laxgirl06

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Hi guys, first off, I just want to thank everyone who has ever helped me in the past. It means a lot to me.
So, this semester is my last chance. I need to get all As or else pursuing medicine is not going to be (imo) an achievable feat for me.

I currently have a cGPA of 3.39, I don't even want to calculate my sGPA.... +pity+

This semester is by far, the hardest semester, to date. I have some strategies that I am going to employ but it is only 3 weeks into the semester and I am already extremely overwhelmed/feeling behind. My grades do not reflect, at all, my ability(imo) Some weeks, I spent 50+ hours in the library and still do not end up with good grades. I struggle a lot w/ time management and staying focused. (while I'm studying and just in general) Does anyone have any tips? I hate feeling incompetent compared to some of my classmates when I know I am just as intellectually gifted as they are. To those of you who a) have high GPAs, b) went from low to high GPAs, or c)know how to manage your time effectively, how do you do it? Please be as SPECIFIC as you can. I know a lot of people say: manage your time, but that doesn't really help me. :laugh: I feel like I have lost the sense of urgency and drive that I once had when I was younger. Years ago, I would strive to be the best and always put my best foot forward in every assignment/test. Now, I feel indifferent in a way, as if I have all the time in the world. How do you get back that fire? This pre-med to pre-med, help me dig myself out of this hole. PLEASE and thank you. :D:D
 

NotASerialKiller

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There are no secrets for time management, it involves trying a lot of things and seeing what works for you. Some people make huge calendars with all of their assignments and slot in time to work on specific ones, because the satisfaction of crossing something off keeps them motivated. Other people do a similar thing just with a whole bunch of lists. Incentivizing work (if I study for X hours I can watch Y hours of TV or do Z grams of cocaine) can be useful as well.

Unfortunately there is no magic bullet that works for everyone, you have to be creative and try something new if your current strategies aren't working. Someone using a particular strategy to go from low grades to high grades doesn't mean that it's any more likely to work for you than a random tool you look up on Google.
 

Ad2b

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a) check (not a 4.0)
b) too low for putting in public on SDN ;) to very high and won't post on SDN :)
c) you're killing my 5 line limit; self-imposed ;)

Old me: ADHD, undiagnosed therefore, untreated
25+ years later (that's not a typo), ADHD treated; counseling center for study skills help

For gen chem/physics or any other math intensive class: I did ALL problems assigned bar none, did any extra problems if I struggled with assigned ones

I repeated that 2x a week.

For biology, flashcards; flipped through them daily while at work, or sitting at lunch or wherever

For orgo, bought the good molecule set and used it... did all problems assigned over the weekends (was getting a B at this point and :mad::mad::mad:) and then, my son who was then in high school said I needed to do them daily; switched that up and got a solid A in orgo (125% on cumulative final)

For biochem - drew, drew, drew and then drew - daily. I have an artist's sketch book full of drawings; did the same for MCAT prep

For genetics (currently taking), doing all problems assigned; doing online quizzes from publisher for fun :eek: ; and reviewing my EK biology 1001 Questions for the MCAT for pedigree analysis; also found stats sites related to genetics to help shore up that

What I can say for physics, having taken it this last summer (A+), what I learned was this:

if F=ma and I don't have a, but I have some other variables to get to a and I have a N, I can get the m. I made myself talk through, out loud and alone at home, if I don't have this, what do I have. What do I need? How can I get this or that?

The above has changed my way of looking at every other problem I encounter including the MCAT.
 

efle

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How many credits in that cGPA? And you should calculate your sGPA...

Some weeks, I spent 50+ hours in the library and still do not end up with good grades. I struggle a lot w/ time management and staying focused. (while I'm studying and just in general)
Have you considered you may have ADD?

My big advice is to try and objectively figure out what is and isn't high-yield. The total assigned work I have is not humanly possible to do in the time I have to do it. Luckily much of the assigned work doesn't need to be done - for a lot of classes you're fine ignoring assigned readings altogether and going off slides and notes only, maybe cracking open the text if you need clarification on something. Generally speaking for science classes you can emphasis practice tests and problems >> review of slides and your notes >> assigned reading. For humanities, learn to skim read if you actually have to read at all, and prioritize review of what goes on in class >> assigned reading.

I should add that I'm not quite as jaded as this post makes me sound. I do love learning and often do readings that I don't need to because I enjoy them (especially in philosophy). But for someone trying to make a survival study plan, the above is the best advice I can give from my undergrad experience.
 
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doctorleospaceman

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3.39 is by no means the end of the world if paired with an above average MCAT (and good ECs, clinical experience etc).

Not saying don't aim to do better in the semesters left, but at the same time don't just give up your dream.
 
