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what is med school really like?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by trouserz, Sep 12, 2001.

  1. trouserz

    trouserz Member
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    guys and gals what is school really like? do the professors actually teach? or do they do the minimum and test u on obscure facts from the books? also how much studing do u do / week?
     
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  3. Starflyr

    Starflyr Manic Faerie
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    I think that it depends on the place, but here at UTMB, the profs test I think 80% from lecture, 15 % from PBL, and 5% from the the book aside from lecture. We also have a block system, and integrated courses, so we dont have Biochem and cell and anatomy and....like some other schools, right now, we are in the gross anatomy, embryology and radiology block, plus we have practice of medicine (history, physical and ethics).

    My average day goes something like this:

    6:30 am: get up
    7:15: get to school and study
    8-9: anatomy lecture
    9-11: anatomy lab
    11-12: radiology or POM lecture
    12-1: lunch
    1-2: radiology lecture or PBL
    2-5 on Mondays: POM small group (with standardized patients, etc, actual skill practice)

    2-? other days (no later than 8 ish): study/PBL research/extra lab time
    10-10:30: go to bed

    I also have taken the last 2 weekends off. We have our midterm a week from Friday, so needless to say, I WILL be studying this weekend.

    Our school has mandated that no more than 22 hours/week be spent in professor-directed learning (lecture, lab, etc), we have to learn most of the information on our own. I dont know my class rank yet, and I may need to study more, but right now I am confident that I will do well, because I already learned most of this material in prematriculation over the summer. they're really good here at distinguishing between what you need to know "in real life" and what you need to know for the exam - and there is VERY little that they test that is not applicable IRL.

    Star
     
  4. Whisker Barrel Cortex

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    Just thought I'd give you a picture of the third year of medical school. Depending on which rotation you are on and at what school, you will start your day at any time between 4:30 (some surgery rotations) to 8:00 (family practice, outpt rotations) and usually stay to at least 4-5 oclock. Some rotations you will not finish until 7-8 pm everyday. Usually you get 4 weekend days off per week on ward rotations, but all weekends off on outpatient rotations. Some rotations (surgery, OB/GYN) have overnight call at all schools. Others, such as Medicine or Pediatrics have late call (10-11 pm) at some schools and overnight call at others. All of the time at the hospital is not spent working on many rotations and you may have free time during the day to study.

    As if clinical duties weren't enough, you have a test at the end of almost every rotation which is a portion of your grade ranging from 20-50%. You must study for these in your "free time."

    All of that being said, I found clinical rotations to be much more enjoyable than the first two years. It is possible to go out with your friends and have fun, albeit less often than before.

    Residency (3-7 years depending on residency) is generally about the same hours or worse than 3rd year.

    I'm telling you all of this because I have heard many people in my class say that no one told them what it would be like. So now you know. Good luck.
     
  5. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    This is a perennial favorite topic. I suggest doing a search of the Forums for related topics and you'll find a wealth of information Archived.

    Best of luck. :D
     
  6. trouserz

    trouserz Member
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    hey seems from the limited responses that med school is easy (judging from hours spent studying) even though it is probably hard. (4-6 hours studying on the weekends /day?) seems like you could work 20 hours and not miss a step how the hell do you guys memorize all that stuff?
     
  7. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    Hmmm...not sure if you read the previous posters messages very clearly. During the weekdays, students are "typically" (varies widely according to curriculum) in the classroom 35 hours per week. Many students then devote an additional 20-25 hours per week of studying during the weekdays and another 10 hours on the weekend.

    It would be possible to work 20 hours per week on the weekends, but when would you have time to socialize, go to the grocery store, work out, SLEEP, etc.? By working 10 hours a day on the weekends (for your 20 hours per week), and studying an additional 5, you leave precious little time. This is not to say that there aren't students who don't work during the first 2 years of medical school. There are and it is possible, albeit with some sacrifices or a more lenient academic requirement (ie, PBL type courses with little lecture time). It will be nearly impossible to work during your final 2 years given the clinical responsibilities.

    Medical school material is not difficult to master for the most part it is rather the sheer volume which is tough for most. Memorization comes more or less easily for different students. Much of the information "memorized" in medical school is NOT laid down in long term memory, but simply regurgitated for an exam, soon to be forgotten or at the very least become a hazy memory in the future. Much of the material will never be used as a clinician.

    The amount of material and its "obscurity" depends on the professor and curriculum, but generally material stressed is that which is important, clinical useful or both. There will be sadists who insist on students knowing esoterica, but by and large the material has relevance, at least for the topic at hand (ie, it may not have direct relevance for clinical practice).

    Keep in mind that the schedules described will vary depending on the exam schedule and topic. During exam periods it would not be uncommon to study for 12 hours per day on the weekends.

