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how are so many medical school students able to skip lecture and do well?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by boltedbicorne, 09.24.14.

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  1. boltedbicorne

    boltedbicorne Banned Banned

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    At every medical school I've interviewed at so far (7 schools so far), each student I talk to skips the lectures and watches at 3X speed. Are these people all study gods or is medical school just structured in a way that this works? If so, explain? I always attended lectures in undergrad and it really helped me learn and reinforce them material. I'd read lecture notes a few times before and use the lecture to participate, ask questions, and reinforce concepts into memory. Skipping lecture seems like going blind, and I couldn't possibly imagine getting thing out of sped up lectures when it's so easy to miss material at normal time.
     
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  3. chocolatethunder

    chocolatethunder 2+ Year Member

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    Almost every lecture of undergrad was completely useless. I went to the classes that required attendance and skipped all the ones that didn't.

    Most profs just summarize the stuff I already saw in the textbook and will show a couple practice problems at best. To me thats a waste of time. I could spend those hours better by studying from home or picking up more hours at my job.
     
  4. Chipster.

    Chipster. Are you not entertained? 2+ Year Member

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    For your sake I hope you don't go to med school lectures thinking it'll be an interactive experience.

    Your experience will be more like this:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. type12

    type12 2+ Year Member

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    Internet...
    ...and porn (anatomy is so easy)
     
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  6. Ismet

    Ismet PGY-fun SDN Administrator 5+ Year Member

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    I'm not sure if this is true at all schools but my school gives us a printed syllabus for each course, which is basically a book of all the lecture notes. Read that and you're good for the test. Listen to the lecture at 1.5-2x speed (I guarantee you that almost no one watches at 3x speed) if you feel the need to supplement the lecture notes, or if the lecture notes are crap.
     
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  7. Gurby

    Gurby 2+ Year Member

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    I assume they are learning material prior to watching the lecture, and then basically just scanning through to make the sure prof doesn't mention anything important that they may have missed.
     
  8. iforget2

    iforget2 2+ Year Member

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    Just curious, but for those who DO go to class, is the classroom pretty much just empty and the professor just teaches to a few people?
     
  9. Ismet

    Ismet PGY-fun SDN Administrator 5+ Year Member

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    Depends on the class, the course, and the lecturer. Sometimes we have really good lecturers who teach a lot or who are highly recommended by upperclassmen. Those lectures tend to have a bigger audience. Some entire courses are "favorites" due to the lecturers, and those are more populated in general. I'd say about 20-30 of my classmates were regular lecture go-ers. I think the class below me has a smaller number of regulars. A small number of professors get upset that they're lecturing to a small group of people but for the most part, the professors are really understanding that people podcast at home. I especially enjoy the profs who say hello to those of us listening at home :)
     
  10. cs24

    cs24 2+ Year Member

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    Because you can listen and integrate information a lot faster than someone can speak it at you.

    Seems like it wouldn't work well at first (I went to all lectures in undergrad too) but it does. Gets rid of all the annoying pauses, umms, etc and you really shouldn't have trouble with missing info, even at 2x. You can always pause/rewind if you start feeling overwhelmed.
     
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  11. cs24

    cs24 2+ Year Member

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    I don't go but friends that do tell me about 25-30 of our 170 people go to class.
     
  12. ponyo

    ponyo 人魚姫 5+ Year Member

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    I'm only a first year but I'm definitely finding some of our lectures to be time-inefficient. It seems like a lot of times they are actually really interesting and I would have loved them as a pre-med, but I just don't have time to listen to the professor wax poetic about this esoteric case that exemplifies anatomic trait #59482. Also a lot of upperclassmen post transcripts for the lectures, so I just read through them and it's faster for me that way.
     
  13. FirstName

    FirstName Account on Hold Account on Hold

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    Tribal people have many traditional medicines
     
  14. Snoopy2006

    Snoopy2006 7+ Year Member

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    You find a system that works for you. I went to all my classes in undergrad. For 3/4 of M1 year, I went to almost every class because I was convinced that was the best way to learn. At some point I hit a breaking point and started podcasting, and it worked just as well (if not better) for me.

