blankguy

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What percentage of students at your dental school just get by or are just content with getting by with merely passing?
 

ItsGavinC

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I'm trying to think of a good way to phrase this.

I think 60% WOULD be content with just getting by. Meaning, they just want to be excellent clinicians and understand that didactic learning only takes one so far.

But having said that, I'll say that doesn't mean that they are striving for getting by. They still study to get As or Bs, but probably aren't crushed when they get a C. Does that make sense?

One of the most valuable dental school lessons is probably that the way things are presented in school aren't the way they are in the real office. That doesn't mean the school education isn't important, because it is (it provides a base for future learning), but it just isn't the end-all be-all that some imagine it to be.

You know, if you have a family, or other responsibilities, and just want to be an excellent clinician, treat your patients with care, and be ethically upstanding--then who cares what your grade is in a biochemistry class.
 

aphistis

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Originally posted by ItsGavinC
I'm trying to think of a good way to phrase this.

I think 60% WOULD be content with just getting by. Meaning, they just want to be excellent clinicians and understand that didactic learning only takes one so far.

But having said that, I'll say that doesn't mean that they are striving for getting by. They still study to get As or Bs, but probably aren't crushed when they get a C. Does that make sense?

One of the most valuable dental school lessons is probably that the way things are presented in school aren't the way they are in the real office. That doesn't mean the school education isn't important, because it is (it provides a base for future learning), but it just isn't the end-all be-all that some imagine it to be.

You know, if you have a family, or other responsibilities, and just want to be an excellent clinician, treat your patients with care, and be ethically upstanding--then who cares what your grade is in a biochemistry class.
Way to go, Gavin. I almost responded to this post, but the original post makes it sound like getting decent, but not spectacular grades in dental school is some sort of problem. I just have to keep reminding myself some people gun as a hobby. Dental school ain't what a lot of pre-dents think it is; I know my perception of school was remarkably inaccurate and incomplete.

Learning the core, essential information and the details that actually matter clinically will get you one of those decent, but not curve-annihilating grades. Getting that glittering 4.0 in dental school means memorizing entire reams of academic trivia with no practical value. If someone is intent on getting a post-doc spot, or if they enjoy learning about everything in such painstaking depth, more power to them; but definitely don't make the mistake of thinking they're going to be better dentists because they can recite the myofibril-to-neuron ratio of every muscle group in the body. Speaking for my self, if I ever decide to specialize, it'll be after spending some time in practice. That means I don't *need* to waste a lot of time committing trivia like that to memory, and I'm perfectly happy with my 3.0.
 
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blankguy

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Ok, so it doesn't matter whether people coast or not as long as they are good dentist. But is it a crime to ask about generally how competitive dental school is?:rolleyes:
 

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I would say it differs from class to class. In my class I have a 3.0 and I'm probably in the bottom 20% out of 90. My class is ultra competitive. A great example is that we have a radiology test tommorrow I have chosen to read the packets and learn the basics, whereas there is a radiographic cd (I never picked it up) with over 1100 radiographs on it, 75% of my class is flipping out about having to remember all of these slides tonight, people are actually talking about spending most of the night looking through this cd. The prof gives you a paragraph such as " patient present with this radiograph (on overhead) and has an elevated alkaine phosphatase level. With out looking at the radiograph I can narrow it down to 2 choices due to the a.p. levels. Most of my class is worried about the possibilty of not know what one of the slides might be. I guess I'm saying a great deal of people in dental school are extremely type A personality, and I'm a little more laid back, people are different. I personally will be spending most of my night shopping with my daughter while other classmates look a 1000's of radiographs. I did this same method for the last radiology test and got a 79% which is fine with me.
 

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Also take my opinion and any one elses opinion on SDN with a grain of salt it differs from person to person and school to school.
 

aphistis

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Originally posted by blankguy
Ok, so it doesn't matter whether people coast or not as long as they are good dentist. But is it a crime to ask about generally how competitive dental school is?:rolleyes:
As competitive as you want to make it. If someone is concerned about being at the top of the heap, they're going to have a lot more work cut out for them since you're competing with the whole class for grades. If you're not interested in that, your competition is just against yourself and the curriculum itself.
 

ItsGavinC

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Originally posted by blankguy
Ok, so it doesn't matter whether people coast or not as long as they are good dentist. But is it a crime to ask about generally how competitive dental school is?:rolleyes:

You're right, but that isn't what I interpreted your question to be. Like I said, a good deal of my classmates are content with coasting, but they STILL earn As and Bs.

