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Lets Make an Analogy!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by SeekerOfTheTree, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. SeekerOfTheTree

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    So I am going to be starting med school and have been looking through a "rosy glass" into how life must be like. After countless hours of looking at blogs and forums about how bad med school sucks I have a question. How does OChem; which everyone has to admit had some difficulty level to master in college, compare to the level of things you will learn in medical school. Any insight would be greatly appreciate into this Pandora's box that I will be opening soon enough for myself...
     
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  3. adamMD

    adamMD MS-4
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    Like you, I haven't started, but from what I've heard the information won't be harder than OChem. There's just a lot more of it. In college you drink from a water faucet, in med school you drink from a fire hose.
     
  4. SeekerOfTheTree

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    Now I gotta start eating more salt so I can be really thirsty!
     
  5. chemolupusMD

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    maybe u should ask this question in the medical forum
     
  6. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I think that's a good way to look at it. The one thing people tend to note in med school is how the courses they had in college tend to get covered in the first week. The pace is just a whole lot faster. Not harder, but faster. So you cannot cram, you can't just absorb and hope to do fine. Which means you have to get organized fast, have to find a study plan that works, and have to put in more hours than you ever did in college. To add to this, the admissions committee has done a nice job of culling away all the average and below crowd, so everyone in your class will generally be at your level or above. And the tests are much harder, so a lot of people who never did poorly in their lives suddenly find themselves at the low end of the curve. Half of the folks who get into med school will be in the bottom half of their class, which is a big deal when the average for matriculants these days is a 3.6 average. So on top of the greater info, a lot of folks have to deal with not being at the top of the class any more.
     
  7. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Um no. The medical forum isn't meant to give premed folks access to folks in med school. it is meant for topics of interest to folks in med school. This question is in the right forum.
     
  8. SeekerOfTheTree

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    They are high strung on that forum my friend. Trust me on this. You go to that forum and you are looking to get burned...If I ask a quesiton like this I would probably get an answer like "Your trivial thoughts upset us" lol.
     
  9. SeekerOfTheTree

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    That's so depressing man. I am actually going to be considered the idiot by my peers now...It's like the spelling bee all over again when I missed the word Athelete and I had a shirt with the spelling of it on it....Athelete...

    Thanks for the insight Law2Doc. I gotta ask what is a good study plan? How do you change your study habbits before you start?
     
  10. chemolupusMD

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    A friend of mine told me that what he learned in Biochem I and II he saw it in a week or 2 of Biochem in med school. :scared:
     
  11. Law2Doc

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    I wouldn't do anything before you start -- you show up ready to hit the ground running on day 1.
    Just know that the folks who do well often generally have 4-6 passes through the info before the test. Meaning you preread before lecture, attend lecture or perhaps watch it remotely, review everything after lecture, then again review the whole week's material each weekend (weekends are great for this because it is the only day you get no new information from lecture -- a good time to hammer down the details), and then again you go through everything the week before the exam. This frequent repetition, although time consuming, tends to lock down enough of the details to get by. But it comes as a shock to folks who show up thinking they are just going to do what they did in college.
     
  12. paintballdoc

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    Chemolupus, your friend must be messing with you. Biochem is hard in medical school, but there is no way 2 semesters of biochem in college is covered in a week or two in medical school. Don't believe all the hype but do realize medical school is rough.
     
  13. SeekerOfTheTree

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    Ahh...yes, this makes much more sense now when you say "it's not like college" then when I had heard this phrase before. Before I was wondering what the difference could be because I was an engineering grad and I had to keep doing calc problems and understanding concepts weeks in advance of the test. By the time you get to Integrals and deriving volumes based on the concepts its hard to just cram in. So basically the big difference in medical school is that you are trying to learn constantly by reviewing the material. Would you say it is like a 9-6 job with work on the weekends or is it like a 6am - 11 p.m. job?
     
  14. flaahless

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    This is completely irrelevant but I just wanted to say that I genuinely appreciate your posts. They are informative and well thought out. Thanks.
     
  15. BlondeDocteur

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    unfortunately, it is absolutely true that an entire undergraduate molecular biology / biochemistry major lasts for less than a month of medical school. We ran through biochem in a week, genetics in 1/2, and basic molecular bio in another week. Physiology on the other hand is stretched out and taught in much greater depth.