    Podcasting is not the same thing as skipping class, it's a different way of getting the same information. Unless you ask a ton of questions during lecture, in which case you'll make lots of friends in med school :thumbup:

    Reasons podcasting worked for me:
    -Ability to rewind. Unlike most med students, I learn by taking detailed notes, and in regular time if I missed a key point, I fell behind for the rest of the lecture.
    -For the slower/duller lecturers, 2x is a godsend
    -You're able to customize your learning to some degree, at least for 2 years. Being able to fit in sleep and workouts was a lot easier when I wasn't adhering to a rigid class schedule. I think this helps reduce a lot of the stress associated with pre-clinical years.

    The downsides: some people tend to become hermits. Depending on your school, there may be technical errors and a podcast here or there could be dropped. And - the most common - if you lack a lot of discipline, it's very easy to end up 15 podcasts behind by the weekend.
     
  15. pre med 2014

    pre med 2014 2+ Year Member

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    I'm stupid I listen to the lectures at 1X speed
     
  16. Strudel19

    Strudel19 5+ Year Member

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    I've never heard of 3x the speed. I've heard of 1.5x the speed and I don't see any downsides to that.
     
  17. SN12357

    SN12357 2+ Year Member

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    Our lecture hall is cold, uncomfortable, and windowless.

    When I stream the lectures I can speed up the easy/boring parts, replay the more difficult parts, and pause anytime I want to. Also, it frees up more of my day and gives me a ton of scheduling flexibility.

    Should be pretty clear why people stream. Lectures are not participatory.
     
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  18. tqgtragese

    tqgtragese

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    It just depends on what you want. They're not skipping lecture, they're just studying it a different way.
    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Goro

    Goro 5+ Year Member

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    People have different learning styles. Some need to hear what's being taught, others need to read it, and still others need to feel it, one, they need to think in a more tactile sense, and learn more by imagining how things go together.

    This is why I have no problem with people who skip my lecture, and why I look down upon schools like LECOM, which have mandatory lectures. The "sage on the stage" is actually a poor learning modality.

    Just find whatever works for you.

     
  20. zegrated

    zegrated 5+ Year Member

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    It's all about active learning. I'll speak for myself here, but this is how it usually goes for me: Go to lecture, listen, take good notes. Look at slides 2-3 days later. Realize I actually retained nothing.

    Meanwhile, the dude that skipped lecture spent that hour looking at the slides himself and memorizing the material. Guess who knows it better?

    Efficiency is the name of the game in med school. The amount of material makes every minute of your life too valuable to waste on anything unnecessary.
     
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  21. Narmerguy

    Narmerguy SDN Senior Moderator 7+ Year Member

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    I don't even listen/watch the lectures, just go straight from syllabus and slides. It's just more efficient for me to consult the textbook/wikipedia any time I don't understand something.
     
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  22. SouthernSurgeon

    SouthernSurgeon Lifetime Donor 7+ Year Member

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    This is why, back in the good old days when I was in M1-2, my school was very very hesitant to consider putting lectures online, despite the petitions from students to do so. They thought it would be "insulting" to the faculty to only have maybe 20% of the class show up.

    They ultimately caved, but that was after my time.
     
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  23. gyngyn

    gyngyn Professor Gold Donor 5+ Year Member

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    It's always hard for the faculty to realize that we are here for the students. The students are not here for us!
     
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  24. lmn

    lmn 2+ Year Member

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    Exactly what everyone else has said above, the vast majority of the time going through the syllabus, ppt slides, and things like BRS review questions is plenty enough to do well on tests.

    Med school lectures aren't like undergrad, the amount of info and pace is much, much more, much faster. If you haven't pre-read all the material, quite often lecture is just like get blasted in the face with a giant firehouse and you don't really learn much from it and it's overwhelming (something you don't need to add to your plate). Your time is better spent going through the info on your own and then watching it back later at 2x speed. Now if you're really on top of everything and have pre-read/studied then you'll often find it annoying that for certain parts of the lecture, the lecturer is going too slowly and wasting your time that you could have used for other studying, or getting a bit more sleep, or taking care of other life things (hence watching it later at 2x speed is probably more useful). That's not to say that lecturers are never useful, they can often be, but it just constantly depends on who is teaching and how well prepped you are for that day's lectures.

    Most people who skip aren't doing it for the same reasons as undergrads (not to just sleep in, or have fun/waste time), these people are doing it so they can more effectively study since unlike undergrad, there is ALWAYS more for you to be studying at any and every point of time.
     
  25. SouthernSurgeon

    SouthernSurgeon Lifetime Donor 7+ Year Member

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    I like my research mentor's comment about lecture attendance:

    "If no one's coming to your restaurant, is it the customers' fault or the chef's?"
     
