, if everyone has the same packet of notes, force your ass to memorize everything. that's the only way you'll get to the top. some people are faster memorizers, and will be hard to beat. Whenever i fully memorize the notes, i get really good scores. On the flip side, it hurts my other grades because i spend less time memorizing for those classes.
     
  24. beastmaster

    beastmaster Senior Member
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    This isn't necessarily true. If you poke and prod deep into the core, the issue is the multiple choice format. Some people will nod their head in class, nod their head while doing the reading, but then when 4 answer choices that all look temptingly correct are placed in front of them, they turn blue and later justify it by saying they had an excellent understanding of the material.

    Example: "Pt has an MI and is given thrombolytic therapy. What is he given?"
    a) t-PA b) aspirin c) heparin d) Vitamin K
    If all you have is a general understanding that these choices are kinda sorta act against the general clotting process, you won't get the question correct. And I wouldn't call something like this low-yield, or a nit-pick.
     
  25. Orth2006

    Orth2006 Senior Member
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    Hello all

    This thread caught my attention as I am hoping to be accepted for the 2006 class.

    Question:

    Do the teachers provide study guides for exams/tests?
    Are exams re-hashes of old exams or they are entirely new?

    Personally I have always done better when I study to the test or exam. However I imagine that since clinical courses are more hands on, then studying to understand and master the concept should be an on going effort and not just prior to an exam.

    Anyway thanks guys/gals
     
  26. beponychick

    beponychick SDN Angel
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    Hi guys,

    Do any of you current medical students have a problem with the time limit on exams? I had A LOT of problem with a 20 page exam given in a 45 minute class session in undegrad. Many times I could not finish, let alone check my answers. Is this a common problem in med school or is there adequate time to finish the exams and check over your work?

    Thanks!!!!
     
  27. beponychick

    beponychick SDN Angel
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    Hi guys,

    Do any of you current medical students have a problem with the time limit on exams? I had A LOT of problem with a 20 page exam given in a 45 minute class session. Many times I could not finish, let alone check my answers. Is this a common problem in med school or is there adequate time to finish the exams and check over your work?

    Thanks!!!!
     
  28. mjl1717

    mjl1717 Senior Member
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    I agree with this, it's a very strong statement.. /And this is a very good thread when one is an academic soldier.
     
  29. dynx

    dynx Yankee Imperialist
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    I've seen this argument before... doesn't pan out. Third year, people skills count for a lot, no doubt, good evaluations, letters...all important. But if you want to Honor a rotation or lets say PASS, then you need to Honor/pass the shelf exams. The nicest person I know in my class, fairly smart as well, can nail all the evals but gets creamed on the shelfs result? The same pass as the avg. student. On the other hand, take a smart person who doesn't act like enough of a prick to offend people, gets good evals based upon knowledge and creams the shelf...Honors. Try as you might you can't escape it, you can complain or learn to play the game. The only point I agree with in your post is that test taking ability counts for a lot. That said, test taking ability is a measure of inteligence in my estimation:
    1. quick reading with comprehension
    2. Being able to think through questions you don't know, logically.
    3. Time managment
    These are real skills.
     
  30. YouDontKnowJack

    YouDontKnowJack I no something you don't
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    i've never believed this, no matter how badly i get clobbered by classmates.

    you need knowledge to know how to treat a patient. Personal skills, or simply smiling, will not heal the patient.
     
  31. basupran

    basupran ortho, study, cars, lift
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    As a previous poster described, this boils down to linear vs. integrative learners. A linear learner often has what seems to be a better grasp of the knowledge. They can recall in stepwise fashion all the aspects of a certain topic. Integrative learners on the other hand pick up pieces of information and link it to an existing knowledgebase. When a linear learner is asked a question from a different angle, they often fumble as they need to go back to the beg. Integrative learners don't fumble as they can pick up from anywhere. This is why linear learners don't always do as well on tests. They think they have a better grasp of the knowledge, but when it is presented from a different angle, they lose that grasp.
     
  32. kingcer0x

    kingcer0x Re-Member
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    No, those A students will probably clobber the boards too. We might all go to different schools, but the test questions you see on your 1st and 2nd year exams will be pretty similar to what you see on the boards. But, just cause the top students will clobber the boards, doesn't mean that the rest of us can't play catch up and clobber the boards too... cause afterall it is easier to learn something for the 2nd time.

