Drexel: PIL vs. IFM

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by ohiowa, Oct 30, 2002.

  1. ohiowa

    ohiowa Member
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    i'm trying to decide whether or not to apply to the PIL program at Drexel.

    i think that my style of learning would fit well with the small group format, and i tend to study by making "thought maps" (like they do in PIL). however, i'm worried that PIL will be more time consuming than IFM, considering that students are required to research and present to classmates. of course, this research and presentation will probably help in the learning process.

    i hear that IFM students often don't go to class, opting instead to study at home and be more efficient (obviously this varries with the individual).

    any drexel perspectives out there? both "loveit" and "hateit" responses welcomed?

    thanks.
     
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  3. ttac

    ttac Trust me, it's still fun.
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    I'm a first year IFM'er, and I personally was pretty sure that I didn't want to do PIL. So far, 3 months into med school, I am pretty sure that I made the right decision.

    Of course it totally depends on your learning style... I prefer to have the information presented to me, rather than having to go out and get it.

    I think PIL hours are also a bit longer (and of course you can't just miss class if you're feeling ill (I've been feeling pretty 'ill' lately ;) ))

    Another factor that I consider pretty important (although it isn't really academic) is that you won't really see the majority of the other first years much... Although I know most of the first year IFM'ers, I barely know any of the PIL people.

    With that said, I feel like I am badmouthing PIL... I really don't mean too. It totally depends on your learning style. Personally, I don't think PIL is for me, but that's not to say that there aren't PIL people that really like it.

    -ttac
     
  4. ohiowa

    ohiowa Member
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    ttac,

    i've been looking at the curriculum at drexel (specifically, the module based syllabus), and i'm wondering if you feel like you are getting a broad enough exposure to medicine. do you ever feel like breaking down your first two years into subjects so specific as "abnormal amniocentisis", "gunshot wound", and "suspicious lump" are not exposing you to the breadth of medicine? are these topics just a jumping off place for other topics?

    while i may have your attention, what's your general feeling about going to school at drexel? when you look back on your decision to go there do you have any regrets? or is everything just peachy? i'm sorry if my questions seem to have too negative a bend. i'm just trying to figure out if Drexel is the place for me.

    thanks in advance.
    o.
     
  5. ttac

    ttac Trust me, it's still fun.
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    Ahh... Nothing like listening to The Crystal Method and posting on SDN for a nice study break :)
    We have modules pretty much every three weeks, and tests every 2 modules. This block of exams is Muscle Weakness and Weight Loss (each module guide is 350 pages :( )

    On friday we had our microanatomy practical and written exam, and behavioral sciences. Tomorrow we have biochemistry and nutrition, and on Wednesday we have Gross anatomy written and physio. About 9 hours worth of testing :(

    As far as the module names go, they are pretty much irrelevant. Yes, we are studying weight loss, but here are the lectures we had in it:

    Biochem: CHO2-4, Fatty acids 1-2, Peptides 1-2, Amino acids, Energy metabolism, Integration 1-3, Diabetes Conference

    Physio: Endocrine overview, Hypothalamic control, temp regulation, hypothal/pit hormones, thyroid, pancreas, adrenals, calcium regulation, endocrine conference

    Microana: Pituitary, Thyroid/Parathyroid, Adrenals, Cartilage, Bone, Bone formation

    Nutrition: Carbs, Lipids, Proteins, Obesity

    Gross Anatomy: Clinical Correlations... this module had almost no gross anatomy. Last module had all of the back, arm, forearm, hand

    Physician and Patient: 3 clinical frameworks on weight loss/ evaluating patients, and eating disorders

    Behavioral Sci: 2 Intro lectures, 5 lectures on development, (fetal, school age, adult men, adult women, aged), eating disorders, and psychosomatic concepts

    Just because this is the "Weight Loss" Module doesn't mean that we only study anorexia/bulimia... I think they do a good job here of integrating things (i.e. physio: thyroid hormones, microana: thyroid histology, role of thyroid in hyperthyroidism, etc)

    With regards to your question of do I like it here? Yes, I do. Last year my only other choice was USUHS, and I couldn't bring myself to sign on the dotted line. To be quite honest, I was a little worried about the average age of this school being 25-26... I had visions that every other person would be married and age 30+. In actuality, it's nothing like that. I'm 27, and age hasn't ever been an issue.

