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I just got all my midterm marks back and I am in desperate need of advice 

 

organic chemistry: 97

astronomy: 86

neubiology: 90 

cell Bio: 73

Physiology: 80 

Last year my average was 77 which is absolute trash. I hear people complaining about 85 first year gpa’s and it really puts me down because 77 basically means no chance. I am trying to get 90 + this year and the next 2 years to bring up my gpa and I study hard but clearly I’m doing something wrong. I’m 2nd year and all I do is study so I don’t even do extracurricular’s but that’s going to mess up my EC’s. Am I studying really stupid or just slow or what? I always mess up and do bad in labs (orgo and cell bio) physio and neurobio labs are easier; so like for my midterm marks to be this low is disappointing. I am a second year; and I just wanted some input on how you guys study and if I shouldn’t let my first year gpa determine how well I do. Also a guide for what gpa is good to aim for is helpful because I’m stressing about not having a 4.0 and it’s just a lot. How do you balance work school and volunteering as well? Would you say you’re naturally smart and don’t need much time; or is it about the way you study. Do you re write notes after class because that’s what I did and it’s really time consuming. I also make a lot of quizlets; so you email professors and ask them questions? Because I do this too. And I never skip a class so is this something I should be doing before a midterm, I notice other students do this. And honestly with labs I get so much lab anxiety; is there a way to fix this and do better in lab? Sorry for all the questions I’m just so lost and hopeless at the moment.

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Have you tried studying in groups?  Studying with another classmate or two may help.  On the other hand, when too many people join one study group, generally the group becomes distracted and less efficient.  If you haven't tried it, I would recommend finding 1-2 classmates to study with.

As for lab anxiety, see what makes you stressed out.  Do you feel anxiety because you may forget a step?  Do you feel nervous attempting the experiments generally?  Are you anxious about the time you have to complete the experiments?  Think about what really stresses you out and make a step-wise plan to relieve your anxiety.

As for EC-course time balance, that's always hard :P.  The cure is planning.  Personally, I always write my weekly schedules to get priorities done -- emphasis on priorities, because if you have too many things to do, you won't be able to finish them all.  Also, having a written plan relieves mental stress since you won't have to keep all your plans in your head.

Overall, don't be discouraged.  You're young!  You have plenty of time to improve, and I'm sure you'll find a way to do so.

Wishing you all the best!

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2 hours ago, Neurophiliac said:

Have you tried studying in groups?  Studying with another classmate or two may help.  On the other hand, when too many people join one study group, generally the group becomes distracted and less efficient.  If you haven't tried it, I would recommend finding 1-2 classmates to study with.

As for lab anxiety, see what makes you stressed out.  Do you feel anxiety because you may forget a step?  Do you feel nervous attempting the experiments generally?  Are you anxious about the time you have to complete the experiments?  Think about what really stresses you out and make a step-wise plan to relieve your anxiety.

As for EC-course time balance, that's always hard :P.  The cure is planning.  Personally, I always write my weekly schedules to get priorities done -- emphasis on priorities, because if you have too many things to do, you won't be able to finish them all.  Also, having a written plan relieves mental stress since you won't have to keep all your plans in your head.

Overall, don't be discouraged.  You're young!  You have plenty of time to improve, and I'm sure you'll find a way to do so.

Wishing you all the best!

Thank you so much. For studying with people I haven’t found other people that are really up for that. Everyone who is tends to not be hard workers and kind of just use me for notes; but the ones who I know put in work are really reserved and don’t like to study with other people so it’s just difficult.

 

I will work on labs but so far I am on the fourth lab for most of my courses and there’s only 5 labs for this semester :( 

 

and I’ll try to schedule better; thank you :) ❤️

 

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In all honesty your grades look better than you make them out to be. Of course I don’t know how they convert with OMSAS etc. But...maybe don’t worry so much. You’re doing something right to get overall decent grades. Keep it up. 

LL

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In terms of your studying and notes, if you feel like rewriting your notes is taking too long, one thing you can do is work on being more efficient. Usually just copying everything down isn’t actually all that helpful. Instead, you could try making summary notes that synthesize some of the main concepts within and across lectures and include just key things to memorize (as opposed to every detail) — that forces you to really think about the topics you’re studying, and how you’ll be tested on them for your exams. With practice and experience in you’ll find that you’ll get a lot better at doing this. I used to make a base set of notes for review first and then do a lot of practice problems or practice exams. Then if I found I was missing important things from my notes, and I would go back and add to them. I still do this now in med school. 

Edited by frenchpress

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18 hours ago, LostLamb said:

In all honesty your grades look better than you make them out to be. Of course I don’t know how they convert with OMSAS etc. But...maybe don’t worry so much. You’re doing something right to get overall decent grades. Keep it up. 

LL

I heard that these grades are not nearly as good enough to get in. 77 translates to a 3.3 so it’s definitely not good in terms of that. Because of my 3.3 I’m basically hopeless unless I get 95 + the following years which it doesn’t look like I’m capable of. :( 

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8 hours ago, frenchpress said:

In terms of your studying and notes, if you feel like rewriting your notes is taking too long, one thing you can do is work on being more efficient. Usually just copying everything down isn’t actually all that helpful. Instead, you could try making summary notes that synthesize some of the main concepts within and across lectures and include just key things to memorize (as opposed to every detail) — that forces you to really think about the topics you’re studying, and how you’ll be tested on them for your exams. With practice and experience in you’ll find that you’ll get a lot better at doing this. I used to make a base set of notes for review first and then do a lot of practice problems or practice exams. Then if I found I was missing important things from my notes, and I would go back and add to them. I still do this now in med school. 

