Aug 3, 2013
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So I've already completed my third week of OMS-I and have already completed 2 exams but don't really know what should I be aiming for in terms of academic/pre-clinical goals while still keeping my sanity and personal life. While studying for the first test, I pretty much didn't see my wife or my family, didn't eat properly, didn't sleep properly and ended up earning one of the highest grades in the class. For my second test, I thought I could achieve the same score if I played it cool and just spent more time with my family, relaxed more, and didn't take the exam too seriously. I ended up scoring slightly below average.

Basically, I'm curious what I should be aiming for during these pre-clinical years in terms of grades/rank to keep as many doors open as possible for post-graduate education. I'm an incredibly realistic person and I'm not aiming for plastics or neurosurg but just want to know where I can I be in the class and still have most doors open 3 years from now. Do I continue to bite the bullet for these two years and totally seclude myself if it means scoring at the top of my class or not take grades/rank too seriously? Just want some more realistic goals/advice.
 
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Aug 3, 2013
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Just as a sidenote: I brought this up with an OMS-II "menator" of mine that said "just keep doing your best." I know that sounds great but my best means doing what I did for the first exam and pretty much "killing myself" (sorry for the expression) which is not what I want to keep doing for my own mental health and burnout. soooo that's why I'm here asking ya'll haha
 

sunealoneal

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Sep 7, 2013
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I actually tell 1st years to essentially "kill themselves" for their 1st exam... It's a good way of getting yourself a baseline and exploring what you can cut back and still get the performance you want. I promise you that every minute or study strategy you employed was probably not necessary to do as well as you did.

It's not just about spending less time on future exams, it's about studying more efficiently. I'm confident that you'll find an acceptable middle ground.
 
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bon22

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Apr 17, 2015
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So I've already completed my third week of OMS-I and have already completed 2 exams but don't really know what should I be aiming for in terms of academic/pre-clinical goals while still keeping my sanity and personal life. While studying for the first test, I pretty much didn't see my wife or my family, didn't eat properly, didn't sleep properly and ended up earning one of the highest grades in the class. For my second test, I thought I could achieve the same score if I played it cool and just spent more time with my family, relaxed more, and didn't take the exam too seriously. I ended up scoring slightly below average.

Basically, I'm curious what I should be aiming for during these pre-clinical years in terms of grades/rank to keep as many doors open as possible for post-graduate education. I'm an incredibly realistic person and I'm not aiming for plastics or neurosurg but just want to know where I can I be in the class and still have most doors open 3 years from now. Do I continue to bite the bullet for these two years and totally seclude myself if it means scoring at the top of my class or not take grades/rank too seriously? Just want some more realistic goals/advice.
Hey classmate!
I don't have much to offer in advice, but I just want to remind you that med school isn't the most important thing in your life. Your family is.
The more you prioritize family, the more effective your studying hopefully is. I second what @sunealoneal said as well.
The school counsellors seem to be really helpful in this regard, I would recommend giving them a visit.
 
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JustPlainBill

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Jan 5, 2007
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So I've already completed my third week of OMS-I and have already completed 2 exams but don't really know what should I be aiming for in terms of academic/pre-clinical goals while still keeping my sanity and personal life. While studying for the first test, I pretty much didn't see my wife or my family, didn't eat properly, didn't sleep properly and ended up earning one of the highest grades in the class. For my second test, I thought I could achieve the same score if I played it cool and just spent more time with my family, relaxed more, and didn't take the exam too seriously. I ended up scoring slightly below average.

Basically, I'm curious what I should be aiming for during these pre-clinical years in terms of grades/rank to keep as many doors open as possible for post-graduate education. I'm an incredibly realistic person and I'm not aiming for plastics or neurosurg but just want to know where I can I be in the class and still have most doors open 3 years from now. Do I continue to bite the bullet for these two years and totally seclude myself if it means scoring at the top of my class or not take grades/rank too seriously? Just want some more realistic goals/advice.
"Didn't take the exam too seriously"?!!! -- you are obviously a slacker and non-hacker who doesn't pack the gear to serve in our beloved profession.... See your wife and family? Relaxed? Next you'll actually want hot food, a warm bed to sleep in out of the rain and mud, == you're getting soft, I tell you, soft, soft, soft ----

Listen, your wife and children will be with you long after you've graduated from residency and retired from medicine --- DO NOT sacrifice them on the altar of medicine, lest you turn into a sad little troll whose life is nothing but medicine --- my first IM attending had lost his wife and family to IM -- he worked from 6am to well after 10pm 7 days a week, the residents and med students were his family and while he was wealthy, he was a very lonely man, going through the motions, waiting for life to end ---

Trust me on this, nothing is worth your family --- Watching my daughter's eyes light up when she saw me walk in to her cheerleading events, or the handwritten father's day card from my son thanking me for being there for him during the times of his life could never be touched by any medical experience, bar none --- He's going off to college soon -- and I can tell you, the house will be a little more empty, sure he'll be home some weekends and holidays -- but I won't hear him walking to the fridge, or his laughter as we watch "That 70s Show" together or see him take his grandmother's arm to help steady her as sit down at our usual Friday night family dinner. yes, my daughter's still at home and he's going somewhere close, but a season of my life is closing and the memories built during that season could never be replaced by any medical experience.....