    It's hard for me to really compare the atmosphere at this school with other schools, b/c I've never been at another med school, but I can say that for the most part, people here are pretty laid back, although some people may take things a little too seriously here... To be quite honest, I was a little worried about the 'reputation' of this school when I first applied, but then again, the average MCAT here is 30, so it's not like people here are scraping the bottom of the premed barrel or anything... All in all, I would say I am very happy with this school.

    -ttac
    p.s. Any other DUCOM'ers care to comment? Daveshnave?
     
  6. Mylaina

    Mylaina Senior Member
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    I am a PIL 1st year. I am prejudiced toward PIL!! We are given cases to start studying from (i.e. hyperthyroidism for endocrine system) and to identify with. Then we have Resource Sessions (like lectures) to teach us about the general subject (not just the case!!!!!!!) Most of our questions are answered in the resource sessions (as long as your group isn't crazy about assigning learning issues that are irrelevant which is learned quickly the first week of class). Plus, we have our own "Resource Room" which is like a library, but we can't take books out. So if you need any information, it is there or in the brains of our professors (who are always willing to answer questions) I love that every time I come across a subject I have done before, I think of Mr. Johnson or Ms. Li from group.

    Most PIL students are not in school longer or are studying less or more than IFM lecture students. Group is mandatory for PIL students, but resource sessions are not. Plus, in both pathways we can watch lectures on the internet.

    One great thing I have noticed about PIL is that we form a bit of a family. We are all intent on helping each other succeed and do well. Quite often, study guides/worksheets/tables/charts/concept maps are posted on the bulletin board in the PIL room. We have these "integrated science" topics that are generated by each groups that involve our cases and then some subject that is not a focus science (i.e. pathology or pharmacology during the Neuroscience blocK) and we get together and submit maps from each group for everyone to share from.

    If you have any other questions- post or PM me.

    There's the PIL Point of View! :)
     
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  7. ttac

    ttac Trust me, it's still fun.
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    So _that's_ what you PIL people are doing in those semi-secret small group meetings! :p

    I think I'll print your post out and give it to applicants when I'm interviewing them and they ask, b/c I admit I'm not qualified to answer questions about PIL.

    -ttac
     
  8. Jomad5

    Jomad5 Junior Member

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    I am a 4th year at Drexel (former IFM)....

    Some of my observations are...

    If you're a motivated student and study, it doesn't make any long-term difference whether you choose PIL or IFM the first 2 years...

    Step I - IFM definately spoon feeds board-like info to you much more so than does PIL. You memorize everything. You take multiple choice exams on everything. You can finish your finals in May of year 2 and probably take Step I the next day and pass. PIL requires a little more inner motivation to sit down and study material not directly related to the cases but that is fair game for Step I - and usually an extra month of board studying following year 2 as compared to IFM.

    My year the school as a whole did horrible on Step I, with PIL doing worse than IFM. (Probably because we were all admitted at the height of the bankrupcy fiasco and were dumber to begin with! HA!) But from what I understand the pass rate last year was very good for both. I think it is easier to slip thru the cracks with basic sciences as a PIL and then find yourself screwed before Step I where at least in IFM if you're not studying enough you'll fail a few exams first! Again, if you study, not a factor.

    Year 3 - The PIL/IFM difference lasts for approximately 7 hours of your first day on rotations. Don't let this idea be a factor in your decision. The one month of office work at the end of year 1 may be a fun distraction, but that's about all it is.

    So my opinion is you should choose the pathway based solely on whether you are more comfortable in the classic lecture hall environment or a small group. You will probably put in the same amount of hours, *you* will probably score the same on Step I regardless, you will be just as prepared for Year 3, and you will forget 95% of everything anyhow!
     
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