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PCOM questions!

lcg16

New Member
2+ Year Member
Oct 18, 2016
9
0
  1. Pre-Medical
    Hi! I was accepted at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and am very excited! However, I feel like I have a lot of questions remaining following my interview. Could any PCOM students comment on the following?
    - How many hours of class do you have per day in the first and second years?
    - Is the curriculum strictly lecture based? Is there any small group learning?
    - Are there elective courses offered (such as medical humanities courses)?
    - As far as clinical rotations, how are they assigned? Are most students sent to distant locations?
    - If you have interest in working in a specific environment (such as an academic medical center), are there opportunities to complete rotations in these settings?
    - Are there research opportunities for students? Is the faculty open to students working on research at other locations (during the summer, for example)?
    - How is the social life? Do students tend to student together/hang out together outside of class? How is the work/life balance?
     

    BS1026

    Class of 2015
    Sep 12, 2013
    12
    18
    1. Pre-Medical
      M2 at PCOM here.
      • In your first trimester, you will take a course called SPOM (it is essentially your general anatomy course, with radiology, embryology, and cellular biology mixed in). During SPOM, your days are pretty long, usually beginning at 8:00 AM and ending around 4 PM. This includes a 1 hour lecture from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM, 3 hours of cadaver lab from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM, 1 hour of lunch from 120:00 PM to 1:00 PM and afternoon lectures from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, 4:00 PM, or even 5:00 PM some days. All lectures are recorded and attendance is NOT mandatory. After SPOM, the days get shorter. The rest of your trimesters usually consist of lectures from 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Monday through Friday.
      • Most of the curriculum is lecture based, with the exception of one or two small group learning modules per trimester. Case presentations and other clinical reasoning projects occur more frequently when the curriculum becomes more clinically relevant, usually at the end of your first year and into your second year.
      • Elective courses are not offered, although you can enroll in a dual degree program like DO/MBA, DO/MPH, etc. Also, during your second year, you will will be required to take an ethics course.
      • Students have the option of either rotating at numerous hospitals throughout their third year (known as "J Groups") or at one academic medical center (known as a "Core Clinical Campus"). Your fourth year is essentially all electives, so you can rotate wherever you please.
        • Participating in "J Groups" allows you to rotate at any hospital that PCOM has an agreement with (search PCOM MedNET for more info). It operates sort of like a lottery, where you rank which hospitals you like and it is selected through a complicated matrix system. Locations are all over Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware - however, its pretty easy to stay close to Philly. I'm doing J Groups and will not have to travel more than 45 minutes to any rotation site.
        • Participating in a "Core Clinical Campus" allows you to rotate at one site or within one hospital system. Most Core Clinical Campuses are located in Philadelphia, with the exception of Reading and Atlantic Care.
      • If your interested in working at a "academic medical center," rotating at a Core Clinical Campus might be a better option.
      • I know a few students who do research with some of the faculty, so opportunities are definitely available. I also know a couple of people who did research during the summer between M1 and M2. However, its made pretty clear that you should only do research if, and only if, you are actually interested in it. It might matter a little bit more depending on what speciality you want to pursue, but I would avoid doing research if you're simply looking to boost your resume.
      • After each exam, Post-Exam Parties (PEPs) are scheduled, which is a nice way to get together with your classmates and mingle with different people. Also, Philadelphia is an amazing city, with plenty of things to do every week. Keep in mind however, that there is no housing on campus (at least not until 2018). Therefore, students travel back and forth between school and home so there isn't always a lot of people on campus.
       
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      MADD!!!

