So what is day-to-day like in Med School? Homework? Studying?

Jul 4, 2009
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Do you have like homework assignments? Like worksheets and exercises? Or is it mostly lecture, study/read, then take exam?

Are there even lectures? Or is it mostly hands on type learning.

I know some schools give cases for you to take home and study/research then present about in class.

Do you even have textbooks?

I'm sort of an independent learner, so I am a bit concerned how I will fit in. I really do have an idiosyncratic learning style.
 

VoiceofReason

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you're going to find that it's essentially the same mundane format as undergrad in the preclinical years.
 

iMD

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wake up, attend lectures (or sleep in and watch lectures online), go to labs when scheduled, study, study, study, get drunk or hook up or both, and study. i mean this is only my third day of medical school but that's how it's been for me.
 

Heimerfink

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iMD is the closest. Depends on the med school. It's like college but less hand-holding, less busy-work, and learning much more per day.
 
OP
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are there like quizzes and stuff?

or is it just like learning and then an exam at the end.
 

ClockworkDoc

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It really depends on the school. Much more to learn at a quicker pace, most of the material being memorized on your own without an assignment.
 
OP
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Ok, thanks.

Yeah, I am getting a conflicting impression. One said it is like undergrad but much more intense. The other said no hand holding (which sounds like a contrast to undergrad depending where you went).

I am a very independent learner. I like to attend lecture and then study off on my own in a little corner of the library.

I am not so much into quizzes, worksheets, exercises, homework, group projects and so forth.
 

mq123

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Ok, thanks.
I am not so much into quizzes, worksheets, exercises, homework, group projects and so forth.
This kind of busywork is reserved for the General Biology courses in undergrad when they need to assess the knowledge of 250 students enrolled in the course.

The only way you're assessed (atleast at my school) is exams every 3-4 weeks. It's your responsibility to know the stuff, whatever method you pick.
 
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I just finished my first week of med school. So far, it seems like nobody cares how you learn, or how much you study. Some profs like you to attend lecture, but its optional except for labs. Quizzes and homework are made to force kids to study in undergrad. In grad schools most people are treated like professional students, and they are expected to just get the job done. Nobody really cares how until you fail something.
 
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Random Anesthesiologist

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We had 3 exams per class per semester. Labs had 3 exams too, but may not have been the same day as class exam.

Some exams only had 12-15 questions, some had 60+.

Day to day is hard to describe because each day/week is different depending on the system we're studying. It's safe to say that exam weeks get the most study time.
 
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What are labs like and how often? How many hours are they? I am particularly because labs are my weakness. I find labs pretty distracting,loud, if we are being asked to read something...however, if it is a lecture style lab, then I am ok.

Once a week? Daily?

Is each lab part of a lecture? Or do some labs "stand alone"?
 

pingouin

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Moving to pre-allo
 

Bernoull

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I'll like to know about extracurricular activities like nightclubs and nightlife generally:D:D:D. I've enjoyed clubbin ever since high school and I have no plans to stop if i get into Med School.

MY question is do you guys have enough downtime to indulge in the nightlife, and is there some code of conduct that frowns upon such things??

thanks..
 

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wake up, attend lectures (or sleep in and watch lectures online), go to labs when scheduled, study, study, study, get drunk or hook up or both, and study. i mean this is only my third day of medical school but that's how it's been for me.

like undergrad? or to a less degree? cuz I figure you need some sort of stress relief somehow...
 

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For those who started, how is the pace of the materials so far? Blazing?
 

halekulani

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a lot of independent learning

study the slides in lecture
textbooks are recommended but so are a bunch of other resources
there's no hand holding here like in undergrad. and yes the pace is significantly faster than undergrad.
 

ModyzMalak

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wake up, attend lectures (or sleep in and watch lectures online), go to labs when scheduled, study, study, study, get drunk or hook up or both, and study. i mean this is only my third day of medical school but that's how it's been for me.
You hooked up in the first three days?:thumbup:
 
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a lot of independent learning

study the slides in lecture
textbooks are recommended but so are a bunch of other resources
there's no hand holding here like in undergrad. and yes the pace is significantly faster than undergrad.
What kind of test do you take? Do you have a good idea of what you need to know going in? A lot of Cumulative finals? I would expect so. And I also would assume it's all Essay based questions, no Multiple Choice.
 

