socal1015

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I just had a question. I don't know, maybe it's cause I'm freaking out because med school is about about to start but I've been talking to a lot of fellow premeds and incoming med students and they all seem to know so much stuff that I feel I have yet to learn. I mean, I don't know if it's because of the undergrad university that I went to or what but I feel that everyone seems to know much more than me. What I want to know is what is the minimum that med schools expect you to know coming in? And if someone is not quite there, then what would you recommend they do? Thanks
 

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I probably am not the omniscient being you hoped would respond first, but here's my two cents, FWIW, subject to being completely wrong:

You got in, so you essentially "have" what they want you to know, if'n you've met the prereqs. But I think what they want you to have on day one is the capacity and motivation to learn some difficult material, not the material itself. And if you get in, what is it, like 97 or 98% that you'll finish? So the adcom is obviously very very good at what they do. They think you can do it.

But then again, none of this helps me sleep at night when I stare at the ceiling and wonder, "What the **** am I getting myself into?!?!?"
 

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socal1015 said:
I just had a question. I don't know, maybe it's cause I'm freaking out because med school is about about to start but I've been talking to a lot of fellow premeds and incoming med students and they all seem to know so much stuff that I feel I have yet to learn. I mean, I don't know if it's because of the undergrad university that I went to or what but I feel that everyone seems to know much more than me. What I want to know is what is the minimum that med schools expect you to know coming in? And if someone is not quite there, then what would you recommend they do? Thanks
You know nothing on day one. Those people you think know more than you know ALMOST nothing. Not a huge distinction. Hit the ground running as fast as you can, and you will keep up and maybe even pass a few supposedly smarter people along the way. Congrats and chill.
 

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Since you got in, you must have taken the prereqs and done reasonably well on the MCAT. That's the base of knowledge you're supposed to have, so you should be fine.

The thing with coming in with less knowledge than other people might have is just that it might take you a little longer to get up to speed. While most classes really do start from the beginning, the introductory part goes by pretty quickly. So people who are familiar with the topics soak that up, while you'll have to put in a little more effort at first.

I'm very familiar with this, because as a former engineer I've experienced it many times! When I took freshman bio as a senior in college, never having taken high school biology even, the first class didn't make that much sense to me - I was like "eukaryotes? prokaryotes? wtf?" So I went home, looked up the things that had been mentioned that I didn't get, and read the chapters about those things. It turned out that (this being a freshman class) I had actually read half the required reading for the semester! I should've just had somebody give me a brief intro. But it worked out well.

In med school, obviously playing catch-up was harder. Biochem didn't click for me because I'd never had a cell bio class, so I didn't understand how everything fit together until pretty much the end of the course. It was a little frustrating, but fine in the end. Immunology was the same way - since I knew NOTHING about B- and T-cells, for example, the introductory lectures didn't click for me; I had no pegs to hang the new information on. But as I went through the lectures and notes, and read the relevant parts of the textbook, I finally got it. I should have done that much earlier than I did, though - I sat through a bunch of lectures that sounded like "blah blah T-cells blah thyroid blah blah" before I put in the work necessary to have everything click.

So I would just say, don't let yourself get behind, and if there's stuff that doesn't make sense, find somebody who already knows about it and have them explain it to you. You can reciprocate when something you know about comes up.
 

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I think you already know the most important thing - that you don't know much. The people walking around THINKING that they know something will be at a huge disadvantage eventually.
 

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socal1015 said:
I just had a question. I don't know, maybe it's cause I'm freaking out because med school is about about to start but I've been talking to a lot of fellow premeds and incoming med students and they all seem to know so much stuff that I feel I have yet to learn. I mean, I don't know if it's because of the undergrad university that I went to or what but I feel that everyone seems to know much more than me. What I want to know is what is the minimum that med schools expect you to know coming in? And if someone is not quite there, then what would you recommend they do? Thanks
Hi there,
Everyone starts medical school dead even. Do not let your insecurities get the best of you. Spend the rest of this summer relaxing and getting your stuff organized so you can be moved and settled by orientation time.

Everyone does medical school by their own system. You are going to be presented with the material that you will need to learn so use whatever system got you there to learn that material. It your fall a bit short, then adjust as you need to. Resist the urge to compare yourself to any of your colleagues as any comparisions are totally a waste of time and energy.

njbmd :)
 

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njbmd said:
Hi there,
Everyone starts medical school dead even. QUOTE]

No way!!! Biology majors (and the like) have a pretty big advantage over engineers, english majors, history majors, etc. That's not to say that they can't all do well, but you can't tell me that biology majors don't have an advantage in biochemistry and some other courses. Not to mention that some people have already taken anatomy as well.
 

