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How Much do you Study

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by oburger, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. oburger

    oburger Junior Member
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    I was wondering how much studying Medical Students study on average for both their 1st and 2nd years.

    I'm taking my MCAT this August, and I'm taking a long time reviewing and going over everything. I'm worried since, if I can't handle the amoung in MCAT material, how am I going to survive in medical school???

    So how much material is covered in Year 1 and Year 2? How much time is devoted to studying? versus sleeping. eating, partying ?!?!
     
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  3. sentrosi

    sentrosi INTARWEB USER
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    I'm only about to go into first year, but I study very little. It works out.
     
  4. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    You are going to get a huge variation of answers, because everyone's ability is different, some have stronger memories or better study skills or are faster readers, some people are balancing school against family or other outside concerns, some people always go to class and some never do, and some schools have classes all day versus others that have half day self study schedules. Everybody figures out what works by trial and error. Assume it is a lot harder than college and you will log a lot more hours. Most people go full tilt till the first exam, and then some ease up or try a new technique accordingly based on how they did. Nobody doesn't find time to eat or sleep during the first two years, they save that for the third year. Partying tends to be much more tame and limited in med school than college years, but has been known to occur after exams.
     
  5. StudentDoc327

    StudentDoc327 Member
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    Yeah its really variable like the other poster said. I think the #1 factor is how well you want to do. Just passing shouldnt be too hard, but being at the top is tough even if you spend most of your free time studying. You will study more than you ever did in college thats for sure. But you shouldnt worry about it, everybody adapts and does fine. There is a very low failure rate in medical school. Good luck on your MCAT.
     
  6. ndspider

    ndspider Lurk
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    I skip all of my classes. So I study alot..... like alot alot.
    I can't stand a professor reading powerpoint slides to me. What... am i stupid.
    Explain them, don't read them
    I do fine.
    Each one to his./her own.
     
  7. UCLAstudent

    UCLAstudent I'm a luck dragon!
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    We only have 2 hours of lecture per day, so there's a big emphasis on self-study. Our grades are based on one set of final exams every 8 weeks. I've tried two methods:

    1) Studying the 2 lectures from a given day right after class ends (takes about 3 to 4 hours each day and allows me to have a free weekend --- sounds like a lot of time each day, but I learn the material really well the first time around so that it comes back to me easily when I am reviewing for finals)
    2) Not studying so much during the week and reviewing all the lectures over the weekend --- can usually do it so that I have most of Sunday free

    Both have worked well for me. I usually end up doing method 2.

    Note: I increase my studying significantly in the 2 weeks before an exam. So, basically, I am fairly relaxed during the first 6 weeks and then work really hard for the 2 weeks before an exam.
     
  8. contulusa

    contulusa Member
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    I have to agree with the above posters but IF someone tells you they don't study it is complete utter crap...An adcom explained it like this it is like taking 36 semester hours. You do the math. I just took histo the summer before entering and it was not uncommon to study about 5-6 hours after class which is 5 hours itself. There were days i didn't study but i had to work double as hard to make up for it. The exams themselves are 3 hours long. You really gotta want it or study your butt off to be at the top as someone said before.

    Good Luck with MCAT...you'll do fine.
     
  9. SoCuteMD

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    I skip class and put an average of 6-8 hours in each day on the weekdays, and 6 hours each day on the weekends. I usually do well.
     
  10. cubsrule4e

    cubsrule4e The Company Misery Loves
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    If you study at all, youll pass.

    After that, its up to you as to what grade youre aiming for and how much you personally need to study in order to achieve that. Also, the MCAT sucks. There is no organic chem or physics in med school :D
    Some people study 3-4 hours a day and are at the top of the class. Some people get the same results but have to study 8 hours a day. Other people will study 8 hours a day just to make average grades. The first month is all about testing study habits. If youre lucky, youll find something that works for you right away, and you can continue to adjust your habits as you need to on a test by test basis.
     
  11. SoCuteMD

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    This statement does not hold true at my school.
     
  12. jgrady

    jgrady Future AZCOM Grad & D.O.
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    I'm not the brighest student, but probably one of the most motivated (aka neurotic). I had never studied more than six hours a day before med school, including at B-school.

    My school has "finals" every Monday and Friday morning. So no weekends off. Plus we have a full day of class. Monday night was my weekend. On average, I studied about 20 hours during weekday evenings and 20 hours over the weekend for Monday morning's test.

    This is what it took for me to get into the top 25%. I don't retain alot after the reading and I don't have a photographic memory. Mostly, I just have more endurance and capacity for stress/suffering than I thought.