      Full Member
      5+ Year Member
      Jul 15, 2015
      1,579
      1,570
      1. Medical Student (Accepted)
        M2 at PCOM here.
        • In your first trimester, you will take a course called SPOM (it is essentially your general anatomy course, with radiology, embryology, and cellular biology mixed in). During SPOM, you days are pretty long, usually beginning at 8:00 AM and ending around 4 PM. This including a 1 hour lecture from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM, 3 hours of cadaver lab from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM, 1 hour of lunch from 120:00 PM to 1:00 PM and afternoon lectures from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, 4:00 PM, or even 5:00 PM some days. All lectures are recorded and attendance is NOT mandatory. After SPOM, the days get shorter. The rest of your trimesters usually consist of lectures from 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Monday through Friday.
        • Most of the curriculum is lecture based, with the exception of one or two small group learning modules per trimester. Case presentations and other clinical reasoning projects occur more frequently when the curriculum becomes more clinically relevant, usually at the end of your first year and into your second year.
        • Elective courses are not offered, although you can enroll in a dual degree program like DO/MBA, DO/MPH, etc. Also, during your second year, you will will be required to take an ethics course.
        • Students have the option of either rotating at numerous hospitals throughout their third year (known as "J Groups") or at one academic medical center (known as a "Core Clinical Campus"). Your fourth year is essentially all electives, so you can rotate wherever you please.
          • Participating in "J Groups" allows you to rotate at any hospital that PCOM has an agreement with (search PCOM MedNET for more info). It operates sort of like a lottery, where you rank which hospitals you like and it is selected through a complicated matrix system. Locations are all over Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware - however, its pretty easy to stay close to Philly. I'm doing J Groups and will not have to travel more than 45 minutes to any rotation site.
          • Participating in a "Core Clinical Campus" allows you to rotate at one site or within one hospital system. Most Core Clinical Campuses are located in Philadelphia, with the exception of Reading and Atlantic Care.
        • If your interested in working at a "academic medical center," rotating at a Core Clinical Campus might be a better option.
        • I know a few students who do research with some of the faculty, so opportunities are definitely available. I also know a couple of people who did research during the summer between M1 and M2. However, its made pretty clear that you should only do research if, and only if, you are actually interested in it. It might matter a little bit more depending on what speciality you want to pursue, but I would avoid doing research if you're simply looking to boost your resume.
        • After each exam, Post-Exam Parties (PEPs) are scheduled, which is a nice way to get together with your classmates and mingle with different people. Also, Philadelphia is an amazing city, with plenty of things to do every week. Keep in mind however, that there is no housing on campus (at least not until 2018). Therefore, students travel back and forth between school and home so there isn't always a lot of people on campus.

        Hey! Kind of random question, but where do PCOM students study other than at the PCOM campus? I've heard that PCOM has affiliations with some nearby schools in order to use their libraries, right?
         
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        Camaxtli

        Medical student
        2+ Year Member
        Sep 29, 2014
        2,934
        990
        1. Medical Student
          Hey! Kind of random question, but where do PCOM students study other than at the PCOM campus? I've heard that PCOM has affiliations with some nearby schools in order to use their libraries, right?

          Not that I've heard of? We have a library with two floors though it's very nice. You have access to it 24/7. We have study rooms on campus. People study in tbeir apartments. Coffee shops. Public libraries. I study in other medical schools but I have friends there that let me in.
           

          yanks456

          New Member
          Nov 16, 2015
          5
          3
          NJ
          1. Medical Student (Accepted)
            Hi! Accepted student here. Question about the curriculum, is it considered an "integrated" curriculum like so many schools are boasting about now? How you learn all the patho, pharm, histo etc etc for each system instead of learning it all in separate units. Thanks!!
             

            Camaxtli

            Medical student
            2+ Year Member
            Sep 29, 2014
            2,934
            990
            1. Medical Student
              Hi! Accepted student here. Question about the curriculum, is it considered an "integrated" curriculum like so many schools are boasting about now? How you learn all the patho, pharm, histo etc etc for each system instead of learning it all in separate units. Thanks!!