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thesauce said:
njbmd said:
Hi there,
Everyone starts medical school dead even. QUOTE]

No way!!! Biology majors (and the like) have a pretty big advantage over engineers, english majors, history majors, etc. That's not to say that they can't all do well, but you can't tell me that biology majors don't have an advantage in biochemistry and some other courses. Not to mention that some people have already taken anatomy as well.
In the end, regardless of major, a majority of my class did just as well.
 

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thesauce said:
njbmd said:
Hi there,
Everyone starts medical school dead even. QUOTE]

No way!!! Biology majors (and the like) have a pretty big advantage over engineers, english majors, history majors, etc. That's not to say that they can't all do well, but you can't tell me that biology majors don't have an advantage in biochemistry and some other courses. Not to mention that some people have already taken anatomy as well.
Hi there,
Having been through medical school and done very well, I am going to disagree with you. Medical school is a leap for everyone. Having heard a term or two before is not going to do much for you and in the end, it doesn't matter at all. You all have to learn the same material and take the same tests.

If the OP got into medical school, they have all the tools to be there and do well. No particular major is going to make medical school a "chip shot" for anyone and everyone, especially english majors, history majors and engineers is totally capable of learning everything that medical school will throw at them.

Bottom line: Run your own race and get your stuff done. You would not have been accepted if you did not have all the tools to get through and do well. Do not let your classmate make you feel insecure.

njbmd :)
 

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njbmd said:
thesauce said:
Hi there,
Having been through medical school and done very well, I am going to disagree with you. Medical school is a leap for everyone. Having heard a term or two before is not going to do much for you and in the end, it doesn't matter at all. You all have to learn the same material and take the same tests.

If the OP got into medical school, they have all the tools to be there and do well. No particular major is going to make medical school a "chip shot" for anyone and everyone, especially english majors, history majors and engineers is totally capable of learning everything that medical school will throw at them.

Bottom line: Run your own race and get your stuff done. You would not have been accepted if you did not have all the tools to get through and do well. Do not let your classmate make you feel insecure.

njbmd :)
Look, I know that you people on the adcoms know what you're doing and everything and that you would never accept a student who you knew couldn't do the work, but now that that's been said, I can't believe you guys let me in. I mean, what the hell is wrong with you? I don't know anything, and even with hard work, I'm not sure I can learn half of the stuff we're supposed to know. With med school just around the corner, I too am freaking out! I am going to be the dumbest person at my school, one of the "tards." You've put me into this position of responsibilty-- me. I once thought I was locked in a building because I was pushing on a door that said "pull."

If I learned one thing in undergrad, it was that I don't know anything. Sigh, I pity all of our first patients come July of 2010.
 

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thesauce said:
OSUdoc08 said:
I agree, but you're arguing a totally different point.
Not really. You're not going to be any more successful with a biology major than an English major, for example.
 

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OSUdoc08 said:
thesauce said:
Not really. You're not going to be any more successful with a biology major than an English major, for example.
Who said anything to the contrary?

If you think I did, be sure and refer to the specific quote where I said "major A will be more successful than major B in medical school"

Having an advantage and being more successful are different things. You do realize that don't you?
 

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njbmd said:
thesauce said:
Hi there,
Having been through medical school and done very well, I am going to disagree with you. Medical school is a leap for everyone. Having heard a term or two before is not going to do much for you and in the end, it doesn't matter at all. You all have to learn the same material and take the same tests.

If the OP got into medical school, they have all the tools to be there and do well. No particular major is going to make medical school a "chip shot" for anyone and everyone, especially english majors, history majors and engineers is totally capable of learning everything that medical school will throw at them.

Bottom line: Run your own race and get your stuff done. You would not have been accepted if you did not have all the tools to get through and do well. Do not let your classmate make you feel insecure.

njbmd :)
What exactly are you disagreeing with?

I'm guessing you didn't understand the point I was trying to make or there wouldn't be any argument. Answer me this, if you would: How could a biochemistry major NOT have an advantage over a non-biochemistry student IN BIOCHEMISTRY?

And when you say "having learned a term or two before medical school" are you suggesting that a biochemistry major teaches you that little?