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The third year will be the busiest. Sometimes your day will start at 4:30 am and end at 8:30 pm or 10:30 am the following day if you're on a surgery rotation. When I was an MS3, my day would sometimes start at 4 am and go on till 8 pm the next day.
 
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TopSecret

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I'll like to know about extracurricular activities like nightclubs and nightlife generally:D:D:D. I've enjoyed clubbin ever since high school and I have no plans to stop if i get into Med School.

MY question is do you guys have enough downtime to indulge in the nightlife, and is there some code of conduct that frowns upon such things??

thanks..
A lot of the single guys indulge in the nightlife. Hanging out with residents is also common. Some residents would threaten to give me a bad grade if I didn't partake in the nightlife.
 

Poliscidoc

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The third year will be the busiest. Sometimes your day will start at 4:30 am and end at 8:30 pm or 10:30 am the following day if you're on a surgery rotation. When I was an MS3, my day would sometimes start at 4 am and go on till 8 pm the next day.
I have heard a lot about the "suck" years in med school, but that sounds F-ing hard. How do you stay awake that long and make rational and competent decisions?
 

TopSecret

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I have heard a lot about the "suck" years in med school, but that sounds F-ing hard. How do you stay awake that long and make rational and competent decisions?
A good sense of humor was my defense mechanism and having pretty cool residents helped a lot. You also are motivated to do well because you're seeing actual patients who are in need of a lot of help and no matter how hard our lives were theirs are always worse.

Sometimes the interns can be somewhat abusive. I was occasionally "disciplined" by having to do a lot of scut work. Whenever that happened, I would just shut up, suck it up, and do what I'm told and all's good. I would eventually earn their respect and get a good grade in the process.

Homework assignments in the M3 year are basically short presentations. Exams are multiple choice.

There's a lot of physical work involved in the M3 year. If you're on surgery and an attending tells you to hold something like a retractor, you might be holding that something for 5 hours straight even if you have an itch and your mask is fogging up. Oh yes, while you're in this position for several hours, your attending will start asking you questions to test your knowledge.
 
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2014MD

Are exams composed entirely of multiple choice questions?

If essays, do you have to write them during "class" period or they all take home essays?
 

TopSecret

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Are exams composed entirely of multiple choice questions?

If essays, do you have to write them during "class" period or they all take home essays?
Exams are mostly multiple choice. There may be a few essays here and there that you write at home.

You will also be evaluated by informal oral exams which can be in the OR while your thumbs are going numb from retracting for 6 hours, your feet are aching from having to stand for 12 hours, and your bladder is about to explode. Most of the time though in the M3 year you'll be tested at the bedside or just outside the patient's room. The attendings ask you questions and you have to answer them.
 

iMD

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for the person who asked about workload, again, i just got done with my first week and it's basically review of most of undergrad (in a week, yes) so it hasnt been so bad. ive had time to play bball 3 hours a day, 3 times a week, hang out with my SO, and had some time to just relax (though not a lot of time). ive also put in a fair amount of time review all the junk they want you to know. it will only get worse though but hey, you have no time to sweat it so just keep chuggin' along and hope you make it to the other side.
 

Bernoull

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A good sense of humor was my defense mechanism and having pretty cool residents helped a lot. You also are motivated to do well because you're seeing actual patients who are in need of a lot of help and no matter how hard our lives were theirs are always worse.

Sometimes the interns can be somewhat abusive. I was occasionally "disciplined" by having to do a lot of scut work. Whenever that happened, I would just shut up, suck it up, and do what I'm told and all's good. I would eventually earn their respect and get a good grade in the process.

Homework assignments in the M3 year are basically short presentations. Exams are multiple choice.

There's a lot of physical work involved in the M3 year. If you're on surgery and an attending tells you to hold something like a retractor, you might be holding that something for 5 hours straight even if you have an itch and your mask is fogging up. Oh yes, while you're in this position for several hours, your attending will start asking you questions to test your knowledge.
Wow!! This is quite sobering. BTW is an "intern" the same as a "resident"? Also whats the usual chain of command, as a med student / resident do you report to multiple people or maybe just the chief resident or attending?

Thanks
 

olemissbabydoc

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just a taste: class starts monday, and to prepare for the lectures I had 4 50+ slide ppts to read through and 7 book chapters. Oh - and that's for 4 hours worth of lecture.

I'm sure a lot of people don't do readings, but I learn that way. Get through the material before, go to lecture, skim it once again, and i'm golden to remember at least SOME of it before I start major studying for an exam.