              It becomes systems semester In your first year
               

              AkGrown84

              Full Member
              7+ Year Member
              Jun 26, 2013
              313
              149
              Philadelphia, PA
              1. Medical Student
                Hi! I was accepted at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and am very excited! However, I feel like I have a lot of questions remaining following my interview. Could any PCOM students comment on the following?
                - How many hours of class do you have per day in the first and second years?
                - Is the curriculum strictly lecture based? Is there any small group learning?
                - Are there elective courses offered (such as medical humanities courses)?
                - As far as clinical rotations, how are they assigned? Are most students sent to distant locations?
                - If you have interest in working in a specific environment (such as an academic medical center), are there opportunities to complete rotations in these settings?
                - Are there research opportunities for students? Is the faculty open to students working on research at other locations (during the summer, for example)?
                - How is the social life? Do students tend to student together/hang out together outside of class? How is the work/life balance?

                Current M3.
                -BS1026 above outlined the 1st and 2nd year schedule pretty well. I will caveat it with this--I don't think most days after spom are 8-12. Generally, there's an OMM lecture or two (or different lecture) after lunch. Rarely until 4, but often times until 2 or 3. Also, OMM lab once per week for an hour and a half in the afternoon throughout all of 1st and 2nd year, so I wouldn't plan on being done at noon each day.
                -Mostly lecture based. Some small group learning, but honestly, I'd say very little.
                -No electives. See BS1026's answer above.
                -Again, outlined above well. I will say that the office of clinical ED are moving more and more towards CCC's for rotations. I believe their goal was 50% in a CCC by the time the C/O 2020 starts clinical rotations. Also, CCC's are about 50/50 in Philly/outside of Philly. There's AtlantiCare, Reading, Conemaugh Medical, Geisinger Danville, Geisinger Northeast, Lehigh Valley, and UPMC Horizon. These are all outside of Philly. The only ones in Philly are Einstein, MainLine, and Mercy (to be fair, these three hold about 50% of the CCC students). Put it this way-if you want to stay in Philly and not be farmed out, you should be able to do so fairly easily. Most J group people end up having to spend 1 or 2 months somewhere else, but generally minimal. You will not get stuck in a CCC if you don't want to (you only bid for CCC's if you want them, otherwise, you bid for your J group). Also, brand new is the elimination of the rural rotation and the Sub-i rotation in 4th year. Rural guaranteed you'd be gone for a month. Sub-i was ~50/50 whether you were in Philly or not. Now those months are just electives. So schedule is slowly changing for the better, IMO.
                -Opportunities to work in an academic medical center-Best bet is Einstein. Highly academic, and you stay at one hospital the entire year. MainLine is academic as well, but there are 4 hospitals and only one houses the residency programs. Choosing MainLine means you'll have only a couple rotations 3rd year at the main hospital, and then somewhat equal time at the other 3. Lehigh Valley in Allentown is also an academic hospital with a lot of programs as well. It's one hospital and you're there all year. I can't comment on the other CCC's because I'm not sure how academic they actually are. J groups is hit or miss whether you're at an academic program or community hospital. That being said, it's nice to make some connections with program directors and the like, but community hospitals really do give awesome hands-on learning experience. Case in point: if you're at a major program for OB/Gyn, you're 3-4 people deep-->attending/chief resident/junior resident/possible 4th year/then you. The opportunity to actually deliver a baby or be involved in the surgery is sometimes a bit remote. By contrast, in a community hospital, you're often just one on one with the attending, and I have to say I probably caught 15ish babies in my couple weeks on L&D. It's a give and take.
                -Research-there are opportunities if you want them. In general, it's only all that important if you're going into a specialty that requires it or is research heavy. I am not, so I never did any.
                -Social life--definitely PEP's. You find your group of friends and are as social as you want to be. Personally, I have a family, so I was never at post-exam parties or big get-togethers. 99% of my time was spent at home with my husband and kids. But there is plenty of time to socialize. 1st and 2nd year is decent for this. Less so in 3rd (and presumably 4th) years as everyone is all spread out and on different schedules. I think work/life balance is totally fine. I suppose it depends on your level of expectation for this. I expected med school to be a horribly grueling, soul-sucking experience. I had my months where it was like a never-ending black hole, but I'd say that more often than not, it's been fine. If you go in thinking it's all roses and butterflies and you'll have every weekend off to go to the shore, then you'll be pretty disappointed!
                 
