dvd200e

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hello everyone. as the date for duke's decisions approach, i find myself contemplating more and more if i indeed would go there if accepted. their curriculum truly is unique and not for everyone. as someone who doesnt know anyone at the school, i was wondering if anyone on sdn could shed some light on just how strenous the first year can be with all of the basic science being squeezed into it.
also, how competitive is the atmosphere and how close is the student body? i ask this because it came up on the overrated school thread that WashU's competitive atmosphere is also equalled by schools like hopkins and duke.
no doubt duke has a wonderful reputation and worldclass facilities, but i cant help but wonder if despite this i would be happier at a "lesser ranked" school if indeed the students there are overly competitive...

thanks.
 

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I don't have any great info for you, but I spoke recently to a doctor who had gone to Duke, and she really liked the curriculum there. She said first year was tough, but doable, and she appreciated having the 3rd year for research. Personally I think it sounds like hell, and I"m not even going to apply to Duke for that reason. I want time for my family, so all the sciences squeezed into a year isn't for me. But of course people do it (they do have graduates :p), so you just have to decide what's good for you.
 

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Duke's first year curriculum seems intense. As a non-science major who will have less of a science background than most other students, I too would have reservations if I am accepted (I haven't applied yet).
The great thing is that Duke's grading system is pass/fail (not sure if letters of distinction are possible), so even if the competition is intense, it shouldn't be cutthroat.
 
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dvd200e

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thanks for the input guys. the pass/fail system definitely should make the first year a bit less stressful i guess. i also have been out of school for over a year so it would definitely take some adjusting. keep em coming...
 

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I know someone who recently finished his residency at Duke and said he thought it was the most amazing place to train as a resident, but was glad he did not attend medical school there. The school he attended for med school was much more student friendly than Duke. It is a fabulous place, great location and you are surrounded by great medicine, but you certainly won't have your hand held. Some people thrive in the environment, but I can see others having a miserable time. There are trade-offs where ever you go to school...good luck in your decision.
 

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I'm a little scared as well... although i'm not really expecting to get in :p But when i was talking to students there, they said that yes it's tough, but med school is going to be tough everywhere. No matter where you go, you'll find some super stressed out people, and some people who are really chill. They also said that their friends at other schools seemed to be working just as hard. And remember how the Dean was stressing that they aren't cramming two years into one.... it's an abbreaviated curriculum. So maybe it won't be so bad after all :)
 

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Correct me if Im wrong, but at Duke Med School, you take ALL your science classes in your 1st year, rotations all during your 2nd year, and research for all of 3rd year, is that right? How about 4th year, is that diff from most other med schools as well?
 
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dvd200e

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you guys are right. i just need to be prepared to work hard no matter where i end up, whether it be duke or somewhere else. the students that i did meet on interview day did seem quiet normal, with the only exception being my tour guide who seemed to be a huge overachiever.
and thanks for pointing out that indeed it is an abbreviated curriculum and not 2 years crammed into one, that puts things into better perspective. this all assuming i get in of course, which i also dont see as too likely. does anyone know their #interviewed/accepted ? thanks!
 

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RunMimi said:
I spoke at length with one student who used to be a BME student and she said she actually worked less in first year than in undergrad!
You know, I've heard a lot of BMEs say that. It makes me feel a little more comfortable about starting med school :D Finally something good comes out of all those sleepless nights :p
 

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Blue Scrub said:
Correct me if Im wrong, but at Duke Med School, you take ALL your science classes in your 1st year, rotations all during your 2nd year, and research for all of 3rd year, is that right? How about 4th year, is that diff from most other med schools as well?
i thought it was:

1st year - science classes
2nd year - reserach/mph etc
3rd & 4th years - rotations

am i wrong?
 

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maybe you should ask yourself what you want...an intense program at one of the world's finest medical institutions, or a lesser known school that may be more student friendly.....you'll be a great doctor in the end no matter where you go to school, its just a matter of how you want to get there...as well as if you want ot do a lot of research or not, im sure graduating from duke will help you immensly if that's the case...
 

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tinkerbelle said:
i thought it was:

1st year - science classes
2nd year - reserach/mph etc
3rd & 4th years - rotations

am i wrong?
From what I gather, it's:

1st year - science classes
2nd year - rotations
3rd year - research
4th year - rotations/apply to residency

I have a q, though. If it's an abbreviated curriculum, what do their board scores look like? Does anybody know how they do in their rotations, having had less in their courses?
 
