What is your approach to grades in Dental School?

Discussion in 'Dental' started by Buccal_Up, Apr 18, 2017.

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  1. Hello SDN,

    I have a dilemma. I offer a pre-amble to the context of my question that I understand that many struggle to just pass school and I am both aware and empathetic to those people. I do not have that problem. I have been minimally studying, often cramming by reading lectures once or twice over a few hours before exams and don't attended non-mandatory classes. I have been getting mostly straight B's and my clinical classes are going very well.

    My philosophy has been to do the minimal work to pass in the didactic class (especially the more irrelevant areas like lower body anatomy etc.). Clinical classes is a whole other ball game because I take my clinical work very seriously and strive for the best possible. That being said, I am constantly frustrated by gunners that judge people that do not wish spend the extra effort to get A's. I hold minor contempt to those with a particular nasty attitude and those who "backstab" or "use" etc.

    That being said, I became part of a friend group that includes those who gun for A's, but in no way shape or form want to specialize. This has confused me greatly. I do not want to specialize due to the changing dental field and personally believe there are more opportunities in GD. Furthermore, I have extended family in both specialty and GD that have offered positions right after dental school, so I do not have to do a GPR due to their mentor-ship.

    SDN, what is your opinion on my approach to grades. I am conflicted because family tells me due to the minimum, get in and out, and maintain a healthy work-life balance while you are young (I am 22 D2). My friends tell me they are disappointed because they strive for A's (some study 5 hours a day min. just to pass and try to get B's) and frustrated that if I studied harder I could get straight A's as well. I feel very conflicted and approaching students in my class won't end well because I don't want to humble-brag. I just can memorize things quickly :/. I really appreciate it thanks!
     
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  3. Advance

    Advance The Unholy 2+ Year Member

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    If you aren't specializing, C's get degrees. :thumbup:
     
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  4. Medin2017

    Medin2017

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    what % of students you think aren't intent on specializing? At your shcool or others
     
  5. Medin2017

    Medin2017

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    I have a feeling your friends who gun for A's are intent on specializing but don't want others to know that. I could be wrong, but saying you want to specialize is a pretty tool thing to do (like a premed who says they wanna be a dermatologist), so people try to avoid that. Specialists have told me to keep it on the down low if i decide I want to specialize.

    I think you shouldn't care about other's opinion's on YOUR approach to grades. Schools pretty cool because you can just do your own thing. It's "competition", but no one can sabotage you or force you to study harder. I have no clue why your friends are "frustrated" at you for doing your own thing and having a healthy work-life balance. I would have little patience for someone who tells me to study more or less or whatever. Also seems weird that they know your grades unless you are telling them.
     
  6. Advance

    Advance The Unholy 2+ Year Member

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    I can't really give an accurate percentage. At my school there are quite a few that are aiming to become a GP (These people are definitely the majority). Some people that want to specialize keep it a secret from their classmates and downplay how well they're doing in school. There are also those that are very open with sharing their postgraduate plans.
     
  7. FeralisExtremum

    FeralisExtremum 7+ Year Member

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    Put in as much effort as you want. Don't let other people guilt you into studying any more or less than you're comfortable with. There's no obligation for you to shoot for A's, especially if you're enjoying your current school/life balance.
     
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  8. redhotchiligochu

    redhotchiligochu Dental Student

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    Get the highest grade you can without killing yourself.

    More important than grades, think about how you're gonna apply what you learned in the real world. Not only that, I'd argue that preparing for financial stability, future family, etc. is way more important than being a "gunner" and losing sleep over a B
     
  9. BellaNella

    BellaNella 5+ Year Member

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    At my school it tends to be 70-80% ish are not intent on specializing.
    That being said, we have a lot of people that try their best and push themselves to get A's even if they don't want to specialize. The reason being that they want to be the best dentist they can be. But it seems like OP is taking his clinical courses seriously, so I don't know why it should annoy your friends...
     
  10. free99

    free99 SDN Moderator 2+ Year Member

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    I think very few d2s have experienced enough to know for sure if they'd like to specialize. I know plenty of people who came in thinking they wanted specialty but like most aspects of gd, and also vise versa. My view is that dental school is so expensive that I can't justify not trying my hardest. GPA and class rank will stay with you after you graduate and can help you down the road if you ever do choose to specialize. But that's just me, I don't care what my friends do with regards to their grades. You do you.
     