It sounds like you are trying to make the point that everyone can do well in medical school. That's completely true. But how did you get the impression that I said something to the contrary?

Again, having an advantage and being the most successful are two different things.
 

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I think its hard to argue with the idea that some of the 1st year subjects are similar to bio/biochem undergrad. If you took undergrad Histo then your med school histo will be 90% similar. If you took undergrad biochem, then like 60% similar (although med school focus was quite different, many of the same concepts in the same way), physio and anatomy are probably different... but, there is still some familiarity.

Doesn't mean an English major can't ace these med school classes, but they will have a little more intro work than someone who just took them last semester.

Once second year rolls around, then the playing field is pretty level IMO. But, first year was probably a little easier for me having just had some of those classes.
 

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tugbug said:
I think its hard to argue with the idea that some of the 1st year subjects are similar to bio/biochem undergrad. If you took undergrad Histo then your med school histo will be 90% similar. If you took undergrad biochem, then like 60% similar (although med school focus was quite different, many of the same concepts in the same way), physio and anatomy are probably different... but, there is still some familiarity.

Doesn't mean an English major can't ace these med school classes, but they will have a little more intro work than someone who just took them last semester.

Once second year rolls around, then the playing field is pretty level IMO. But, first year was probably a little easier for me having just had some of those classes.
You're right, it really does make a difference. Some students in our class were writing letters to their undergrad professors thanking them profusely for preparing them so well for histo.
 

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thesauce said:
You're right, it really does make a difference. Some students in our class were writing letters to their undergrad professors thanking them profusely for preparing them so well for histo.
So what if you took a med school class before med school but you didn't put that much effort into it? Are you still at somewhat of an advantage? ;p
 

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Youll find that many of your first year subjects are fairly redundant. There will really only be a handful of material that youve really never seen before in any way, shape, or form. Of course, there will be alot of details that you have never seen, but you should at least have an OK foundation.
 

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I'm not in med school yet, but I thought my perspective might help someone out.

I was an English major (psychology too) and took the bare minimum science classes, except for one biochem course. I graduated in 2004. I went to a small university and have heard that it's not as "good" a school as some of the bigger ones. Whatever that means. :rolleyes:

Anyway, I was accepted to a summer medical program this summer. It's a 9-week intensive program designed to give you a glimpse of what first year is like. We did immunology for a week and a half, and then had our final. Then we did microbiology and physiology for three weeks and had those finals. We've been doing biochem all summer, and after midterm we started gross anatomy and histology. To clear that up, we did three classes at a time, dividing the summer in half.

The amount of work was shocking. I mean, you hear about all the studying you should do, but it's not really real until you actually attempt to do it. Sort of like in undergrad, people say you have to study, but I had lots of free time in college even while working two jobs. With little science background, I felt in over my head right away. I've struggled with Biochem, and am just now starting to grasp some of these concepts I didn't get two years ago in my undergrad class. I've had no problem passing (passing is a 60) but I was certainly disappointed by my lack of A's on the tests. ;)

It's hard to just be average. Our class averages usually fall in the 70's. The tests have 16 or 18 questions, so if you just miss a few your grade drops by a lot. But like most things in life, I think it just takes some getting used to. If you've never had to work this hard at school, then you have to adjust and figure out what your strengths are and what the best way for you to study is. Once you get that down you're going to be fine.

I made a 96 on my first anatomy exam last week. It was a great feeling of vindication because I know that I can do the work, even if my grades weren't much more than average. I've got more tests tomorrow so I'm hoping to improve on them as well. If I can do it as an English major, anyone can do it if you have the right attitude and willpower.

Try not to think of everyone else as being more prepared or smarter than you are. Our TAs in the program just finished their first year of med school, and they told us that at least at their school, those with biochem majors were only ahead the first few weeks and then it was a level playing field.

Attitude is important: staying positive helps more than you might think! :luck:
 

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I was an English major also. I knew nothing then and I still know nothing. But it's ok! I'm scared too! Once you realize that your capacity to learn far exceeds what significance your background going in is, this motivation will be what allows you to succeed and make it through these first two years.
 