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. Starflyr

    Starflyr Manic Faerie
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    Easy? no. not particularly. Like Kimberly said, its not HARD, but its a lot of material. I am setting myself limits and I am attending to my personal life. On the weekends, I either drive 5 hours to be with my fiance or he drives down here. On weekdays, I have exactly two hours a day when I have time to do "personal" things - this includes showering, cleaning, keeping in touch with friends and family, keeping up on world events, getting groceries, paying bills, doing laundry, working out... when you think about it, it isnt much time at all. I DO try to sleep 8 hours a night, I want to stay healthy. I study on average six hours a day, five days a week, that's thirty hours a week spent studying. I guess if you break it down, and average WEEK looks like this:

    48 hours devoted to fiance and planning the wedding
    56 hours sleeping (approx, usually less)
    22 hours spent in lab, lecture and PBL
    30 hours spent studying
    12 hours doing "personal stuff" - including getting dressed, eating breakfast etc.

    if thats "easy" time-wise, I'd really like to know what you consider "hard". I plan on studying every other weekend, we just have to get the schedule established. Then I would probably spend an additional 12 - 24 hours studying.

    Star
     
  9. Fanconi

    Fanconi Senior Member
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    Med school is not easy, trouserz.... I am completely exhausted. I am an M3, currently on my surgery rotation. Was in the hospital over 90 hours already this week, and I still have to go in over the weekend. Pretty hard to have a normal life with hours like that.
     
  10. kris

    kris Senior Member
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    The fact that it's Friday, I just got home from the library, and that I will be studying for about 2 more hours tells you what kind of life I have right now! ;)

    My schedule is similar to Starflyr's, but I don't get up that early. I get up at 7 to start classes at 8.

    I do make sure I go to the gym for an hour 3 days a week, and I always break for lunch. I also try to take at least half of Saturday off. However, the rest of my waking hours are usually spent studying.

    It is the volume that makes it so tough, so if you're good at plugging stuff into your memory, you're golden. I need to work at it a little harder than some others, so I probably study a little more.

    To maintain some sense of normalcy (or control), I make sure I do the dishes every night, no matter what the hour. :rolleyes:

    --kris
     
  11. Whisker Barrel Cortex

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    I disagree with many of the people who describe their schedule in the first two years of med school. I didn't spend anywhere near as much time as they describe studying.

    At our school, we have lecture notes written by members of our class for every lecture. Thus, I attended about 1/2 of the lectures. We were on a month long block system, meaning all our exams were in the same week. I would usually do VERY little studying for two weeks, sometimes none. Then, I would go through the notes several times and read any books that might clarify any unclear points from lecture. The only times when I had days similar to what is described above were in the last week before the exam. I did not study on weekends except the one before the exam. Of my friends, I know at least 4-5 other people that were on similar schedules.

    So you may ask what kind of grades I got using this method. My grades were slightly above average for our class and my boards were in the top quarter. From what I can tell, this is enough to guarantee residencies in everything but the most competitive specialties like ENT, Derm, and Ortho.

    I think the schedules above are correct if you plan on being in the top 5 in your class. With the rigors of residency and the hard work you will put in for the rest of your life, I think being able to enjoy your first 2 years of medical school is much more worth it. Just my opinion.

    And finally, a little tip to those of you who achieve average grades in the first two years and spend more time socializing. You will do better in the clinical years than those who bury their noses in books and don't develop interpersonal skills. After all, medicine deals with real people, including your patients, residents, and attendings. All of the minute details you may learn in lecture will not help you in the least bit if they don't like your personality.
     
  12. KeithKow

    KeithKow Member
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    I agree with the last post...those schedules are absolutely ridiculous. although i am only a first year, i have nothing like that schedule, and neither do most my friends. i too get a note-taking service, so lecture is really nothing. you just sit and listen. i've been here for a month now, i've started studying pretty hard only this week, and i feel relatively "caught up" with everything (although granted its going to take alot more work to completely catch up). its not that bad, i'm having fun, and i love what i'm doing. my schedule? i get up around 8:30 every day for 9am class, and then go until 5 Mon, Wed, Fri and 3:30 Tues and Wed. its stressful, but not that bad at all. you really just need to make time for yourself, i think thats most important.
    keith
     
  13. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    Pet peeve warning: While I appreciate everyone's input on the subject, remember that not all of us have the same schedule. Those of you who are in a PBL curriculum or who have GOOD lectures notes and aren't required to be in lecture 7-8 hours per day should consider yourselves lucky from a scheduling vantage point. However, lets not mislead the original poster into believing that everyone has only 20 hours per week of lecture, that all schools have great note taking services or that you can miss the majority of lectures, at all programs, and get good grades. I encourage everyone to submit responses but lets please not assume that our experiences will mirror those of everyone else.

