JTubule1386

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I'm sure this thread has been made before, but I can't find it. I was reading the post I hate my med school and this question start to bug me. If get into more than one school and have the decision of going to a school with an integrated curriculum vs. a school with a traditional curriculum, which should I chose? Or PBL vs. non PBL? I know this would be my decision, but being that I have no experience with medical school I decide to ask some of you.

Which curriculum do you guys think is better and why?
Which do you think allows you to more effectively learn the material?
Which better prepares you for Step I?

If you guys could reply I would appreciate it.
 

IHeartNerds

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This might get moved, but whatever...

I go to a school with an integrated systems curriculum; ie we have a class on "renal" or "cardiology" with histo, pharm, phys, path, etc etc etc all rolled into one.

Other friends of mine go to schools with old curriculum, ie separate classes on pharm, etc, and MS1 = healthy and MS 2 = pathology.

They don't like it, and I don't like the sound of it either. Integrated systems all the way for me. If you like the idea of separate classes, imagine learning fifty drug names for disease processes you've not heard about in five months. augh.
 

smq123

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Which curriculum do you guys think is better and why?
Which do you think allows you to more effectively learn the material?
Which better prepares you for Step I?
This is a tough question to answer, just because few of us have any real basis for comparison. We may have anecdotal evidence from friends at other med schools (as IHeartNerds alluded to), but that isn't really sufficient comparison.

I think that any curriculum that allows you to have an exam every 3 or 4 weeks (and not have an exam once a week or once every two weeks) is better. That's just my personal belief, though - and has less to do with learning the material, and more to do with lifestyle/sanity issues.

Some people will hate the integrated curriculums, and others will love it. It's all very subjective.
 
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IHeartNerds

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One thing to consider is, do you like being able to study several things at once or do you prefer focusing on one thing? I prefer the latter, so an integrated systems curriculum where ALL WE DO is one thing at a time is nice -- that is, one exam at a time also. No worrying about studying multiple subjects for multiple finals at once.

Like has been said, your results may vary.

I think it's safe to say that all medical schools in the US will prepare you well and, at least 95% of the material will be the same.


Although, PBL is horrible from all the people I've asked. Out of thirty or forty people, I've never met one who liked PBL.
 

MilkmanAl

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PBL-based curricula sound absolutely ghastly. From what I hear from friends at Mercer and Mizzou, they require a whole ton of self directed learning, and it's often not clear exactly what you're supposed to be learning. They seem to make it work if Step 1 scores are any indicator, but that sounds like a hell of a lot of extra effort for a few more points (on average) on a standardized test.

I like UAMS's organ system-based curriculum. It's nice to have everything about a particular system presented all at once, at it makes learning all the details quite a bit easier, in my opinion. As the name of the curriculum might suggest, a good bit of the information integration is done for you, so you don't have to remember stuff you learned in gross at the beginning of the year when doing, say, biochem or phys or whatever.
 

violet7

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I think PBL is better for developing skills that you'll need as a future physician, i.e. researching medical issues on your own, working as a team member with other physicians. However, in medical school the primary focus should be to do well on boards, at least during the first two years. For this purpose non-PBL curriculum is better in my opinion. You have to be VERY organized, motivated and disciplined in order to do well on PBL curriculum. Also, you have to like researching things on your own which sometimes can be quite challenging and difficult. So PBL will probably work better for mature and responsible students who don't require much guidance on a daily basis and enjoy working in small groups/alone.
 

badasshairday

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Go to the school with the smallest amount of small group garbage as possible. Small groups=Hell.
 

rachmoninov3

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Pick the school with the shortest pre-clinical amount of time:

Only 2.5 more weeks of school to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

MilkmanAl

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So PBL will probably work better for mature and responsible students who don't require much guidance on a daily basis and enjoy working in small groups/alone.
I fit that description but would be extremely frustrated if I was told "learn x for next time" every day I went to class. I can read Lippincott's just fine on my own without even being in med school. I'm here so people who're way more qualified and knowledgeable in the subject can teach the material to me.
 

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PBL = required
Lectures = time you can study at home in your PJs and maybe, if you really feel like it, you can watch the class online later

For the sake of your med school sanity, go to a school that is largely lecture-based and streams the classes. Trust me.
 

Mobius1985

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I like the PBL curriculum at my school and am glad not to have a lot of required lectures to attend. I think it is more enjoyable because we have good small-group facilitators and clear learning objectives outlined for us. I particularly like the social aspect of this system. At my school, if there is a lot of cohesion among class members, everyone tends to do well on the Step I. When there is less bonding among classmates, this has not always been true.
 

