What are the most and least conceptually challening classes in basic science

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by TheSeanieB, May 3, 2012.

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  1. TheSeanieB

    TheSeanieB 2+ Year Member

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    Just finished my first year. I would say that physiology is the most conceptually challenging and histology is the least. What are your thoughts?
     
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  3. MeatTornado

    MeatTornado On Sabbatical 7+ Year Member

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    Really depends on prior preparation and personal ability. For me personally I think biochem was the most conceptually challenging because I had very poor prep coming into med school and have a hard time understanding and visualizing things I can't see/imagine. On the other hand I found physio to be the least conceptually challenging since things started making more logical sense and it is easier to imagine the processes that you are learning. Histology and Anatomy were not conceptually challenging but I found them challenging in that you were memorizing things in a vacuum. I've always found any class that asks mainly "what is this?" rather than "why is this?" to be extremely challenging.
     
  4. sportsperson

    sportsperson Banned

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    Probably biochem the most. Anatomy the least by far, though I did have a very strong background.
     
  5. TAWS

    TAWS 2+ Year Member

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    I thought biochem was the least challenging but its the hardest to retain.
     
  6. surftheiop

    surftheiop 2+ Year Member

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    A fair amount of physiology just "made sense" to me and I found I didn't have to study it all that much. Biochem made sense while I was looking at it, but then later it would be tough to to recall the names what the next step was in the pathway or what the enzyme was called, but it was easy to cram for tests.

    Anatomy was by far the hardest for me to learn, it was all these words I had never heard of and had no associations to or experiences with, I was just terrible at it. That being said, I found anatomy lab to be really interesting and I loved getting to see all the stuff, but I would still do really bad on anatomy exams.
     
  7. Morsetlis

    Morsetlis Preliminary Medicine 7+ Year Member

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    People seem to have the most problems with Cardio-Respiratory-Renal and Immunology.

    Histology is mad fun, and yes it can be very... boring.

    My personal fear is Genetics.
     
  8. CaptainSSO

    CaptainSSO 7+ Year Member

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    I agree that physiology seems like it should be the most conceptually difficult, but I find it easy--it just makes sense to me, it's intuitive.

    Like someone else mentioned, anatomy was ironically the most conceptually difficult for me, even though it seems like it shouldn't be. I had no context in which to place the terms, unless it was something most people already know about, e.g., ACL, MCL, medial meniscus. But stuff like where the inferior gluteal nerve runs and it's relationship to the obturator internus (if there even is a relationship there, I can't remember -_-) I cannot recall for the life of me. Neuroanatomy I love, though, and I have no difficulty with it. Strange how all of this works.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  9. SoundofSilver

    SoundofSilver 5+ Year Member

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    Certain aspects of anatomy can be conceptually difficult - like the head and neck. Lots of weird areas like the pterygopalatine fossa that are hard to visualize. Also, the sphenoid and ehtmoid bones (and the skull in general) can be difficult to visualize as well.

    I agree with the OP's original assessment. Physio probably required the most conceptual learning - especially the renal, cardiovascular, and respiratory units. Genetics has a lot of purely conceptual aspects as well - like pedigree analysis and calculating re-occurrence risk for a particular disorder.
     
  10. swamprat

    swamprat 7+ Year Member

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    I think it def varies based on a students past experience/interests but its def always gunna be a first year class IMO. I think biochem really sucked because it was dry..I don't think the concepts are hard. Also like a posted above said you forget it so quickly no matter how many times you've learned it in the past. Physiology can be a bi*ch especially for boards some of the cardio questions and graphs can be very complex.
     
  11. Freakfarm0

    Freakfarm0 2+ Year Member

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    Cardio and Pulm phys are the easiest.

    Everyone took physics in high school and college.
     
  12. CaptainSSO

    CaptainSSO 7+ Year Member

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    Yea that's how I feel about it.
     
  13. link2swim06

    link2swim06 7+ Year Member

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    Neuro anyone? That class was boring, useless, and sucked.
     
  14. Freakfarm0

    Freakfarm0 2+ Year Member

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    Agreed. Neuro has my vote for worst.
     
  15. CaptainSSO

    CaptainSSO 7+ Year Member

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    Whaaa? How can you not like learning about the brain?!
     