    The real answer to his questions are that:

    a) medical school is not "Easy"
    b) but medical school is not the hardest thing in the world (despite the protestations of many pre med and med students). People have and continue to do harder things.
    c) the hours you are required to be in class varies widely
    d) the hours you choose to spend in class varies widely
    e) the hours you choose to study will vary widely
    f) the grades and USMLE scores vary widely and are more dependent on the individual than any particular school or curriculum
    g) grades and USMLE scores are not the final determinants of residency placement.
     
  14. MDgonnabe

    MDgonnabe your royal travesty
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    Well, if it's short term memorization I'm golden. BUT, and this question begs to be asked, WHY, oh WHY do you have to memorize such volumes of useless info??? I've been doing it for the past three years as an undergrad and it seems as though the stuff in years 1 and 2 of med school is even more useless. Wouldn't it be much more efficient (and humane) to just teach the USEFUL (ie it WILL be used by most physicians) scientific essentials in the first year, and give three years of clinical experience so as to avoid the 90+ hours/week routine during rotations? Just my gripe of the day... :rolleyes:
     
  15. Starflyr

    Starflyr Manic Faerie
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    Just to clarify for those of you who protest that my schedule is "insane" - It may change and it may not. I do have reasons for what I do.

    1) I prefer to be overprepared for the first test and cut back on studying than to be underprepared and get a bad grade. I think the people in my class that didnt study for the 1st two weeks are insane - maybe they can remember every structure from the thorax, back, upper limb and abdomen by studying for 2 weeks, but I cant.

    2) I am trying not to have to study on the weekends - planning a wedding takes a HECK of a lot of time - especially when the location is 5 hours away - and 30 hours/week studying spread out wouldnt be quite so grueling.

    3) Our scribe service so far is not the best. I have found multiple errors in our scribes, therefore, I dont use them as a lecture substitute.

    4) Im primarily an auditory learner, secondary visual - I need to go to lecture or I wont remember half of the material. I also have to spend a lot of time in lab b/c I am NOT a kinesthetic learner.

    5) I have never been able to memorize by rote - that means that I have to study a LOT to remember everything. I cant just sit down and repeat to myself "the flexors of the forearm are pronator teres, flexor carpi radialis, blah blah" and remember it.

    6) our curriculum is heavy on PBL, that means that a lot of learning is done ON OUR OWN, not fed to us in lecture. Research takes time, and figuring out what's important takes even longer.

    7) Our curriculum is also heavy on clinical skills - we have a class on that for 2 years, and we have to pass all of the tests (OSCEs) or we dont advance - so we have to spend time honing interview skills and learning what different findings on the physical mean - heart and lung sounds, etc etc. Thats studying too.

    Like Kimberly said, not everybody has the same curriculum, learning style, etc. Dont point fingers at those of us who play it safe at the beginning and tell us that we'll suck as clinicians or that you are so much smarter because you study less. How the heck do you know?

    Star
     
  16. mvalento

    mvalento Senior Member
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    my schedule seems to be more like DoctorB19's- i certainly am not studying as much as some of the previous posters. my school is lecture-based and we do have a transcript service, which means i go to my first class (biochem, genetics, molecular bio) about half the time. so some days i find myself sleeping in until 9:30, which is nice, let me tell you. anatomy, well, yeah it is a ton of information, but i find that if i put in 1-2 hours a night, the same on weekends, i am ok. living in NYC, it is easy to maintain a social life and it tends to dominate the weekends. my school is also pass/fail, which i really like. not surprisingly, some of my classmates STILL want to get the top scores but hey, maybe they want to be surgeons or something else competitive- some of them have told me that they want to have a certain reputation among the professors. hey, fine with me- i couldn't care less what my anatomy prof thinks of my performance. i personally can't wait until next semester when we take more interesting classes- microbiology, parasitology, etc. the anatomy of the upper limb bores me to death!!

    i seem to have strayed off topic. sorry. bottom line: med school shouldn't be the time to give up your social life. wait until residency for that!

    bud
     
  17. guardian

    guardian Senior Member
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    I'm a first year but I pretty much know what med school is going to be like for me the next two years. Your med school experience will depend on the type of person you are. Have you taken courses in your undergrad that are comparable (and no psych does not count ;))? Are you the type of person who likes to be overprepared? Or do you wing tests with study time minimal compared to others?

    The way you've studied for your pre-med requirements and MCATs will carry with you to med school. And at that there's a greater chance that things will get worse than vice versa :D.
     
  18. JoeDoc

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    Med school requires long hours, no doubt about it. Between class time and studying I averaged 80-90 hours per week for the first two years. After that the hours really depend on the rotation you're doing and where you're doing it, but on average a day lasts about 9-14 hours. It's normal to miss having more free time for hanging out with friends, etc., but on the other hand you get to do some really cool stuff that other people can only watch on TV. That's why I'm amazed when I hear some students complain about the work load. They take all that time and effort to get in to med school in the first place, then they complain about living out their dreams. Go figure.