  26. xffan624

    xffan624 2+ Year Member

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    Even the best lecturers are still better at 2x speed with the ability to pause.
     
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  27. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

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    I skipped most classes during the first two years of medical school. Instead, I would watch the lectures at 2.5x, study the notes, and then rewatch the lectures at 2.5x a few days later. If the Dean was speaking or the lecture was highly recommended by others, then I might go in person. But otherwise I would save myself the hassle of driving to campus and sitting through slow speakers so I could study more efficiently at home.
     
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  28. type12

    type12 2+ Year Member

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    This makes me think the thread about that online medical school should be merged with this one.
     
  29. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    That's so cute!
     
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  30. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    Yes, that's the biggest roadblock. They considered it a "professionalism" issue if you don't come to class. They eventually back down, bc with the medical school arms race, the students will just matriculate at the places that have these services, they realize that they need to have it in order to keep up with the Joneses.
     
  31. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    PLEASE don't be that guy who makes others feel guilty for not going to class.

    You have the lecture/syllabus notes, you have the video podcast, which you can play at any speed, usually 1.5x-2x speed due to slow talker, a lot of umms and ahhs, etc. Most of all it decreases the level of exhaustion by going to class sitting thru class, writing notes, and then having to watch it again anyways.

    The amount of information you're getting blasted at you, doesn't make going to class better, as you have a short time period to eat, digest, and process it before having to take an exam. Videopodcasting of lectures is a godsend to med students everywhere and med schools who don't do it should be tarred and feathered and exposed on SDN.
     
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  32. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    Wow, that is the first 2 years of medical school all encompassed in one big gif.
     
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  33. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    The people who participate and ask questions are actually the biggest reason people watch lectures at home -- so you can fast through the people stuck on different things you don't find as complicated. You will learn in med school that the old adage " there's no such thing as a stupid question" simply isn't accurate. There will inevitably be a guy sitting in the front row of your class who likes the sound of his own voice and has nothing but stupid questions. such is life.

    I'd say there's a lot of exaggeration on this thread. Half of the people in your med school class will attend lecture regularly. I did, not because you can't get more out of the lecture watching it twice at twice the speed, but because it's a Lot easier to get yourself out of bed and "studying" if you have a place you need to be at 7-8 am each day. Plenty of people who skip lecture kid themselves, waking up at 11, spending an hour or so at the gym, then goof around for a while doing errands, and finally actually hit the books in the mid to late afternoon, not too much earlier than those of us who already spent the morning in lecture. So except for the handful of actually self motivated people who actually will be studying while everyone else is in lecture, it's a fools gambit. More than a few of my classmates who tried self study started going to lecture again after the first few exams.

    In med school you need to figure out what works. But it's not always what you want to work. And you are often your own worst enemy in trying to do that which sounds appealing to you rather than that which actually helps you. There is no "one size fits all" game plan that works for med school and what work well for one person won't for another.
     
    Last edited: 09.27.14
  34. SouthernSurgeon

    SouthernSurgeon Lifetime Donor 7+ Year Member

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    Yeah that's basically what happened. It was the inertia of first years' complaining (and telling the dean that "every other school does it") that pushed them.

    If I'd had the ability to fast-forward through all the stupid-question askers in my med school class, I feel like I would have gotten a year of my life back.

    Outside of the fact that, as I'd mentioned, if you missed class there was no recording - this was my biggest reason. It provided me a structure for the day that I otherwise would not have been able to maintain.
     
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  35. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    So true. The only reason they continue is bc the PhD professor will be way too nice and answer every question and not tell them to their face to stop asking so many stupid questions like they should be told. Luckily on clerkships, there is no such saving of feelings.
     
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  36. lmn

    lmn 2+ Year Member

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    You have given me hope that one day the onslaught of stupid question after stupid question will stop. Is it part of the quota for every Adcom to admit one person that will sit in the front and ask the most useless questions in every lecture?
     
  37. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    There's always at least one and they ALWAYS sit in the front row. They think it's cute, or think they're showing how smart they are, or think the PhD is actually interested in them asking and answering their questions. On clerkships, that ish ends fast bc an attending/resident/intern will be more than happy to put you in your place if he feels you're unnecessarily wasting his time.
     
  38. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Yep. There's always a patient in the hospital somewhere who needs to be disempacted. Hope you didn't wear a nice watch.
     
