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Bookmark311

Not feeling smart in medicine...

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Prior to medicine, I used to feel smart, and I used to get things done without much effort... however, now, I feel that I have to work hard to get good grades, do other people feel the same way?  How to work in smart way to not put in a lot of effort into studying but still get good grades?

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Medschool isn't much about smartness but more about hard work. You are now in a field where you have a lot of informations to absorb in a very short amount of time. Its not anymore about who understands faster or more, but about who is willing to put enough effort to improve their knowledge, skills and capacities. We start all at the same starting point with no one ahead or behind, we all struggle and put all nighters when we have to. You are no longer in school to pass classes and have good grades, you are here now to try and learn the most of it, enjoy the most of it, and become a better yourself everyday. If before you could do things with less effort it's because the studying methods you used suited well the learning environment you were in. You could try and change the way you study. Maybe you feel like you put a lot of work because indeed you are putting too much work for not enough results, then ask around you, try and find out about other people's habits and learning/studying ways, you might find one that suits you better, giving you a little more free time to rest. But things won't ever get easier by themselves, as you progress you will  have more things to learn, more things to do and less time to sleep or rest. Time management and efficient work will help you survive it and have time for other activities. Hard work is the first step, those first years are meant to make us learn as much as we can. After that, if you worked hard enough and well enough, you won't have to relearn it but will build new knowledge upon it as you go, therefore making it seem less draining and more exciting as you go. 

One thing is you shouldn't search for the method that gives good grades with less effort but the one that makes you learn more information and makes you retain it in the long term. Don't learn to pass exams, learn to become a doctor. Every one feel the same way, we all hav to work more, we signed for it, it will be okay as long as you feel it's worth it. Hope this can help you.

best of luck

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40 minutes ago, Bookmark311 said:

Prior to medicine, I used to feel smart, and I used to get things done without much effort... however, now, I feel that I have to work hard to get good grades, do other people feel the same way?  How to work in smart way to not put in a lot of effort into studying but still get good grades?

And also remember, before you got in medicine, you competed against average people; now, you're competing against people who, just like you, were good enough to get accepted to med school!

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A lot of the exams you do in Medical School test content that is not the most relevant once you become an independent physician. Don't worry if you're not getting perfect grades as you'll probably still be a great physician. Also medicine just has a lot of content to memorize/cover so I found that it just took more time than undergrad because it was a volume issue and my friends felt the same way.

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10 hours ago, Bookmark311 said:

Prior to medicine, I used to feel smart, and I used to get things done without much effort... however, now, I feel that I have to work hard to get good grades, do other people feel the same way?  How to work in smart way to not put in a lot of effort into studying but still get good grades?

You're asking how to get good grades without putting in a lot of effort. Short answer: not possible. The game changed, and it forced you to change too. That makes sense to me. Welcome to your new normal.

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10 hours ago, Bookmark311 said:

Prior to medicine, I used to feel smart, and I used to get things done without much effort... however, now, I feel that I have to work hard to get good grades, do other people feel the same way?  How to work in smart way to not put in a lot of effort into studying but still get good grades?

that is an extremely common feeling - it is just a consequences of working with smarter and smarter people. Eventually everyone reaches a point where the only solution is a lot of hard work but still done in a smart way. It isn't always a nice experience to say the least - even people that look like they are doing it with less or little effort you often find out they are also working their ass off - and well that continues in clerkship through residency too. That is a part of medicine that is really hard to explain to someone until it happens (residency often 60+ work hours followed by actually hours and hours of studying).

The good news is that most people are also doing it so you aren't alone, and this is actually how you get good - really good at something :)

 

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4 hours ago, NLengr said:

There isn't an easy way out of the work. Medicine is just a shit ton of work from now till the time you finish residency/fellowship. That's how it works. You get used to it and the feeling of inadequacy go away. 