    Another point that should be addressed is the toll that school takes on relationships. I've come to believe that whatever weak points exist in a relationship med school will magnify 100X. The life of a med student is largely a self-involved one, and those closest to you may not always understand the effects of academic stress. I've seen some students who manage school and relationships quite well, and I've seen others keep it together for a year or so before they end up screwing someone else, almost always more from acting out behavior than love. So ultimately you'll either become a really good partner for someone or a self absorbed prima donna (yes, I know I'm generalizing). My personal opinion is that med school just makes you more of what you already are.

    ...not that I'm bitter or anything.
     
  19. Whisker Barrel Cortex

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    I apologize for those who took offense at the last paragraph of my post. I was not refering to anyone on this board, rather to some of the people in my class who do well in pre-clinical classes but have no social skills at all. It was meant to give the people that did recieve average grades in the first two years hope that they will most likely do well in clinical rotations, which many sources indicate is more important for most residencies.

    Starflyr and Kimberly Cox, I realize that different schools have different schedules and note taking services. I also realize that people have differing aptitudes for memorizing facts (many of which will be useless). That I why I said, "At our school" and "me." If I don't relate my experience, a premed out there my get the impression that all med students have the impossible lifestyle described in the previous posts.
     
  20. Starflyr

    Starflyr Manic Faerie
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    DoctorB19,

    I apologize for the tone of my last post. I was pissed and on edge and Im sorry. Mostly I think its because I still have friends who are missing in NYC. The rest of it is that for the last 3 weeks, people have noticed my friends and I studying quite a bit. And Ive gotten a LOT of comments about 1) how Im never going to make a good clinician because I dont go out and party weds - saturday night (mostly from 2 specific people that I have to interact with daily) and 2) comments that imply or directly that I must be stupid and will never survive med school if I have to study this much now. Mostly I think these come from the fact that I dont fit in with the majority of the class - Im an introvert by nature AND Im in a committed relationship. I know it doesnt really matter, and I do have a fairly sizeable group of good friends, but sometimes it does get to me. Once again, Im sorry I blew up.

    Star
     
  21. Don't think only med students know what academic stress is!!!!

    "At the beginning of a physical science phd program, one takes hard classes, teaches, conducts research, and prepares for comprehensive exams. If these exams are passed they write a juried dissertation. While writing this they continue to teach and do research. Not only are these programs hard work. But, they are conceptually very difficult."

    Ms-2/electrochemist doctorate
     
  22. NewAgeDO

    NewAgeDO RockstarDOc
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    I know this is an allopathic forum, but I'd like to share the schedule of an osteopathic school (WesternU/COMP)for those who do not know anything about osteopathic medicine. For those who may see osteopaths as second rate, think twice before judging. A typical day at WesternU starts at 8am and ends at 5pm. Occassionally during the week, we may get off around 4pm. So from this schedule alone, we are at a disadvantage when it comes down to personal study time. This first semester we are taking about 35.5 units, which is equivalent to 35hrs in class. Of those units, 12.5 of them come from gross anatomy (yes we have gross anatomy practically everyday). On top of the basic sciences, we have those extra units of osteopathic principles and practices. This means we have to somehow manage to put the time into practicing the hands-on techniques along with our regular workload. As far as exams are concerned, we have at least one or two major exams every Monday. Just do the math and you can figure out that an exam is necessary every week for a 35 unit semester. Therefore, we do not have weekends like some other med students with pbl or lighter-based schedules. So as you can see, osteo school may or may not be easier to get into, but in my opinion based on all these other schedules (which I am jealous of), osteo school is a more difficult/time-intensive program. Am I saying I don't like osteo school? Definitely not, it's actually a choice of mine to attend an osteo school even though I may have had the opportunity to attend an allo school. Am I saying allo school is of lesser quality than osteo school? Of course not. The point I want to get across (for all those ignorant pre-meds out there) is that osteo school is just as difficult or more difficult and equal in all ways to allopathic schools. :cool: :D
     
  23. efs

    efs SDN Advisor
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    All points well taken. Lets add one more to the mix. As a podiatry student I found my schedule just as difficult. I believe most post-graduate programs will be fairly difficult.

