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May 11, 2014
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Pre-Medical
My 1st semester did not go well and I know my first semester's GPA will affect my medical school chances unless I change my study habits and therefore my overall narrative of pre-med at WashU. In regards to changing study habits, I always ask my peers what they do to study and the typical same answer is "what I do probably won't work for you, you just have to try different methods". That is not helpful, so I am asking all of you this question: "For your pre-med classes(Chem, Bio, Physics, Orgo, Biochem, Stats, etc.), what study methods helped you be successful in the class?" Any other advice, tips, and/or tricks would be much appreciated!

On another note, I do find myself always running out of time on the exams, whether or not I know the material. How do you actually finish college exams effectively?

Thanks!
 

tessellations

5+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2015
1,223
2,835
Status
Medical Student, Medical Student (Accepted)
How I studied for each class really depended on 1) how the class was structured and 2) what resources I had available to me.

For my first semester of bio, I would study using practice tests and the clicker questions we did in class (which mirrored the exams). The class didn't involve a lot of memorization (especially since I was a freshman who had taken an intense AP bio class) and it was much more critical thinking based, so practice was key. For the second semester, I had the same prof, but he didn't have practice exams for bio II, so I stuck with the clicker questions and made flash cards occasionally. For both bios, I also studied previous quiz questions.

For gen chem I, I would do a lot of practice questions and would redo hw questions. Did the same thing in gen chem II, plus practice exams.

For both physics, I would go over the practice exam, plus some practice exams I got from a friend (physics I). There were always a ton of questions on these, and many would show up on my exams.

For both orgos, I pretty religiously went to SI, or if I missed it, would have my roommate pick me up a sheet that I would fill out later. I'd also always go over the practice exam (for both classes these were graded quizzes that we would do at home). For orgo I, I also made flashcards, and for orgo II, I'd write down every reaction/concept I needed to know before each exam.

For any math class I took, I'd do the practice exam and would do practice problems.

And lastly for biochem, I'd go over the practice exam given, plus practice exams I got from my roommates lab mate (these helped save me). I'd also make a written study sheet, and would do a lot of wishful thinking since this class was really hard and it was always very difficult to know what to expect, hahahaha.

tldr; I mainly used practice exams, practice problems, quizzes, and my lecture notes/clicker questions.
 
Last edited:

efle

not an elf
5+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2014
12,978
18,970
Status
Medical Student
My 1st semester did not go well and I know my first semester's GPA will affect my medical school chances unless I change my study habits and therefore my overall narrative of pre-med at WashU. In regards to changing study habits, I always ask my peers what they do to study and the typical same answer is "what I do probably won't work for you, you just have to try different methods". That is not helpful, so I am asking all of you this question: "For your pre-med classes(Chem, Bio, Physics, Orgo, Biochem, Stats, etc.), what study methods helped you be successful in the class?" Any other advice, tips, and/or tricks would be much appreciated!

On another note, I do find myself always running out of time on the exams, whether or not I know the material. How do you actually finish college exams effectively?

Thanks!
I was also a WashU premed and even then I struggle to give any hot tips and tricks. It really is true that what works is different for everyone, but I can attempt.

You should have only taken GenChem1 at this point, right? That class is unlike anything else you'll do from here on. GenChem2 goes back to the type of content you do in lab / AP chem, so if you're stronger with that you'll do better. For Chem2, both Bios, both Physics and Biochem all that my friends and I ever used was lecture notes/slides, problem sets and every practice exam we could get our hands on. For Ochem you'll again want to mostly use lecture notes, problem sets and practice exams, but also bust out the flashcards and the modeling kit and do extra problems from the book if you're struggling.

Exam performance is really the key in almost all prereqs. They intentionally design the tests to have a lot of time pressure to enforce a score distribution, because almost everyone would do extremely well if they had however long they wanted to work through and check everything. Give yourself the practice exams under strictly timed conditions, skip anything the moment you get stuck and come back if you have time, and don't check work unless you have time. If you ever find yourself staring at a problem for more than 30 seconds without making progress, just leave it and come back.

Most people are used to getting 90%+ correct on exams and aren't familiar with how to do well with exams averaging in the 60s-70s or lower. The trick is to go ahead and sacrifice points on the most difficult or slow to solve problems until everything else manageable is done.
 

mistafab

2+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2015
1,728
3,645
Status
Resident [Any Field]
My tip for taking multiple choice exams is to skip any question you have to think about for more then 15-25 seconds. Go through the exam and answer all your "in the bag" questions, then return to the difficult ones.
 
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