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first year woes

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by mnms, Feb 18, 2001.

  1. mnms

    mnms Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 9, 2001
    ca, usa
    hi, just wondering what got some of you through the first year. what were your study skills like (how did you study, how long, etc.) i'm having a tough time getting through (just scraping by) and i want to do better.
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  3. Liquid_Tension

    Liquid_Tension Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2000
    New York
    I found that a combination of marijuana, liquor, videogames, weight lifting, sleeping, coffee, and long showers worked very well in helping me to make it through the first year. And when things were really bad, I went geese hunting with my 50 caliber rifle.
    Best of luck and smile! :)
    -your most relaxed and stress-free Liquid

  4. turtleboard

    turtleboard SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 1999
    New York, New York
    Liquid goes to NYCOM -- he's not kidding about the geese hunting. [​IMG]

    What got me through the first-year was thinking how GREAT second-year would be... Now what's getting me through second-year is thinking how GREAT my third-year's gonna be...

  5. mr_sparkle

    mr_sparkle Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2001
    NY, NY
    On weekends I drink a bottle of Merlot after studying 8 hrs.
  6. to mnms:

    i'm a first-year student at a med. school with extensive lecture hours, and typically long lab sessions. i'm performing quite well, and can estimate with some confidence that i'm scoring in the top 1/3 of the class.

    my approach: skip a few lectures. i study late into the night (usually every weekday, and one day out of the weekend), and enjoy a healthy night's rest. my school's recently implemented a new "block exam" system which leaves students restless, tired, and pressured during exam week. dedicating enough attention/hours to studying the material as soon as it's scheduled gives me enough familiarity with it to be able to review everything beginning one week before exams.

    i don't study with other students; i attend only the most important lectures; i study approx. 6 hours per weekday (i habitually read schoolwork slowly); and never miss a lab session! perhaps some would offer that i'm being a little too serious about the coursework thus far. i should mention that i'm savoring the challenge.
  7. ned

    ned Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 29, 2000
    I certainly hope you're joking! If you have 5-8 hours of class per day (like some of us do), studying an additional 6 hours per day would lead to 65+ hour weeks! This seems, to me, to be a recipe for burnout. Most first year programs are pass/fail. Learn, but *take advantage* of the p/f. Compared to the rest of your med school years, relatively little of what you learn in your first year will be generally useful for the boards, clinics, or whatever.

    Being average (or even below average) in your class is NOTHING to worry about. You may have been the best in undergrad -- but remember -- so were most of the people sitting next to you in lecture.

    As long as you pass, learn a little, and explore your medical interests, I think you can consider your first year a success.
  8. to ned:

    i'm not a machine. i tried attending lectures and study on evenings in order to remain competitive on exams during my first semester. since that method was too strenuous, my revised casual schedule involves skipping several lectures. thanks for your concern, though.

    p.s. i'd like to believe that first year content like anatomy, pathology, clinical skills, and physiology are more important than you've alluded to.
  9. Then once you get tho third-year, what will get you through is thinking about how great fourth year's gonna be. Then once fourth year hits, you'll be thinking about how great it will be when interviewing and the match is over. Once internship hits, you will be thinking how great fourth year was. [​IMG]

    One of the best moments in your medical career will be during your fourth year when you find out where you match.
  10. ned

    ned Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 29, 2000
    Ok. Ok. You're not a machine. But you should still relax. As far as your statement in the "p.s.," I still think you might be a bit misguided. Yes -- first-year medical students learn the necessary prerequisite skills for advancement (basic gross anatomy, basic physiology, basic pathology, and maybe even how to perform an h&p). Nonetheless, these skills are PREREQUISITES for both the clinics and for the systems-based training one usually receives in the second year. If you look at the subjects represented on Step I, only 5% of the exam is gross anatomy, and other first-year courses are represented to an ever lesser degree. Many students don't review *any* first-year material before taking the exam and do just fine. If your medical school is like most, the bar for passing your first-year classes is set high enough so that you will be well-prepared for subsequent years -- if you pass!

    As far as doing ok in the clinics: I have several friends that took over 6 years off after the first year and did fine on the boards and in the clinics, and I doubt you would find many people that wouldn't be fine in a similar situation.

    So I reiterate: during your first year you should learn, explore medicine, have a damn good time, and -- no matter what you do -- do NOT study for 6 hours every night! (Sorry Vegeta...)

    [This message has been edited by ned (edited 02-19-2001).]

    [This message has been edited by ned (edited 02-20-2001).]
  11. Pegasus

    Pegasus Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I must agree that I take on study habits like Vegeta. I try to make class, most of the time 8 hrs/day. And then I tend to study till about 2am, but I do work out in between that time, and take most of my weekend off.

    I also tend to miss quite a few lectures near exams because I learn the material by individual studying and concentration rather than sitting in class, especially when I am tired.

    I guess the key is to find out what makes you the most efficient and productive. I do agree with Ned also..the ole' saying P=MD.. and the 5% on Anatomy in Step 1 is absolutely correct. As discouraging as it may be that we spend most of our time studying to just barely PASS anatomy, it is a minor part of the boards.

    Dont get discouraged. We all worked hard to get into medical school, some worked harder than others just to make the same grade. That is life. Some can sit in lecture and learn quicker, and others get nothing out of it (preparation for lecture does help though).

    So, just keep the mind set that you will do whatever it takes to pass, but dont put too much pressure on yourself to make honors or be top of the class. I am sure most of us hit points were we second guess our intelligence, especially when we compare ourselves to others..but keep in will make it if you hang in there!


    [This message has been edited by Pegasus (edited 02-20-2001).]
  12. Nanon

    Nanon An urban myth. 10+ Year Member

    Feb 15, 2000
    I'm not in med school yet, but I take a full load in undergrad and have a ton of family responsibility. I usually get about (tops) three or four hours to study a day, except around test time. So here's what I've started to do to manage my time.

    I read my texts out loud into a tape recorder, then play the tape in the car on my commute to school. Sometimes I listen to them on my sony when I'm at the grocery store. I also tape quizzes, flashcard style, and answer them on my commute.

    I review my notes daily, and write comments in the margins.

    I spend an inordinate amount of my "downtime" thinking about ways to organize the information that I'm learning, or working on homework problems. This habit has helped me a lot.

    I draw, make models, do flowcharts, anything to supplement my reading. Makes it more fun, too.

    Hope this helps!


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