    Our first year schedule parallels that of the osteopathic students at our school. The major diferences are that they have Intro to Osteopathic Medicine and we have Intro to Podiatric Medicine. They have OMM and we have Biomechanics. Otherwise very similar, to the point of sitting in the same classes and taking the same tests. Lab partners in Gross Anatomy. Etc.
    Second year schedules deviate a bit. We have different emphasises. Similar workloads. I have heard some of the DO students say they think they have it a bit easier. Probably a matter of perspective.
    Third and fourth years are essentially clinical for both, so it will vary depending on what your rotations are. None of the programs are "easy". A lot of it also depends on what you put into it. At this level we are expected to be "self-directed learners" so much of what you get out of it is what you put into it. Personally I find myself putting in much more time in my third year than I did in the second year. Not studying required stuff, but on things I feel like I ought to know.

    You'll get out of it what you put into it.
     
  24. daveshnave

    daveshnave Senior Member
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    First of all, RobbC, no one said osteopathic schools are of lesser quality. I admire and respect DO students, and don't think they make for any less of a doctor. Nuff said.

    Is it me, or are all of you other med students crazy? I'm hearing lots of people mention insane hours spent studying. Don't get me wrong, I put my time in (it's impossible not to), but I spend no where near the time some of the others have mentioned. Heck, I have semi-frequent days where I don't even touch a book/notes. It's important for some people to know that not all med students study 24-7, AND it's still possible to do well. Being a med student (and even though I say this as a first year, I feel I have the experience of a second year because of the post-bacc program I did) is about studying efficiently... ie learning to realize the "big picture" and discerning what's important- both for exams and real life. Sure, it's nice to learn every little detail for some classes, but at some point you have to pick and choose what's worth memorizing and what's not. Also, it's VERY important to decide what methods work best for you in terms of retention of material. What worked well for someone in undergrad might not be the best approach in med school, mainly because of the sheer volume of coursework encountered. If you're spending ungodly amounts of time studying and not doing well, maybe it's time to adjust HOW you study. I have heard so many people talk about how medical school was a miserable experience for them, and it shouldn't be. I've had a great time so far, and have managed to do well. Life/time commitments only get worse in residency. Enjoy your last few years of being a student while you can. Be intense in your studies (not necessarily time-wise) as well as in your personal life. Good luck to all....
     
  25. daveshnave

    daveshnave Senior Member
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    Okay, so I got back from bars after having a few drinks, and needless to say I re-read the questions of the actual poster, and realized I could have been a little more specific. Here at MCP Hahnemann our professors really seem to care about teaching, unlike my undergrad experience at UCSD. Additionally, most of them will really go out of their way to help students with questions/problems. Yes, we are tested on obscure facts, but the majority of our test questions focus on the "big picture." As for a specific amount of time I study per week- well that's hard to answer. I don't have a scheduled routine... it just depends on our exam/quiz schedule, although we usually have one or the other practically every week. I guess I would say it averages out to be 2-3 hours per day, but it's not like I do this everyday. Some days I take completely off, whereas others (especially before quizzes/exams) I spend 6-8+ hours studying. It all really depends on what the exam schedule is like. Hope this helps...
     
  26. MDgonnabe

    MDgonnabe your royal travesty
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    Dave, are you in the IFM or PIL program? PIL seems like it's more fun, but more work too. I appreciate the insight!
     
  27. trouserz

    trouserz Member
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    hey guys so far thanks for the input im wondering if most of your study time is spent reading or taking notes from the book or is there any time to take notes? Also how many pages per week need to be read? again thanks for the input
     
  28. Starflyr

    Starflyr Manic Faerie
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    Hey Trouserz

    most of my study time is spent in 2 ways. One is reading and taking notes from the book (I really quickly, so it isnt a big time issue - but a lot of people dont read the book, they use review books) the other is engaging in group study with my friends. Sometimes we make up our own questions to quiz each other with, sometimes we teach, and sometimes we use a series called "What you need to know for (insert course name here)" that was written by a current 3rd year at UTMB for UTMB students.

    Reading requirements are hard for me to pin down, though I do usually have around 200 pages per week *assigned* in GAR and perhaps another 50/week in POM. The part that is variable is the PBL - the reading that I have to do for it depends on the case, what sources I find and how long/good they are. Last week we had a case that didnt require much effort - a sort of general knowledge of the innervation of the region sufficed. This week, however, our case is MUCH more in depth and I have about 80 pages of stuff I need to read for tomorrow (I just got to the library this afternoon).

    In the assigned reading, I try to stay a day ahead, which provides a "cushion" for getting behind. Today, however, I did my level best to get through this whole weeks worth of reading so that I could spend the rest of the week reviewing. I almost made it, too - just have to do some embryology.

    Star
     
  29. guardian

    guardian Senior Member
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    UGH! I have my first test tomorow morning. I feel I'm about two thirds prepared than I should be. I can't speak for everyone but I think at most schools, notes are given to you (thank god i'm not in a PIL type course). I read the book when something is unclear or lacking in the notes. Some profs have bad notes so that means more reading. Honestly there's more material in three weeks of med school than a semester's worth of most of my undergraduate classes :eek:.
     
