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Feeling dumb and lost

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Penguin94, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Penguin94

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    Hey everyone,

    I’m a first year who is about two and a half months into medical school. I’m currently taking histo/cell bio and anatomy/embryology and I am having SO MUCH DIFFICULTY with anatomy :(

    I am studying so much and have felt very drained from studying all day every day the past week to just find out that I barely passed my anatomy written and failed my practical (Written 74, practical 61). I’m feeling incredibly dumb, and am near the bottom of my anatomy class. So far, I’ve just barely passed my anatomy tests (70,80,75) and practicals (70,80) and this is the first practical I failed :( i have no idea how common failing something is in med school is and I guess I’m just looking for advice and if I’m overreacting, and what I should do?

    I really hate how I feel right now since I’m putting in so much of my life and effort into studying to barely pass most of my exams. I know med school is difficult for everyone, but I’m extremely scared the next test will be the one that makes me flunk the whole class:(
     
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  3. tensoranalysis

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    Anatomy is one of the hardest courses. Don't be paralyzed by your feeling discouraged! You will shine in others arenas.

    You may be studying or trying to learn in an ineffective manner. Have you tried other strategies: group learning or dissecting with a friend? I found anatomy was best learned when you did the dissecting yourself and followed along with a book like netter or grant's dissector.

    By the way, your school may offer help if you are struggling. They want you to succeed.
     
  4. I'm in the exact same situation. This class has made me feel like my memory isn't good enough for medical school. I failed my practical and barely passing the class. I'm not the type to repeat a year so I don't know what to do. I study all day and here I am. And here are students that are studying as much as I am while getting A's and B's in this class :/
     
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  5. jcorpsmanMD

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    I've learned for anatomy that using Anki is really helpful. I just make card's from images of cadavers that are labeled. It is helped me incredibly, I don't know how some people look at an image full of structures a couple times and got it down. I learn them, then I hammer them into my brain with Anki, then Anki keeps hammering them into my brain until the practical. I take anatomy separately with other courses though so I'm studying anatomy everyday practically and it's been pretty helpful. I've done well on anatomy, now if only I could say the same for my written exams (excluding anatomy). But if your written exams are just anatomy, I suggest MichU anatomy has really good summative anatomy questions to practice from and even practice "practicals" of images you can use leading up to your practical. Good luck, we're all struggling, just remember that it's not just you! Med school is tough but you can do it
     
  6. Maskchamp

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    I was having the same trouble, do not despair! I hope you're doing better. I struggled and failed my anatomy final. I eventually got a tutor and it really helped. The key was just to do netters flash cards (online is more effective), then just do question after question after question. Eventually you see things that are repeated so much. You know where everything is and after doing so many questions, you really start to improve. I found this so much more efficient that reading "the circumflex artery goes around the scapula" and all that crap. I know your year is over but I hope this helps for the others who come to this post. Also, do not use any of the Gray's anatomy for students or those massive books, filled with low-yield information. Get High yield gross anatomy or BRS anatomy. So much better.
     
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  7. Penguin94

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    Thanks everyone so so much for the kind words and advice. My studying has always consisted of reading my notes/diagrams and doing questions afterwards, so I will look into the flash cards!

    I’m really glad I’m not alone in the way I’m feeling.
     
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  8. Crayola227

    Crayola227 The Oncoming Storm
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    let's just say I know someone who straight up failed anatomy in med school, and ended up having to retake it over the summer, where the second time was the charm

    it didn't end up negatively impacting their career in any way

    they didn't end up in any particularly competitive specialty at any fancy place, but that was by choice and not cuz grades

    don't worry, anatomy is hard, it gets better

    reach out to your school for help
     
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  9. libertyyne

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    Anatomy is difficult. Dont be afraid to change up your studying technique until you find something that works.I was the kind of person that read the material listened to class and then did practice questions but after subpar performance on the first exam I switched things up and focused on anki and practice questions. Make Anki Cards from Netters and go over them again and again. Once you learn the names then learn the blood supply and nerves and eventually everything fits into place.
     
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  10. Atom612

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    I've found Gray's Anatomy Review to be incredibly helpful for my written anatomy exams. It's purely 150+ 2nd and 3rd-order questions for each system with detailed explanations for each. Also, my professors absolutely love big Moore's and more than 20% of the questions are pulled straight from the clinical blue boxes, so I would say it's ultimately up to who's teaching the course.
     
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  11. Save a life

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    I'm also an M1 taking anatomy for the first time. I'm getting about 87% with Anki, BRS, going to lab after hours, and university of Michigan questions. For me the key is testing myself and not just passively taking in information active learning versus passive. For lab practices go in over the weekends a bunch before the exam and for the written BRS will save your life with clinically oriented practice questions.
     