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                set_it_to_wumbo

                New Member
                Dec 18, 2016
                5
                6
                1. Medical Student
                  I was also accepted to PCOM but have questions. How many tests are given a semester and how are they typically formatted? How do students prepare for the boards?
                  Current M1 here! Tests are typically every 3 weeks and you have 4-5 per semester. They're taken on a program called ExamSoft which you install on your computer. Get a mac, it seems PCs have more trouble with the program.

                  Test format is standard multiple choice. During SPOM and the first 3/4ths of cellular, the questions are pretty straight forward and second order. Towards the end of cellular and into organ systems you start to see more of the clinical vignette format. Tests are usually 2 hours long, so you have plenty of time to breath and calm yourself down

                  During SPOM you have anatomy practicals, which are old fashioned pen and paper with tagged body parts. I actually didn't get much out of anatomy lab. Some days felt like 4 hours of just digging fat and "...I think that's what we are looking for" while you fight other lab groups for the attention of a professor. Everyone has their niche though, and usually if you hate SPOM you love cellular (me) or vice versa.

                  You have written OMM tests each semester, with the final semester being cumulative. These are almost all COMLEX type questions so it's great practice. These can get pretty stressful, so you should dedicate a few hours every week to OMM lecture material. Go to the actual lectures if you want, but be prepared to fall asleep 90 percent of the time.

                  There are "Primary Care Skills" lectures, but for the love of God don't waste your time and use it to study other stuff. We have quizzes before every PCS lab, but I'll be damned if any of the questions are based off the actual lecture material and not some obscure reference from Bates. You get a set of PCS videos showing you how to do the exams, just watch those.

                  Also throughout the semester you typically have 2 OMM practicals and 2-3 standardized patients. But like every other med school in the history of existence, those are prepared for the night before with one last quick glance before you walk in the room.

                  As for boards, I am but a lowly M1 so I'm not 100 percent of the logistics. From what I've heard it's just like most medical schools. 2 years of jam packed curriculum then 5 (?)ish weeks for dedicated.
                   
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                  MADD!!!

                  Full Member
                  5+ Year Member
                  Jul 15, 2015
                  1,579
                  1,570
                  1. Medical Student (Accepted)
                    Current M1 here! Tests are typically every 3 weeks and you have 4-5 per semester. They're taken on a program called ExamSoft which you install on your computer. Get a mac, it seems PCs have more trouble with the program.

                    Test format is standard multiple choice. During SPOM and the first 3/4ths of cellular, the questions are pretty straight forward and second order. Towards the end of cellular and into organ systems you start to see more of the clinical vignette format. Tests are usually 2 hours long, so you have plenty of time to breath and calm yourself down

                    During SPOM you have anatomy practicals, which are old fashioned pen and paper with tagged body parts. I actually didn't get much out of anatomy lab. Some days felt like 4 hours of just digging fat and "...I think that's what we are looking for" while you fight other lab groups for the attention of a professor. Everyone has their niche though, and usually if you hate SPOM you love cellular (me) or vice versa.

                    You have written OMM tests each semester, with the final semester being cumulative. These are almost all COMLEX type questions so it's great practice. These can get pretty stressful, so you should dedicate a few hours every week to OMM lecture material. Go to the actual lectures if you want, but be prepared to fall asleep 90 percent of the time.

                    There are "Primary Care Skills" lectures, but for the love of God don't waste your time and use it to study other stuff. We have quizzes before every PCS lab, but I'll be damned if any of the questions are based off the actual lecture material and not some obscure reference from Bates. You get a set of PCS videos showing you how to do the exams, just watch those.

                    Also throughout the semester you typically have 2 OMM practicals and 2-3 standardized patients. But like every other med school in the history of existence, those are prepared for the night before with one last quick glance before you walk in the room.