  30. SimulD

    SimulD Senior Member
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    Here's my deal as a T1 at Tulane Med...

    6.30am - get up
    8am - 9am - Anatomy lecture or Histo lecture
    9-12 - Anatomy lab or histo lab
    1-2 - Histo lecture (or Foundations of medicine till 3)
    2-3 - Embryo lecture

    Then work out, eat, study from 7-11

    Not too bad, doing okay, put in a lot of hours on the weekends. I did well on the first mini-test. Obscure facts are only 5-7 percent of the exams (to get you up to Honors)... To High Pass, just know regular facts and clinical considerations.

    Our school just isn't super hard. I don't have much to complain about. And I'm not even crazy smart or anything. There's a few brainers that don't seem to study and go out a lot and still do well, but they are a minority.

    I have exams this week, and I had to put in 8 hour days on the weekends. I think I could have been more efficient on my weekends, but that's okay, not a big deal.

    I think single people without too many obligations should be able to high pass easily (relatively speaking). If you are married and honoring, you may want to reconsider your priorities, IMHO, because your spouse can't be pleased at the time your spending away studying. If he/she isn't pissed, than y'all gotta show me how you do so well, because I'm single and lame and not at honors yet.

    At any rate, it is different at every school and for every person. It's manageable to pass without killing yourself, but I want to try to high pass (puts you in the top 40-50% of your class), so I don't go out on week nights. I go out every Friday, and manage to get wasted, but I force myself out of bed at 9 and go to the coffee shop and stare at Netters, or go to the gross lab and stare at structures on the cadaver.

    Well, off to bed for me... and wish me luck on my block exams!

    Simul Parikh
    Tulane Med '05
     
  31. Doctor Wyldstyle

    Doctor Wyldstyle Senior Member
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    My take on my school's curriculum is that it's pretty fair. However, the decreased class time doesn't necessarily mean free time. If you want to pass, or high pass for that sake, you need to USE that time EFFICIENTLY. That means spending that time in the lab when your not in class. I still have 8am-10pm days from lectures and studying, and that's not including the weekends. Some people can slack off if they have some previous knowledge in the course like one guy in our class who has a masters in anatomy. Anatomy is cake to him overall. Others may seem to grasp the knowledge fairly fast too. For most people, the amount of work you put into it correlates to your performance level. I'd like to do well so that's why I put in my time. I may be able to salvage an hour to spare if I do so.

    To sum it up, work hard..and play hard. If you don't do both, you might burn out.

    wyldstyle2000
    Saint Louis U. Med
    Class of 2005
     
  32. daveshnave

    daveshnave Senior Member
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    MDwannabe-
    I'm in IFM (the lecture-based curriculum) as opposed to PIL, which is PBL. PIL students must go to class, and they learn both independetly and as groups. I like the flexibility of being able to skip lectures if I don't feel it's worth my time... plus I can always watch them on videotape later (a nice plus for the school). IFM gives you a set of module notes for each module, and most (if not all) the info from lectures is in these notes. Plus you can get scribe notes (verbatim copies of the lectures) too. I learn much better on my own as opposed to always going to class/studying in groups, so IFM is better for me. BUT, if you enjoy working in groups, and that's the best approach for you, PIL is a great choice. Most of the people I know in PIL really like it, but I have heard some voice concerns that their group members will stray too far from what they should be studying for that block. I don't know if you're familiar with PBL, but the way it works in PIL is that they are given symptoms, etc, that a fictitious patient presents with, and then they have to go off on their own and research the basic science behind what they think is wrong. My friend is concerned that sometimes her group will go in the wrong direction, and they'll end up learning stuff not pertinent to that block, until their advisor/mentor reins them back in and puts them on the right track. All being said, most IFMers love IFM and defend it to the death, and most PILers defend PIL to the death. It really just depends on what works best for YOU.
     
  33. NewAgeDO

    NewAgeDO RockstarDOc
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    Dave,

    One question. Since you're in the lecture-based curriculum, how long are daily lectures. I'd like to know so I can possibly voice my concerns at WesternU on their very long schedule. The only way I can end the day by midnight is if I skip a few lectures here and there to do my own studying time. So anything to decrease some class time for next years class would be helpful for them. Thanks again.
     
  34. daveshnave

    daveshnave Senior Member
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    RobbC-
    It's hard to give an exact number, since it really varies from day to day, but on average I'd say we have class from 8AM to 2 or 3PM, but somtimes classes go as late as 4PM. Some days we end earlier.