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dvd200e

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blue scrub, thats a good way of looking at it. i really dont see myself going into academic medicine/research. if anything i might wanna try to contribute to clinical research through my practice somehow later on, but nothing major. in that case maybe the rigors of duke wouldnt be worth it...so torn. if i get in, maybe 2nd look weekend will help me decide better.
 
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tigress said:
From what I gather, it's:

1st year - science classes
2nd year - rotations
3rd year - research
4th year - rotations/apply to residency

I have a q, though. If it's an abbreviated curriculum, what do their board scores look like? Does anybody know how they do in their rotations, having had less in their courses?
Correct, with the 2nd year being required rotations, third year being research and/or dual degree programs, and 4th year being elective rotations.
 

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tigress said:
From what I gather, it's:

1st year - science classes
2nd year - rotations
3rd year - research
4th year - rotations/apply to residency

I have a q, though. If it's an abbreviated curriculum, what do their board scores look like? Does anybody know how they do in their rotations, having had less in their courses?
hey guys. i go to duke med. above curriculum is correct.

not many people have taken step 2 yet, but step 1 average for my class is 235 or so. it's 217 for the rest of the country.

as far as the 1st year med school goes, i was a bio major and i studied more in college in all honesty. tests are on mondays and i crammed on saturdays and sundays for the most part and got more than enough grades.

as a 4th year finishing Duke, if i had to chose all over again, i would go to Duke over and over again. It's a great program.

beyond the first year, i had an awesome time during the 3rd year. i ended up understanding why people made a big deal out of it when i actually went through it. no matter where you go, med school will be intense and taking a nice low-key break in between is huge. you can not only get research done and have your chances of matching at better programs increased, but also do dual programs if you wanted to (MBA, MPA etc.) and save another year.

of course, i am biased as i write this since i cannot compare any other programs with duke, but i had an awesome time here and i don't really know many people in my class who did not.
 

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jayjay1978 said:
hey guys. i go to duke med. above curriculum is correct.

not many people have taken step 2 yet, but step 1 average for my class is 235 or so. it's 217 for the rest of the country.

as far as the 1st year med school goes, i was a bio major and i studied more in college in all honesty. tests are on mondays and i crammed on saturdays and sundays for the most part and got more than enough grades.

as a 4th year finishing Duke, if i had to chose all over again, i would go to Duke over and over again. It's a great program.

beyond the first year, i had an awesome time during the 3rd year. i ended up understanding why people made a big deal out of it when i actually went through it. no matter where you go, med school will be intense and taking a nice low-key break in between is huge. you can not only get research done and have your chances of matching at better programs increased, but also do dual programs if you wanted to (MBA, MPA etc.) and save another year.

of course, i am biased as i write this since i cannot compare any other programs with duke, but i had an awesome time here and i don't really know many people in my class who did not.
awsome!! thanks for the positive description of an amazing place :thumbup:
 

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dvd200e said:
i was wondering if anyone on sdn could shed some light on just how strenous the first year can be with all of the basic science being squeezed into it. also, how competitive is the atmosphere and how close is the student body?
I posted in the Allo forum in response to your other Duke question, but I think this one is a bit different so I figured I'd reply here as well, with a different focus to my response. I'm currently a 3rd year at Duke, working on a master's degree. Having been through the basic science curriculum and already taken Step 1, here's my two cents.

First off, I was NOT a science major in college. I took mostly humanities courses and got my BA in a humanities field. I literally only took what few science courses I needed in order to apply for medical school, plus biochemistry pass/fail during my senior year because Duke said it was "highly recommended." That said, I found first year to be VERY reasonable. And this isn't because I'm some sort of braniac...I didn't get honors in any basic science courses during first year, and given my second year performance I'm probably now somewhere in the mid to lower top half of the class (in other words, a pretty average Duke student). The whole first block (genetics, cell bio, and biochem) was actually a bit repetitive since I'd taken a genetics course and a biochem course in college, and this whole block is now completely pass/fail, to help minimize the inequalities students have in their backgrounds when entering medical school. After that, things of course get busier, as you start anatomy, physiology and microanatomy. I found this block to be the most strenuous of the year, but still manageable. If you go to all the classes and labs, you might be there from 8-4 or 5 many days of the week during this block, but this is a big "if," as many students choose not to attend all labs/lectures in order to better manage their time. In any case though, spending this much time in class is not at all unlike what I've heard from friends at other top med schools...no matter where you are you're going to work hard and have long days, but that doesn't make it unmanageable. I certainly didn't study at home every night, and I always went out on weekends. Some of my classmates literally NEVER studied except for their cramming the weekend before exams, whereas others studied more regularly but less intensely throughout. In any case, we had TONS of class parties, events, gatherings, etc., and they were always very well attended (at least half of the class would regularly show up!). Clearly, we had time to socialize, have relationships, have hobbies, exercise...whatever it is we wanted to do we were able to do it and make it work. I even had a classmate who taught for Kaplan during first year to make some extra cash. It's really not all that bad of a year, and once it's over you never have to sit in class like that again!!! I hope this helps assuage your fears about the first year.

