Just finished first med school midterm.. Ask me anyting

johnnytest

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Hey Guys,

MS-1 here. Ask me anything.

Few things I recommend to Pre-meds.

1. Attend P/F school.
2. Participate in life experiences because you may never get another chance while in med school.
3. Doesn't matter where you are from, med school is hard. So be humble when you eventually start.
 

The_Bird

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I hope you did well!

You said med school is hard. How hard is "med school hard" compared to "undergraduate hard"?

How have you needed to adapt, so far, to deal with the curriculum demands?

Thanks!
 

Stagg737

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Congratulations on your first test.

Do you attend a P/F school? If so, where is the cutoff for passing (I'm assuming 70).
 

StudyLater

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Do P/F schools keep percent scores for ranking purposes, or do they simply not rank?

Also by midterm do you mean set of midterms for all classes? How many hours did you study total for them?
 
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Spector1

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was the first midterm as bad as you expected? was it similar to college or a whole different level?
 

Stagg737

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Do P/F schools keep percent scores for ranking purposes, or do they simply not rank?

Also by midterm do you mean set of midterms for all classes? How many hours did you study total for them?
It depends on if the school is a 'true' P/F school like Yale. Residencies expect graduates from those schools to be pretty outstanding either way which is usually reflected in their board scores. From what I've heard there are plenty of P/F schools that do keep track of student's percentages/grades for the MSPE though and use words to describe the candidate as "excellent" or "good" to denote their general placement in the class. However, there is no class rank in terms of actually being ranked X out of Y students.
 
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Mad Jack

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Meh, first year wasn't that bad. We have a lot of fun at my school. Hell, even during second year, most of my classmates are out surfing every other day for hours.
 
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moisne

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Here's how I feel after EVERY EXAM... "I didn't know I can cram that much in that short of a time - but somehow when push comes to shove, they all fit"
 
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johnnytest

johnnytest

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Should just clarify that I'm at Sinai so my experiences may not reflect other med schools but I imagine it to be relatively similar in other P/F schools. Thank you guys for your questions! I hope I was able to answer the as succinctly as possible. Good luck to those who are in the current application cycle.

I hope you did well!

You said med school is hard. How hard is "med school hard" compared to "undergraduate hard"?

How have you needed to adapt, so far, to deal with the curriculum demands?

Thanks!
Thanks, I think I did well but since I don't know the class average yet I can't really say for sure. But, I definitely scored more than enough to pass. Med school is hard because of the volume of information you need to learn in the short amount of time. I can't really equate how much material was taught in one month of med school to undergrad bio class. I'll give you some numbers tho. In one month, we had 33 lectures , each lecture averages ~50-60 slides of material (most are image slides) and take about 50 minutes, and 16 labs (Anatomy + Histology). The labs are killer, especially anatomy because there's so much information that is presented in lab and you don't really know what to remember and what to skip. There's a lot of self-directed learning. You can't say "okay so then I'm going to know everything for the midterm" Knowing everything will take you longer than you think and plus some information is not worth knowing at this stage of the curriculum. Most professors let us know which information we need to know and what we can totally ignore. This especially helpful for Embryology, which everyone seems to dislike. lol.

But with that being said, I've taken some engineering courses in undergrad that would literally cover only 6 chapters in the entire semester and I would struggle so much because they were applied science to the extreme. Most of the material we are learning now in med school is easy enough to understand but difficult to memorize over a short period of time. I have to say how the human body works is very complex and we are just being presented it in a very simple manner for now anyway. I imagine physiology will further elaborate on such complexity.

Congratulations on your first test.

Do you attend a P/F school? If so, where is the cutoff for passing (I'm assuming 70).
Yep, I do. Cutoff is 70 or two standard deviations below the mean, whichever is lower. Usually, the cutoff is the two STDs. In the current course I'm taking we can't fail both the midterm and final. We have to pass at least one regardless of what our overall grade is at the end.

Do P/F schools keep percent scores for ranking purposes, or do they simply not rank?

Also by midterm do you mean set of midterms for all classes? How many hours did you study total for them?
Sinai is an unranked P/F school. Your grades are seen by the least number of people possible. At the end of each course, your transcript will say Pass or Fail and that is all residency programs will ever see. Sinai does keep some internal information that is only shared again with the fewest number of people possible. For example, after each exam, students that performed in the bottom 5% will received what's called a "marginal pass". This does not appear on the transcript but it is simply an indicator for the student. The student's adviser will reach out to them just to check up and see how things are going. Usually, marginal pass is nothing to get worked up about. An exam can have an average of 95 and bottom 5% could be an 85. Sometimes you may have had a bad day.

By midterm, I had a single midterm, 100 multiple choice questions with 3-hour time limit. Exams are taken online and they open Friday at 4pm and remain open until Monday at 8am. We follow Sinai's honor code for the exams. Once you open the exam, you have 3 hours to finish it. My midterm covered a month's worth of material, which included Gross Anatomy, Embryology, and Histology. It's funny because before starting med school I would hear people say students study for like 8-12 hours a day, and I think the max I ever studied in a super productive day was probably 8 hours, which was probably for the MCAT. So, I didn't know if I could study that long in med school. But, 8-12 hrs became the norm mainly because in the beginning I was taking it a little easier than I should have but I was also acclimating to this new learning environment. It took a while to figure out how to study and I can only say after taking the midterm with some confidence that I think I know how to study to do well. So total hours, would be 240 hours outside of class studying in one month's time or 6-8hrs/day. But, I think because I'm enjoying what I'm studying time literally flies by for certain topics.


was the first midterm as bad as you expected? was it similar to college or a whole different level?
It was fair. I was weak in Embryology and most people feel the same way. It's really hard to equate to college since it's been a while since I took a bio course but just estimating I would say the midterm covered about a year's worth of undergrad Bio and that's just off the top of my head. And I mention Bio because I think Bio courses throw the most amount of information at you similar to med school courses.

