moo

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I need your help. For my whole undergrad career I've done well in math and physics and chem, but that was only because they are courses where memorization doesn't really come into play. I am a good problem solver and pretty much relied on my problem solving and reasoning skills to get thru undergrad intact. Now that I am a month away from my first class in med school, I'm having jitters about being able to handle the curriculum, handle memorizing every minute detail, being able to spew out all the information in an essay, etc. Did you guys find any useful techniques out there that really helped? thanks
 

dr kevin40

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have some ppl who were bmes and they adjust ok...but this one guy was mechanical e and he just says he had to put in A LOT OF TIME
 

wfu2005

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I was a ChemE undergrad and BME master's and my advice is to go over it a whole bunch. that's the big secret. just keep going over it. no open book tests here.

p.s. stop worrying, you'll be fine.
 

Rigomortis

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I was a EE. I didn't suffer at all from being a thinker. In fact, I think I came in with an advantage. Gross and Biochem both have systems involved, which an analytical mind will be good at. The rest you'll have to memorize, but EVERYBODY will need to work on that.
 

pocwana

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hey moo, thanks for posting this. i, too, am worried about this aspect of medical school. i'm applying now, so i hope next year you'll come back and reveal your 1st year memorization techniques!
 

beezar

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I was a physical science major in college as well and did lots of extra math classes (upper level) as well as taught lots of math.

Medical school is very painful (i'm a 4th yr now), and I have questioned myself several times throughout med school. The amount of depth you actually have to think is so minimal compared to math and other subjects... just the amount of material is so broad, that it is often times just stupid and painful to be constantly memorizing. The whole meaning of who is smart has changed... now smart is not the quick thinker who can solve complex, abstract, difficult, in-depth problems, but the person who can memorize the most and spew out tons of info on cue. And no longer can you shine by pure objective measures, but by what questions you happen to be asked on rounds, how confident you are in answering those questions even if your answers are wrong, and how nice your attendings/residents are. I had a difficult transition (still am!) because of the complete lack of objectivity and the lack of indepthness of medicine, but got used to it and actually really enjoy some parts.

Good luck, and hope you have a better experience than me!
 
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moo

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Thanks for all those who replied. I guess there will be a few things I will miss in undergrad: solving problems and not having to memorize much. But I won't miss the late nights I stayed up working on that real analysis problem set or having absolutely no life all weekend b/c I have like literally 5 problem sets due the next week. If any more of you have advice i'd love to hear from you all.
 

Vader

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The amount of depth you actually have to think is so minimal compared to math and other subjects... just the amount of material is so broad, that it is often times just stupid and painful to be constantly memorizing.
One of the big reasons I chose the MD/PhD pathway... science provides a nice relief from the grind of memorization. :D
 

Original

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Same deal here. I did math in undergrad and did a masters in math too. This played a huge role in why I decided I'll be doing muddphudd like Vader:D . I'm in the same boat as you(starting schl in a couple of weeks) . I took a biochem and a couple of grad BME classes and was shocked by the "insignificant" small details we were held accountable for. As soon as I realized this I painfully adjusted. I think the key to it is to just train ur mind to look out for those things that don't matter at all. Also instead of spending ur time pacing up and down the hallway trying to figure out stuff, you'll spend all ur time actually READING. There's not much reading in math. The entire course can usually fit into a 10 page pamphlet. Like Rigormortis mentioned, another trick will probably be to use your analytical skills to recognize patterns and organize the information. That way you'll memorize less and "remember" more. BTW Real Analysis was fun; I'm keeping my Rudin (the bible of real analysis) forever!:D
 

Rigomortis

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Originally posted by Vader


One of the big reasons I chose the MD/PhD pathway... science provides a nice relief from the grind of memorization. :D
Yea, I don't think that medicine is totally devoid of thinking at all. It is true that you won't be getting anymore 2 question problem sets that take you an entire week to arrive at a partially acceptable answer +pissed+ . In research there is a good deal of thinking involved....it is pretty hard to design good research projects. Some of the specialties, especially the internal medicine subspecialties, require a fair amount of thinking, since the patients often have complex issues that can be treated in a number of ways depending on the diagnosis you arrive at. It's a different kind of thinking, more like detective work than number crunching.
 

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Originally posted by Rigomortis

It's a different kind of thinking, more like detective work than number crunching.
It's true that medicine can involve alot of thinking as well. Regarding "number crunching", there is essentially none in advanced math. Even more surprising is that there are almost no numbers at all. That's why mathematicians seem to laugh much harder than others at the joke that "the answer- to an involved problem- is 3"

a friend of mine in grad school actually used to write "the answer is 3" whenever he didn't have a clue about a problem:laugh: . I miss my grad school peeps already. We all suffered together. Sleepless nights on the 4th floor; lots of caffeine; playing soccer in the hallway at 4:00am-priceless. Suffering is one of the best facilitators of bonding. *nostalgia* :)
 

USeF

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BTW Real Analysis was fun; I'm keeping my Rudin (the bible of real analysis) forever!:D
story about 'baby Rudin':
my professor for Intermediate Analysis was in charge of accomodations for a conference in Ohio somewhere. He told the hotel manager, "These mathematicians will be the quietest, most amiable guests you ever had. They'll stay in their room for most of the night with the lights on working out math problems. Every now and then out of frustration they may slam a fist on the wall, but nothing too serious... I only want to make one request. You go through all of those rooms and get rid of the Bible that's placed in the drawer- you replace it with one of these" pulls out a stack of the 'blue baby Rudins' "into each of those drawers. This, is our bible" :D
 

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Originally posted by USeF


Every now and then out of frustration they may slam a fist on the wall,
:laugh: nice story! Ha Baby Rudin:D ; I have it. We used it for a course that was called Advanced Calculus IV; but since my school switched to semesters they now call it Advanced Calculus of multiple variables. It dealt with generalized integration, K-simplexes, K-surfaces&forms, integration/differentiation of linear transformations, and it ended with Lesbegue theory which is where Rudin (real analysis) kicks off from. The prof that taught it was great. He has a different but great sense of humor and he is smart as hell.

The Walter Rudin guy is actually still alive and well @ Univ of Winsconsin-Madison. He says a whole lot in very little text. Freaking legend/god.
 

Castro Viejo

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I was a mathematics major in college, and now, as a fourth-year med student, I find that the type of thinking, analyzing, and problem-solving I enjoyed plays a very minor role in medicine. As a result I've found med school to be pretty difficult since my memory is rather poor.

My only piece of advice is aside from physiology, where you'll probably outshine most of your classmates, you'll just have to spend a heck of a lot more time memorzing the rest.
 

blueintheface

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Being able to think and solve complex problems is definitely an asset in medical school, but probably won't really impress anybody until you start the clinical years when you are dealing with live patients who have more than one medical problem. Doing well in the first 2 years, at least in my school, was more about learning the details. Knowing the general concepts will get you a pass, but knowing the details, especially the details that are the exceptions to the rule, will get you the honors.