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does the quality of anyone else's basic sciences courses suck?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by choker, Oct 10, 2002.

  1. choker

    choker Senior Member
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    okay, i am totally blown away at how bad the basic science teaching is at my "top 20" med school. anatomy was absolutely amazing, but biochem is abhorent.

    the syllabuses are full of errors, incomplete, and outdated. no pictures either; the profs are too freaking lazy to draw anything themselves in the syllabuses and they are too cheap/chicken to distribute any copyrighted material. also the teachers make ben stein look exciting. forget powerpoint, they use the same transparencies and slides that they made 20 years ago. i really can't say enough bad things about the basic science teachers. if it weren't for the amazing quality of students we have helping each other try to make sense of what our teachers were unsuccesfully trying to explain, i'd be filling out transfer applications.

    i know that everything changes dramatically for the better after 1st year, but i was wondering, is anyone else having similar experiences?
     
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  3. Rumit

    Rumit Senior Member
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    Well, sort of. As far as the teachers go, they're alright. They'd be somewhere in the middle of the pack as compared to my teachers in college. And they do a good job preparing...powerpoint, and they give us the notes. But, the stuff is dumbed down to an incredible degree. So, it really sucks, because we're being told things that I know are not true, because as an undergrad biochem major I had people who were the world's experts teaching me. That's my only complaint though. The stuff you're talking about just sounds like plain old laziness...just make sure you mention it all in the evals.

    Good luck,

    Adam
     
  4. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    Mine are great so far. Only one bad biochem prof, but he only taught ~2 lectures.
     
  5. maugham

    maugham Member
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    I'd have to agree with what Choker had to say. Many of the basic science classes at my school have a real rote memory, non-intellectual orientation, dispensing with nuance, subtlety and complexity. Some of the professors seem to have the idea that since there isn't time to properly teach you concepts, theories, a boiled down version will have to suffice. I think it is a function of the sheer breadth of the material. I remember reading someone refer to the medical school curriculum as being "a mile wide and an inch deep." I think that's pretty accurate.
     
  6. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
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    I absolutely agree. Another reason to go MD/PhD. :D
     
  7. Premed2003

    Premed2003 Senior Member
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    Choker, are you at Columbia?
     
  8. praying4MD

    praying4MD 2K Member
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    Block 1 Lecturers were, on the whole, not bad. I *really* liked 3 of them-- Histo, Immunology/Bone Histo and Phys/Skin/ Radiology. Embry totally sucked last block, and it still does this block. The ped. surgeon that teaches it is brilliant (1 of 20 in the world certified to perform fetal surgeries,) but they can't teach worth sh!t. So no one goes to embryo and we just wait for this amazing 4th year (phd and masters in embryo) to give us reviews.

    Block 2 (Cardio, Resp, Renal-- yes, they put ALL these in a freakin' 5 week block :rolleyes: ) is horrendous. They got rid of our Wonderful histo lecturer (AMAZING guy-- crude, rude, and downright vulgar sometimes, always swears in class and actually discussed different sexual techniques in class once-- but amazing teacher because you always remember the material and learn it very well,) anyway, they got rid of him because he interacts with students too much and is just way too cool for the boring administration we have. :rolleyes: We are now struggling in histo because of this. It totally sucks this block. The sllabus is awful, the lecturers are bad (yes, all of them.) Basically they got rid of any lecturer we found remotely interesting or even good teachers. It really really sucks. It is all about self motivation and self learning this block, which is awful because I really like the subject matter. one lectuere (EKGs) had to send out at least 10 (i kid you not) emails rewriting her syllabus and correcting different mistakes she made in lecture and in the syllabus. we are totally confused and even upperclassmen don't understand what the hell i'm asking them about when i ask them to clarify. :mad:

    So I feel your pain choker, reallly I do. Hope all is going well for you. It's good to see you back on the boards. I took a long break from sdn so it's nice to see the veterans on here still.
     
  9. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    Wow P4MD. Makes me glad I didn't end up at your school.
     
  10. praying4MD

    praying4MD 2K Member
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    Ah, but the clinicals MORE than make up for this... and block 1 wasn't all that bad (as far as lecturers are concerned. It's block 2 that they f*cked up. :rolleyes:

    btw, How's school going for you Jalby? Like it? Hate it? What's up? HAven't been around in a while so I'm catching up with the sdners. take care.
     
