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Coming in I'd heard that medschool can be a little crazy, but almost everyone should be able to manage things pretty well. I'm currently attending 1st year at Schulich, and talking to some of the 2nd years, they all say that they studied around 2-3 hours a night after class and generally things weren't too bad.

 

I am (in my opinion) extremely unfortunate in that I am part of a new curriculum, as Western has completely revamped the curriculum starting from the class of 2023. On most days we have in-class lectures from 8 AM to 12:30 PM, and on 2 days of the week we have small groups and PCCM (patient centered clinical methods - an interview course) running into 5 PM. 

 

Now if all I had to do was keep up with in-class lectures, I'd be golden. But they assign us these monstrous IL's (independent learning modules) that are each about 2x as much as the in-class lectures in content. This week for example we have 11 such IL's we have to complete. These are completely ridicilous, last week for example our "IL's" for Wednesday were basically an undergrad histology course on muscle, connective and nervous tissue. I am not exaggerating, we literally had an entire histology course as an IL in one night. We are expected to go through these in our own time, and they are testable.

 

I simply cannot keep up. At orientation they said they expect us to do 6 hours of studsying outside of the class for these IL's, and a few hours a night for lecture material in class. That is simply not how things are, as it stands I am easily averaging 60-70 hours of studying outside of the class per week. Ontop of this, like I said I can't keep up and am behind. I have notes on everything but simply have no time to actually memorize them. And to make matters worse, the second years are no help because our curriculum is completely revamped, they don't know what we're going through.

 

We have tuesdays off to go through this material on our own, but to be honest the amount of work we are assigned outside of the class is MUCH MORE than one day's worth of material. 

 

I am feeling stressed and it's concerning that I'm already worried about passing the end of block exam in December in week 4. I apologize if that was a bit of a ramble, I should get back to studying....

Please help.

 

 

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If you don't feel comfortable that's okay too! Here's my take on the situation:

- You're not alone in this - many people have approached me and felt overwhelmed by coursework. Your feelings and concerns are 101% valid and the transition from undergrad --> med is a huge one, regardless of old vs. new curriculum.

- One thing to be cautious when comparing alone-studying time with 2nd years is that 2nd years have more lecture hours because they don't get Tuesdays off (and I heard it's a 9-5 for them). Therefore, if they say they go home and study 3 hours after 8 hours of lecture, that is the same as you going to 4 hours of lecture and then studying 7 hours at home. In the end the material is the same, only our year has more self-study content in the form of IL's whereas people from the traditional curriculum would have learned this by sitting in lecture halls. 

- I think the 6 hours on IL's per week really got a lot of people's hopes up and I'm not going to sugarcoat that. However, I want to ask you, do you think a med student should realistically only expect to spend 6 hours per week to study outside of class (in a curriculum where lectures are minimal)? I feel many people don't even have that luxury in undergrad.

- Lastly, SAME on the lack of time to review lol - I think it's again a transition of study strategies: since 70% is a pass, we have to prioritize the main idea of each lecture; we can't afford to memorize everything like in undergrad. For example, I think knowing how neuromuscular junctions operate (from action potential --> muscle contraction --> relaxation) is much more important than memorizing what all the minerals do in the nutrition IL, although the latter will take much longer, it is simply low-yield information that I wouldn't worry about unless I have extra time (in my dreams). Similarly, knowing how different modes of inheritance work is much more important than memorizing all the nitty-gritty details from that monster embryology IL (cue the Joker meme that guy posted last night...).

 

I hope this helps. 

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As a 3rd year student at Western, I found that the lectures weren't always good for my own learning (e.g., some lecturers just read off the slides). Whenever that was the case, I'd be engaging in my own learning on my computer instead (e.g., reading up on the relevant guidelines, making my own notes, doing ILs.) Some of my classmates decided to skip class altogether because they were able to go through the VODs more efficiently than going to lecture. You may want to figure out what works best for you. 

Some of these ILs may be newly made for your curriculum. If you find that they are not helpful, I'd suggest using other resources-- which are hopefully more concise-- to learn the material. 

It sounds like you are decently diligent with your studying, and I have no doubt that you'll be able to pass the exams. I think an important part of the first two years is to figure out how to study well, and to actually learn the material in addition to being able to pass. Having a solid foundation will be very helpful as you head into your clinical rotations, when there'll be even less time for you to read and brush up on topics. 

 

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At Sherbrooke, we experienced the same thing in 2017. A change in curriculum that came with a terrifyingly heavy workload... 

As cheesy as it sounds, you're not alone. Probably everyone in your cohort is feeling the struggle, and soon enough, you will work together to form strategies to cope (ex: group note-taking, etc.)

Best thing you can do is speak to someone in the faculty (ex: academic advisor) and make a few friends to support each other through difficult times.

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Hey!! I'm a 2023 at Schulich as well. 

Have you been added to the shared onedrive file? Everybody contributes notes for ILs etc and I find that by skimming through them I can decide which ILs I need to look at more in depth. If you haven't been added yet there is a post somewhere on our fb group that you can comment your email on to be added!

Hope this helps :) 

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27 minutes ago, CHG said:

Hey!! I'm a 2023 at Schulich as well. 

Have you been added to the shared onedrive file? Everybody contributes notes for ILs etc and I find that by skimming through them I can decide which ILs I need to look at more in depth. If you haven't been added yet there is a post somewhere on our fb group that you can comment your email on to be added!