As I said in my other post, the Duke first year is NOT TWO YEARS SQUEEZED INTO ONE! I don't know why everyone always thinks this...the admissions folks and many Duke students really go out of their way to try to dispose of this misconception, but somehow it always gets propagated. Like I said in my other post, we simply don't cover everything other schools cover, and we have a very good reason for doing it this way. But don't take my word for it...just look at Duke's match list and board scores, you'll see how well it really works!!! It's pretty jaw-dropping to see the unbelievable matches Duke students got last year. I can't wait to see the new list, which should come out in about a month or so. If you're interested in seeing the 2004 list though, it's available here: http://www.registrar.duke.edu/bulletins/Medicine/
(Just click the button that says "doctor of medicine," and the list will be in the last few pages of this enormous PDF document (pgs 127-130)).

As to your concerns about competitiveness, I've been pleasantly surprised at the willingness of my classmates to collaborate, share notes, and help each other out. During first year some of my classmates would regularly e-mail their spectacular, typed notes to the whole class! And we hung out together quite a bit too. It was pretty typical to find 20-30 members of my class out together in Chapel Hill on a Friday or Saturday night throughout first year, and I've heard that the class after us is even more close knit. After time of course certain groups developed, as people naturally gravitate towards others like them, but overall I've been impressed with the lack of competitiveness among my classmates. Sure, there's always one or two "bad apples," and I can think of a few offhand, but they're BY FAR the exeception rather than the rule, and they certainly don't ruin things for the rest of us. We just ignore and make fun of them! ;) :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: In all seriousness though, in talking to friends at other top schools I've been told that this degree of collaboration is quite unusual. But it makes sense to me, as Duke really goes out of its way during the admissions process to choose people who they feel will really contribute to the Duke community and to the class. Once you get an interview it's not about MCAT scores and GPA's anymore...it's about who you are as a person, what's important to you, and how your presence might contribute to Duke's incoming class.
 

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TommyGunn04 said:
I posted in the Allo forum in response to your other Duke question, but I think this one is a bit different so I figured I'd reply here as well, with a different focus to my response. I'm currently a 3rd year at Duke, working on a master's degree. Having been through the basic science curriculum and already taken Step 1, here's my two cents.

First off, I was NOT a science major in college. I took mostly humanities courses and got my BA in a humanities field. I literally only took what few science courses I needed in order to apply for medical school, plus biochemistry pass/fail during my senior year because Duke said it was "highly recommended." That said, I found first year to be VERY reasonable. And this isn't because I'm some sort of braniac...I didn't get honors in any basic science courses during first year, and given my second year performance I'm probably now somewhere in the mid to lower top half of the class (in other words, a pretty average Duke student). The whole first block (genetics, cell bio, and biochem) was actually a bit repetitive since I'd taken a genetics course and a biochem course in college, and this whole block is now completely pass/fail, to help minimize the inequalities students have in their backgrounds when entering medical school. After that, things of course get busier, as you start anatomy, physiology and microanatomy. I found this block to be the most strenuous of the year, but still manageable. If you go to all the classes and labs, you might be there from 8-4 or 5 many days of the week during this block, but this is a big "if," as many students choose not to attend all labs/lectures in order to better manage their time. In any case though, spending this much time in class is not at all unlike what I've heard from friends at other top med schools...no matter where you are you're going to work hard and have long days, but that doesn't make it unmanageable. I certainly didn't study at home every night, and I always went out on weekends. Some of my classmates literally NEVER studied except for their cramming the weekend before exams, whereas others studied more regularly but less intensely throughout. In any case, we had TONS of class parties, events, gatherings, etc., and they were always very well attended (at least half of the class would regularly show up!). Clearly, we had time to socialize, have relationships, have hobbies, exercise...whatever it is we wanted to do we were able to do it and make it work. I even had a classmate who taught for Kaplan during first year to make some extra cash. It's really not all that bad of a year, and once it's over you never have to sit in class like that again!!! I hope this helps assuage your fears about the first year.