    The other absolutely luvverly facet of medical school is the testing philosophy. In order to get enough of a spread to award Honors, they throw in 65-70% normal, basic concept stuff that anyone who studies should get correct, and 30-35% extremely picayune details that were mentioned once, in a footnote in one lecture handout someplace. The system in the first two years is designed to reward the truly neurotic.

    Luckily nothing-- and I do mean nothing-- from the first two years matters at all towards your residency placement.

    So yes, medical school is difficult, but it is rarely conceptual (unfortunately!) like organic chemistry, physics and math all were. :( It's rote memorization.
     
  16. Virgil

    Virgil Hi hi!
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    Is this really true? Your grades have ABSOLUTLEY NO WEIGHT in residency placements? I heard something similar before, find this very hard to believe. Law2Doc?
     
  17. Law2Doc

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    Well, the "dirty little secret" as some med school administrators have said, is that the first two year's grades almost don't count. You have to pass everything. And how you do in those courses tends to be suggestive of how you will do on Step 1, which counts a lot. But yeah, if you got a high Step 1 score, and great evaluations in the clinical years (3 and 4, mostly 3), and worked in some research to boot, you could get away with being very average in the first two years and still get a cushy residency. Schools don't advertise this out of fear that folks will ease up, and it will be reflected on the Step (which it would). And AOA is grade dependent so some people still want the high rank for this, which is helpful for residency.
     
  18. Law2Doc

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    There are proponents of both. If you treat it as a very long houred job with weekend work, you will be putting in the hours you need (for the first two years). You should be able to carve out a bit of time for working out, TV, hanging with friends over meals, but nothing to the extent you could in college (unless your college experience was very very lame). All bets are off in third year though, because you can have rotations that start at 5 and ones where you are at the hospital overnight every third night, and ones where you don't get weekends off. (It gives you a small taste of what's to come in residency.)
     
  19. mtrks

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    Nice avatar
     
  20. ZagDoc

    ZagDoc Ears, Noses, and Throats
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    I second this. Weekends are a godsend not because you have time off, but because they are days you don't have new information. And repetition is key. The conceptual stuff is pretty easy to grasp in med school... you don't have to slave over it like in undergrad. It's more just the sheer wealth of information.
     
  21. Narmerguy

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    This made me smile. I think half of what I like about this forum is the posts that make me smile. Or laugh. Lauging is good. :D

    Anyway, as it was always explained to me, the first two years is just memory blasting and the material itself isn't particularly difficult (granted, this is still science we're talking about) and so they abuse this and give you tons of material because it is possible to understand it all but it simply soaks up all your time.

    Kind of like multiplication and addition. Multiplying 825X38 is certainly more challenging than addition in concept, however, those stupid 4 number problems:

    12356+
    35826+
    83114+
    97667
    _____
    =?

    They're just time consuming. Not extremely challenging, just time consuming.
     
  22. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Agree with this ^^^. There are always a group of students who find themselves in a rough spot academically that first semester early on and almost universally it's because they let the first week or two slide like they would an undergrad class and then find themselves playing catch up, which is the last place you want to be in med school.

    If I could give one piece of advice to incoming MS I's it would be: don't ever fall behind.
    Also good advice ^^^. Remember that undergrad class you took where you had to memorize huge amounts of trivial information? A lot of medical school is like this. You'll be using the same tricks.
     
  23. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Keep in mind, L2D is talking about a system that works for him. Mine is different and isn't based on as much reading repetition. For me, I make flash cards of everything. I don't print them or buy them, I make them. Drawing things out and trying to organize, summarize, break down information is the best way to get it to stick in my head. I read material once and never look at it again and spend the rest of the time with my flashcards. When a new thought or tweak on information or its use comes up, I make another flashcard. I find the act of writing things out by hand is much more useful to me than reading.

    One thing to beware of when you start med school is people telling you how to study (not claiming this is what L2D is doing). Keep in mind that a lot of med students are very much into being med students and any opportunity to dazzle you the incoming MS I will really get them excited.