  16. jumpmanv15

    jumpmanv15 2+ Year Member

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    anything requiring pure memorization sucks
     
  17. SlickNickMD

    SlickNickMD 7+ Year Member

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    I did really well on biochem, but the way it's taught first year can be a bit overwhelming. Those pathways still give me nightmares, but if you break it up and focus on the important reactions and steps it's easier to digest

    I can see how anatomy can be challenging, it's all rote memorization with added clinical relevance and a lot of understanding of relationships between structures.

    Physio probably makes the most sense conceptually but it depends on the system


    Histo was simple and easy to digest.

    Neuro was useless
     
  18. D elegans

    D elegans 5+ Year Member

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    Most difficult aspect was neuroanatomy for sure. There is little to no reason why one tract twists and turns one way or another. Learning the cross-sectional functional anatomy of the brainstem SUCKED
     
  19. Morsetlis

    Morsetlis Preliminary Medicine 7+ Year Member

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    I think of it from an evolutionary point of view. . . most animals that aren't predators don't have front-facing eyes, right? And you need to smell, before you can hear, before you can see. Vision is complex. Sound isn't.

    I think Neuro made a lot more sense after I learned about the sulcus limitans and neurodevelopment.

    And of course when we got to complex brain functions it was like :confused:
     
  20. ericL

    ericL Member 10+ Year Member

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    I always felt like none of this has been conceptually difficult. What makes it challenging for is the volume of information and the level of mastery expected (ie how much should we remember). But, the concepts being taught are not difficult to understand I didn't think.

    One certainly does not need to be especially intelligent to do well in med school, just have the ability to prioritize and manage time well. I still contend that in regards to the education, PhD programs (real ones, not social "sciences") are much tougher and actually require independent ideas.
     
  21. D elegans

    D elegans 5+ Year Member

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    I agree. No one topic is conceptually difficult in medical school, it's all about being able to learn a bunch of details on many subjects at once. I had undergrad classes that were much more difficult conceptually.

    I feel much more like I'm learning the ins and outs of machine than science. Guess there was something to what I once heard a b*tchy PhD say once: "Doctors are technicians." :(
     
  22. TheSeanieB

    TheSeanieB 2+ Year Member

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    Does 2nd year become more conceptual (ie less pneumonic memorizing)?
     
  23. modsar

    modsar 2+ Year Member

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    Hardest: anatomy

    Easiest: pathology
     
  24. CaptainSSO

    CaptainSSO 7+ Year Member

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    Yea it's true. I would say medicine is a trade rather than a science. Physicians are kind of like mechanics, just with humans instead of automobiles.
     
  25. CatFactorial

    CatFactorial 5+ Year Member

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    Like law or business school, med school is more specifically professional than graduate education. The point is to learn a trade, even though it is a highly academic one.
     
  26. CatFactorial

    CatFactorial 5+ Year Member

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    More conceptual and more memorizing. Via reinforcement, the huge amount of memorizing in multiple systems aids in the overall conceptual understanding.
     
  27. GarfieldKoe

    GarfieldKoe

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    Really depends on prior preparation and personal ability.
    [​IMG]
     
  28. boggvir

    boggvir Sunny California 2+ Year Member

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    Yea, I would say that's true. There's nothing wrong with that - but it is in fact very much like a trade. Medical school is a professional school, and you a professional doctorate, not an academic one.
     
  29. grayscaleart

    grayscaleart 2+ Year Member

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    Complicated: Ventilator mechanics, hemodynamics, cardiac electrophysiology, correcting electrolytes, dosing, neuro-ophthalmology, body mechanics

    Least complicated: anatomy

    I don't like math
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
  30. Slack3r

    Slack3r Sicker than your average 7+ Year Member

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    I feel there are quite a few people(myself included) who are In medicine because they're awful at math. While I found most of physio rather straight forward (I was a physio major), cardio and pulmonary (mainly ventilation) as well as electrolytes/Nerst were near impossible.

    Most difficult, however, would definitely be neuro...hated that class.

    On the other hand, I thought biochem was easy, and micro/histo was so easy it wasn't even funny.
     
  31. grayscaleart

    grayscaleart 2+ Year Member

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    What they teach you on first year physio class is not even close to what you deal with in the floor, granted, you really need critical care fellowship to be very proficient in cardiopulmonary phys. I feel cheated. (I have 250 steps so I felt like I knew a lot)

    They also don't teach us the new stuff on the floors including hemodynamics that uses arterial pulse contour rather than pulm cath, the different modes of pacing, how to titrate drug to maintain perfusion pressure for X organ, interpreting echocardiogram ( and I don't mean reading what the reported EF is ), determining what mri sequence to use for a particular pathology ....
     

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