How difficult is Optometry School?

Discussion in 'Optometry' started by GypsyHummus, Dec 10, 2018.

  1. GypsyHummus

    7+ Year Member

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    Hey everyone,

    Had a couple questions for all those who are practicing optometrists or OD students now.

    How difficult is Optometry school compared to an undergraduate degree?

    How many hours/day or week would you say you study on average while in school (non clinical)?

    How difficult are the tests? Are they usually multiple choice, or are there short answer questions?

    How long is lecture? How intensive are your power points/lectures? How many slides do you usually go through in a day?

    Do you feel you are able to stay on top of material, or do you find that it is too easy to fall behind?

    To those who have taken boards, how difficult are boards? Are there good resources that are accurate representation to the test? Are boards pass fail? If not, is there a big emphasis placed on board scores like in medicine?

    What is the course retake policy? Are you able to get all Cs and still graduate with an OD and be just fine? Do employers look at grades, or is OD school pass fail?
     
    #1 GypsyHummus, Dec 10, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
  2. Ojos14

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    The difficulty of optometry school is highly dependent on what your undergraduate school was like and which optometry school you attend. You really can’t make generalized statements. Some people attend highly competitive undergraduate schools and have many extracurriculars, making the experiences comparable.

    Non-clinical hours studying/in class is also highly dependent on which school you attend, how much you study, and what year of school you are in. The hours spent in class/studying decreased as it becomes more clinical. I would anticipate at least ~20 hours of lecture per week in the beginning.

    Difficulty of tests/slides/material/et. depends on the instructor/school/class, as does the format. There’s multiple choice, multiple multiple choice, fill in, calculations, etc.

    Boards are pass/fail. Part I is the hardest. All are doable. Some schools have higher pass rates.

    If you don’t pass a course sometimes you have to repeat the semester. Depends.
     
  3. contactspecs2020

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    I guess everything is pretty dependent on the individual but here's mine if you wanted a survey of personal answers to your questions. I would say I'm the average student at my school.

    I went to a pretty competitive undergrad and got decent grades with minimal studying (2-3 hours review per midterm - 2 tests per semester). Optometry school was difficult for me and I had to put a lot of effort into studying and understanding the material. I probably would study on at minimum 5-7 hours per test (however long it took to review the tested material twice) and we had a test 3x a week (on top of quizzes that we had in lab/lecture). Tests started the 2nd week of each quarter and continued through finals until break week.

    Tests are mostly formatted as multiple choice since boards are also multiple choice. Despite being multiple choice there are calculations required depending on the course.

    In first year, we had on ~5-8 hours a day of lecture and labs with each subsequent year having less and less lecture and more and more clinic. Number of slides is dependent on material and lecturer. Some lecturers put a lot of info on their slides, some don't. If I had to guess the average amount of slides per presentations not including readings.. maybe 30-50 slides per presentation?

    It was really easy for me to get behind. I probably would be "ahead" for the first week or two of school then just "right on top of" or "catching up" for the rest of the quarter.

    Boards (specifically part 1) is probably the hardest test I've had to take to date. I would say the resources are pretty good. Boards are pass/fail but they also have a scaled score. I think only if you plan to do a residency that your GPA and board scores probably matter.

    Depends on the school. Schools usually have a minimum GPA that you had to maintain but you have to pass all your classes (not 50% but higher). I believe ours was no GPA below 2.25 (or higher, I'm not sure) and clinical practicals (skills tests) you could not score below a 75-80%. If you failed a clinical skill, you had to go to remediation (extra labs/assignments) and then allowed to do the skill test for the second time. You get one chance at a retake for written finals if you failed a course. Fail the retake, you have to retake the course (which is only offered once a year -- so usually meant those students were held back a year; unless you're in late 3rd year then they let you walk with your class but your externships/actual graduation would be delayed until you completed the requirement). Fail the class a second time I'm not quite sure happens after that but I had some classmates who didn't return. Also mind you, despite having no GPA below 2.25 I think some students were prohibited by the school to take boards if their GPA wasn't high enough - but that can be rumor.
     
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  4. Snakedoctor1

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    I personally felt the material of undergrad was more difficult for me, but many of my classmates felt differently. My science classes in undergrad were challenging, and I would routinely spend 3+ hours in the testing center slogging through chemistry finals. In Optometry school our tests were timed, which I prefer. The difficult part of Optometry school is the amount of information you'll be presented with in a short period of time. At my particular school, that manifested itself in the form of 8.4 million power point slides, which I am convinced is the worst way to learn anything. Luckily the vast majority was posted so we could access the information from home, so after the first year I learned which material I could study on my own, and which classes I wanted to be present for. At times I used every waking moment for studying, at other times I would go several weeks with very little studying at all, depending on the year and which tests were upcoming. I got decent grades and passed all of my board exams on the first attempt, and I never skipped sleep to study. If you develop good habits and self control, and figure out the best learning strategies for you, Optometry school should be completely manageable.
     

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