                    As for boards, I am but a lowly M1 so I'm not 100 percent of the logistics. From what I've heard it's just like most medical schools. 2 years of jam packed curriculum then 5 (?)ish weeks for dedicated.

                    How many hours a day/week do you need to devote for study hours to keep up with material pace??
                     

                    set_it_to_wumbo

                    New Member
                    Dec 18, 2016
                    5
                    6
                    1. Medical Student
                      Ah the age old question.

                      It really depends on the person; however, I think a majority of the posters on SDN hype the "you're life is over" mentality. I've been getting top grades and am still able to take a nap most days and have some beers / video games on the weekend.

                      If you treat it like a job, it is not as stressful and you can actually function. If you aren't getting at least 7 hours a sleep a night, somethings wrong. I get up at 7:00, lecture at 8, back home anywhere from 2-5 and then study until 8 or 9. Things do vamp up pre-exam days, usually 8AM - 11PM if its a weekend. I probably do 4 hours of actual studying during regular days, 6 during the weekend and 10+ when its 2-3 days before exams.

                      Learn what Anki is, how it works, how to write cards and get yourself in a schedule. The program is a game changer. Usually I get home from lecture, review the days material and make the cards, then go through the set cards due that day. Once you're done, you're done. One of the biggest challenges of med school is the constant "did I study enough today?" and Anki answers that question for ya! If you are interested, PM me and I can write you out a tutorial!
                       
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                      FistLength

                      Full Member
                      7+ Year Member
                      Apr 11, 2012
                      352
                      606
                      1. Resident [Any Field]
                        The only advice I will give is that come second year, focus on boards. They don't give you much time to study for boards, and they are profoundly naive or frustratingly stupid, one important member of PCOM administration mentioned that "boards don't matter". They will also push you away from the USMLE unless you have excellent preclinical grades. Study for the USMLE, review OMM a few days before your COMLEX.
                         
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                        MADD!!!

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                        5+ Year Member
                        Jul 15, 2015
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                        1. Medical Student (Accepted)
                          Hey guys! Recent accepted student at the GA campus. Anybody able to share what books were used for SPOM and perhaps where to find lecture power points if there are any? Thanks.

                          I'm at the PA campus, but in short DO NOT BUY TEXTBOOKS until you start. First check out the classes, powerpoint lectures, etc. You only need to know what's lectured on for exams, and the books are really only if you have extra time to learn stuff for yourself or reinforce concepts.

                          SPOM is probably the only class I'd recommend getting a Netter's atlas for, b/c it has the pictures laid out really nicely. (A few lab groups bought a book and left it in the lab specifically). Oh, and they're probably gonna make you buy the OMM book which is really not going to be used.... USE THE VIDEOS online that come with the OMM book (also accessible on the PCOM website). Those videos will be your best friend for it and for PCS.
                           
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                          lonewolf42

                          Full Member
                          5+ Year Member
                          Jul 6, 2014
                          11
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                          1. Resident [Any Field]
                            Hey, please forgive me for commenting on this board, since I am not a PCOM student, but am actually a UNECOM student who will be rotating with PCOM students during my third year next year. I was wondering if any OMS-2's from PCOM could help connect me to their fellow classmates who will be doing their third year at the Reading, PA site next year. It would be awesome to room with one of you guys since the group of UNE students going there is very small. Thanks so much in advance!
                             

                            MADD!!!

                            Full Member
                            5+ Year Member
                            Jul 15, 2015
                            1,579
                            1,570
                            1. Medical Student (Accepted)
                              Hey, please forgive me for commenting on this board, since I am not a PCOM student, but am actually a UNECOM student who will be rotating with PCOM students during my third year next year. I was wondering if any OMS-2's from PCOM could help connect me to their fellow classmates who will be doing their third year at the Reading, PA site next year. It would be awesome to room with one of you guys since the group of UNE students going there is very small. Thanks so much in advance!

                              I put out a memo for you! If I get any responses I'll PM you!
                               
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