Oct 31, 2010
4
0
Status
Medical Student
Greetings folks. I am an MSIV at Stony Brook currently going through the residency application process. In doing so I am reminded of the medical school application process. Though information was available I didn't know the right questions to ask or what to really look for in a medical school. With that, I will be posting a series of discussions to share my experiences here these past 4 years and shed some light on what all you aspiring med students should consider in a medical school. I will discuss things including the pre-clinical years, rotations, step 1, step 2 and life on long island. These discussions are meant to be neither a gushing appraisal nor a disgruntled ranting, rather they are intended to be an honest critique of my experiences. I will post at my convinience, and since I am busy with interviews it may take some time between postings/replies. But before I begin posting let me make the following points clear:
1. My postings are based on my experiences and opinions only. I do not claim to be an authority on applications, interviews, accepting/declining offers or any other educational matters. So please take the information I provide in the proper context.
2. The views and opinions are mine alone, I do not claim to represent Stony Brook University, Stony Brook University Hospital, Stony Brook School of Medicine, any affiliate organizations/institutions or any faculty or other students.
3. I will not post any information which would be in violation of our honor code.
4. I will not post any information which I feel would be inappropriate, unprofessional or in violation of privacy rules/etiquette.

I will begin posting shortly. If there are any specific questions/requests do not hesitate to PM me.
Cheers!
 
OP
M
Oct 31, 2010
4
0
Status
Medical Student
First preclinical year:
Nothing too unique here, but this should give you an idea of what a typical 1st year medical school cirriculum is like. The year is made up of 6 courses: anatomy, biochem, neuro, physiology, pathology, foundations of medical practice. Anatomy and biochem are taken concurrently during the first semester followed by neuro, physio and path while foundations is taken throughout the year.

Anatomy - Fairly standard anatomy cirriculum: lectures in the AM with lab in the afternoon, 4 people to a body, dissections are done by students.

Biochem - Lecture 5 days a week for the semester, 2 exams throughout the semester both of which are customized shelf exams. Most people study using PreTest or some other q-book. The course directors are very personable and hold review sessions throughout the semester. Not much more to be said barring any specific questions.

Neuro - A month long course following Christmas break. It involves lectures and a lab. There is a project and house exam (which count towards the grade) and a shelf (which does not). Perhaps the easiest course during the pre-clinical years here at SB, most people honor or high pass it. The lectures are fairly consistent in quality as there are only 2 main lecturers, and they prepare you for the house exam, but performance on the shelf is more variable (especially since it does not count towards the grade).

Physio - An ~2 month course composed of lectures, histology lab and small group discussions. Grading involves a series of small quizzes, a house exam and shelf exam.

Path - ~2 months in duration with lectures and lab. There are quizzes, a mid-term exam, lab final, house exam final and shelf exam.

Foundations - A year long course to teach the H&P and the touchy-feely aspects of medicine (giving bad news, dealing with special needs/LGBT patients, etc...). The course is composed of lectures and clinical work where students are assigned to one of several clinical sites where they go and perform H&Ps and are then critiqued by residents/attendings.

All in all the first year passes pretty routinely for most people, the lecturs are pretty hit-or-miss for most courses depending on the lecturer. Performance on shelf exams follows the usual bell curve for most courses, the exception being the anatomy course. The text and practice exams for the anatomy course are very well geared towards preparing for the shelf, and shelf percentiles tend to average in the 80s to 90s. My one point of contention regarding the anatomy course is I would have preferred prosected bodies rather than student disections. This would have saved a great deal of time (sometimes up to 5 hours a day) and effort and left me with a much cleaner dissection than I or any of my classmates ever achieved. Some will disagree saying student dissection is a better way to teach anatomy since you learn better by doing it yourself, personally I would have preferred getting out of anatomy lab earlier and using that time to study.
The foundations course, while well-intentioned, seems too drawn out and many students at SB have voiced their feeling that some of the material (ie: the stuff other than the H&P) could be presented in a much shorter time, and the remaining time could be freed up for other things/left free to allow for more study time.
Following the end of 1st year there is an approximately 2 month break before the start of 2nd year which can be used for work abroad, research, goofing off, etc...

I hope I've answered all the questions directed to me with this post. I'll keep posting and trying to answer your questions as best as I can.
 
Jan 2, 2010
1,090
0
Reality, or so i think.
Status
First preclinical year:
Nothing too unique here, but this should give you an idea of what a typical 1st year medical school cirriculum is like. The year is made up of 6 courses: anatomy, biochem, neuro, physiology, pathology, foundations of medical practice. Anatomy and biochem are taken concurrently during the first semester followed by neuro, physio and path while foundations is taken throughout the year.

Anatomy - Fairly standard anatomy cirriculum: lectures in the AM with lab in the afternoon, 4 people to a body, dissections are done by students.

Biochem - Lecture 5 days a week for the semester, 2 exams throughout the semester both of which are customized shelf exams. Most people study using PreTest or some other q-book. The course directors are very personable and hold review sessions throughout the semester. Not much more to be said barring any specific questions.