  11. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    I'm absolutely loving it. There are so many cool people here, and lots of people who like to have fun. Classes havn't gotton to bad yet, hopefully they won't. But I am so glad that I didn't leave LA, because I know it would have been pretty hard to get back. Here at Keck, I'm pretty much garunteed to get an LA residency. So I'm very happy here.
    K, back to some studying. Hope all is well in Houston.
     
  12. praying4MD

    praying4MD 2K Member
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    And looking back, I think I was way too negative. The lecturers are not that lazy most of the time-- the syllabi are decent in the sense that the information is there. One thing I do like is all our lectures are offered on video via net (makes sleeping through 8 am lecture that much better.) :)

    So a more balanced view would be:

    Bad:
    Embryo
    Biochem
    I hear renal sucks, i will find out tomorrow
    now: histo

    Good:
    (used to be: Histo)
    Physiology: decent
    Cardio and Resp are pretty decent

    And btw, BRS is the Bible. wow.

    Syllabus sucked for EKGs though.

    It just depends from block to block i guess. sorry for the utter confusion i'm causing. basically what i'm trying to say is that yes it's awful sometimes, but on the other hand, when it's good, it's Really good. I just got spoiled the first block with such great lecturers I guess. Just like you can never go back to bad sex after you've had good sex... sort of the same thing... either than or i am a desperate medical student looking for any correlation to sex whatsoever... yep, that's it. :D
     
  13. praying4MD

    praying4MD 2K Member
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    EXCELLENT! I'm really happy for you! I wil have to write more later when I have time, but thanks for the update. It's great to know you really like the school and the students and that you're happy with it all because that's what counts the most in the end. :)
     
  14. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats
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    No...Choker is not at columbia...are you?
     
  15. Cambrian

    Cambrian Colonel/Senior Member
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    Yeah, Choker are you at Columbia? Haven't heard from you for a long time. The last time, you were waiting for Columbia and Stanford? Where did you end up going if you don't mind my asking?
     
  16. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life
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    choker is at Pitt from what I remember..

    Sachin
     
  17. choker

    choker Senior Member
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    to set the record straight, choker was at columbia for undergrad, but is now at pitt. choker was waiting for stanford, cornell, and columbia, but they didn't come through. must say, though. besides the atrocious experience of biochemistry, everything else here is amazing. people here are the coolest, nicest, most laid back and fun people you would ever want to know. hate to give the wrong impression of the school to prospectives. first year here is nothing but basic sciences, which basically sucks anywhere you go because the material is so damn dry. second year is much much better from what i hear_ it's a year of systems-based physiology taught by MDs who actually really care. third and fourth year get nothing but ecstatic reviews.
     
  18. Samoa

    Physician Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

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    Samoa thinks its pretentious to talk about oneself in the third person. :D :p
     
  19. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat
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    And George is getting upset!
     
  20. WSUreds

    WSUreds Senior Member
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    Most people would agree that biochem sucks almost everywhere. Its digressed to the point where I can learn the information more efficiently from the lecture notes and powerpoint slides than I ever could from attending lecture. Our professor reads directly from his slides and doesn't add much.
     
  21. Gradient Echo

    Gradient Echo Membership Revoked
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    Our first year stuff seems OK for the most part thus far. They put plenty of diagrams and the notes seem fairly well organized. Some profs dont split their notes into subheadings as much, but they're not too difficult to get through.

    The lectures are usually very visually intensive, and theres some extra spark not found in the lecture notes that makes it a little more interesting than just a total rehash of the notebooks. They're always putting up cool computer-generated simulations to show stuff like protein conformational changes. For the most part they seem to really tweak it every year and try to put out a good product. Of course, some lecturers are more dry/boring than others.
     
  22. hotbovie

    hotbovie Member
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    The basic science years at my school were generaly very poorly taught. Lectures were usualy fair to poor, and many of the course directors are more concerned with limiting the number of A's than ensuring that we learned the material. The material was often not relevant to what medical students need to know. Example, pharm spent 2 weeks on cancer drugs, but only 1 day on antihypertensives and 1 day on antiarrhythmics. Many of the lecturers did have power point and handouts, but they generally are of poor quality. What's more, they are starting to post the handouts on a web site and force us to print them out ourselves rather than distribute them in class.