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  39. Narmerguy

    Narmerguy SDN Senior Moderator 7+ Year Member

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    As a counter to this, it's not that hard to maintain structure. Most of my classmates are pretty motivated and organized. The people who make it to medical school are not the same people who couldn't hack it in undergrad, and ultimately they find a system that works. What's important is that your system is sustainable--if waking up at 11, exercising and getting a light start to the day allows you to hit the books with a clear mind and energy, then so be it. No one cares how or when you get the work in, so long as it gets done.

    For me, I wake up at 6am every day, prepare for the day, read the news, eat, shower, look over my schedule, and then head to the school. I actually don't go to class, but head straight to one of the study rooms. If I was "good" the day before, I've already looked over that day's material (usually syllabus and slides) for some of my classes. If not, I go through it for the first time that morning, taking notes, making flashcards, looking up stuff I don't understand, etc. I take a break in the middle to go to the gym (my school has a gym in the med school), shower, and am ready for lunch when all of my classmates are getting done with morning lecture. It's a good system, low stress, and not that hard to maintain. Only about 30% of the students end up consistently going to lecture.
     
  40. V5RED

    V5RED MS-1 Lifetime Donor 5+ Year Member

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    Going to lecture is a total waste of time for me for multiple reasons.

    1) The professors turn the lights off during the lecture(most of those who go are vocal about wanting this) which means I am falling asleep after the first lecture.

    2) I can't pause a lecturer when it is live, so I get behind on one thing and it screws me up for the rest of the lecture. Another issue is my ADD(diagnosed, but unmedicated). I often realize I have been daydreaming and need to rewind the lecture or I just need to pause it and let my mind wander until I am ready to study again. A third issue is that some of the lecturers do an awful job explaining things, so I need to look those things up or relisten quite a few times. Being able to pause/rewind is great for this.

    3) Listening at 1.5x speed helps a lot since there is no reason to hear about untested stuff at slow normal speed, and I pause when I need to jot a thing down anyway, so speeding it up just gets that note to my brain faster.

    In unit 1, I went to almost every lecture and had to rewatch them all because I got so little out of physically being there. In unit 2 I went to maybe 4 lectures, hated it, and never looked back. In unit 2 I had much more free time, was able to get back to the gym, and also had time for friends and tv because I wasn't throwing away 4-5 hours a day in lectures I got nothing out of.
     
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  41. alpinism

    alpinism Give Em' the Jet Fuel 5+ Year Member

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    For the vast majority of lecturers, its much more efficient to go through the lecture at 2x speed plus you're able to fast foreword through any extraneous information (basic science research/personal commentary/student questions). You can also re-watch a certain segment immediately if you don't understand something the first time. Saves you hours every day.

    As others have mentioned, at most schools you get a comprehensive course book or study guide so you definitely aren't missing material or going blind.

    I'd say about 1/3 of my class regularly went to lecture. However, with some lecturers it was 2/3 or more.
     
  42. alpinism

    alpinism Give Em' the Jet Fuel 5+ Year Member

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    YMMV but I've had a few lecturers well worth the trip to school.

    One ID faculty in particular reminded me of Prof. Keating from Dead Poet's Society. Everything from ripping out pages in our course book to making everyone stand on their desks shouting things like "stasis is the basis of infection" and "there is no such thing as a single normal set of vital signs." He'd also sit in the audience and refused to teach from the podium.

    Its funny but to this day (2+ years later) I still remember a ton from his lectures.
     
  43. cs24

    cs24 2+ Year Member

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    How long has it been since you were in medical school? I can guarantee you that at the two medical schools I have information about, the 10-20% of students actually going to lecture figure rings true.

    Also, plenty of people who skip lectures actually have discipline, get their work done, and end up doing very well. Like you said, there is no "one size fits all game plan". I wake up at 10-11 am, and watch at 2x. By the time everyone else is done with lectures and eating their lunch at 12:30, I've finished them as well from home. Then I can stay up late and study when I'm most naturally inclined to (~midnight-2am).

    More than a few of my classmates who wanted to improve their grades at the end of first year started going to lectures again at the start of a new block, then stopped when they realized it was hurting them more than helping them.

    Not sure why I'm responding really, as I really agree with your last paragraph. I guess your post just sounds a little too much like our administrators/block directors who, despite having podcasting/streaming available like to try to guilt trip us into going to class by implying that not going to class makes you a worse/less dedicated to medicine student. I'm just tired of hearing it, because it is patently untrue.
     