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Pick the school with the shortest pre-clinical amount of time:

Only 2.5 more weeks of school to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Definitely why I chose my school. We have 1.5 years preclinical and are semi integrated. I say semi integrated because we have been learning all the normal stuff, plus histo, anatomy, biochem, clinical exams about each system, but we don't get into path until late first year/second year.

In terms of exams, right now it's awesome. One exam vs. five in a week? I'll take one. Plus, all the material is interrelated, so in studying one thing you're reinforcing knowledge from other lectures as well. I think it makes sense to do it this way.
 
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AFDOCtobe

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I go to a school with traditional curriculum. We have 4 classes a semester with MS1 being healthy and MS2 being path/pharm. We have tests every 5 weeks. I LOVE IT! I am the type of person who has to see things multiple times before I remember it and I think I am more likely to learn things for Step if I see it over a whole semester, not just one month. Also having multiple classes at once allows you to change up your studying during the day. It takes a little more organization, but i like it. Also, I agree with the above LOTS OF LECTURES STREAMED will be the key to your happiness!
 

ChicoMaki

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I'm going to disagree. McMaster University (yes, I know in Canada, but still) has really brought attention to itself with PBL. I'm doing a lot of it in my undergrad experience and I love it. Mind it, its not all fun and games, especially when everyone isn't as interested or doesn't put in the same amount of effort as the rest of the group to learn a concept. I find that from all the courses I've taken so far, I remember the PBL stuff best and the crap I memorized/learned for an exam, well, ask me stuff about calculus and I'd have review it all over again. It`s good to bounce ideas back and forth between a group and with a properly motivated group of individuals, the meetings can be very rewarding.

There are publications out there that discuss and it is another way of learning and a very effective way at that.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16700772
http://ecmaj.com/cgi/reprint/178/1/61
http://www.canadianmedicaljournal.ca/cgi/content/abstract/178/1/34

It does take some time to adapt to this style of learning, but from a personal perspective, If I get into a school uses PBL and one that doesn`t, I`m going towards PBL.

Cheers from Canada
The weather is nice now, just around freezing with some snow
 
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MrBurns10

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I'm going to disagree. McMaster University (yes, I know in Canada, but still) has really brought attention to itself with PBL. I'm doing a lot of it in my undergrad experience and I love it. Mind it, its not all fun and games, especially when everyone isn't as interested or doesn't put in the same amount of effort as the rest of the group to learn a concept. I find that from all the courses I've taken so far, I remember the PBL stuff best and the crap I memorized/learned for an exam, well, ask me stuff about calculus and I'd have review it all over again. It`s good to bounce ideas back and forth between a group and with a properly motivated group of individuals, the meetings can be very rewarding.
I understand that you enjoy PBL now. I don't mean to sound like I'm belittling your opinion, but a lot changes in med school. The volume of material you have to know for tests is enormous. The vast majority of your waking hours will be spent studying, even on the weeks you don't have a test (something that I don't think can be said for most people's undergrad experiences). Though PBL may be good for learning, you'll soon realize that your time is a precious commodity, and the two hours you spent doing a PBL session to learn about one case when you could have learned about that case on your own in 10 minutes may become a huge waste of time in that regard.

I'm sure PBL works fine for some people, and I have no doubt it helps to learn. But when that little bit of extra emphasis on learning was at the expense of going over other material that I'm also going to have to know for the test (which cuts into my sleep/gym time/sex life/etc), I'll pass every time.
 

ChicoMaki

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O yea, I should have added, McMaster Med school doesn`t have any tests, which is why the learning is purely academic and that marks are no longer the be and and end all they are (even though they shouldn`t be but that is a different can of worms).
 

nevercold

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Though PBL may be good for learning, you'll soon realize that your time is a precious commodity, and the two hours you spent doing a PBL session to learn about one case when you could have learned about that case on your own in 10 minutes may become a huge waste of time in that regard.
This is an important point. There's too much information to learn for me to think that pure PBL could be efficient enough.

Also, your clinical years in medicine are PBL. Your CAREER in medicine is PBL. You have plenty of time to work through the material in a PBL setting. There is a lot of basic science stuff that is not used day to day clinically that doesn't fit into PBL very well at all.

Finally, people study for step 1 from a set of textbooks/prep books/etc not from PBL stuff. You learn so much in the basic science years that you will forget again by the time you study for step 1. The point of the basic science education is to familiarize yourself with the material so that you can put it all together better for step 1 and for clinical medicine. PBL and lectures both expose you to the material.
 

DrYoda

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I think the only way I could do the PBL thing is if the room contains a freezer which contains vodka.

Otherwise I vote for streaming lectures: close proximity to my own freezer=priceless.
 

majahops

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12 hrs/day of CASE BASED LEARNING (CBL)
1 clinical instructor per 5 students
Clinical instructor does not allow slow/un-motivated students to hinder the learning process for the group
 

Chemist0157

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I'm a dummy. What does "streaming lectures" mean? I've never heard the term. Is that the same as chronological/serial lectures?
 