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Ad2b

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One other comment: do not ever say "this is it!" or "LAST CHANCE" ... while that may be true FOR NOW, life has a very weird way of getting us to where we belong and giving us the tools to get there. All that extra pressure on yourself to perform right now, is not helping and may be leading to bad anxiety and self-destructive test taking.
 

efle

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studentdocftw

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Is it possible you may be overestimating your "intellectual gift"? You seem to be putting in all the work (spending 50+ hours in the library), yet you are unable to translate that preparation into good grades. Your cGPA can be lethal at many MD schools, but you seem to be aware of this. Feeling indifferent, even though you know the seriousness of your current situation, is not a good sign. Unfortunately, there is no universal solution to getting good grades. Every scenario is very different, and outside of positive reinforcement and emphasis on putting the work in (which you seem to already be doing), there's not much we can do to help you; only you control your path at this point. Keep working, and don't give up. Also realize, medicine isn't for everyone and there are other careers out there! Keep your mind open!

As an aside, if you are able to finish strong (3.4+ gpa), medicine is not all that out of reach. Consider a post bacc to raise that GPA to 3.5+ and you may be competitive MD somewhere. You can also opt to retake some courses and apply to DO schools as an additional option.
 

GrapesofRath

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I have had some somewhat similar issues to a lesser extent in the past.

Long story short here is one thing that helped me; everytime you are in the library not studying or not doing something productive start a timer. See how long you spend doing it. Put on this timer everytime you do so. It's fine to have to use this timer, nobody studies for 10 hours straight efficiently anyway. But this will give you a perspective of how much time you are spending not studying when you say you are studying, make you cognizant of what you are doing everytime you go to hit that timer, and always aware of the fact you are letting time slip away while you are browsing the internet, eating etc. The more you do this, the more you'll get a feel for how much time not studying while in the library is effective for you and how much is too much. But you should always ask what is the purpose of this break, when you take it. Many times there is a purpose, but it's a question you should always ask yourself.

Studying effectively is the other thing. We don't spend nearly as much time as we think we are truly studying and learning the material as we think. Active learning is what matters. Flashcards, constantly testing yourself, forcing yourself to synthesize information and really think, while you study and practice is what counts. Blindly reading notes while you listen to music is not effective studying. You have to be willing to tinker with different methods. Also get help from TA's and professors. They can help alot in getting you to focus on material that does and doesn't matter.

Adobe photo shop has been a life saver for me. It's allowed me to edit and delete text from my notes. Allows me to actively try to fill out figures and tables instead of just reading them from notes I took/professor gave. Allows me to label figures instead of having the labels given to me like they are in lecture notes professors give. Allows me to fill out flow charts myself. Allowed me to delete all the products of ochem reactions and make me fill out the product every time I want to think about it. It allowed me in ochem to delete parts of a mechanism and really learn and remember each step. Explaining material to yourself and others, and actively having to put things together is another good tool. THIS is what active learning is.

If you have problems paying attention recording lectures is something also I would give strong consideration to. For me, in harder classes, this was pretty much mandatory.

And yes, I second the idea above to give consideration to take a test for ADD.

Your stats can be competitive for DO programs as is. But that shouldn't be your focus because if you are spending this kind of time in med school "studying" and producing these kind of results, it can cause problems in time when the material in medical school is loads and loads greater than in undergrad.
 
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GiveMeThatMD

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In the library, invite your friends. Study groups were always the most effective for me. Having ideas to bounce off each other can help correct/solidify ideas. Manage your time in the sense that: you take breaks every so often (to avoid academic burnout), do a great deal of practice problems, and crush every test like it's your last, as it honestly might be. When drive runs out, just give it some grit.
 

tenblackalps

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I currently have a cGPA of 3.39, I don't even want to calculate my sGPA.... +pity+
I know we are in the pre-allo forum, but 3.39 is in the ballpark for DO if I am not mistaken? I think it is right around the median.
 

Lawper

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I know we are in the pre-allo forum, but 3.39 is in the ballpark for DO if I am not mistaken? I think it is right around the median.
The sGPA was implied to be far worse.

Yeah...passing things off to the MCAT like that isn't a great plan to have if you can avoid it.
It works well for people with strong test taking skills and view exams like puzzles to be solved. Wouldn't be surprised if OP is an example of the "smart, but lazy" stereotype
 
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Lawper

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50+ hours a week in a library and he's lazy?
Or inefficient studying, grade deflation, very difficult classes, horrible professors, dorm flooding etc.
 
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doctorleospaceman

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Yeah...passing things off to the MCAT like that isn't a great plan to have if you can avoid it.
If you can avoid it. But it is possible to put in the work on the MCAT to prove that you're more than capable of studying and know the material.

If anything I think the MCAT should be more important since it's comparable. There are schools that grade inflate and deflate. There are also more 3.8+ GPAs out there than high MCAT scores.