Its intense, but awesome.
 

iMD

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nopers. i have one coming up in my 3rd week. ill see if my happy go lucky/try not to worry demeanor changes after that :laugh: i talked to a few ms2s and they seem pretty chill as well, working out/playing ball all the time. so i dunno how to take that. the stress of getting good grades is definitely off. my gameplan is just doing what i can the first two years without worrying too much (and pass) and get down to business when studying for step 1.
 

TopSecret

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Wow!! This is quite sobering. BTW is an "intern" the same as a "resident"? Also whats the usual chain of command, as a med student / resident do you report to multiple people or maybe just the chief resident or attending?

Thanks
An intern is a first-year resident.

The chain of command:
CEO
Chief of Staff
Department Head
Attending
Fellow
Chief Resident
Resident
Intern (R1 or PGY1)
M4
M3
M2
M1

Also, head nurses should be somewhere between Attending and Fellow. They have a lot of clout and can make the resident's life miserable. So be good to your nurses. :)
 

RogueUnicorn

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it seemed to me, from an outsider's perspective, that there was some degeneracy with the hierarchy, esp with department head being relatively indistinguishable from other attendings in day-to-day functions
 

TopSecret

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it seemed to me, from an outsider's perspective, that there was some degeneracy with the hierarchy, esp with department head being relatively indistinguishable from other attendings in day-to-day functions
Yes, the department head will be down in the trenches, too.
 

Bernoull

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An intern is a first-year resident.

The chain of command:
CEO
Chief of Staff
Department Head
Attending
Fellow
Chief Resident
Resident
Intern (R1 or PGY1)
M4
M3
M2
M1

Also, head nurses should be somewhere between Attending and Fellow. They have a lot of clout and can make the resident's life miserable. So be good to your nurses. :)

Thanks a lot for the clarification. Quick follow-up, is a R1 accountable to everyone above him/her or is there a point-person? In other words, who can assign them work under normal circumstances?
Thanks, again
 

Poliscidoc

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This all sounds like a bitch, but it sounds kind of fun at the same time.
 

TopSecret

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Thanks a lot for the clarification. Quick follow-up, is a R1 accountable to everyone above him/her or is there a point-person? In other words, who can assign them work under normal circumstances?
Thanks, again
The R1 reports to the senior resident (R2 and above) or to the attending if the senior resident is off. The attending provides guidance, the senior residents distribute the day-to-day tasks and supervise the interns, and the interns do a lot of leg work and note writing.
 

iMD

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i doubt it's going to affect anyone's decision. even if med students, residents, and beyond tell you they make you cross dress and eat poop, i'd bet good money that premeds would worry about what to wear and how much to eat :laugh:
 

halekulani

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What kind of test do you take? Do you have a good idea of what you need to know going in? A lot of Cumulative finals? I would expect so. And I also would assume it's all Essay based questions, no Multiple Choice.
on the contrary
mostly multiple choice

well
you need to know everything presented to you in a slide/lecture. profs test based on what they have given you. so i guess yea you kind of know whats going on. the sheer volume of information is what makes the classes hard.
 

oaklandguy

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I'm really worried about getting accepted into med school right now; but honestly I bet the summer before med school I'll be scared s**tless about med school. I'm sure it has it has tons of perks too. I would love being able to tell people that I'm in med school when they ask me what I am doing with my life.

During M3 and M4, is there still tons of reading?
Also, do Residents also have a ton of reading to catch up with?

Top Secret mentioned that you can go from working 430 am to 830 pm during M3. Does that mean your going to be reading from 830 pm to 130 am?
 

TopSecret

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I'm really worried about getting accepted into med school right now; but honestly I bet the summer before med school I'll be scared s**tless about med school. I'm sure it has it has tons of perks too. I would love being able to tell people that I'm in med school when they ask me what I am doing with my life.

During M3 and M4, is there still tons of reading?
Also, do Residents also have a ton of reading to catch up with?

Top Secret mentioned that you can go from working 430 am to 830 pm during M3. Does that mean your going to be reading from 830 pm to 130 am?
The amount of reading is about the same, maybe less, but the reading that you do will be more from medical journals and textbooks/review books for the rotation you're on.

Residents also have to prepare for their in-service exams each year. They're multiple choice exams.