I'm still waiting for the feelings of inadequacy to go away as a staff haha

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On 12/27/2019 at 7:50 AM, Mitochondrie2 said:

One thing is you shouldn't search for the method that gives good grades with less effort but the one that makes you learn more information and makes you retain it in the long term. Don't learn to pass exams, learn to become a doctor. Every one feel the same way, we all hav to work more, we signed for it, it will be okay as long as you feel it's worth it. Hope this can help you

I think this can be seen a different way too. In preclinical I did in fact learn to pass exams(to a B level, or just a hair below average or average.. not a D!) with least effort because often our exams were full of minutae that I know wouldn't help me become a better doctor. Almost all of histology, microscopic neuroanatomy(slide sections) and other non-clinically applicable aspects made a large portion of preclin grades but I let those slide to spend more time on clinical skills or areas I found more applicable to me like pharmacology, radiology and aspects of ortho/MSK that were often only covered superficially. 

 

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28 minutes ago, blah1234 said:

I'm still waiting for the feelings of inadequacy to go away as a staff haha

Ha - as some one about to become staff I have to say I don't feel I have "mastered" things yet or operating at my peak. It is only when I am paired up with someone else earlier in training that I can see progress  (you are always paired at each step of the way with better physicians than yourself - every time you move forward the bar is raised, every time you advance it is only to see how much farther you can go. This is the way it is supposed to be - a variation of "you only get smarter by playing a smarter opponent")

 

 

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59 minutes ago, JohnGrisham said:

I think this can be seen a different way too. In preclinical I did in fact learn to pass exams(to a B level, or just a hair below average or average.. not a D!) with least effort because often our exams were full of minutae that I know wouldn't help me become a better doctor. Almost all of histology, microscopic neuroanatomy(slide sections) and other non-clinically applicable aspects made a large portion of preclin grades but I let those slide to spend more time on clinical skills or areas I found more applicable to me like pharmacology, radiology and aspects of ortho/MSK that were often only covered superficially. 

 

I think the main thing is that preclerkship is very different from the rest of medicine. I had the same feelings you had going through preclerkship, but looking back, it was also not easy to appreciate what is truly clinically relevant and what isn't as a preclerk. There is only so much that shadowing half a day can tell you. If I am going through it all over again, I think it is enough to focus on doing your best in your current role, whatever it is. 

I am going to assume that OP is in preclerkship. 

On 12/27/2019 at 10:23 AM, Bookmark311 said:

  How to work in smart way to not put in a lot of effort into studying but still get good grades?

This is not the best question to ask. You will always want to work in smart ways, but you should always put in the effort from here on out. You judge yourself not by getting good grades, but the information you can absorb and retain. You will not remember everything, and not everything you learn will be immediately clinically relevant, but you never know what will become useful one day. If you think that what the school is giving you doesn't help to prepare you for clerkship, then find additional methods to supplement your learning. Bottom line is, work smart AND hard.  

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For those who were only students before, there is an identity shift to working professional that happens gradually once in medicine, starting in around clerkship through residency. Prior to admittance, GPA was king. But grades were only a means to an end, not the end itself. Once in medicine, you will be judged on your overall competency, which comprises knowledge and skill as well as other personal characteristics such as work ethic and conscientiousness. 

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1 hour ago, NLengr said:

I just realized once I was staff that even the staff I had as a resident/fellow were making up as they go along too.

and remember people - staff that ask questions or reveal something about a case have advantages:

1) most don't ask questions they don't already know the answer too - pretty easy to appear smart there ha. 

2) they usually also have the benefit of answering last - they hear your entire plan, anyone else's comments, and then get to do the grand finishing statements about anything you missed. You never get to hear their inner dialogue when they think "glad they didn't miss that because I would have...." ha

 

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Grades mean nothing in retrospect, pass = MD, pass = FRCPC, same billing code lol, you don't get to bill more for been top of class.

I remember a joke about med school:

the top 1/3 of class become renowned  physicians-scientists,

the middle 1/3 become well respected community physicians,

the bottom 1/3, well they become renowned donors to the top 1/3 and landlords to the middle 1/3! 

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