As I said in my other post, the Duke first year is NOT TWO YEARS SQUEEZED INTO ONE! I don't know why everyone always thinks this...the admissions folks and many Duke students really go out of their way to try to dispose of this misconception, but somehow it always gets propagated. Like I said in my other post, we simply don't cover everything other schools cover, and we have a very good reason for doing it this way. But don't take my word for it...just look at Duke's match list and board scores, you'll see how well it really works!!! It's pretty jaw-dropping to see the unbelievable matches Duke students got last year. I can't wait to see the new list, which should come out in about a month or so. If you're interested in seeing the 2004 list though, it's available here: http://www.registrar.duke.edu/bulletins/Medicine/
(Just click the button that says "doctor of medicine," and the list will be in the last few pages of this enormous PDF document (pgs 127-130)).

As to your concerns about competitiveness, I've been pleasantly surprised at the willingness of my classmates to collaborate, share notes, and help each other out. During first year some of my classmates would regularly e-mail their spectacular, typed notes to the whole class! And we hung out together quite a bit too. It was pretty typical to find 20-30 members of my class out together in Chapel Hill on a Friday or Saturday night throughout first year, and I've heard that the class after us is even more close knit. After time of course certain groups developed, as people naturally gravitate towards others like them, but overall I've been impressed with the lack of competitiveness among my classmates. Sure, there's always one or two "bad apples," and I can think of a few offhand, but they're BY FAR the exeception rather than the rule, and they certainly don't ruin things for the rest of us. We just ignore and make fun of them! ;) :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: In all seriousness though, in talking to friends at other top schools I've been told that this degree of collaboration is quite unusual. But it makes sense to me, as Duke really goes out of its way during the admissions process to choose people who they feel will really contribute to the Duke community and to the class. Once you get an interview it's not about MCAT scores and GPA's anymore...it's about who you are as a person, what's important to you, and how your presence might contribute to Duke's incoming class.

TommyGun, I liked what you said in general, but you mentioned once you get an interview, it's not about MCAT scores and GPA's anymore. Where did you get this info? I do not think you are correct about this.
 

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xadmin said:
TommyGun, I liked what you said in general, but you mentioned once you get an interview, it's not about MCAT scores and GPA's anymore. Where did you get this info? I do not think you are correct about this.
It's hard to somehow factually verify this sort of thing...it's just the impression I get knowing what I know about the system. For example, I've heard that if a student has two poor interviews, he or she won't even be looked at by the committee, even with a 4.0 and 40+ MCAT. I don't mean to suggest that scores and GPA's are COMPLETELY irrelevant once you get an interview, but they definitely don't seem to be as important from that point on. I'm sure they somehow weigh into the committee decision, but I think that for the most part if you're offered an interview it's thought that you're academically good enough to thrive at Duke, other things being equal, and the interview process is a way to get at those "other things." Unfortunately, I don't know enough about how the committee does its thing to comment on how the process works, so please take my comments with a grain of salt. I hope that helps! :)
 

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Sorry to barage you with questions, but I have heard rumors that Duke has been absolutely inundated with applications this year (significantly more than normal). Have you heard this rumor (or, I hope not, fact) also?

TommyGunn04 said:
It's hard to somehow factually verify this sort of thing...it's just the impression I get knowing what I know about the system. For example, I've heard that if a student has two poor interviews, he or she won't even be looked at by the committee, even with a 4.0 and 40+ MCAT. I don't mean to suggest that scores and GPA's are COMPLETELY irrelevant once you get an interview, but they definitely don't seem to be as important from that point on. I'm sure they somehow weigh into the committee decision, but I think that for the most part if you're offered an interview it's thought that you're academically good enough to thrive at Duke, other things being equal, and the interview process is a way to get at those "other things." Unfortunately, I don't know enough about how the committee does its thing to comment on how the process works, so please take my comments with a grain of salt. I hope that helps! :)
 

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I have, but only on SDN. Some bozo can say something as a sarcastic remark or out and out joke in some 3 post thread and it will get perpetuated as gospel on here.

Unless something comes from the lips of Dr. Armstrong herself, I'm gonna take it with a grain of salt. Whether the pool has been diluted or not, Duke is still a long shot for most of us.