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  12. Save a life

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    By the way, you're not dumb and you can pass. You passed all the undergrad classes and took the mcat to get here so I'm sure you can make through anatomy.
     
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  13. Milotic

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  14. Maskchamp

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    Hmm, I didn't even know about GA review, should have checked that out. Moore's is huge though and is filled with so much low yield stuff, don't read through it; but just looking through the clinical stuff can be a good idea. Guess it depends on the prof and the school. Michigan questions are also great as previously stated, 2 questions popped up on my exam from there!
     
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  15. Maskchamp

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    You are definitely NOT alone!
     
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  17. Penguin94

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    I'm definitely going to follow the advice on here! My next exam is in a few weeks and then the NBME's so I'm internally freaking out. Everything is just still so different for me, I'm truly hoping I at least pass. Thank you once again for all the help offered by everyone:)
     
  18. Styrene

    Styrene medical student

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    My school starts off with anatomy, and I felt the same way during those first few months of med school. My tests grades in anatomy: 80, 61, 69, 74, so I passed by about 5 points or something :laugh:. Felt like I was on a treadmill of doom with a constant headache because of the formaldehyde, but seeing that passing grade in anatomy pop up on the student portal felt amazing. There are so many variables that can affect anatomy grades—for example, it takes me a long time to feel comfortable in a new place and make friends, so jumping into anatomy lab kinda sucked. Also, I slept during the day for the entire year before med school because of work, so my circadian rhythm and energy levels were totally f*****.

    In the other courses, I’ve consistently scored in the 90s on the tests, honored everything, and even had the highest grade in the class on a couple of the tests. JUST GET THROUGH ANATOMY. You will shine somewhere else as long as your work ethic remains intact.
     
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  19. IMG69

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    I just posted a thread about arterial anatomy and got some great responses; they all said use images to study rather then head bashing against a wall (wrote-learning/pure memorization), so I changed all my anki cards (i had mnemonics and everything) to pure images and wow it all just stuck in my head after that, so I would recommend this if your having trouble. I had my anatomy test and there was a question about drug injection into the median cubital vein and the path the drug would take to reach the appendix a lot of the class struggled with this as they had just wrote learnt, I had absolutely no trouble and wrote down every single specific vein/artery purely because I could visualize the images from my anki cards.

    The saying a picture says 1000 words really is true :) so combine the image technique with plenty of study time (I started about 2 weeks before the test) and your bound to do well, also note don't ever fall behind and what I mean by this is that you don't have to know every thing during/straight after the lecture or even several days after but the key thing is to be aware of what you don't know - so that you can estimate how much time to devote to learning these things.

    Imagery, give yourself plenty of time (start early) and be aware of what you don't know (so you can plan a study schedule)
     
    #17 IMG69, Oct 14, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017
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  20. Maskchamp

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    All great advice, you're not alone. I felt like I got kicked in the stomach; I couldn't sleep for 2 weeks. I know how you feel and everyone here is obviously trying to help so we all know what it feels like. The annoying thing is to find what study technique works for you, and unfortunately it took me a freaking year to figure it out; I also had been out of school for about 8 years so it was even worse. Flashcard? Writing stuff on a white board over and over (definitely helped me)? Explaining something out loud? Study groups or not? Reading stuff over and over? Youtube videos? The list is endless. So much crap to figure out and on top of it you have this massive amount of material just thrown at you. Don't give up though, seriously, as cheesy and cliche that sounds. It's not easy by any means, but it is simple.
     
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  21. Maskchamp

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    I'm using online flashcards too, for biochem/physio and used to use just words, or like a sentence on the back; I'm starting to use images now. Pasting it from the profs powerpoint, and in some cases a screenshot here and there. Did you really find it made that much of a difference in remembering the stuff and your test score? I'm kind of excited to see how it turns out.
     
  22. Major

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    Gross Anatomy is royally kicking my butt right now
     
    #20 Major, Oct 19, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
  23. anbuitachi

    anbuitachi ASA Member

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    I dont know why anatomy is hard. It's just memorization. It's the easiest class to study for. Just memorize the anatomy of the parts being tested... be able to draw it out without looking. Be able to label all the structures, nerves, muscles, bones, courses of blood vessels/nerves, attachments of different structures... functions... its all about how much time you put in it.
     
  24. futuremdforme

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    Anki of labelled photos... over and over and over. Plus questions about "What does this" etc. I used to read the textbook but I just got behind. There's no understanding in anatomy, you just need to memorize it.
     
  25. IMG69

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    Yes 100% like I said in my first post a picture does say 1000 words, I could literally visualize all the structures while sitting in the test and the two biggest questions on the test (20 marks each) were about the blood supply to the stomach and the path a drug would take from median cubital injection through to reach the appendix - every vein/artery, this question was such a breeze for me as I could just combine all the images i'd studied and recognized - of course it's not really that difficult of a question anyway but the visualization was really helpful.