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thesauce said:
njbmd said:
Hi there,
Everyone starts medical school dead even. QUOTE]

No way!!! Biology majors (and the like) have a pretty big advantage over engineers, english majors, history majors, etc. That's not to say that they can't all do well, but you can't tell me that biology majors don't have an advantage in biochemistry and some other courses. Not to mention that some people have already taken anatomy as well.
for clarification sake, it depends on the type of engineer. I got my BS in Biomedical engineering and I think (hope/pray) it prepares me just as well as a Bio degree
 

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desi5286 said:
I am not in medical school yet...but I do not understand how taking microbiology, immunology, physiology, anatomy, biochemistry....is NOT GOING TO HELP?
desi5286 said:
I have been accepted to medical school early, will enter fall 08' and have the option of graduating early. So you guys are saying that it is not worth it for me to take biochem, histo, immuno, and anatomy during that year? I mean if you have a solid foundation of the basics and concepts of each subject then isnt it going to make it easier to understand stuff in medical school. Also, I am going to have an integrated cirriculum, so do you think it will be less benefical to take these classes?

So...to take a year off and chill...or take classes that will help me/am interested in?
Those classes cover about the first week of each course in medical school.

No, it's not worth it to take those classes. Don't kill yourself for no reason. You'll learn all you need in medical school.
 

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desi5286 - dude, definitely not worth it. Enjoy your break.

I want to clarify/expand on my previous post a little bit. Basically, I stand by what I said: having previous experience will give you a little bit of a head start, but if you're smart enough to get in you won't have a problem catching up.

However, if you are behind to the extent of really not knowing the basic terms, so that entire lectures go over your head (as I was in immunology) you really need to rectify that situation right away. It's not actually that much extra work; you just need to get to the point where you can understand most of what's going on in lecture - BUT you want to do it during the first week or two. Obviously the more lectures you let fly over your head, the harder time you'll have catching up before the test. (I eventually caught up in immuno, enjoyed it, and did well, but I'd have enjoyed it a lot more and gotten a lot out of it if I'd caught up a few weeks sooner.)
 

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I agree with many of the posts. I came in as a non-sci non-trad and the biggest disadvant. is the vocab. Just not knowing what ras, raf, TNF, etc. were meant that each and every lecture was a new experience and had to be combed thru to catch up.

I found those that did best in our class were the cell bio types. Like immunology masters or microbio masters. What the advantage was is they did not have to spend as much time trying to master everything, they cld focus on anatomy and physiology and then buckle down for a few days prior to the cell or biochem and knock its socks off.

But...they will tend to burn out as the year grinds on and you will find yourself catching them as your vocab increases and you regain your confidence in test taking after getting your b--t kicked :eek: a couple/three/four of times the first semester.

Its all good.
 

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OSUdoc08 said:


Those classes cover about the first week of each course in medical school.

No, it's not worth it to take those classes. Don't kill yourself for no reason. You'll learn all you need in medical school.


The first week? At my school it was more like half of the class. For biochemistry, undergrad prep would teach you the first half of each lecture and then the prof would build on that for the other half of the lecture. So it would have helped a lot.

But if the choice is between taking classes and not taking classes, just DON'T.
 

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socal1015 said:
I just had a question. I don't know, maybe it's cause I'm freaking out because med school is about about to start but I've been talking to a lot of fellow premeds and incoming med students and they all seem to know so much stuff that I feel I have yet to learn. I mean, I don't know if it's because of the undergrad university that I went to or what but I feel that everyone seems to know much more than me. What I want to know is what is the minimum that med schools expect you to know coming in? And if someone is not quite there, then what would you recommend they do? Thanks
The people you think know everything just read it out of a book and waited for a moment to bring it up to look smart, this will be a theme in your classes, get used to it. It becomes quite funny at certain points. Wait till third year when you get out of a lecture on a certain subject, then someone gets pimped (or worse brings it up themselves on rounds) on that very same subject and they stand there like they are reasoning through the answer based upon thier huge fund of knowledge only to produce the answer in a dramatic fashion...its great. Everyone is a ******, some just talk more than others.
 

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dynx said:
The people you think know everything just read it out of a book and waited for a moment to bring it up to look smart, this will be a theme in your classes, get used to it.
These were the people who always drove me CRAZY in lecture as an undergrad . . . not because of insecurity but annoyance. I'd hoped they'd all managed to be in the 50% that didn't get in . . .
 

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Keep in mind that all the people you're looking at who seem so much smarter than you are probably looking at you and thinking the same thing! I remember thinking that in my first year of university, after breezing through high school without much effort and then finding myself at a big university with all these people who knew SO much more than me. I found out later in the year, after becoming friends with them, that they all felt the same way! :D
So, don't worry about it. They're smart, you're smart, we're all one big, smart, happy family. Time for a group hug.