I take notes on my laptop in class and then what I do is kind of rewrite it on paper alongside to reading the textbook and add onto that. And then I put it on the quizlet. So should I just be reading, then adding stuff on the notes I took in lecture and then kind of just read them over and summarize what I think is important ? Because for me it’s really difficult to distinguish what is important and what isn’t; there’s always so much information. 

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17 minutes ago, Recusitatorwannabe said:

I take notes on my laptop in class and then what I do is kind of rewrite it on paper alongside to reading the textbook and add onto that. And then I put it on the quizlet. So should I just be reading, then adding stuff on the notes I took in lecture and then kind of just read them over and summarize what I think is important ? Because for me it’s really difficult to distinguish what is important and what isn’t; there’s always so much information

I think this point is important here. What you think is important and what the professor thinks is important may differ at times. Some people may disagree with me here, but you can't ignore the small details on your slides - if it's on your slides, your professor likely think its testable. Back in undergrad, I made sure I knew the broad overview of the unit and then I went through every point on my notes and asked myself how it related back to the unit topic and why would the professor ask this. 

In terms, of cell biology and physiology, have you tried a combination learning style - like one that uses both visual diagrams and word definitions? It might help to have the same idea depicted to you in two different ways. I feel like you know your mechanisms if you can: 1) given a diagram and explain the mechanism in words AND 2) given words, you can draw out a diagram of the cellular mechanism. 

One more thing, regarding quizlet, it's good that you're doing flashcards. If you want to try a new app, it's called anki. It's similar to quizlet, but Anki provides the stepwise space-repetition, which quizlet doesn't. 

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18 minutes ago, Recusitatorwannabe said:

I take notes on my laptop in class and then what I do is kind of rewrite it on paper alongside to reading the textbook and add onto that. And then I put it on the quizlet. So should I just be reading, then adding stuff on the notes I took in lecture and then kind of just read them over and summarize what I think is important ? Because for me it’s really difficult to distinguish what is important and what isn’t; there’s always so much information. 

I would work on summarizing what’s important, at least as part of your studying. It will take some practice and iteration to figure out what works best for you, and it’s going to be different from class to class (e.g. in biology I always had to memorize a lot more tiny details than in some other classes like chemistry that were more problem based). You could try, after exams, briefly looking back at some of your notes and reflecting on what ended up being useful — that will probably help you hone your method as well. 

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21 hours ago, CardiacArrhythmia said:

I think this point is important here. What you think is important and what the professor thinks is important may differ at times. Some people may disagree with me here, but you can't ignore the small details on your slides - if it's on your slides, your professor likely think its testable. Back in undergrad, I made sure I knew the broad overview of the unit and then I went through every point on my notes and asked myself how it related back to the unit topic and why would the professor ask this. 

In terms, of cell biology and physiology, have you tried a combination learning style - like one that uses both visual diagrams and word definitions? It might help to have the same idea depicted to you in two different ways. I feel like you know your mechanisms if you can: 1) given a diagram and explain the mechanism in words AND 2) given words, you can draw out a diagram of the cellular mechanism. 

One more thing, regarding quizlet, it's good that you're doing flashcards. If you want to try a new app, it's called anki. It's similar to quizlet, but Anki provides the stepwise space-repetition, which quizlet doesn't. 

Thank you so much, did you look at textbook and lecture? Or just went into the textbook when you didn't understand something? Because I have my notes from lecture; and I use it on onenote so I'll have the lecture slides' then add onto that. But then I'll also add from the textbook; should I not be doing this? Because honestly a lot of the textbook wasn't on the midterms it was all from lecture slides. 

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1 hour ago, Recusitatorwannabe said:

Thank you so much, did you look at textbook and lecture? Or just went into the textbook when you didn't understand something? Because I have my notes from lecture; and I use it on onenote so I'll have the lecture slides' then add onto that. But then I'll also add from the textbook; should I not be doing this? Because honestly a lot of the textbook wasn't on the midterms it was all from lecture slides. 

Course-dependent. I heavily relied on the lectures, and only used the textbook for a diagram or a visual of the points made in the lectures. However, for courses like medical ethics/bioethics, I heavily relied on the textbook as it provided more clarification than the lectures.

If you realized that the term tests don't contain textbook content, then it really isn't worth it to be adding notes from the textbook - focus on the lectures in this case.

 

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On 10/27/2018 at 6:33 PM, Recusitatorwannabe said:

I heard that these grades are not nearly as good enough to get in. 77 translates to a 3.3 so it’s definitely not good in terms of that. Because of my 3.3 I’m basically hopeless unless I get 95 + the following years which it doesn’t look like I’m capable of. :( 

Don’t despair. A first year 77 average is definitely surmountable based on some school weighting formulas. Also it’s only one part of your application!

I know my own gpa was comparable in first year (and sad to say worse in second year!!) yet here I am on the tail end of residency. Yes it took me longer to get accepted than just undergrad but it helped me in other ways in terms of life experience and maturity. 

Best,

LL

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