    Clinical years are definitely much stronger, though. So that pretty much makes up for the weak basic science because in the real world you can look that up when you need it.
     
  23. choker

    choker Senior Member
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    hey, update: okay, so biochem just got better. the first third of the class is infamous for sucking, but now everything is quite bearable and understandable. it's great that everything here is pass/fail (there's honors, but that's not ever happening_ life get soooo much better when you realize that)_ if i don't feel like studying something, i don't. i work as hard as i want. it's great.

    okay, i retract my original vent. everything is great.
     
  24. praying4MD

    praying4MD 2K Member
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    Interesting. Our entire basic sciences is system based, which I really like. It puts everything into perspective to learn the biochem, genetics, embryo, histo, physio of a particular organ system-- so much better integrated. I really think it is the way to go. Like right now we're doing cardio, resp, and renal-- everything you ever want to know about those systems in one block. (ok not everything, but it sure fels like it.)

    I, too, will have to retract my intial disdain for the curric. the admin has worked hard to get this down to 1.5 years and do it in an organ based way, which is good. Although I can't say I'm totally thrilled with everything, I will say that the curriculum isn't half bad and the way they've set it up (6 months LESS basic sciences and more clinics, organ based, etc.) is very well developed. I suppose it was the general stress of med school I was reacting to.

    Anyway, nice to hear that you're doing well choker and that things are better for you now.

    Just curious, (warning: stupid and superficial and irrelevant question coming up): What is the general consensus about the caliber of good looking people at your school? I was pleasantly surprised by how attractive my classmates are. They are some *real* lookers in our class. :love: Gives me some nice eye candy during lecture, that's for sure. :D
     
  25. souljah1

    souljah1 Attending
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    we are just finishing up our first block this week (Prologue). lots of random stuff put together in an 'integrated' fashion. overall, i thought prologue was pretty mellow (i study maybe 2 hours a day). i thought medical school would be much more demanding, and i think it will be..but for some reason this first block doesn't seem that bad at all. anatomy is awesome. they taught the upper limb in an awesome way. they had the physical therapy students come into lab and act out different pathologies related to upper limb anatomy and we had to diagnose them based on what we'd learned. histo was ok, but i can't stand looking in microscopes. everything is integrated, so we don't really get just basic sciences. we have a lot of clinical stuff going on from day one, which i think helps to maintain the excitement. we start our cardiovascular block (6-7 weeks) on monday. i am stoked! then after that, they throw us in the hospital for three full-time days where they told us we'd realize just how much we'd learned in three and a half months.

    gotta say, i love where i am in my life. my classmates are a great bunch of people. very caring, very compassionate, very fun, very much well-rounded. overall, the teaching is pretty good as well. can't beat only 2-3 hours of lecture per day.
     
  26. during my first year, the only lectures worth going to were Anatomy and Immunology. Biochem had a great syllabus, and even the better lecturers ended up reading out of the syllabus b/c it made the points so well; might as well get some extra sleep and read it to myself, right? The Physiology syllabus was unbeliveably dry and usually read aloud to us by the course director who sounded like Wilford Brimley.. I was not that impressed by the basic science curriculum the first year at TUSM as a whole.

    But, second year is another story. As I mentioned on another thread, Tufts switched to the block curriculum this year. Everything went from courses being completely integrated to really complimenting each other. The syllabi are well-organized and easy to read even though there is a lot of material. And most of the lecturers are good and do not read directly from the syllabus. The clinical relevance is there too; I just feel that the material is really important instead of BS. So hang in there MI's, it gets better; yes, you will have to work hard during second year (even if you are the super-smart cool slacker type) but it is worth every minute.
     
  27. UCLA2000

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    I love Penn. I'm just not enjoying some of my basic science courses. Thank God I've only got a year and a half of book work here.

    Loved:

    Genetics, Histology, Anatomy (currently taking)

    Hated:

    Physiology, Embryology

    Loved but it's getting on my nerves now:

    Biochem

    Currently taking:

    Anatomy, Micro, Immuno, second half of Biochem
     

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