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jayjay and tommygun, thanks so much for your great insight. i really appreciate you guys taking the time to give us this insider information on duke and it's students. you have definitely alleviated much of my angst about duke's first year and the whole curriculum in general, and as it stands right now i dont see how i could turn down an offer of acceptance should i be so fortunate to get one. good luck to both of you in your careers and i am keeping my fingers crossed for the chance to follow in your footsteps at duke!
 

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Dr. Donkey said:
...I have heard rumors that Duke has been absolutely inundated with applications this year (significantly more than normal). Have you heard this rumor (or, I hope not, fact) also?
I think I'm the one who said this before, although others may have said it too. I've seen the admissions office numbers with my own eyes, and it is indeed true that Duke has had an enormously busy year. There were over 5,000 AMCAS applications, and about 2,800 completed secondaries! This is quite a few hundred up from the usual, particularly the latter number. Consequently, Duke has interviewed over 1,000 applicants this year compared to the usual 700-800...it's apparently been a VERY busy year! I don't know if this is because more people are applying to medical school in general or perhaps because Duke is becoming more attractive to applicants. In any case, don't be discouraged...it should only be a few weeks now before everyone has a decision letter in hand!

Interstingly, the general trend over the past 15 years or so has been that Duke keeps rising in popularity and reputation. When Dean Armstrong first started as Dean of Admissions Duke was more of a "regional" school, as it had trouble attracting top appliants and matriculants from outside the South. Dean Armstrong has single-handedly done wonders for Duke's reputation, as she pioneered the then revolutionary and quite ahead of its time website, dukemed.duke.edu, which set standards for other schools to follow, and also made Duke one of the first, if not THE first schools to emply an electronically based application system (this was only for the secondary app, as it was before AMCAS went online in 2001). In fact, I've even heard her say that Duke's technical prowess led the AMCAS folks to consult with Duke when they were initially planning the launch of their online application! And ever since Dean Armstrong was put in charge of admissions, Duke has gone nowhere but upwards as applicants have increasingly come to realize how unique and wonderful our curriculum really is. Anyone who's met her knows she's a great speaker and cheerleader for Duke, but it's quite amazing to hear her stories about how far Duke has come over the past decade or two.

Anyway, I know that's a bit off topic, but I thought it might be interesting to some of you. Incidentally, today is Duke's last day of interviews for the season! Good luck everyone!!! :)
 

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Thanks for the clarification. It's a little depressing though.

TommyGunn04 said:
I think I'm the one who said this before, although others may have said it too. I've seen the admissions office numbers with my own eyes, and it is indeed true that Duke has had an enormously busy year. There were over 5,000 AMCAS applications, and about 2,800 completed secondaries! This is quite a few hundred up from the usual, particularly the latter number. Consequently, Duke has interviewed over 1,000 applicants this year compared to the usual 700-800...it's apparently been a VERY busy year! I don't know if this is because more people are applying to medical school in general or perhaps because Duke is becoming more attractive to applicants. In any case, don't be discouraged...it should only be a few weeks now before everyone has a decision letter in hand!

Interstingly, the general trend over the past 15 years or so has been that Duke keeps rising in popularity and reputation. When Dean Armstrong first started as Dean of Admissions Duke was more of a "regional" school, as it had trouble attracting top appliants and matriculants from outside the South. Dean Armstrong has single-handedly done wonders for Duke's reputation, as she pioneered the then revolutionary and quite ahead of its time website, dukemed.duke.edu, which set standards for other schools to follow, and also made Duke one of the first, if not THE first schools to emply an electronically based application system (this was only for the secondary app, as it was before AMCAS went online in 2001). In fact, I've even heard her say that Duke's technical prowess led the AMCAS folks to consult with Duke when they were initially planning the launch of their online application! And ever since Dean Armstrong was put in charge of admissions, Duke has gone nowhere but upwards as applicants have increasingly come to realize how unique and wonderful our curriculum really is. Anyone who's met her knows she's a great speaker and cheerleader for Duke, but it's quite amazing to hear her stories about how far Duke has come over the past decade or two.

Anyway, I know that's a bit off topic, but I thought it might be interesting to some of you. Incidentally, today is Duke's last day of interviews for the season! Good luck everyone!!! :)
 

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TommyGunn04 said:
I think I'm the one who said this before, although others may have said it too. I've seen the admissions office numbers with my own eyes, and it is indeed true that Duke has had an enormously busy year.
Well... that's as good as Dr. Armstrong saying to for me. Kindof a bummer, but thanks for the info! I suppose we'll start hearing in about two weeks. Yikes. :scared:
 

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A UNC med student told me that she was aware that Duke's program is prohibitive in some ways - for instance, she offered that UNC does not like to accept Duke grads in surgery residency because of their limited anatomy exposure. The Duke anatomy curriculum did appear to be significantly shorter than what I have seen at other schools.
 