    I assume by WesternU you are referring to the osteopathic school in Pomona? I just want you to know as a future allopath, I have a lot of respect for you guys. I have a friend in osteopathic school, and he loves it. In fact, I wish allopathic schools would teach OMT. Unfortunately, it will never happen, at least anytime soon. I make it a point to go out of my way sometimes to defend osteopaths to pompous allopaths who have superiority complexes... it can actually be kind of fun sometimes...
    ;)
     
  35. srlondon

    srlondon Member
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    In terms of schedule, your hours committed to class will vary widely depending on your school and your own preferences. For example, I attended less than 25% of non-mandatory lectures after I came to my senses and quit torturing myself through 9 hrs of classes each day in Nov. of 1st yr. I went to all the labs I could, because I felt that it was time well spent for me. OTOH, a friend of mine went to an Osteopathic school in Erie, PA which has mandatory attendence... they would literally do random roll call. I wouldn't have lasted...

    But at any rate, before you go thinking, "Oooh.. I can go to the beach during the day and study at night!" you've got to consider that a) learning in med school is not a zero-sum game and b) it all depends on style. There is a certain amount of time you've got to devote to the info if you're going to absorb it. Whether that process occurs at home in your bathrobe and snoopy slippers in front of a book at your desk or in a lecture hall, you've got to put the time in. Skipping classes is, of course, predicated on the availability of both a good AND RELIABLE note service at your school. A scribe service is of no use to you if you only get 95% of lectures. If you don't get all of them, forget it! And, most importantly of all, don't think of skipping class if you are an audiovisual learner. You will stare at the book day and night and not absorb anything! In my own experience, I could cover the amount of information in a given lecture in 1/2 the time it would take for the lecturer to actually deliver it, and retain more when I was exposed to it in the written format.

    Like a cat, medical school is similar in that it can be "skinned" in more than one way. You might find that you can get by with a schedule quite different than what any of us have mentioned. But the basic fact is that you have got to keep up with the pace of the information, because you're not going to be able to cram 30 lectures' worth of information in the weekend before the exam. My dean of student affairs suggested during orientation that med school is similar to taking a drink out of a firehose--if you aren't careful you'll get your head knocked off. So small sips are the only way to go.
     
  36. Mig2x

    Mig2x Member
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    Med school schedules varies from school to school. Some school are more lecture oriented and students have to be in school from 8 to 5 taking notes, like in my case, and some school are more self study oriented and only give lectures from 8-12. Im an MS2 and my first year schedule if i remember well was
    8-9:30 Biochemistry
    10-12:30 Histology and Labs on thursday
    12:30-1:30 lunch
    1:30 to 5:00 anatomy lab on most occasions and lectures some days
    and on fridays i had class from 8-12
    having embryology from 8-11 and from 11-12 medical ethics class
     
  37. mhaddi

    mhaddi Junior Member
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    I am a repeat 1st year. I can attest medical
    school is difficult if you don't absolutely
    want it more than anything else in the world.
    You have to be very efficient and focused when you study. All of our tests are on one day, and either you know it or you don't. And to me, that is a lot more difficult than deriving an equation. That's just me though!
    I can't cram, and don't have a photographic
    memory, so I put in a lot more study time than others. More so than time is technique though. Also clear out the garbage in your life that affects your concentration. It will take you down in medical school like it never has before. And med school flies by so fast, that bad concentration easily spirals downward into a semester's worth of poor grades. Before you blink the semester is over. So stay ahead of the game, like an olympic athlete always with your eye on the ball. And have confidence in yourself!! Fake it till you make it. This is powerful when in overwhelming situations. Take care.
    Keep perspective. Remember this too shall pass. :cool:
     
  38. Toran

    Toran Senior Member
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    I attend KCOM, and we supposedly have the most in class hours of any medical school in the country. Generally, we are in class from 8-5, but sometimes we get out a little earlier.
    I attempt to learn the material, rather than cram and purge. This attempt has me on the track to getting about 5 hours of sleep during the week, and 7 on the weekends. Others in my class get much more sleep than me, and are doing great with the purge technique. I wonder how well they are doing with Anatomy and OMM though... Basically, to answer the original question: to succeed in your classes consistently you will forget about life outside of medical school. I live in a very small town in the middle of no where, and I don't really get the chance to or opportunity to get distracted.
    One post about four years ago answered my very similar question this way: just take twenty semester units, and you will start to appreciate medical school. So, I did that. I took 21 units, and I did the best that I had ever done in undergrad. 21 units is not even close. For me, in my current state of studying I would compare a day in the life of our medical school to a day in the middle of finals in undergrad. When I had o-chem, o-chem lab, senior thesis, and I was studying for the MCAT.
    My biggest fear right now is what finals will be like in this school. Another thing that I should pass on is that most of the students here thought that they were going to come to school and make a name for themselves, because we were ALL top students in undergrad. I can honestly say that there isn't a single day that goes by that I don't wonder if I will flunk out.
    That is medical school.