But as I mentioned earlier, don't count on it but give your all for the MCAT regardless.
 

Lannister

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Jesus, 50 hours in the library a week? That's way too much, you probably aren't studying efficiently. The key to getting good grades is not studying a lot, it's studying well.

Turn off your computer and cellphone and get rid of all other possible distractions. If you have problems with spacing out, listen to classical or any kind of instrumental music, that should help you stay focused (I personally like to listen to Irish instrumental music).

Don't bother reading the textbook if the professor indicates that the exams will be based on lecture. Only read the textbook if you don't understand a concept and need clarification.

Review the material immediately after class. For some classes I've found it helpful to use my lecture and textbook notes to make a quiz for myself. Make the quiz right after class, and make an answer key to go along with it. Just writing/typing out the answers will help you memorize them. Then before the exam, go back and take all your quizzes to review the material.

Make flashcards if you find them helpful. I really love Quizlet for making flashcards. If you pay $15 a year you can even put pictures on the flashcards (good for classes like anatomy, or maybe even ochem).

Don't use other peoples' study guides to study for exams. Make your own. The act of making the study guide is the best way to review the material, rather than just reading someone else's study guide.

Use the first exam to learn what the professor expects of you. Figure out which concepts he or she thinks are most important and study those. That way, for future exams, you won't spend your time studying things that are unlikely to be on the exam.
 

Fedekz

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I have a 3.95 science and 3.85 cumulative so I'll try to chime in.
Honestly you need to figure out what works for you. It's hard for people who don't know you to offer you advice on how you should study. If you're spending 50 hours a week studying then you're not being efficient at all. So whatever you're doing now needs to change.

Everyone learns differently... Some people learn by going to lecture and seeing it, others like to just listen to the material somehow, some read the textbooks etc etc.

Just be open to new ways to study, even if it doesn't necessarily sound like the best idea at first. Have you tried watching Khan academy for everything you can? Khan is really great at delivering the material and making it simple and understandable.

I know almost everyone at my school that I've talked to hate reading the textbooks and think they're too detailed and not needed. For every class that had a textbook assigned, I got the book (often by less moral means) and read the chapters. Making flash cards were useless for me, so was anki, and everything else. The only two things I did was read the textbook, and watch Khan (moof for biochemistry). I never went to lectures because I hate taking notes and waking up early.

If you're spending that much time in the library, hit up your professor in her/her office hours - I've actually had a lot of success by having them go over confusing topics one on one with me.
 
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Goro

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You school should have an education or learning center. Get to them STAT!!!


Hi guys, first off, I just want to thank everyone who has ever helped me in the past. It means a lot to me.
So, this semester is my last chance. I need to get all As or else pursuing medicine is not going to be (imo) an achievable feat for me.

I currently have a cGPA of 3.39, I don't even want to calculate my sGPA.... +pity+

This semester is by far, the hardest semester, to date. I have some strategies that I am going to employ but it is only 3 weeks into the semester and I am already extremely overwhelmed/feeling behind. My grades do not reflect, at all, my ability(imo) Some weeks, I spent 50+ hours in the library and still do not end up with good grades. I struggle a lot w/ time management and staying focused. (while I'm studying and just in general) Does anyone have any tips? I hate feeling incompetent compared to some of my classmates when I know I am just as intellectually gifted as they are. To those of you who a) have high GPAs, b) went from low to high GPAs, or c)know how to manage your time effectively, how do you do it? Please be as SPECIFIC as you can. I know a lot of people say: manage your time, but that doesn't really help me. :laugh: I feel like I have lost the sense of urgency and drive that I once had when I was younger. Years ago, I would strive to be the best and always put my best foot forward in every assignment/test. Now, I feel indifferent in a way, as if I have all the time in the world. How do you get back that fire? This pre-med to pre-med, help me dig myself out of this hole. PLEASE and thank you. :D:D
 

spaingirl17

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I'd also suggest determining when you are most efficient; in the morning after a workout, mid-afternoon, late night? I finally figured out I'm most efficient in the mornings, so I started going to bed (somewhat) earlier, getting up at 6:30 to work out, eat breakfast, and then do my high priority work. This usually ended up being my science class assignments/studying. I would save my reading assignments and essays for later in the evening when my brain seemed more apt for that type of work.
I also found that reading the chapter the night before or the morning of the day's topic and taking notes was extremely helpful. I rarely used those notes to study later, but I found that reading ahead helped me make connections and understand the material better in class.
 

UNMedGa

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You school should have an education or learning center. Get to them STAT!!!
TAs have been very helpful to me when brute force studying isn't getting the job done.
 
OP
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laxgirl06

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Thank you everyone for your support. I am taking everything everyone said into consideration, and I won't let myself or any of you down. Good luck to everyone on their future endeavors. Keep pushing forward!