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seethrew said:
A UNC med student told me that she was aware that Duke's program is prohibitive in some ways - for instance, she offered that UNC does not like to accept Duke grads in surgery residency because of their limited anatomy exposure. The Duke anatomy curriculum did appear to be significantly shorter than what I have seen at other schools.
Don't believe something like this even for a second. First off, it's not even logical to assume that because Duke may have an abbreviated anatomy curriculum Duke students therefore don't learn anatomy as well. It's entirely possible (and true, I think) that this difference is made up for during the clinical year and in our Step 1 studying. Looking at last year's match list it's clear that Duke students match extraordinarily well in surgery, particularly in the most competitive subspecialties like orthopedics and plastics, so I don't know where your UNC friend got that idea. Furthermore, why would the Duke General Surgery program, widely thought to be one of the best in the country, accept so many Duke students if they were so sub-par in their anatomy knowledge? Just look at the match list...I think it speaks for itself and pretty easily disproves this ridiculous and unsubstantiated assertion. I don't mean to be rude, I just think it was a really ridiculous thing for your friend to say. Rumors like this get spread so easily on SDN, and people end up thinking it's the "gospel truth," so I'd like to nip this one in the bud right here and now.
 

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RAwe said:
consider it nipped :)
RAwe said:
consider it nipped :)
GOOD! I heard this rumor growing up and now that I am older and have worked with doctors from various regions it is CLEARLY not true...we may get less TIME to learn the anatomy but we still learn it ALL!!!
I am a first year at Duke and I was scared to death about the 1st year! I was a laid-back student in a tough undergrad school, so I knew I was challenged but I also knew that I did not put in the full effort I could have (but did NOT know if I actually could reach down to achieve my full effort either) At first the only thing that got me through the long hours of studying was the fact that I only had 11 months of class work....now I am in the "groove" and realize that it is not that bad, but it is still a lot of work. With most things though, it all depends on what your priorities are and how you want to spend your time and what type of learner you are. Do you want to go out on the weekends? then you might want to study more on the weekdays. Do you want to watch TV during the week? then you will need to put in some hours on the weekends. Can you memorize things easily? then you will be able to cram for a test the weekend before (which I feel like most students can....yours truly EXCLUDED!). I am sure Duke is no different than other schools...you have people that study from 8am until 8pm and then go to bed at 11pm and you have people that go out 4 days a week and just keep up with the lectures and then study at the last minute....regardless, it seems like everyone is putting in the maximum effort those last few days before a test.
I hear mentioned that the 1st year was pass/fail....that was not/ is not the case for us. Our 1st block (cell bio, genetics, biochem) was p/f...the 2nd block, anatomy, physio, neuro, micoanatomy was honors, pass, fail....but with the new system you only get one grade per block (also the final block is honors pass fail)...so at the end of my first year I will have 3 grades (all of them passes I have a feeling)....it is a little odd to have so few grades but we are the first year with the new curric, so they are still working out some things and they ARE getting a lot of input from students (which is nice)
I love Duke.....I have always wanted to go here and I am living my dream!! I like research but don't love it, but I still can't wait for my third year of doing research. For competitive residencies it will give you a leg-up on the competition (in my opinion) and for me, getting out of the classroom and into the wards in one year could not be beaten!!! I just learn by doing.....and that is how I feel about Duke:
1st year: learn from a book
2nd year: learn from watching and doing and failing and learning
3rd year: learn from a different perspective (bench, clinical, MPH, JD, PhD, MBA, at Duke, away from Duke, on and on)/ ALSO, learn from studying for boards (and depending on what you are doing you may have a lot of time to study....just it depends)
4th year: back into the clinics and learning by doing again (and remembering)/ probably some failing too but by January I have seen med students turn into doctors...it is amazing
Duke has been "unique" for a long time and they have mastered it....and it all begins with that first year....
it is hard at times...it is fun at times...it sucks sometimes...but everyone in my class has found a way to rise to the challenge and get it done some way somehow.... you don't always get the result you want or are used to but you will survive to see tomorrow and at the end of the day you are at Duke and that has to count for something even if it is a pretty good basketball team and a really good chance to get tickets!
I have been around for a while on SDN and I check about every day....let me know if you have any specific questions