Chill, spend time with your family, maybe push a little bit to be above average -- more importantly, earn B's but crush the board exams --- that's what'll make you stand out -- I can tell you fo sho, if you walk in with a 230+ USMLE and the equivalent comlex, people will pay attention to you.
 
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Pre-clinical grades nearly nobody cares about, unless your school ranks. I only studied enough to get through my exams. Spend pre-clinical years studying for boards and doing things you enjoy.
 

bon22

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Apr 17, 2015
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Pre-clinical grades nearly nobody cares about, unless your school ranks. I only studied enough to get through my exams. Spend pre-clinical years studying for boards and doing things you enjoy.
That's an interesting point. The school we go to does do a rank but doesn't show you until the end of second year. What I've heard is that you have the option whether or not to put this rank in your dean's letter. Would not putting your rank hurt your residency chances?
 

ortnakas

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Jul 23, 2013
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What you know is that you can be a baller if you study gung-ho and pass comfortably if you don't study much at all. That's a good place to be. Find a happy medium in the middle. As @JustPlainBill said (and as a fellow married person I concur), good grades are great but not worth sacrificing your family for.
 
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cyang55

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May 16, 2015
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I heard grades doesn't matter too much, just because residency programs can't compare grades across different schools. So, if doing avg means you can spend more time with your family, then do that! And then just ace your USMLE or COMLEX.
 
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Goro

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If you have a B or better in your classes, you'll be fine.

Do NOT be that person who is thankful that they barely passed. Those people fail COMLEX.


So I've already completed my third week of OMS-I and have already completed 2 exams but don't really know what should I be aiming for in terms of academic/pre-clinical goals while still keeping my sanity and personal life. While studying for the first test, I pretty much didn't see my wife or my family, didn't eat properly, didn't sleep properly and ended up earning one of the highest grades in the class. For my second test, I thought I could achieve the same score if I played it cool and just spent more time with my family, relaxed more, and didn't take the exam too seriously. I ended up scoring slightly below average.

Basically, I'm curious what I should be aiming for during these pre-clinical years in terms of grades/rank to keep as many doors open as possible for post-graduate education. I'm an incredibly realistic person and I'm not aiming for plastics or neurosurg but just want to know where I can I be in the class and still have most doors open 3 years from now. Do I continue to bite the bullet for these two years and totally seclude myself if it means scoring at the top of my class or not take grades/rank too seriously? Just want some more realistic goals/advice.
 

Mr Roboto

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Jul 31, 2013
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"Didn't take the exam too seriously"?!!! -- you are obviously a slacker and non-hacker who doesn't pack the gear to serve in our beloved profession.... See your wife and family? Relaxed? Next you'll actually want hot food, a warm bed to sleep in out of the rain and mud, == you're getting soft, I tell you, soft, soft, soft ----

Listen, your wife and children will be with you long after you've graduated from residency and retired from medicine --- DO NOT sacrifice them on the altar of medicine, lest you turn into a sad little troll whose life is nothing but medicine --- my first IM attending had lost his wife and family to IM -- he worked from 6am to well after 10pm 7 days a week, the residents and med students were his family and while he was wealthy, he was a very lonely man, going through the motions, waiting for life to end ---

Trust me on this, nothing is worth your family --- Watching my daughter's eyes light up when she saw me walk in to her cheerleading events, or the handwritten father's day card from my son thanking me for being there for him during the times of his life could never be touched by any medical experience, bar none --- He's going off to college soon -- and I can tell you, the house will be a little more empty, sure he'll be home some weekends and holidays -- but I won't hear him walking to the fridge, or his laughter as we watch "That 70s Show" together or see him take his grandmother's arm to help steady her as sit down at our usual Friday night family dinner. yes, my daughter's still at home and he's going somewhere close, but a season of my life is closing and the memories built during that season could never be replaced by any medical experience.....

