Pril

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Well, I know that every school has it's own system but which year in general (average) is more difficult and why?
 

Epi

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2nd year. first year is generally pass/fail, while second year is not, and second year you learn lots more stuff.

at least at our school.
 

Kosmo

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Gotta go with 2nd year...

During 1st year we generally had 2 exams/month and they were at the same time so there was always some downtime between units to recoup (i.e., you could spend the week after exams NOT doing medical school.) Granted, each set of exams was pretty much equivalent to a round of finals in undergrad, but it did become sort of routine.

I'm in 2nd year now and there are just a lot more exams. Tomorrow will be our 8th exam of the year (which started in early August) and there never seems to be any respite. When one exam is over there's no time to waste before having to prepare for the next...

The material isn't harder, there's just a lot more of it.
 
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LoneSEAL

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First year was harder. Gross anatomy and histology labs wore me down so much that I couldn't focus on the lecture material. First year material is also much more boring. Second year material is way more interesting and relevant.
 

orthodude

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2nd year is much more interesting, because it's clinically oriented. Which also means a lot more material in second year.
 

MD2b06

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I've heard both. Some say the material in 2nd year is more difficult, others say first year is more challenging. Since I was a non-science major, everyone tells me I'll have a much easier time my second year in that I won't have to work as hard to maintain a certain rank b/c the undergrad edge is gone. Any truth to this? I look around and see a lot of people on "cruise control," whereas I've never seen a lot of the material. I guess that's the price I pay for taking the bare minimum requirements to get into med school. Oh well, it was worth it!
 

daveshnave

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I'd have to go with 2nd year... definitely

During the first year, the classes were probably more conceptually difficult; however, I tended to excel in that type of arena, and was often able to get decent to good grades with minimal (I say this relatively speaking, of course) studying. The only exceptions to this were gross anatomy (rote memorization with no thought involved) and histology to a lesser degree.

This year (second year), our classes seem to ALL be like gross anatomy was. The concepts are quite simple (kinda boring I think), and instead we have a LOT more of it to learn and straight-up memorize. I'd say I probably spend about 2-3 times the amount of hours studying compared to first year, since it just takes TIME to commit so much material to memory. Although the concepts are simpler/somewhat boring, the material is in fact the opposite. I find second year material much more fascinating and clinically relevant, and for this reason, more enjoyable, even though this year is much harder. As I said earlier in another thread, second year's is just more... (fun, difficult, interesting, etc.)
 

Hercules

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Epi,
WashU is one of the only schools that does the first year P/F and then adds grades in the second year. I think it's a great idea though. It levels the playing field from undergrad while also seeming (maybe you can correct me on this) to promote more cooperation between classmates as opposed to backstabbing.

MD2b06,
I was also a non-science major (Classics) and I think that 2nd year is easier. The material is much, much more interesting and your classmates haven't already had all of the information before (so you don't always feel like you're swimming upstream to keep up). That said, there is a lot more material to be learned than there was in 1st year.
 

ubiquitous

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Originally posted by Hercules
Epi,
WashU is one of the only schools that does the first year P/F and then adds grades in the second year. I think it's a great idea though. It levels the playing field from undergrad while also seeming (maybe you can correct me on this) to promote more cooperation between classmates as opposed to backstabbing.
Univ. of Mich also has first year P/F and then H/HP/P/F for the remaining years.

I think 2nd year is easier b/c it's less of a chore to study b/c you really want to learn the information. It's much more interesting than first year even though you have to learn twice as much!

ubiquitous
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CANES2006

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At my school, first semester of first year is definitely the hardest. We take Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Physiology, Immunobiology, Pharmacology, Microbiology, Histology, Anatomy, and Pathology between August and December.:eek: We have a midterm or final almost every Monday for the entire semester. I swear I feel like it's finals week EVERY week right now. Besides this you are trying to get used to the entire concept of actually being in medical school.:eek: The rest of medical school will be easier in the sense that it is more interesting (we have the entire organ module/integrated approach for the rest of first and second year). My head is swimming right now. I studied the entire weekend in the library with some pals and had an Immunobiology Final today. Then, we started Pharmacolgy. I don't know about you guys, but I can't wait for Christmas. :( I'm having a blast...don't get me wrong...but I've been studying nonstop for almost the entire semester. I need a break.
 

wfu2005

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when I was in my first year, I thought it was going to be harder than my second year too.

but, second year is definitely more challenging, not necesarily harder. Med school is not conceptually difficult, it's just the drinking from the firehose thing. Looking back, first year was cake b/c all it was for us was basically gross and while not fun, not particularly hard.

2nd year you have to know/memorize all the same stuff, but instead of looking at something while you are doing it (like looking at anatomy) you're just reading about it. I'll take identifying scarpa's fascia over what bug goes with which drug anyday.

the hardest part of medical school is the discipline and concentration it takes to study this stuff over and over again. If you've got that, and you got in, you've got it made.
 

WSUreds

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I would have to say first year is pretty hard right now. But from what I hear from 2nd years at my school, the second year sucks pretty bad too. There is more information to learn and the blocks that we benefit from in 1st year disappear. At least its more clinically orientated.
 
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Smurfette

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2nd year is worse because the volume is much worse. In 1st year, you usually could pick out the important details and stuff to know. 2nd year is more clinically-oriented, so the picky details become much more important to learn, and it takes much more time to get through the volumes of material. My classmates are all talking about how much easier it would be to go back to first year and how much extra free time we could have, how much easier it was to get "caught up" (a relative term), etc. As a med1 last year, I didn't believe it when the med2s said 2nd year was worse...but they were right.

But then again, some med schools traditionally have it harder first year....
 