Neuro - A month long course following Christmas break. It involves lectures and a lab. There is a project and house exam (which count towards the grade) and a shelf (which does not). Perhaps the easiest course during the pre-clinical years here at SB, most people honor or high pass it. The lectures are fairly consistent in quality as there are only 2 main lecturers, and they prepare you for the house exam, but performance on the shelf is more variable (especially since it does not count towards the grade).

Physio - An ~2 month course composed of lectures, histology lab and small group discussions. Grading involves a series of small quizzes, a house exam and shelf exam.

Path - ~2 months in duration with lectures and lab. There are quizzes, a mid-term exam, lab final, house exam final and shelf exam.

Foundations - A year long course to teach the H&P and the touchy-feely aspects of medicine (giving bad news, dealing with special needs/LGBT patients, etc...). The course is composed of lectures and clinical work where students are assigned to one of several clinical sites where they go and perform H&Ps and are then critiqued by residents/attendings.

All in all the first year passes pretty routinely for most people, the lecturs are pretty hit-or-miss for most courses depending on the lecturer. Performance on shelf exams follows the usual bell curve for most courses, the exception being the anatomy course. The text and practice exams for the anatomy course are very well geared towards preparing for the shelf, and shelf percentiles tend to average in the 80s to 90s. My one point of contention regarding the anatomy course is I would have preferred prosected bodies rather than student disections. This would have saved a great deal of time (sometimes up to 5 hours a day) and effort and left me with a much cleaner dissection than I or any of my classmates ever achieved. Some will disagree saying student dissection is a better way to teach anatomy since you learn better by doing it yourself, personally I would have preferred getting out of anatomy lab earlier and using that time to study.
The foundations course, while well-intentioned, seems too drawn out and many students at SB have voiced their feeling that some of the material (ie: the stuff other than the H&P) could be presented in a much shorter time, and the remaining time could be freed up for other things/left free to allow for more study time.
Following the end of 1st year there is an approximately 2 month break before the start of 2nd year which can be used for work abroad, research, goofing off, etc...

I hope I've answered all the questions directed to me with this post. I'll keep posting and trying to answer your questions as best as I can.
awesome, because stony is my top choice since its the best in state school for me. so during your first year, how many hours a day are you studying/in class?
 
Sep 6, 2009
62
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I was an undergrad in stony brook, and I really hope that i can get into stony brook med school. Your sharing is deeply appreciated, I can't wait for your next post!

Again, Thank you so much!
 
OP
M
Oct 31, 2010
4
0
Status
Medical Student
awesome, because stony is my top choice since its the best in state school for me. so during your first year, how many hours a day are you studying/in class?
To reply to Cleavername's question...thats a tough one to answer. How long you will spend studying will depend on a couple of factors:
1. How efficiently you study - this will obviously change as you progress through your medical education, and hopefully you will find your own groove a few weeks to a few months into it.
2. How well you want to do - are you aiming for AOA or just to pass? Integrated plastics or family medicine? Some of my buddies spent anywhere from a few hours to over 12 hours a day studying during first year (though it takes a special type of person to put themselves through the latter).
3. The workload at the time - it takes a lot more work to juggle anatomy and biochem than to get through neuro (at stony), you may spend 12 hours a day studying in the weeks leading up to Step 1 or none during your 4th year electives.

To summarize, its all about how much work you have, how you handle it and what you want to get out of it. Hope that puts things into perspective.
 
OP
M
Oct 31, 2010
4
0
Status
Medical Student
Second preclinical year
The year is composed of 2 year-long courses and a number of shorter systems courses. A nutrition course is dispersed throughout the year as well.

Medicine in Contemporary Society - The 2nd year continuation of foundations from first year, this course covers material having to do with the socioeconomic aspects of medical practice and also incorporates further training/practice in the H&P. As with foundations, there is much material that could likely be done away with/condensed in the interest of time. Grading involves a number of exams throughout the year.

Pharmacology - The name says it all: drugs. The course covers drugs relavent to the clinical area being taught at the time; so antibiotics during micro, chemo drugs during heme/onc, etc... Grading involves a number of small quizzes, group discussions, a written project, a home work assignment done during the heme-onc course, a house exam and a shelf.

Microbiology - The first of the short courses, this one dealing with bugs causing infections. Grading involves a lab component, case presentations, a house exam and a shelf.

Systems Courses - A number of courses covering important pathophysiology in all the major organ systems. These include blood, neuro, psych, pulmonary, cardio, renal, endocrine, ophthalmology, reproductiv, gastro, connective tissue/ortho. Grading involves a house exam at the end of each block.

As with first year, the lectures during this year are very dependent on the individual lecturer. The general consensus seems to be that the course most in need of improvement is the pharmacology course. Much of the material presented seems rather esoteric and poorly geared towards the shelf/boards. That is not to say that people do not do well on the shelf, we occasionally have folks with perfect scores, but the feeling amongst many of us thus far has been that this is more attributable to the efforts of the individual students rather than the course itself. People tend to have a good start to the year in terms of studying for pham and systems, but as Step 1 grows near the difference in material takes on greater importance as people sacrifice studying for house exams/attending lecture to make time for Step studying. Hope this clears things up for those who asked. I'll address Step 1 in a separate post.