    At my school, we had a couple people swear by making outlines of every lecture. One guy went so far as to say, "If you don't make outlines, you will fail." which got a lot of people scared. I was told I wouldn't be able to make flashcards because it's too time consuming.

    Guess what? You don't have to make outlines. You don't have to do flashcards. You don't have to do anything special, you just have to do what works for you. Just keep in mind that whatever system you use needs to be scalable for the amount of information coming at you. My flashcard system is very time consuming but it works for me so I'm sticking with it. If making outlines works for you or good old fashioned reading works for you, go for it. Don't let anyone bully you into their way of studying. If someone at your school tries doing that, they're just flexing weak med school muscle. Don't sweat it.
     
  24. engineeredout

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    I was wondering as well how engineering majors fare at med school compared to others. A lot of the work we do is problem solving as opposed to memorization, but unlike a lot of the premeds I see around (at school, not trying to insult anyone here) don't do anywhere near the work the engineering majors do. I mean we take maximum credit load for every semester of college, and I don't know about you but this past year I didn't have a social life because I had to spend my time either studying or at work. I just wonder if eng majors might have an easier time adjusting to the heavy workload then others.
     
  25. notdeadyet

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    I doubt any one particular major corresponds to success in med school.

    Success in med school, in my mind, corresponds to natural ability and work ethic. And if it has to be either/or, err with work ethic.

    If you studied a lot for engineering, you'll be nice and limber for med school. But this is also true of the psychology major who took her study very seriously as well. Hours are hours.
     
    #24 notdeadyet, Jun 20, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2008
  26. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Agreed. You know folks who talk about a 70 hour/week job? Well, they're usually exagerrating. But med school for most of us probably averages to about a 70 hour a week job. The difference for me is that when I worked, it was usually consistent hours, whereas in med school it's a little more variable (lot of this depends on your curriculum). You will have weeks where there are fewer lectures or less material and there are weeks (think finals) when you get by with 4 hours of sleep/night doing nothing but study.
    This bears repeating. Med students tend to try to warn you about the amount of time you need to devote to make sure that you don't underestimate it and fall behind early (kiss of death). But that said, you'll still have time to have a few beers now and again, work out regularly, and socialize. Just not like undergrad.

    That said, i've met a few med students who've said, no, it's pretty much the same amount of free time as undergrad. This is a crime against nature, in my book. If you didn't get your wild and wooly times in your undergrad days, here's a newsflash: you will probably end up one of those folks who never had wild and wooly times. Because you ain't going to have them in med school, you'll have zero time in residency, and you don't want to be the guy in his 30's trying to look hip at a rave.

    Every med school has the one student who treads medical school admission as an endgame and parties up his first semester until he either fails out or goes on academic probation. Don't be this guy.
     
  27. They don't count for that much, assuming you passed all of the MS-I and MS-II classes. There are a few super-competitive residencies that may look at them a little more closely, but for most people, your MS-III grades count much more.

    (Of course Step 1 and letters of recommendation are still up there.)

    I was a Bioengineering major in college. While I had a great time understanding the concepts behind applied math, physics and engineering, I wasn't prepared for the huge amounts of memorization needed in med school - stuff I'd only had to do previously in o-chem and biochem. So that took some getting used to.

    In terms of work ethic, though, I found med school to be perfectably doable. During all four years of undergrad I worked 40 hours/week so I was very used to balancing school with other commitments; in med school I had no problem hitting the books most days (and nights) if I needed to. I started doing research projects on the side in the summer after my MS-I year and continued up until graduation, which I think helped beef up my app.

    Edit: SeekerOfTheTree, mtrks, great avatars! Love that movie. :thumbup:
     
  28. Law2Doc

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    Coming from an intense law job to med school, I didn't find an appreciable difference in hours. Coming from college to med school would have been like night and day. If you take it seriously, you will do fine. If you think you will squeak by doing the minimum, there may be retakes in your future.
     
  29. BlondeDocteur

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    The operative word is to find something that works for you. If that means tap dancing your way through physiology, so be it.

    To be frank I didn't really do any of that. I'm a crammer by nature and always will be-- I need to get all of the information in at once to see the connections. But when I say cram, I mean cram-- ~36 hrs round the clock going through everything 1-2x. it worked for me, and I had a lot more free time than most. ;) But this is really idiosyncratic... it depends on your stamina and how your memory works.
     