Lara

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From the responses of second-year students here, it seems to be pretty unanimous that their year is much harder. But I guess having more interesting material (plus 9 AM classes instead of 8, whoo-hoo) helps balance it out a bit.

Anyway, I'd better stick to the present meaning studying anatomy... :p
 

Gradient Echo

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During orientation this year, they put up a graphic showing the percentage of students who responded to 2 surveys, one after first year and one after 2nd year.

The post first-year survey indicated that around 70% of the students thought the material was manageable in the context of detail and volume.

The post second-year survey indicated that this number fell to 20%. It was pretty amazing how much of a shift there was between years 1 and 2.

I'm just a first year, so I cant comment on 2nd year yet but I thought it was interesting and somewhat disturbing.
 

Lara

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USSD - yes, you do, you helped save me and my friend when her car battery went out in the school parking lot! Thanks again for having a jumper cable. :) We could seriously have been stuck a loong time otherwise...

I'm a (very) short brunette btw, my friend had the long blond hair.
 
K

Katie

Originally posted by CANES2006
At my school, first semester of first year is definitely the hardest. We take Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Physiology, Immunobiology, Pharmacology, Microbiology, Histology, Anatomy, and Pathology between August and December.:eek: We have a midterm or final almost every Monday for the entire semester. I swear I feel like it's finals week EVERY week right now. Besides this you are trying to get used to the entire concept of actually being in medical school.:eek: The rest of medical school will be easier in the sense that it is more interesting (we have the entire organ module/integrated approach for the rest of first and second year). My head is swimming right now. I studied the entire weekend in the library with some pals and had an Immunobiology Final today. Then, we started Pharmacolgy. I don't know about you guys, but I can't wait for Christmas. :( I'm having a blast...don't get me wrong...but I've been studying nonstop for almost the entire semester. I need a break.
Pharmacology and Pathology first semester of first year!??? Are you guys just learning the general principles of Pharm like Pharmacokinetics and taking General Path (i.e. cell and tissue path, vascular path, inflammation, neoplasia), or are you at the point where you have to memorize a myraid of drugs? It seems VERY unreasonable to expect first years who are taking anatomy and physiology to be memorizing drugs at the same time. I just don't see how anyone can retain alll that information in one semester.. Unless you are taking Pharm and Path at the very general level, I would recommend complaining via an evaluation or meeting with one of the academic deans at UM. Don't get me wrong, Miami's a great school, but students need their sleep and sanity, especially in the first year.

I agree with CANES that first year tends to be harder since you are adjusting to med school and many people are adjusting to living in a new city away from family and sig. others. First semester of first year was easy for me academically, second semester was really rough.. and first semester this year is tough but MUCH more interesting and clinically relevant. Last year TUSM had the 9-4 class system and had us taking 6+ classes at once and it was a pain in the butt; this year we switched to the block system where we go through (mostly) system-based blocks. We are nearing the end of our Infectious Disease block, where we take Pharmacology and study all the antibiotics, anti-virals, etc., (Pathogenic)Microbiology, and Pathophysiology of Infectious Disease for 3 weeks. It is really interesting and the courses fit together nicely without being too repetitive. And classes never run later than 3; at least 2 days a week we are done at noon and the other days by 1 or 2 due to optional pharm recitations. To those applying now, try to take a good look at the curriculum structure (i.e. 9-5 traditional, blocks, PBL, etc.) at the schools you interview at and see what suits you best.. I think it does make a difference in how difficult 1st and 2nd years can be..
 

puffy1

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2nd year is a bit harder where I go to school because we have a quiz almost every Monday. Basically, we don't have a weekend off from studying. The material is about the same in difficulty, but it's just hard to be studying almost every day and week. last year there was some down time in between block exams...not this time. The benefit is being better prepared for the big tests, but the downsides are pretty strong too.
 

Lara

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Canes - reading your post again, it really is insane!!! You almost have the whole first two years of med school in this semester. :eek: At Temple, we get anatomy, histo and embryo now and next semester it's physio, biochem and neuroanatomy. Path, pharm, micro and immuno don't come at all till second year. I couldn't imagine trying to learn so many subjects in just 4-5 months (even if they're only superficial basics) and would agree with Katie that it seems a bit much. Best of luck, at least it'll go downhill for you after Christmas (while I should probably read BRS pathology during next summer vacation). :)
 

CANES2006

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Lara,
I am going insane at this moment.:D I'm preparing for a Pharmacology Final this Monday, and it is just crazy!!! Pharmacology is really kicking my a$$ right now. So many damn drugs!:mad: Although this material is supposed to be the "intro" for the material that we will cover later on in every organ module, it is just too intense. I can't wait for this semester to be over. I am sooo tired of studying for exams every weekend (we have a Monday exam every week). But, hey, after this semester medical school will be a breeze. Got to look at the bright side of things, right?;)
 

Starflyr3

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I think that here, both years are equally difficult, but for different reasons. We have a block schedule, and in 1st year we get Anatomy and Radiology, then Molecules Cells and Tissues (basic biochem and genetics and histology, and everything else that doesnt fit anywhere else), then Path (general path, NOT specific - microorganisms, tissue stuff, etc). Lastly, there is Neuro and Psych (hardest class, material-wise but everybody loved it). There's a TON of info 1st year, and thats hard.

Second year is also difficult, but it is more focused. Our blocks become systems-based and we have to learn the specific pathology, pharmacology, all the little details that we didnt learn 1st year. I like it. Its even more information, but its all clinically relevant, which makes it easier, IMO. Everything is also reinforced through our Practice of Medicine class that runs the full 2 years - its sort of like taking the subjects twice - once with all the nitty-gritty, one with more real-life scenarios.

Overall, though, I think it depends on your school.

Star
 
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