Generally, I've found that my biggest competition has been myself. I've studied HOURS and HOURS (44 hours of STUDYING one week, along with 34 hours of lecture) only to get a 75% mark. I don't have time to worry about what everybody else is doing, nor do I really care.
 

ItsGavinC

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I'm also in the same boat as anamod. I have near a 3.0, and I'm in the bottom 25% of my class.
 

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Geez, what's going on in Minnesota & Arizona? A 3.0 and that is the bottom of the class? Sounds like either a case of too many overachievers or teachers not distributing grades to create a more distinct range.

Even if a student wanted to just get by, I bet they wouldn't. Many of my classmates who would be content with a C in a class would still study very hard for their midterms. This way, by earning a higher grade on the midterm, you have a better cushion for passing the final and therefore have to study less for the final. Everyone is going to study hard to ensure they pass all their classes and many classes require lots of studying to even pass. Dental schools have no problem kicking you out or making you repeat a semester if you don't earn a 2.0 (that's the minimum at our school). But no one will stop you if want to gun for a 4.0.

My friends in Pass/Fail med schools say that they have people in their class who pass with a 95% on an exam (where the minimum to pass is a 65%) and still complain that they could have gotten a 100%. So even at P/F schools you will have people who could just study to get by but don't b/c it's just their nature to overstudy and gun even though it makes no difference at all.

At the end when it is time to graduate, the same degree and privileges are conferred on the 2.0 and 4.0 student. The only difference will be that the 4.0 student will have little gold letters on their diploma that say "summa cum laude."
 

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Thanks for the info. I'd be curious to see the GPA range at other schools.
 

aphistis

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Originally posted by griffin04
Geez, what's going on in Minnesota & Arizona? A 3.0 and that is the bottom of the class? Sounds like either a case of too many overachievers or teachers not distributing grades to create a more distinct range.
Put me up in the same column--3.0, and I'm at the junction between the third and fourth quartiles. My attitude is similar to Gavin's and anamod's.
 

ItsGavinC

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Originally posted by griffin04
Geez, what's going on in Minnesota & Arizona? A 3.0 and that is the bottom of the class? Sounds like either a case of too many overachievers or teachers not distributing grades to create a more distinct range.

We don't have any grading on a curve, so what is earned is what is earned. We can have 54 As or 54 Cs.

Typically there is a fairly slim range, with the mean being 74-84, depending on the exam.
 

blankguy

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Originally posted by ItsGavinC
You're right, but that isn't what I interpreted your question to be. Like I said, a good deal of my classmates are content with coasting, but they STILL earn As and Bs.

Generally, I've found that my biggest competition has been myself. I've studied HOURS and HOURS (44 hours of STUDYING one week, along with 34 hours of lecture) only to get a 75% mark. I don't have time to worry about what everybody else is doing, nor do I really care.

I didn't do a good job wording it. Sorry:oops: :oops:
 

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Most of the students here are all down with squeezing by. But we (the ones who are down with getting by) work hard for a couple reasons.

1. It gives a great cushion for when the semester is ending and you're tired of studying so much. You can afford to if you worked damn hard in the beginning, and we all know that no matter how hard we work during the beginning the end of the semester is always about procrastination. So, props to cushion

2. We want to keep our options open. Regardless of what our goals are, preferences change. Most of us want to be GPs, but we never know what experiences during the next 4 years will open us to. Already, I find that OMS is pretty damned interesting, as is Pedo. However, I'm still running the GP gauntlet. I just work hard to have the option to apply for specialty and have a chance.

3. Some of us felt like we worked extra hard to get into dental school, and it'd be a shame for us to do poorly and fail out. So, we work hard to almost "guarantee" passing. Stupid mistakes on exams are the worst way to fail out. So, know your stuff, and you'll pass.

4. We are our worst critics (well said Gavin). Personally, and I never used to be like this, I cannot justify letting myself working for a C. If I slack off, I feel guilty. Even if it's the week right after an exam block. Sure feels good, but there's still a hint of guilt remaining.


I just happen to apply to all 4 points.


Oh yeah, the % depends on the class as well. I know D'06 looks at us and thinks we're all crazy. They think we're way more competitive than they are, but I just think we're scared sh!tless from all the horror stories told to us. Rarely anyone above us tells us that this class or that class is cake. It's always, this prof is tough, study this, know this, do this and you'll pass.