  30. Law2Doc

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    While you definitely need to find what works for you, I think it's safe to say that this approach only works for the extremely rare individual, and should not be recommended. We all know maybe one person in med school who pulls this off. Far more people fail tests in med school doing this than succeed. Kudos to you for managing it (I sure wish I could), but for the average reader of this thread it's going to be bad advice as to how to approach med school.
     
  31. HurricaneKatt

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    How much of the stuff in Undergrad do you need to retain to do well in Med school?
    And
    How well do you have to retain the information from your first two years of Med school? I'm the kind of person who is great at memorization, but give me a day or two of not using it after I memorize it, or after the test is done and the informations is "no longer needed," I forget it all as fast as I memorized it...
    Granted it is easier to re-memorize, but not the best tactic I'm assuming?
     
  32. Law2Doc

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    You need to retain nothing from undergrad to do well in med school. Med school teaches you all they want you to know, and then some. But you will need to retain the info from your first two years of med school for Step 1 and then for all the pimping questions you get during third year rotations. Which is why I advocated the extensive repetition strategy. You need to lock that stuff down. Cramming it once isn't going to keep it in your head for long, and you do need it later. you will always need to be refreshing the material -- when you study for Steps 1 and 2, or when you go look things up once you get them wrong on rotations etc.
     
  33. mdgator

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    Let me put it this way...I've been in med school for 3 weeks, (FSU starts during the summer with anatomy and a doctoring course). My first anatomy test is Monday. I actually did the math...for this one test, covering 2.5 weeks worth of material, I've studied almost as many hours as I studied for the MCAT. I basically study/am in class from 8 am to sometime between 10 and midnight, usually with a couple of hour-long breaks somewhere in the mix. I do more studying on the weekends, most of the time, than during the week.

    As for comparing OChem to med school...for me, that is a joke. For OChem, I studied for 12 to 20 hours a week, depending on when tests fell. (And I overstudied for that class.) For anatomy alone, I'm studying and/or in class 60+ hours a week...but I haven't really got back in the groove yet, so hopefully I can cut that to 45 or 50. Either way, it easily requires more than 2-3 times the amount of work (for a now much more efficient studier) and I am barely able to keep up with the flow of information at this point. At the beginning of anatomy, I bought a 300 page book of nothing but review questions...after 3 weeks, I've covered nearly half of the pages in the book.

    OChem was not my hardest undergrad class. That would have to be biochem, in terms of amount of study time required. But I was able to take a full courseload along with biochem, work 25 hours a week, and still have some down time to hang out with friends and go to the gym, etc. My first few weeks of med school, I barely find time to check my mail and eat. I spend roughly one waking hour at my apartment each day.

    Long story short...med school is going to be a major adjustment for pretty much everyone. And this is coming from a guy who's only currently taking two courses (although our anatomy moves at a faster pace here than at most schools, since we cover it in a shorter "semester".) Apparently, second year is harder...so get ready, med school does live up to the hype, IMO....
    Back to the books!
     
  34. engineeredout

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    Exactly what I wanted to hear and what I was thinking :thumbup:
     
  35. ACSurgeon

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    From my first year experience and from what upperclassmen agree is the case in 2nd year, medical school has NO level of difficulty (in terms of text book stuff), just a huge volume. It is not hard, it is a lot. I think comparing medical school to Ochem is an apples and oranges type of thing. You will need to study a lot in medical school, end of story. As I have been saying a lot around here lately, you can make med school a living hell or an enjoyable experience. Come in with the low expectations, and you are likely to be pleasantly surprised. You will have nights when you are so stressed out you can't fall asleep, but overall, I think it is worth the while. Make sure to not take it for granted, and remember why you are there to begin with.

    Don't get into the bitter loop, and I know, many SDNers might stone me for this comment, and say wait until you are pimped on the wards, but I know upperclassmen and residents who seemed to have taken that with a more positive attitude, and have benefited as a result. Best of luck, and try to enjoy the ride!

    Disclaimer: I am not saying medical school is easy or full of fun, I am just saying that you attitude can help or hurt you.
     