    I found imagery most useful for the heart chamber anatomy, it was so boring memorizing fossa ovalis, coronary sinus orifice etc etc and drilling it into my brain then getting mixed up 15 minutes later purely because I lacked the interest in wrote learning, it was so much easier to get images and see the atrium proper and the sulcus terminalis, to see where the pectinate muscles were and the same for the blood vessels; to see the hemi-azygos's path etc.

    I highlight structures on the images but never name them so i'm always forced to think.
     
  26. I feel like medical school anatomy is a weeding out course for those who don't have a good enough memory unless you want to only get 3-4 hours of sleep a night to actually learn at the rate and level that they expect us to. It's a very popular remediation course. And in my opinion those who have to remediate medical school anatomy aren't lazy students (a few may be). It just that the class barely requires critical thinking and just favors those who had the genetics that allows things to stick in their heads quicker and longer. This is why I wish all universities have a cadaver course as well as an anatomy course, and I wish medical schools made anatomy cadaver courses a prerequisite so that medical school anatomy wasn't so drastic.
     
  27. NickNaylor

    NickNaylor Thank You for Smoking
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    My guess is that just about everyone who has been through medical training has had similar feelings.

    A couple of thoughts:

    1) The pre-clinical years are not the same thing as the clinical years, and the rest of your career is not even close to the medical school experience. This feeling is, to some degree, a temporary feeling and will get better. Remember, acing anatomy or whatever course it is that you're having trouble with will not make you a good physician.

    2) Your objective during the pre-clinical years is to learn as much as you possibly can and do as well as you possibly can. You likely will not do as well as you did in college. You will be in class with intellectual freaks (and I use that term as a compliment) that can eat information like nothing else. Don't worry about them - just focus on doing the best that you possibly can.

    For a while you will feel like you have no idea what's going on, that you're lost, and that you're stupid. Welcome to medical training - get used to that feeling. Just understand that most people are feeling the same way or have felt the same way at some point in their training. Just keep your head down, work as hard as you can, ask others (like your peers) for help, and be creative and flexible in terms of your studying methods. Half of your task in the first few months of medical school is to figure out exactly how to study so that you can learn things efficiency. Things will get a lot easier once you figure that out and once you get used to the pace of learning.
     
  28. Gurby

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  29. libertyyne

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    No body is weeding students out once you matriculate at American medical school . And no one is only getting 3-4 hours of sleep a night to actually learn at the rate, it is counter productive to do so. It is not laziness that causes people to re-mediate, its inability to adapt study skills to what is required. Most people that make it to medical school have the intellectual horsepower to make it through, since they have passed classes where rote memorization was required to excel. However bad study habits, and inability to see what you will be tested on will cause problems. I know many people in my class who took anatomy in college, and they have an advantage that lasts for about a week. Some of these people who were prosectors. That does not translate to better grades in anatomy in medical school.
     
    #27 libertyyne, Oct 22, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
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  30. Shirafune

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    I agree. Vast majority of people in medical school are fully capable of passing anatomy.

    Medical school is about finding out what study strategy works for you and how to prioritize learning effectively. Anatomy just happens to have a boatload of info which inevitably requires both a quick and efficient learner.
     
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  31. Jojos

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    dude anatomy is ****ing hard and nobody knows how to really study it in the beginning. so chill out, ask yourself what can you change in order to make the learning experience easier and start giving yourself feedback.

    also there a million great apps to help you out with anatomy as well as video lecture sources. check out lecturio (it's great), as well as kenhub. Also, check out the million yotuube channels that are out there.
     
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  32. Penguin94

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    I wanted to update this thread for any future students out there-- I passed anatomy! My fear of failing the class kicked into high gear during finals week and I studying so intensely for the final using methods listed in this thread and actually did really well!! I cannot even convey the relief and happiness I felt when I saw my grade. For anyone out there who is struggling with anatomy now or in the future, you CAN do it! Some have an easier time, others not so much (like myself), but honestly everyone is 100% capable. The advice in this thread was amazing, and I thank you guys so much for this. Best of luck to everyone else :)
     
  33. NotYou20

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    Congrats!
     
  34. Jojos

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    good stuff!
     
  35. Maskchamp

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    Hi everyone, had trouble starting a new thread so figured I'd post here again.

    For our physiology/neurophysiology block, we finally got our hands on some old tests.

    Been doing questions and all, but what is the best way to learn from them and to use them? I mean I think 1/2 questions will be repeated and all, but do you kind of analyze the question structure, and if there are no questions on a certain subject the past 3 exams, best to skip that area and focus learning on the areas that were asked? Do you do them before having fully studied the material? Or after you have studied everything? Look at the last a few days before the exam, or right away, etc. That kind of stuff. Any advice is great. Thanks guys!
     

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