JackInTheBox

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I'm a dummy. What does "streaming lectures" mean? I've never heard the term. Is that the same as chronological/serial lectures?
It means that you can download the audio and/or video of each lecture and watch it at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home.
 

Isoprop

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the downside of streaming lectures is that your fellow students will think you earned grades you didn't deserve (b/c you skipped class).

:thumbup:
 
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scarletgirl777

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the downside of streaming lectures is that your fellow students will think you earned grades you didn't deserve (b/c you skipped class).

:thumbup:
Who cares? Watching lectures is a more efficient use of your time. You see it when you feel like it at your pace (whether it be twice the speed or twice as slow), and in a class where you can't really ask questions, there's nothing to gain from an in-person visit.
 

Isoprop

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i vote traditional. that way, you don't have to carry all those books for reference the whole friggin year. :smuggrin:
 

Isoprop

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Who cares? Watching lectures is a more efficient use of your time. You see it when you feel like it at your pace (whether it be twice the speed or twice as slow), and in a class where you can't really ask questions, there's nothing to gain from an in-person visit.
yep i totally agree. some people are just lecture people though.
 

Chemist0157

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It means that you can download the audio and/or video of each lecture and watch it at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home.
Ah, I've visited some schools who offer that. Pretty sweet deal! I feel like the curriculum and the price are going to be my two biggest factors when deciding which school to attend. There's no way to really "know" which type fits you the best, except from anecdotal evidence.

Personally, I feel like I'm leaning towards organ-based learning, rather than doing all of one particular subject at a time. I don't like the idea of ALOT of PBL.
 

MilkmanAl

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One thing that's really nice about organ system (i.e. integrated) curricula is that you have all your tests jammed into one, so there aren't test days spread out all over the place like there are in undergrad. You study your ass off for a week, and then it's all over. I think someone mentioned that already, but it really is a nice perk.
 

Elle Woods

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this was definately a good read. i was under the false impression that most everyone preferred PBL because it was less boring than lectures, but this thread definately opened my eyes :eek:
 

Chemist0157

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One thing that's really nice about organ system (i.e. integrated) curricula is that you have all your tests jammed into one, so there aren't test days spread out all over the place like there are in undergrad. You study your ass off for a week, and then it's all over. I think someone mentioned that already, but it really is a nice perk.
So, when people talk about curricula, organ = integrated? Now, this curriculum is much more different than the other one I've seen which is like all anatomy first, then all biochemistry, all blah blah blah, etc. Are these the only 2 kinds of curriculum?
 

AtheGre

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the downside of streaming lectures is that your fellow students will think you earned grades you didn't deserve (b/c you skipped class).

:thumbup:

Honestly, what type of student would care if their classmates go to class or not ?

I would prefer PBL because I'm the type of person that likes to go over material repeatedly in a number of different ways, i.e. lecture, discussion, etc...


AtG
 

Chemdude

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I'm going to disagree. McMaster University (yes, I know in Canada, but still) has really brought attention to itself with PBL. I'm doing a lot of it in my undergrad experience and I love it. Mind it, its not all fun and games, especially when everyone isn't as interested or doesn't put in the same amount of effort as the rest of the group to learn a concept. I find that from all the courses I've taken so far, I remember the PBL stuff best and the crap I memorized/learned for an exam, well, ask me stuff about calculus and I'd have review it all over again. It`s good to bounce ideas back and forth between a group and with a properly motivated group of individuals, the meetings can be very rewarding.

There are publications out there that discuss and it is another way of learning and a very effective way at that.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16700772
http://ecmaj.com/cgi/reprint/178/1/61
http://www.canadianmedicaljournal.ca/cgi/content/abstract/178/1/34

It does take some time to adapt to this style of learning, but from a personal perspective, If I get into a school uses PBL and one that doesn`t, I`m going towards PBL.

Cheers from Canada
The weather is nice now, just around freezing with some snow
McMaster is my going to be my top choice. Personally, I would prefer PBL because I learn better by researching stuff on my own. I would definitly prefer Mac over a school like UofT where all they do is attend lecture 24/7. Another big plus is that McMaster has a three year program:thumbup:.
 

MilkmanAl

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So, when people talk about curricula, organ = integrated? Now, this curriculum is much more different than the other one I've seen which is like all anatomy first, then all biochemistry, all blah blah blah, etc. Are these the only 2 kinds of curriculum?
Organ=integrated, as far as I'm aware. My impression is that there are 3 basic types of curricula on which schools introduce variations as they like: traditional (each class mostly stands on its own), integrated, and PBL-based.
 
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