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  44. the_fella

    the_fella

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    Wow. This thread has been really enlightening to me. I honestly never would have considered doing this, but I also have never had a professor who posts audio and/or video of lectures, at least not that I was aware of.
     
  45. alamo4

    alamo4 Dudeist 2+ Year Member

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    You might already have heard all of this, but in case you haven't.

    For the preclinical years, almost all of the material you will be taught in didactic lectures is the same body of material taught at every medical school in the developed world. At a top ranked research school, they may have some Nobel laureates come out and give a few special lectures, and there may be some general information about where different fields are going which are bit more perceptive, but basically the same core material is presented. One possible exception is the Harvard/MIT HST program which specifically tries to have extra didactics on more cutting edge research issues, but the basic idea is the there. The other aspect is that at many schools, the teaching staff are a constantly rotating set of lecturers of very variable ability and interest in teaching.

    So, if you're going to learn about kidney physiology and pathology, if you're interested in optimizing the use of your time to learn the key material, it may make more sense to rely more heavily on outside material which a lot of work has been put into high quality teaching, vetted by many editors and students. That's why many students focus more time on things like Pathoma, First Aid, etc. You could read syllabus or class notes on pathology, or you could read Robbins. If your school is pass/fail, then if you learn the base material, you are going to pass anyway, and probably do better on things like the Step 1. If it's not pass/fail, then you can still use external resources to get a deep understanding, and then just go over the course notes for any special stuff that your particular instructor is into and will put into the exam.

    If your school has recorded lectures, why not watch the videos while you are on the elliptical at 1.5 speed (or faster depending on the instructor). You can watch more content faster, or even watch it twice, being able to pause and go back when you get confused about something. Watching things at faster speed and when you are moving may aid concentration and keep you awake. You also can get in better shape and have a longer life instead of sitting for 6 hours a day.

    The talking head part of teaching, especially if it is an environment that discourages asking questions, just begs to be turned into video or other recorded content.

    This sort of thinking is effecting all of education. Why have a mediocre grad student teach an intro physics section, when you can watch the lecture by the best professor in the world online? Or why not work through modules (Khan Academy style) or systems which have adaptive quizzes and focussed material? Going further, why even have live PBL sections when you can make online games that teach the basic concepts. You can have simulations on clinical reasoning and knowledge that guide you through cases and provide back up material and clarification and links out to even more information when you get stuck.

    For the purely factual/didactic parts of preclinical medical education, there may be big changes going forward in the future. Market forces will likely mean that there will be Coursera type thing for 80% of the first two years of medical school. Save everyone a lot of resources. For better or worse. It just doesn't make economic sense for the medical school to pay someone to give the same lecture every year, especially when fewer and fewer people are showing up each year.

    All that being said, I liked going to lectures. I would get distracted on minutia and fall behind studying alone on my own. It was also interesting to be able to talk to and ask questions of researchers and major leaders in different fields, and I at least know the faculty. I like the social aspect of class.
     
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  46. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    Nice to see that in an era of the powerpointization of education.
     
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  47. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    Breakfast and caffeine here is so critical.
     
  48. Styrene

    Styrene 2+ Year Member

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    Is there anyone that never watched the lectures? Is it possible to use only books and prepared course notes/outlines? That is, is it possible to pick a few recommended sources, use the syllabus as a guide, and only attend tests--no lecture at all?
     
  49. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    Usually not. Every lecturer has their own biases in what to test, they have their own idiosyncrasies that then appear on tests which can make or break your grade. I've only noticed the most gifted who can only read lecture notes and read textbooks without lecture and ace exams. Arthur Guyton, Emile Boulpaep, or Linda Costanzo are not writing your exam. Your professor is.
     
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  50. Styrene

    Styrene 2+ Year Member

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    Is it that there is material on a given test that may not be covered in written sources, or that learning enough material from said sources to cover all possible bases for a given test is not doable for 99% of students?
     
  51. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    Everything is fair game technically. But you'll notice very quickly what your professor's idiosyncrasies are. Unlike undergrad where covering lecture notes and textbook chapters is totally doable bc of the total amount of information tested per exam, in medical school the amount of information is so immense per exam, being able to master everything of all resources isn't at all "high-yield" in terms of doing well on exams.
     
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