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MedSchoolHope101

Arts background - Success in med school

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Hey everyone! 

I was thankfully accepted to an MD program this year and I am very excited to start! However, I am a bit worried because I have very minimal knowledge in science as I have an arts background. I was recently speaking to someone else who helped me realize that I should have no problem in med school if I am ready to put in the work. I would really love to hear the perspectives/experiences of other students who have gone to med school with no science background. Plainly stated, I am looking for some reassurance because I heard people mention that arts students are more prone to failure in medical school and I freaked out hahah Any study tips will also be greatly appreciated! :)

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6 hours ago, MedSchoolHope101 said:

 I would really love to hear the perspectives/experiences of other students who have gone to med school with no science background. Plainly stated, I am looking for some reassurance because I heard people mention that arts students are more prone to failure in medical school and I freaked out hahah Any study tips will also be greatly appreciated! :)

I don’t think that’s true. I remember when UBC was transitioning away from Scienece pre requisite courses, there was a lot of discussion about how essentially, by the end of first year students from all backgrounds tended to end up at the same level and you couldn’t distinguish people from science / non-science backgrounds.

I had an arts background, but I had to take a few prerequisite courses and study for the MCAT, so I didn’t go in completely cold. The only science material that I’ve honestly found all that useful was 1) biochemistry (for helping me understand how enzymes work, etc. The detailed pathways etc usually aren’t all that important for medical school, but for me personally it just made some concepts a lot easier to understand), and 2) human physiology (so when they covered this in first semester it wasn’t brand new).
 

I found that my school covered pretty much everything I needed to be on a level playing field. They didn’t always go into the detail I needed on some topics, but I found resources like Osmosis really useful for getting up to speed on the necessary details (without letting me go down a rabbit hole of unnecessary detail). In first year there was a lot of material, like histology, that people found really boring because they’d done it all before and so they didn’t spend time on it. But it was new to me, and there was time in the schedule for it, so I took advantage of it and that helped me learn those topics. 
 

Happy to chat more if you want to dm me.

 

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It was rare my science undergrad reinforced anything that wasn't sufficiently taught in medical school. It probably let me get away with doing a bit less work in the first 2 years, and helped me answer a few questions in the latter 2 clinical years, but all in all it didn't make much of a difference as long as you work hard.

Most of medical school is dedicated towards teaching you pathology/disease. The normal biochemistry/physiology is typically limited to one or a few intro lectures in an entire block—not much of an advantage assuming you knew enough to do okay on the MCAT.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, everyone. This really makes me feel better. I'm committed to working hard, I just need to believe that its possible.

 

@1D7 I actually did not need take the MCAT, which is another reason why I'm a bit nervous. I did reasonably well on all the prerequisites, so I'm trying to tell myself that its a good indicator for my science abilities haha

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You'll likely be fine. Med school will cover everything you need to know to be good doctor so the lack of science background won't be a disadvantage there. 

The biggest thing is you may need to work a bit harder or efficient than some of your colleagues as most will have some random amounts of knowledge of certain medical topics (having a strong anatomy and physiology background made med school significantly easier than undergrad). If your school has small group learning you may feel it more when other people are spitting knowledge (most of the time people are just pulling things out of there ass based on vague things they remember). Med school isn't about knowing all the details but some people love to memorize useless shit. 

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Thanks a lot for your answers! From what you're saying, I will likely need to put more effort for anatomy and physiology but other than it should be similar for everyone.

Coming from a non-science degree, I am wondering how the time commitment might be different in medical school. How many hours per day would you say most med students study in general? Many say that while the material itself might not be very difficult to understand, it is the amount of material that is often challenging for 1st years.

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3 hours ago, MedSchoolHope101 said:

Thanks a lot for your answers! From what you're saying, I will likely need to put more effort for anatomy and physiology but other than it should be similar for everyone.

Coming from a non-science degree, I am wondering how the time commitment might be different in medical school. How many hours per day would you say most med students study in general? Many say that while the material itself might not be very difficult to understand, it is the amount of material that is often challenging for 1st years.

That's super dependent on you. Some people study every day for a few hours. My friends and I never opened our notes during preclerkship until the exam was literally around the corner. In clerkship I'd try to get an hour or so of reading up on things done a night (usually turned into me falling asleep on the couch). 

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5 hours ago, MedSchoolHope101 said:

Thanks a lot for your answers! From what you're saying, I will likely need to put more effort for anatomy and physiology but other than it should be similar for everyone.

Coming from a non-science degree, I am wondering how the time commitment might be different in medical school. How many hours per day would you say most med students study in general? Many say that while the material itself might not be very difficult to understand, it is the amount of material that is often challenging for 1st years.

You ultimately need to be smart about studying. There is no way you will know everything, they say med school is like drinking from a firehose. The most important thing in my opinion is to study what you need to know. Some medical schools have well laid out structured curricula, others (like Mac, where I went) don't as much and generally speaking I would supplement that curriculum with a textbook or online curriculum focused on tests like Toronto Notes or USMLE Step 2 CK prep especially if you go to a school that give you a lot of self-study time and flexibility.

Time commitment depends on how much time commitment you spent on your non-science degree. The general rule is treat medical school like a full time job 40 hours a week. The actual number of class hours varies but I have seen 12-20, it isn't that much. If you are a keen bean and want achievement in medicine beyond what is considered "typical", you should prepare to spend more time, up to 60 I would say. Don't go over 60, that is unhealthy and you increase risk of burn out in clerkship and residency.  

  

 

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