    MSIII is heaven if that's any consolation. And looking back, I should have skipped a lot more class. Distance learning (i.e. rewind enabled instruction) is the future of didactics.
     
  13. MadameLULU

    MadameLULU Saucy
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    I do a 'il bit of both: go to class/watch videos, but words can't express how much i love the unapproved, unaccredited MD-at-home program :)

    To the OP: I try to read the lectures before class (usually I read them the night before at the gym). We have tests every 6-8 weeks, so for the 3-4 weeks, I do light studying (0-3 hrs per day), and then for the remainder of the block, I'm fairly hard core (study all day).
     
  14. eulÆgy

    eulÆgy Junior Member

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    Probably around 4-5 hours on weekdays. Then take the weekends off.
     
  15. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Agree. At many schools there will be a few folks in each class that have to retake things due to failure the first time through. Most of those folks did study, just came up short.
     
  16. vtucci

    vtucci Attending in Emergency Medicine
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    Nor mine. Passing can be challenging if you do not have a science background (mine was history/political science/law) and all the classes are subjects you are seeing for the first time (that will not be the case for a lot of students in the class).

    Consider how good you are at memorizing. I suck at it but when I remember a concept, I remember it. As a result, my course grades are below my class' average but my standardized tests are above. Go figure.

    I agree that studying happens a lot more in the week or two weeks preceeding a test. We have exams every three weeks in year two so it will be more of a marathon than our past exams.
     
  17. oburger

    oburger Junior Member
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    Thanks for all the info all of you have posted.

    I've been seriously reconsidering even applying this fall for med school next year.

    I suck at memorization, and though I'm not too bad at concepts. At the rate I'm studying for the MCAT's people are wondering if I med school is even a good choice for me. Then again, I try to study until concepts are down pat.

    For those of you who study 4+ hours a day, I applaud your motivation and hard work. I'm not that motivated to study for my MCAT's, and lots of people are telling me, that if I can't fix my MCAT's, I shouldn't even consider med school.
     
  18. Cold Penguin

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    oburger,

    It appears to me that you are studying where you are surrounded by friends. MCAT is certainly one of the ways to evaluate your competitiveness at med school, but before using MCAT as a way to evaluate your qualification for med school, I think you should stay away from these people who are telling you that you should stay away from med school, if you can't fix your MCAT. They are not only discouraging you but distracting you from what you are trying very hard to achieve. Have some space from these people (whether they are your friends or significant other). If they really care about you and your MCAT, they should understand. You should definitely stay away from them and start fresh with your own soul.

    For many people (not just you), MCAT is a big hurdle, and at a stressful time like this, you could be very much tempted to believe what others tell you or could have a very much doubt of what you are capable. Think this way: you have come this far, and you only have one more hurdle to applying to med school at this stage of your life. So, be prepared and jump it over. Then, forget those who told you to forget med school.
     
  19. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Ignore other people. You and you alone will decide whether you have what it takes. But I do caution you that studying 4 hours a day is not going to be close to the top of the range of time folks spend studying at any med school. (Some because they need to, and others because they are shooting for the top scores).
     
  20. luke77

    luke77 Member
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    I have a similar question (another undergrad here)...

    Is it feasible to skip all (or most) of your classes and simply teach yourself the material during the first 2 years of med school? In my undergrad classes I don't gain anything from going to class and learn by studying on my own. I still usually go to classes because class only meets for about 15 hours a week...but it seems like going to class all day in medical school might be a tremendous waste of time for someone who learns better on his/her own. Studying for 6-8 hours a day doesn't seem that horrible if you aren't going to classes...that's only 30-40 hours a week (plus weekends). Is this unrealistic?
     
  21. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Yes, it's feasible -- lots of people skip lectures. Only a few schools mandate attendance. Some schools put the lectures into digital format and you can watch them later. And some schools have half day lecture schedules which maximize out of class study time. At some places only anatomy labs and clinical stuff and PBL type stuff is mandatory attendance. But bear in mind that those folks who don't attend lecture often still watch it later (perhaps at compressed speed), or else still study the equivalent time of folks who attend plus study -- you don't always get the equivalent value in 6 hours of someone who attends lecture and studies 4 hours. The goal is only to do self study if this gives you a learning advantage, not to maximize your free time -- you could do this by not attending med school at all. Also you need to be pretty self motivated -- someone who attends lecture at 8 or 9 each morning is starting his learning process at that time. If you sleep in to noon and then wait for the lecture to get put onto the computer, you may end up digging yourself a hole (I know someone whose initial attempt at a self study schedule crashed and burned this way). Even if you only learn 10% of the material on the first pass by attending lecture that is still a good head start for some.
    My suggestion -- attend class initially. Then if you truly feel you aren't benefitting as much as you would on your own, try home studying. Let the exams serve a gauges as to how well each works for you.
     