So, for all we know, it might be some sort of viscious cycle. Here's my take on it.

Class of 2006 telling us to work at this at that and that, and we do well thinkin it wasn't all that bad. We, D'07, tell the 1st years next year that this and that aren't too bad, just listen and take good notes and you'll pass. They, as a class, feel less pressure and relax, but maybe too much, and struggle a bit. On average, all classes will pretty much score the same within each course, but the amount of effort and experience to get that grade is different between classes. So, you can see how this cycle would continue...D'08 would tell D'09 they should get crackin from day one (like D'06 told us) and do this, study that, etc. Then, the cycle continues. That's my theory, but it's probably a long shot.
 

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I'm of the same philosophy as Pheta and my classmate Griffin. I'd rather study as hard as I can during the first half of the semester, do well on the midterms and earn a cushion for the finals, then coast for the rest of the semester.

Those who start off the semester on the wrong foot by doing poorly or failing the first set of midterms will have a lot of pressure on them during the rest of the term, and for such people, things might snowball and get from bad to worse.

The first set of midterms are like the opening all-or-nothing snap of an armwrestling match, and can make or break a semester-- So better make it a good one.

My advice to any prospective dental student: Don't gamble with your grades-- It makes no sense to start off a semester on the wrong foot and risk flunking out or having to repeat a year.

And so far I've passed 7 semesters for 7 with this strategy. :D
 

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Originally posted by blankguy
Thanks for the info. I'd be curious to see the GPA range at other schools.

Blankguy, what's your story again? Are you pre-dent for the class of 2008 or 2009 or even later? You are going to have a panic attack before stepping foot into dental school if spend so much time worrying about how competitive dental school will be and how you can pre-psych yourself for the perceive potential difficulty of dental school. You can walk into your dental school first day of freshman year feeling like "Oh yeah, I am so prepared and so going to be on top of everything" and then leave the last day of freshman year thinking "Whoa, what just happened? I totally did not expect anything like that!"

The "Average GPA in dental schools" thread should answer your question - http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?s=&threadid=96459

For the past few days, I feel like the only thing I've been typing in the dental & pre-dental forum is "If you get into dental school and pass all your classes, you will be a dentist just like everyone else. The school will give you a DDS if you pass everything, no joke. You don't have to be a specialist to prove yourself as better than the rest. Specializing is there for those who want to immerse themselves into that discipline only, not for the "elite" dental crowd only."
 

anamod

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I'm of the same philosophy as Pheta and my classmate Griffin. I'd rather study as hard as I can during the first half of the semester, do well on the midterms and earn a cushion for the finals, then coast for the rest of the semester.

I think a little differently than you I think of the 1st test as a "feel out" to see how hard the class will truely be. I study a moderate amount, roll the dice and hope for the best on the 1st tests. If I do terrible on the first test (which has happened, i got a 50% on my first Micro test, ended up with a B in the end) I can always step it up and study hard for the next test. This is the way I look at tests, I really do strive under pressure. If I do well on the first test (70% or better) I feel that my gamble has paid off, I'm 4 for 4 this semster on first tests using this strategy. But it all comes down to personal preference and if your a gambling man or women.

Now that I have started to work others and have a patient, I prepare for these things a great deal in advance. I prefer not to look like an ass in these situations. You really don't have a "2nd test" on a patient to fall back on
 

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i'm at a pass/fail school but everybody studies superhard. i too thought that i'd just pass, but now i'm still trying to maintain at least 3.6-3.8, just to be eligible for scholarship and to keep the option of specialization open. grades is not everything, but it's still a big determinant in many situations. Scholarships and research awards, even summer jobs at labs, are preferentially given to students with high grades. My mentality is that grades is like money- no body would every complain about having too much.

I have to say all the hard work to maintain good GPA has paid off in undergrad- i got scholarship that covered all my tuition, got most research jobs i wanted, got me into dental school, and got me a scholarship in dental school. Good GPA helps my future and makes me money-so why not? :cool:
 

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Good GPA helps my future and makes me money-so why not?

I agree with you in your situation, but having free time and being able to spend time with my family is worth more than any scholarship.
 

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i agree with you! free time is more important than money! that's why i chose dent rather than med. :p
 

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It is a really old saying but I feel the need to pass it on. Do you know what they call the person who graduates last in his/her class? ANS: Doctor. As long as we keep the patients in mind and take care of them properly, and continue our education we will serve the public well.
 
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