I don't know if he was claiming that. I think it's just advice.
Yeah, I should have been clearer. I meant if you are taking a gap year and you have the opportunity to do something once in a lifetime then do it. There are many more opportunities in med school that actually can get overwhelming but they are for the most part related to medicine. So if there's something totally un-related to medicine I'd say go for it. For example, during my gap year I started a start-up business with a few colleagues which is now continuing to grow under their management. I can't be involved as much as I was before but I'm glad it's something I got to do. I'm sure businesses can be started while in med school to but it's just harder. There are some students who seem to be able to do w/e they want and still perform at the top of their class. I don't think I'm capable of that but I'm perfectly happy with where I am now and my potential.

Awesome to see you with "Medical Student" under your tag. :D
Thank you! It was hard to believe at first especially during the first week of classes. But, each day I feel so blessed and I know I'm in a privileged position.
 
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johnnytest

johnnytest

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Meh, first year wasn't that bad. We have a lot of fun at my school. Hell, even during second year, most of my classmates are out surfing every other day for hours.
Yeah, it seems it gets easier after anatomy.
 
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johnnytest

johnnytest

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Here's how I feel after EVERY EXAM... "I didn't know I can cram that much in that short of a time - but somehow when push comes to shove, they all fit"
Same, it's amazing how much material is in my short-term memory right now. HAHA!
 
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Interviewing at Sinai soon, definitely a top choice for me, can you give some of your impressions of the school and the city? Where were you from originally? I love that it is based on an honor code for the exams, that sounds like a really good litmus test for the general environment of the school (opposite of what I heard about Feinberg for example). And I recently got some info from some Alumni and a current Resident, who said that Sinai selects for some really cool students with interesting skills and hobbies.
 

Mad Jack

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Yeah, it seems it gets easier after anatomy.
We had a full year of anatomy, and started off second year with six weeks of neuroanatomy. I largely credit our block exam schedule for the flexibility- you could take it light for the first half of the block, then go into study OT for the last two to three weeks of the block. Second year is similar for us, with discrete testing weeks that make it easy to chill early on and then study hard in the week or two leading up to an exam.

I'd say that early on in a block, we'd study 25-30 hours a week, but in the two to three weeks leading to an exam many of us would hit 50-70 hours a week.
 
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johnnytest

johnnytest

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Interviewing at Sinai soon, definitely a top choice for me, can you give some of your impressions of the school and the city? Where were you from originally? I love that it is based on an honor code for the exams, that sounds like a really good litmus test for the general environment of the school (opposite of what I heard about Feinberg for example). And I recently got some info from some Alumni and a current Resident, who said that Sinai selects for some really cool students with interesting skills and hobbies.
Congrats on your II!!

I'm fortunate to attend a med school in my hometown so I've lived in NYC for most of my life. If you are outside of NY or the even the east coat then just know there's so much to explore and do around the city. Almost every day I would get messages from classmates who are going somewhere in the city. From bars, restaurants, to even hiking and broadway shows, people are definitely living it up here. I tag along when I can but since I've done my fair share of exploring the city since I was a kid I tend to spend most of my time on Sinai's basketball courts, which has been beautifully renovated recently.

The atmosphere that permeates Sinai is very welcoming one. People will literally treat you like family, especially the administration, who care about your concerns and needs so much that they give you their upmost attention. I would definitely say Sinai's admin is one of the biggest reasons students are so happy here. The students themselves are very chill. I haven't come across any gunners and everyone seems to be on the same page even tho majority of my class are from top tier undergrads. I think most med schools have a diverse student body that are unique and have some cool skill sets but I don't think that's a major factor in admissions. I think the students who usually get accepted to med school are driven to do well not only in academics but outside interests too which leads to the interesting skills and hobbies.

I just want to point out that I'm so grateful for Sinai's ASM course, which is a two-year course that teaches students clinical aspects of medicine. By the end of Year 1 we know how to take a full patient history and do a full physical. We have two exams for this course the 1st year which are OSCE-based. I think this week we have our 1st mini-OSCE, which I'm assuming to be role play of patient-doctor scenarios with classmates. In ASM, you are split up to groups of 8 and they you group for the next two years. Also as part of ASM, you have LCE (longitudinal clinical experience), where you partner up with someone in your group and you are assigned a patient with chronic disease and you basically follow that patient throughout the 1st year and then 2nd year you get another patient. At first, I thought ASM would be a time-waster and get in the way of studying. But, I look forward to it every week because it's a much needed break from studying and it constantly reminds me why I'm working so hard. Definitely attend a school that integrates some sort of clinical experience throughout the basic science portion of med skl. PM me if you have more questions. Best of luck in your interview and I hope you choose Sinai!
 
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