    Hang in there, do your best, then review like hell for the USMLEs... thats my plan
     
  33. velo

    velo bottom of the food chain
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    Are you making stupid mistakes (missing questions you know the answer to) or missing the minutia (a random factoid thrown in the spread out the top end of the distribution)?

    If you're making stupid mistakes you need to stop and think about your answer before you put it down, don't jump to conclusions--convince yourself that what you're answering is correct and that other potential answers are not.

    If you're missing minutia then find old exams. Study the material for understanding for the bulk of your time, then finish your studying by looking over any old exams you can find. It will reinforce the concepts and also clue you in to what random factoids the coursemaster consistantly deems worthy of the exam.

    good luck
     
  34. velo

    velo bottom of the food chain
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    I don't mean to harp on this post, but I think one of the hardest things to come to grips with in medical school is the fact that you can't always be the best. Its comforting to think that people who are better than you in one area might be worse in another, and that may be true for some of them, but you will find people that are just stronger across the board.

    I also think people do themselves a disservice when they convince themselves that the information is minutia or irrelevant. Its certainly true that most of what you learn in medical school won't be the current thinking at the end of your practice, but that doesn't mean you don't need to learn what the current thinking is now. Everytime I'm on the wards I'm amazed by the fact that a resident will immediately know a small factoid I dismissed as minutia and make it relevant to their patient. There is so much to know and so little time that really very little of what is presented in class is minutia, its the minimum.
     
  35. thackl

    thackl 1K Member
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    This seems pretty acurate. Most of the students at Tech, I would describe as linear learners (or "sensing types"). They are incredible at picking up on details and memorizing lots of info (more than I can for sure), but can't get the correct answers when asked about the info in a way that's diff than how it was presented.
     
  36. run4boston

    run4boston formerly Run
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    this is interesting... would you say that people who rely heavily on mnemonics tend to be more linear learners?
     
  37. Paws

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    I don't know, I score in the middle of the pack for the most part, but I find that I do retain the essentials better than alot of my honors friends. They readily admit to me that while they may get 98 on an exam, they have no idea what it all means, nor can they apply it in a clinical case, nor can they remember it a few days later. For them, alot of it is a cram factor. How much can you cram into your brain. But, I easily floor them when it comes to patient examples, and extrapolating what we have learned.

    So no, I don't think that if you are not getting top scores then it is because you are not 'understanding' the material. At my school, we have people who almost exclusively study from old exams. Ok, so we also have lazy professors. Just because you memorized what was on the exam last year does not mean that you can figure out what the sick person in front of you has.

    I say: do your best, struggle with the material but focus on being a good clinician. "What do I need to know in order to be a good clinician?" that is what I ask myself. Will I be a 'bad' physician because I couldn't remember the minutiae and factoids some phd thought was important? I can always look pharm details up, too.

    I would rather keep my average scores, if it means I also get to keep my understanding of what all the material means. Alot of medicine is in being able to make the connections and to think outside the textbook. As for Mom2 who posted, I have seen plenty of 'smart' docs who were despised by their patients and staff. In the end, personality does have to count. You can be bright as a hill of bunnies, but if you are an a$$7ole then you are way behind the game and will be deeply handicapped. She sounds like she will make a great doc.
     
  38. noncestvrai

    noncestvrai Member
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    Yes, however, if you are a lazy ass, but clever, you may get a 80, then take the same person, give him/her some motivation, aka kick in the arse, that person might make it into the 90's in those preclinical exams.

    Tried, tested and true.

    Although I agree with the basic idea of 123, I think there are a lot of other confounders.

    noncestvrai
     
  39. noncestvrai

    noncestvrai Member
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    Sure, you need some knowledge base, but everybody gets that in the end. A good doctor is one with good bedside manners AND good knowledge base, in my opinion. As a wise character in Pulp Fiction said:"Personality goes a long way".

    There is some research out there on the placebo effect and treatment delivery I'm sure...

    noncestvrai
     
  40. thackl

    thackl 1K Member
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    I think everyone is a little guilty of that this yr :) We're still on the block system and by the time friday roles around we're using mnemonics for Pharm to get by (I'm even doing it for the first time).

    Other than that, I really don't understand the point of your post?
     

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