  11. Big Time Hoosier

    Big Time Hoosier Man. Myth. Legend. 2+ Year Member

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    "What is your approach to grades in Dental School?"

    I crushed them!

    But seriously, this. Just do YOUR best to become the best provider YOU can be and let everyone else worry about everyone else.

    Big Hoss
     
  12. Medin2017

    Medin2017

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    For people at dental schools or who recently graduated, how much would you say DAT and GPA correlated with dental school performance? Although I'm sure you don't know most people's undergrad stats unless they bring it up lol
     
  13. Big Time Hoosier

    Big Time Hoosier Man. Myth. Legend. 2+ Year Member

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    If they weren't predictive, dental school ADCOMs wouldn't care about them. They would either just accept all the "cool kids" or make it a random lottery admission.

    Big Hoss
     
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  14. SweetWater54

    SweetWater54 2+ Year Member

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    Just saw a recent study at the ADEA conference that showed the higher the undergrad course load, the better the student performed in dental school. So, DAT and GPA score may be correlated but it seems like if you are able to perform well in undergrad while taking multiple classes (like 16 credits a semester), then you will succeed in dental school.
     
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  15. Fyz

    Fyz

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    Time is valuable. All the time but especially in Dental school. Don't let others determine what grades you get. The higher you get, the better. Even if you don't plan on specializing or doing and AEGD or GPR, the better grades you get, the better you will grasp and know the information. However, don't kill yourself to get an A on every single assignment or exam. Allocate time to the most important things you need to know. If you work hard trying to get an A on a small assignment and don't have time to study for the final exam, what is the point? Settle on Bs and As. Cs can cut it for some people and once in a while, it may be okay. However, the most important thing, is to manage your time well.

    Hope this helps! (I'm a 3rd year student at UPenn)

    -Fyz
     
  16. italianstallion2008

    italianstallion2008 2+ Year Member

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    D4. I was on the fence about specializing before ultimately deciding on GP. Early on I made an effort to get good grades and work hard in clinic. At my state school those grades have helped me earn well over $100k in scholarships over my time here. Every year I'm in the running for multiple 3-5-10k dollar scholarships and other bonuses/incentives for achieving while in school. Individually they might not seem like a big deal, but over the course of a dental school career they have added up to tremendous savings. Combined with some frugal living, despite my wife and I being 100% on our own for support, we're really in a favorable financial position with low debt and some early practice acquisition opportunities. Though nobody seems to care what my grades are in terms of finding a job, no way was it wasted effort. Money in the bank! Definitely worth it. Best of luck to you all.
     
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  17. hopefuldentist123

    hopefuldentist123

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    Do you have any specific tips that helps you study best and efficiently manage your time? Thanks for your advice.
     
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  18. esqueleto

    esqueleto

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    That's awesome. How do you find these scholarships?
     
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  19. Typical Average Student

    Typical Average Student 2+ Year Member

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    Just don't discuss grades...
    If someone asks how you did, just say "well" or "alright" lol... simple as that.
    If you hang around people who always want to talk about grades, they're just there to make themselves feel better about what they got.
    I would also understand if you went to a school like.... Harvard where everyone in their mom is trying to specialize and you're over here just passing, it can be troubling indeed. I would just avoid talking about grades overall.
     
  20. Typical Average Student

    Typical Average Student 2+ Year Member

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    I would confidently say maybe ~20% of my class wants to go into some kind of specialty. The others, including myself, have given up on that lmao. It relieves a lot of stress off your back. I remember when I was super depressed about getting an 88.7% on a test.... yeah........ now I just try to pass... lol in fact, I have a final tomorrow. yolo.
     
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  21. Advance

    Advance The Unholy 2+ Year Member

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    You and me both. The GP life is the good life.
     
  22. frozenicecreamDMD

    frozenicecreamDMD

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    i honestly remember both of you in predental day and during the 2016 application process. what a time!
    you both and myself also want to specialize in dental school.

    one thing i am sure about is how fast it grind down one ambition to specialize. or may be it teaches you to see beautiful things outside of school that a life of a GP can achieve.

    I beat myself up for missing few percentage point but to be honest, the day I give up on going to specialize (cost issue, time issue, ability issue?), life has gotten much better.
     