The 430 am to 830 pm is an extreme example but one that you may encounter on a surgery rotation. Most of the rotations usually start at 630 -700 am and end at around 5-6 pm. Every fourth night you'll probably be on call for a 30 hour shift, though. You'll have time to sleep a few hours most of the time. Usually not much happens from 1 am to 5 am. Also, residents are required to have 10 hours of rest in between shifts as part of the ACGME duty hour requirements (these requirements do not apply to med students).

Before the ACGME duty hour restrictions surgeons and med students rotating on surgery would routinely put in over 120 hours per week. Now we're limited to 80 hours per week and 30 hour shifts (not more frequently than every three days) with 10 hours in between shifts. You also get one day in 7 or about 4 days each month off.
 
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For M1 and M2, can someone explain the blocks?

my impression is that you are only studying one topic at a time? (but in super intense depth). so does that mean you only have one lecturer per block? or do you have one topic, then broken up into subtopics?

lol can someone just post their schedule and syallbi for all of M1?

how many lectures do you have per day/per week? and how many hours are each lecture?

i am getting conflicting info. i hear some schools don't require class attendance and you just study study and show up for exam. while other schools sound like you have to study cases and present them in class.

can anyone tease apart the differences in grade vs. evaluation schools?
 

olemissbabydoc

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For M1 and M2, can someone explain the blocks?

my impression is that you are only studying one topic at a time? (but in super intense depth). so does that mean you only have one lecturer per block? or do you have one topic, then broken up into subtopics?

lol can someone just post their schedule and syallbi for all of M1?

how many lectures do you have per day/per week? and how many hours are each lecture?

i am getting conflicting info. i hear some schools don't require class attendance and you just study study and show up for exam. while other schools sound like you have to study cases and present them in class.

can anyone tease apart the differences in grade vs. evaluation schools?

This is an example of an M1 schedule - my schedule. The (M) shows mandatory, while the other classes are not required but are encouraged. M1 - UMCSOM
 
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Bernoull

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I'll like input from residents/attendings, what do you find easier working with patients VS colleagues/staff.

From my professional experience thus far, I've realized that the most challenging part of work tends to be interpersonal interactions with coworkers especially those lacking "team-spirit."

Any input will be appreciated.
 

Law2Doc

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The 430 am to 830 pm is an extreme example but one that you may encounter on a surgery rotation. Most of the rotations usually start at 630 -700 am and end at around 5-6 pm. Every fourth night you'll probably be on call for a 30 hour shift, though. You'll have time to sleep a few hours most of the time. Usually not much happens from 1 am to 5 am. Also, residents are required to have 10 hours of rest in between shifts as part of the ACGME duty hour requirements (these requirements do not apply to med students).

Before the ACGME duty hour restrictions surgeons and med students rotating on surgery would routinely put in over 120 hours per week. Now we're limited to 80 hours per week and 30 hour shifts (not more frequently than every three days) with 10 hours in between shifts. You also get one day in 7 or about 4 days each month off.
Disagree that it's an extreme example, and note that the 80 hour rules don't apply to med students so at some places you may be expected to come in before and leave after the residents. At many places you can log very long hours in IM and OB in addition to surgery.
 

MagicDrumSticks

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IS it as bad as people say? I've noticed a little pattern ever since Elementary School.

Elementary School teachers are like "you'll be grown in Middle School, the teachers won't cut you slack"

Come Middle School, it's the same damn thing.

Middle School teachers told me "Ok I'll take it late this time, but remember in high school, you're done with this, they've VERY strict"

I turned in late reports in HS all the time.

Finally in High School the teachers were always "haha, oh just wait till you get to college, you're in for a rude awakening"

BULL. College may be a little harder, but it's nothing compared to the horrors people made it sound like.

So is this the case? I hear people around me saying omg med school will rape u WAA!!
 

Law2Doc

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IS it as bad as people say? I've noticed a little pattern ever since Elementary School.

Elementary School teachers are like "you'll be grown in Middle School, the teachers...

Finally in High School the teachers were always "haha, oh just wait till you get to college, you're in for a rude awakening"

BULL. College may be a little harder, but it's nothing compared to the horrors people made it sound like.

So is this the case? I hear people around me saying omg med school will rape u WAA!!
The game is similar but the volume is beyond whatever you are contempating. And then third year you get a taste of what it's like not to have your time as your own. So yeah, a lot of people end up with a rude awakening if they expect it to be more of the same. More than that, everybody who gets into med school tended to have done quite well in undergrad, but now half of them are going to find themselves in the bottom half of the class, which many don't deal with well.
 
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