;)
 
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thesauce said:
The first week? At my school it was more like half of the class. For biochemistry, undergrad prep would teach you the first half of each lecture and then the prof would build on that for the other half of the lecture. So it would have helped a lot.

But if the choice is between taking classes and not taking classes, just DON'T.
I think it was more than the first week but not nearly as much as you suggest. And sometimes you saw folks perplexed when they realize their undergrad class taught it in a way that conflicts with what they are learning in med school, or had a totally skewed focus, meaning they somewhat had to "unlearn" some stuff, or forever confuse themselves.
I would also note that those who took med school-like classes before med school sometimes took them along with folks who were C students, giving them a false sense of security as to how well they knew the subject and how fast their classmates will grasp things. Med school classes move much faster because the average students from undergrad have all been truncated away. Expect every advantage to be very short lived and expect every classmate of being able to catch up at a significantly faster pace as your undergrad peers.
 

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thesauce said:
The first week? At my school it was more like half of the class. For biochemistry, undergrad prep would teach you the first half of each lecture and then the prof would build on that for the other half of the lecture. So it would have helped a lot.

But if the choice is between taking classes and not taking classes, just DON'T.
Biochem isn't that big of a deal in medical school. Most of the biochem on boards is learned in path anyway.
 

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Let's see ... minimum knowledge for a new MSI. Assuming that y'all get into med school fine, you'll need to know:
1. How to balance your time well
2. How to make time for your friends and family
3. How to enjoy life OUTSIDE of med school
4. How to make the most effective use of study time
5. How to get along with your peers
6. How to remember where you parked you car

Honestly, if you all got accepted to med school, then you have what it takes. everyone really starts with a blank slate. sure the stuff you learned before MIGHT help, but you are NOT going to be at a disadvantage if you haven't learned the stuff before ... EVERYONE is going to have to learn new stuff, even *gasp* bio majors!

so, enjoy your free summer, probably the only one you'll have until the end of residency :-D (because most MSI's to be MSII's do research in the summer, gunners that we all are lol)
 

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dara678 said:
Let's see ... minimum knowledge for a new MSI. Assuming that y'all get into med school fine, you'll need to know:
1. How to balance your time well
2. How to make time for your friends and family
3. How to enjoy life OUTSIDE of med school
4. How to make the most effective use of study time
5. How to get along with your peers
6. How to remember where you parked you car
you forgot tying your shoes...of wait, that's why everyone wears clogs
 

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desi5286 said:
I am not in medical school yet...but I do not understand how taking microbiology, immunology, physiology, anatomy, biochemistry....is NOT GOING TO HELP?

I have been accepted to medical school early, will enter fall 08' and have the option of graduating early. So you guys are saying that it is not worth it for me to take biochem, histo, immuno, and anatomy during that year? I mean if you have a solid foundation of the basics and concepts of each subject then isnt it going to make it easier to understand stuff in medical school. Also, I am going to have an integrated cirriculum, so do you think it will be less benefical to take these classes?

So...to take a year off and chill...or take classes that will help me/am interested in?

Please...desi go straight into med school...unless you have a profound Calling where you want to take a year off go straight into med school. Let me get this right why in the world would anybody go to another year of school to take classes that may or may not help you. In the long run you blew AT LEAST gave up a 150 grand of salary for a year.

As for the bio majors...as many of you may know who are med school that it is the HUMANITIES majors that are usually on top of the class. The bio majors are to busy blowing smoke up their a$$ that they don't know everyone else is ahead of them.
 

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contulusa said:
As for the bio majors...as many of you may know who are med school that it is the HUMANITIES majors that are usually on top of the class. The bio majors are to busy blowing smoke up their a$$ that they don't know everyone else is ahead of them.
Hooray for generalizations!
 
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I just graduated from my fourth year and if I had to look back, I personally wouldn't worry too much about the hard sciency knowledge so much before you start, you'll have time to pick that up once school starts. I would just enjoy your time before you start, and probably read one book which is not sciency at all, but gives you a really good sense of how you should approach school and what you should expect. It's fairly new but I skimmed it the other day, it's called Medical School and the Residency Match (Johnson et. Al). If I were an incoming first year, that would probably be the one thing I'd read/skim.