Chill, spend time with your family, maybe push a little bit to be above average -- more importantly, earn B's but crush the board exams --- that's what'll make you stand out -- I can tell you fo sho, if you walk in with a 230+ USMLE and the equivalent comlex, people will pay attention to you.
What about those of us without family local--do we go balls to the wall for each exam?
 

sunealoneal

ASA Member
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Sep 7, 2013
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That's an interesting point. The school we go to does do a rank but doesn't show you until the end of second year. What I've heard is that you have the option whether or not to put this rank in your dean's letter. Would not putting your rank hurt your residency chances?
According to the ACGME PD on the IM FAQ, they considered the Dean's Letter from many DO schools to be useless specifically because they didn't give a basis of comparison.
 
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JustPlainBill

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Jan 5, 2007
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What about those of us without family local--do we go balls to the wall for each exam?
As Miyagi-san said, " Balance good, karate good, everything good. Balance bad, better pack up, go home."

I lived away from my family at med school for 3 years. Went home on weekends when I didn't have an exam the next Monday. I wasn't a great student and had to study all the time to make up for a poor undergrad prep.

It was hard as it felt like it was all I did. I was old enough to be the parent of most of my classmates so it was awkward hanging out the few times I did it. The other married folk had their families with them so I was by myself from about 4pm on....studying

My advice...earn B's, keep your sanity, try to crush boards but don't panic if you don't and enjoy this part of your life.

You're either a live to work or work to live type. I have no delusions about being the next Dr Lister. Ain't gonna happen. In my previous career, I watched people who killed themselves for the company get cut without any thought to what they had sacrificed for the company. There's always more work in medicine. You have to decide where it fits into the time you're given on this spinning blue ball.....

For me, my life is more than my career. Yes, I will give it my best, but it's not my number one priority. It's a means to an end.....

You have to decide for you what you want your life to look like and work to make it happen.....
 

ortnakas

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Jul 23, 2013
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What about those of us without family local--do we go balls to the wall for each exam?
If you can do it without sacrificing your sanity, sure. But it's okay to place some value on things that aren't med school-- if you want to work out, cook good meals, spend time with friends, etc, you can allow yourself to do that (as long as you're not just scraping by. And even if you are, if you have to take a break now and then to not burn out, that's not the worst idea).
 

Spikebd

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May 2, 2010
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So I've already completed my third week of OMS-I and have already completed 2 exams but don't really know what should I be aiming for in terms of academic/pre-clinical goals while still keeping my sanity and personal life. While studying for the first test, I pretty much didn't see my wife or my family, didn't eat properly, didn't sleep properly and ended up earning one of the highest grades in the class. For my second test, I thought I could achieve the same score if I played it cool and just spent more time with my family, relaxed more, and didn't take the exam too seriously. I ended up scoring slightly below average.

Basically, I'm curious what I should be aiming for during these pre-clinical years in terms of grades/rank to keep as many doors open as possible for post-graduate education. I'm an incredibly realistic person and I'm not aiming for plastics or neurosurg but just want to know where I can I be in the class and still have most doors open 3 years from now. Do I continue to bite the bullet for these two years and totally seclude myself if it means scoring at the top of my class or not take grades/rank too seriously? Just want some more realistic goals/advice.
Keep doing what you did for the first two exams. I know it sounds crazy but if you let up a little it shows in a big way. The average med student is a good student. If you immerse yourself now you'll be thankful for it. As you get used to it you'll be able to pull back a little, but not much. You're investing a lot of time and cash into this so IMO it's time to buckle down. You'll find out you can still do well and enjoy life, but this isn't undergrad.
 

starri

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If I hadn't made sure to carve out time for my husband, I'd have lost my darn mind even more than I did. Maybe if I had wanted Ortho or Derm it would have been different. And I won't say that I didn't struggle a bit to balance it at first, but it worked out okay in the end.
 
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abolt18

I regret nothing. The end.
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It definitely takes sacrifice, but as your time management improves, you'll find yourself spending more time at home. I personally spent a lot of time at school studying. My wife stayed home with the kids. I usually slept in every morning until my kids woke me up. I got up and made my family breakfast. Got ready slowly and would be at school by 10-11am. Studied until dinner time, came home to eat, play with my kids, do their bath time and bed time, then hang out with my wife before I started studying for a couple more hours that night (usually while watching Netflix) I *almost* never studied on Sunday, as I devoted that day entirely to God and my family. That schedule obviously changed a lot when there were tests on the immediate horizon or when boards came around, but just giving you an idea that you can work hard but spend time with your family as you see fit.

Come time to study for boards, that was a different story. I was up from 5am to 11pm going almost non-stop other than for meals, Monday-Saturday, from the end of February through the first week of June. I missed fun things while "all the other husbands were there" and whatnot, but I did well on boards and it paid off. My wife was a trooper the whole time and supported my goals. Good luck! You will figure it out! The better you learn the material now though, the better you'll know it for boards.
 
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