  36. ACSurgeon

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    Pearls of wisdom! I know people who spend the same amount of time cramming as other spend studying over the course of the block, and guess who does better? ;) and that is short term recall... you can imagine how much the crammers will retain for step 1 and beyond.
     
  37. So true.

    You don't need to retain much from undergrad - what's more important is that you bring your work ethic with you when you start your MS-I year.

    And I agree that for the vast majority of people (BlondeDocteur excepted) cramming just isn't going to work. If you're only "learning" the material for 24-48 hours and then by the week after the exam it's completely gone from your head, then you never truly mastered it...and will likely need to relearn it again for Step 1.

    So it behooves you to do it the right way the first time 'round - keeping up with your classes, reviewing most days, constantly testing yourself, keeping notes, whatever it takes.
     
  38. Nooblet

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    =[


     
  39. HurricaneKatt

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    Thanks. It's a relief I will not have to try to remember physics equations and plant reproductive parts! :laugh: lmao Speaking of physics though, how much of the MCAT is physics? I am pretty good at bio and chem, but physics has never really been my strong point...
     
  40. SeekerOfTheTree

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    Physics is pretty heavy imo on the MCAT. It's not the physics you are use to where you have to mostly rememeber equations but the conceptual physics. Like if a car is turning really fast on a circular track will it slip off if the angle is x. It's not on the MCAT but there is similar conceptual material.
     
  41. notdeadyet

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    Huh. I found physics to be very underrepresented.

    For me it was very much Chem = Bio >>>> Physics > Ochem.
     
  42. SeekerOfTheTree

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    Hmm...perhaps I had a different version. On my test there were about 3-4 physics passages and then 2-4 additional questions. It wasn't too bad. Bio wasn't rough.
     
  43. HurricaneKatt

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    Blah. That is what I am the worst at. I'd rather memorize equations... :(

    Sidenote: I just got back from vacation and I am SO jealous of all of you who live in the Lower 48! There is like NO sunshine in Alaska this summer!
     
  44. HurricaneKatt

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    Wait...so all this hype about O-Chem and it's not even that big on the MCAT?!
     
  45. Tenken's Smile

    Tenken's Smile Wanderer
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    In undergrads, I found that I best memorized new info by reading it out loud (which can't happen if I live with a roommate). I really need to change strategy...

    I just have one thing to ask: is Science everything you learn in Med school ? Do you think someone may have time for something else like Language or Art ?
     
  46. rockydoc

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    Physics is definitely huge on the recent mcats.....i was the same way though...I HATE physics with a passion and basically had to learn it all over for the mcat....but it is necessary for a good score sadly....

    i think ochem is hyped b/c IMO it comprises the most difficult questions on the entire mcat.....however, they represent the smallest number of questions
     
  47. EpiPEN

    EpiPEN Aegis of Immortality
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    I don't see how people complain about memorizing equations when the number of equations you have to remember is FAR LESS than the amount of information you have to know for the biology or ochem portion of the test. And also, if you spend some time on a physics problem you didn't remember the equation for, you can derive out the equation through logic. But if you don't know a bio problem, well there ain't nothing you can do that can make you magically know the answer.

    But I ain't saying one section is easier than another on the test since there are time constraints...
     
  48. rockydoc

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    I guess people just differ in their strengths....b/c the physical science stuff for me was a lot more work than any of the bio stuff......I spent probably less than 25% of my time studying any bio stuff for the mcat and the rest was chem and phys.....however, this is mostly due to the fact that while actually taking chem and phys classes I totally just did what I needed for a good grade and immediately forgot everything
     
  49. EpiPEN

    EpiPEN Aegis of Immortality
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    Yeah I get that people have different strengths, I'm just saying it's strange to me sometimes to hear people complain about memorizing equations when they can recite and draw the chemical structures of all the amino acids and their presence in various molecules.
     
  50. rockydoc

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    I understand...and it is kinda stupid to complain about it when it can actually be easier material
    ....I think the difference is in what people care enough about to actually study and truly learn the material....i will be more inclined to put forth effort to learn difficult biology stuff....and totally drop that ball on simpler physical science stuff....the actual material may not be more difficult, but I have to study it more because I just dont care about it and therefore there is little room in my brain dedicated to its memory...
     

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