  22. silas2642

    silas2642 silas2642
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    Law2doc has again offered impeccable advice: if you make it to med school you are going to be spending way more than 4 hours per day studying if you want to pass.

    For those who think that med school is a bad idea-- only you can decide whether or not this is really what you want to do. If you really love medicine and it is the right career for you, then apply. If you can't cut it in medical school, then don't worry, the adcoms will never let you in. Good luck with the mcat!
     
  23. jgrady

    jgrady Future AZCOM Grad & D.O.
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    Like Law2Med mentioned you will have some required classes & labs. But you can skip most. The hard part is deciding which ones you need to attend. For example, if you know a Prof races through over 100 slides an hour and you retain only 10%, but also identify 50% of the fluff you don't need to reread and/or highlight 5-6 of the obvious test questions, is it a worthy use of your time?

    I struggled with this question through all of Path in MSII.

    One suggestion is to get a support network of friends that ae with alternating attendence or willing to just give the scoop from lectures. The other alternative (especially when you're swamped in MSII) is to just give up the questions leaked in lecture for classes like Psych so you can get a couple more questions correct in more important classes like Path.

    Good luck...
     
  24. anamarylee

    anamarylee A la grande le puse Cuca
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    Studying in med school is all about discipline. At first I had trouble because I would try to pull marathon studying before exams. I changed my approach to studying which has worked well for preclinical and clinical years, plus studying for the boards: I study for long periods but take 5-10 minute break every hour. At first you may have to change your study routine/habits. I used to cram before exams in undergrad and that worked for me then. Not in med school. You have to keep up with the material. There is not enough time to cram all the volume of information in med school. The most important tip: don't fall behind on the material. Make a schedule and try your best to stick to it.
     
  25. oburger

    oburger Junior Member
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    Thanks for all the great advice. I think for alot of undergraduates, its more of a concern for the amount of workload given in med school.

    I'm glad to hear that lots of schools are opting for a half day of classes vs. the 8 hour day. By the end of 8 hours I think our butts would hurt, and 8 hours of lecture are pointless to people who don't learn well through live lectures anyway.

    Are schools teaching through the "learn by organ systems" method where students learn each of the organ system groups one at at time. So far, I only know that UCSF does this.
     
  26. anamarylee

    anamarylee A la grande le puse Cuca
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    My school uses the organ systems for 2nd year pathophysiology. Path, micro and pharm are year long courses that are integrated into pathophysio.
     
  27. UCLAstudent

    UCLAstudent I'm a luck dragon!
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    UCLA is organ-based.
     
  28. luke77

    luke77 Member
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    Thanks law2doc and jgrady for the insight.
     
  29. Brainsucker

    Brainsucker Senior Member
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    Hey folks, I thought I'd bring up a difference you'll notice depending on medical school. My school has ~6 weeks of classes followed by a four day weekend, then a week of tests (one or two on Monday, Wednesday and Friday). This gives one the chance to cram enough to hit the average if you only kind of looked over the stuff during the block. Lots of my classmates didn't really hit the books at all until a week or two before the first exam and only studied hardcore during that four day weekend before the exams. Other schools have tests that are embedded right into the class schedule such that a little more prep is required. I wouldn't suggest choosing a school based on this kind of thing, but it's something to be aware of when you're thinking about how you're going to split up your study schedule.
     
  30. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Interesting. Either way, in my opinion, you probably tend to do better if you study daily, rather than the end, and just step it up a notch during the last weekend. Med school learning usually comes from sheer repetition, so you want that last weekend to be the umpteenth time you are looking at the material, not the first. In law schools frequently you have one test at the end of the semester per course (similar exam schedule to yours), and those who waited to the end to try and cram 4 months of info into their head really didn't tend to fare as well.
     
  31. Brainsucker

    Brainsucker Senior Member
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    It doesn't actually matter too much since the second year schedule is different and first year is P/F. It's also a lot easier to cram 6 weeks than 4 months. I just wanted to let the pre-meds know that there are different study-style options available that depend on their class schedules. Though I didn't really do it, it makes sense to me to prioritize going out in the first year if that's your thing.
     
  32. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I hear ya. But bear in mind that not every school's "P/F" is really just "P/F". A lot of times there is a huge difference in class rank between your P and someone elses. (although first year grades admittedly don't count too too much).
     
  33. 1Path

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    Why do people continually lie about this here? :confused: To appear "smart"?
     
  34. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I guess in some circles not studying is "cool". :cool:
     

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