    T
     
  39. Starflyr

    Starflyr Manic Faerie
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    Well, we got our midterm anatomy and radiology grades back, and it seems as though all of the people who *thought* they had time for an extensive social life have been proven wrong (with a few exceptions, who we all "hate" LOL). Nine people ended up with an average of less than 70 (thats failing), and a bunch of people did a lot better in lab which doesnt count NEARLY as much as lecture. So now most people who decided that studying during the week wasnt cool have started. TO reiterate what's been said above, you CANT blow off med school. It doesnt work. The moral from the Hare and the Tortoise is a good thing to keep in mind..."Slow and steady wins the race"

    Star
     
  40. WE WERE NOT ALL TOP STUDENTS IN UNDERGRAD. I can think of people in my classes whom were not. You cannot generalize by saying that med school is equivalent to 21 units in undergrad. It depends on your undergrad program. 21 units of undergrad engineering or physics and math courses is MUCH harder than 21 units of med school courses. A pre-med curriculum is much easier than undergrad engineering or physics programs. For example, the pre-med physics is not calculus based like the pre-engineering physics courses.

    If one studys smart and not by quantity one will do well.
     
  41. Toran

    Toran Senior Member
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    Please don't infer too much into my response. I didn't say that medical school is like 21 units of undergrad; I was merely referring to a previous post, and how it affected me. My undergraduate experience was different from everyone else's, each experience is different. We were all top students in undergrad, and each for different reasons. Moreover, we all had the underlying desire to learn and the ability to be resilient under high stress loads. That is what makes us unique, and at the top of our class. This quality has nothing to do with grades.
    Look at my resonse for the whole, for it is unnecessary to pick apart the bits to get the complete message.
    T
     
  42. A great deal of people in other fields have an underlying ability and desire to learn under stress. MED STUDENTS ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES. I was a grad student in geophysics. To accomplish that goal one had nothing but stress.

    After all, at the beginning of this program, one had to take hard courses, teach, conduct research, and prepare for qualifying exams. Once these exams are finished, you write a dissertation while continuing your duties as a teacher and a researcher.

    You don't have only yourself to worry about. You have your students and your research too.
     
  43. Toran

    Toran Senior Member
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    Alright, whatever... I don't even understand what your point is, or what you are trying to prove.

    If you read the original post, and what the rest of us are talking about you may see that there is a question about our subjective thoughts on the realities of medical school.
    Check it out! That way, you won't get blinded by what the box above you is saying.
     
  44. I have already read the original post. However, I only care to respond to your post: we must overcome our big egos. Other fields are just as difficult and stressful and require alot of ability to learn. Not just med school.
     
  45. efs

    efs SDN Advisor
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    Yeah, yeah, yeah.
    Whatever program one happens to be in is the "hardest" one.

    Face reality.

    None are easy. Each has it's own difficulties.

    I think the original question here had to do with what the medical school curriculum had to offer.

    For my nickle's worth (inflation); if you want to have some idea how the medical school's curriculum compares:

    Consider that the question was posted by undergrads.
    Consider that most schools have about 45 semester hours per year.
    These are graduate level courses.
    So, think about having 20+ hours per semester of upper level undergrad courses.
    That might come pretty close. Of course there are other things to condsider. The majority of Medical school students tend to be type A. So the "competition" tends to be a bigger factor. (Can't let anyone else be better; now, can we?)

    ALL graduate school programs are difficult. Depedning on individual facilities, some may prove easier or harder for certain people. SOmeone who does well with geophysics, or nuclear engineering may not have the "people skills" to do well in a medical program. A person with poor mathmatical skills may have excellent "people skills" and do quite well with medicine.

    Find your inner "happy place". Don't worry about which is "harder".
     
  46. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I think a person who does well in the biological sciences and has difficulty with esoteric math, may find medicine to their liking.

    For me I never did well in English lit, phiolosophy, so I would suck at it. But, the sciences are my strengths.
     
  47. Toran

    Toran Senior Member
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    Agreed, I didn't mean to say that any one major or career is more difficult than another, only to relate the relative difficulty of medical school to undergrad. I don't think that I ever said that medical school is more difficult than another graduate degree.
    Each has their own aptitudes, and hopefully you choose a job that utilizes those skills. Otherwise, life will be more difficult.
    Do what you enjoy.
    Toran
     
  48. I understand your point now. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
     
  49. nochaser

    nochaser Senior Member
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    Is it possible to hate biology as an undergrad and do well in med school?
     
  50. Freeeedom!

    Freeeedom! Senior Member
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    You people are too friggin touchy! Get over yourselves.
     
  51. Toran

    Toran Senior Member
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    Agreed.

    Maybe the way the biology is being taught is the culprit of your problem? Biology is pretty fundamental to medical school, so beware.

    T
     

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