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  23. Greyangel6

    Greyangel6 2+ Year Member

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    D2 about to be D3 here. I don't obsess about grades but my pride and work ethic doesn't allow me to slack off all the time (some time is ok, I guess :p). I stopped checking my GPA since the end of D1 because I know D2 will be a difficult year (it has been :eek:). So I do to the best of my abilities, and let the wafers crumble where they may lol. But I do know one thing (actually 2), 1) I want to specialize 2) and if I want it badly enough, and work hard enough, I won't let things like grades stop me. :)
     
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  24. Jalcalde

    Jalcalde 2+ Year Member

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    You are doing the exact thing that I am doing. I will be a senior in a few weeks and do not waste my time on the courses that I call "fluff". I don't go to any of those courses (there are many) I put all my interest/effort into learning what I need to know to become a knowledgeable competent dentist. I am a mostly B student but I am often the guy many of the other students come to when they have questions on lab work/designs/treatment planning etc. I love the field of dentistry and feel very lucky to be apart of this great profession. That being said, I don't have to be an A student to be an excellent dentist. Focus on you, and do what you need to feel confident in dentistry and patient management. I also have an excellent memory and usually can study for a few hours for any exam and get a B in it. I am lucky in that case as well. It's not your fault you have that ability, not everyone is the same, that's life. Good luck in the rest of your dental career. -J
     
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  25. Fyz

    Fyz

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    Allocate time to your diffenerent classes according to how hard it is. Let's say it's Monday and you have a Gross Anatomy test on Thursday. You want to be allocating time to that over the other classes, but still take some time to review for the other classes and know your material. The way I did this was get a weekly calendar (A rather large one) where I would write everything I need to do (Classes, study time, hang out with friends, etc.) I would more-or-less stick to that calendar. You can now-days do this on your phone, but I personally like a paper calendar.

    Also allocate time for breaks.. We al, need em ;)

    Don't be stressing all the time either. It will only make the situation worse.

    Hope this answers your questions! :)

    -Fyz
     
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  26. Medin2017

    Medin2017

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    how many hours do you study per week on average? Are classes mandatory, and from what time to what time? How many hours after class would you say the top students at penn study?
     
  27. Orka

    Orka Have Any Questions? Ask me. Account on Hold Bronze Donor 5+ Year Member

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    You shouldn't listen to what your friends say. If getting Bs with minimal work makes you happy then by all means do that. It just means you're more efficient than your friends.
     
  28. Fyz

    Fyz

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    That really depends a lot on the student. We have study groups that meet up at the libraries nearly every day for about 1-3 hours. This especially helps the D1/D2 sur dents as their load of didactic classes is significantly higher than the D3/D4. (I am still in a study group with some of my friends.)

    However, that 1-3 hours may not be enough. If you have no tests that week, you're golden. You usually don't need to study much more. Just have the study around while chilling out alone and take a glance at it every few minutes to refresh your memory. As for test days, you should try to get in some personal study along with your study group, 1 hour before going to bed the prior night, that morning (maybe 30-45 minutes throughout the day to keep your memory ready for the test)

    Pick study groups with people who have most all the same classes as you. It will help LOADS.

    I'm good friends with our top 2 ranked students. They still have time to hang out after class. I'm in a study group with them and it's amazing how easily they catch on to complex ideas. Honestly, I think they're just geniuses lol.(It is UPenn after all) ;) But one thing that seperates the top 20% from the rest is that hey know their priorities. We never let parties or time to hang out with friends or other not-so-important things get in the way of our education.

    (I'm in top 20% of my class)

    EDIT: I'm tempted to say classes are mandatory, but a few classes now and then won't hurt your grade. Just get notes from your friends. I miss 1-2 days of school almost every semester because of religious holidays, sickness, etc. and I'm able to keep up with the class. Just don't miss too many or you will fall behind. Profs are approachable so don't be afraid to ask some questions.

    Hope this helps! :)

    -Fyz
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
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  29. Garett24

    Garett24 2+ Year Member

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    I am also sharing this dilemma. I have studied my butt off for Biochm and Anatomy recently and I am trying to solve a very intellectually stimulating question that I need some perspective on: Is shooting for B's or C's and coasting by a manifestation of complacency or a strategic move in realizing that spending hours learning material I wont use is not an efficient use of my time? In other words, I am surrounded by people who strive to Get A's in my friend group. I do not plan on specializing and to my knowledge they don't either. I am seriously considering devoting my time more to working out, learning to cook, CLINICAL Work and other endeavors that would make me a good dentist. Letting go of the A mentality is becoming difficult considering my friend group but I really feel as if shooting for A's wont make me a better dentist.
     
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