Hope this helps :) 

I did join that but I can't find the link anymore

 

Do you mind messaging me it 

 

Edit: nvm found it 

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3 hours ago, CHG said:

Hey!! I'm a 2023 at Schulich as well. 

Have you been added to the shared onedrive file? Everybody contributes notes for ILs etc and I find that by skimming through them I can decide which ILs I need to look at more in depth. If you haven't been added yet there is a post somewhere on our fb group that you can comment your email on to be added!

Hope this helps :) 

I don't know what you mean by decide which ILs to look at more in depth? The course chairs already said the ILs are tested to the same extent as the lecture content, so we need to know every IL in depth. 

 

And doing the weekly self-assessments so far we can see that they ask pretty specific questions from these ILs so it's not like we can just skim them.

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59 minutes ago, NLengr said:

Well, they can't fail the entire class. So it's like running from a hungry grizzly. Just don't be near the end of the pack. 

/not comforting but true. 

we have a 70% pass grade cutoff and honestly I can see a lot of people failing to reach that. What will happen if half the class gets below 70%? Again another crappy thing about the new curriculum is the raised passing grade from 60% to 70% this year ... which really means you have to get 75% if you want to avoid having to meet with an academic coach.

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51 minutes ago, Firehoseistoomuch said:

we have a 70% pass grade cutoff and honestly I can see a lot of people failing to reach that. What will happen if half the class gets below 70%? Again another crappy thing about the new curriculum is the raised passing grade from 60% to 70% this year ... which really means you have to get 75% if you want to avoid having to meet with an academic coach.

If too many people fail, they will just adjust the marking scheme/curriculum. They will realize that something is wrong in that case because they know you guys aren't a bunch of idiots. Again, you'll be fine as long as you aren't at the bottom. 

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1 hour ago, Firehoseistoomuch said:

we have a 70% pass grade cutoff and honestly I can see a lot of people failing to reach that. What will happen if half the class gets below 70%? Again another crappy thing about the new curriculum is the raised passing grade from 60% to 70% this year ... which really means you have to get 75% if you want to avoid having to meet with an academic coach.

They will manipulate and scale behind the scenes. They aren't going to purposely fail people. This is Canada.

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12 hours ago, Firehoseistoomuch said:

I don't know what you mean by decide which ILs to look at more in depth? The course chairs already said the ILs are tested to the same extent as the lecture content, so we need to know every IL in depth. 

 

And doing the weekly self-assessments so far we can see that they ask pretty specific questions from these ILs so it's not like we can just skim them.

I apologize, by skimming I meant that I look at the class notes and if I see it is material I am familiar with (i.e. histology, from undergraduate), I don't spend as much time making notes, and just follow along to make sure I recognized everything. If it is material that I am unfamiliar with I make extensive notes, flash cards, and look things up if necessary. They're not going to ask us to quote specific statements from the recordings.

If this doesn't work for you that's totally cool, I was just trying to make a suggestion based on what I do. 

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2 hours ago, CHG said:

I apologize, by skimming I meant that I look at the class notes and if I see it is material I am familiar with (i.e. histology, from undergraduate), I don't spend as much time making notes, and just follow along to make sure I recognized everything. If it is material that I am unfamiliar with I make extensive notes, flash cards, and look things up if necessary. They're not going to ask us to quote specific statements from the recordings.

If this doesn't work for you that's totally cool, I was just trying to make a suggestion based on what I do. 

No need to apologize, sorry if the tone of my original response came off a little aggressive lol. Thanks for your input.

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3 hours ago, #YOLO said:

tbh its pass fail..u shouldnt be struggling. take your pass and go on...clerkship..electives..then residency is 10000x worse

While I do agree clerkship does tend to be worse than preclerkship, residency is variable, so is clerkship and additionally, the kind of workload is different, clerkship and residency is more hours heavy while preclerkship is more study heavy. 

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It's always hard going through it. Preclerkship feels like a breeze in retrospect but I remember stressing out in 1st/2nd year about exams. Same with clerkship

Plus, you still do ILs? I stopped keeping up with them half way through my first month and I graduated Schulich just fine. I dont even think I supplemented with another resource. It was just plain laziness pure and simple.

 

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22 minutes ago, hero147 said:

It's always hard going through it. Preclerkship feels like a breeze in retrospect but I remember stressing out in 1st/2nd year about exams. Same with clerkship

Plus, you still do ILs? I stopped keeping up with them half way through my first month and I graduated Schulich just fine. I dont even think I supplemented with another resource. It was just plain laziness pure and simple.

 

Unlike previous years, I don't think we can skip ILs because almost the entire content portion of our curriculum is now on the ILs.

 

It's (again in my opinion) an extremely stupid layout because we learn almost nothing that is hard science in the lectures (just social science stuff) while the actual hard sciences like anatomy, histology and embryology are 100% on the ILs. It's the most frustrating aspect of this curriculum, almost like we're paying 25k tuition to learn from online videos instead of in class.I had heard good things about the previous curriculum but the new curriculum so far has been nothing but unimpressive and messy. 

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Heya! Another Western 2023 here. I feel you SO hard, it's actually ridiculous how much time we have to put in, and I'm putting in like 3-4 hours after class every day just to keep up with the ILs, I haven't had time to go back and review anything, I'm barely passing the readiness assessments and self-assessments (this raising a pass to a 70 is really screwing us) and I literally have no idea how I'm going to have a chance to review before the midterm. Oh and I'm already burnt out during week four. So, just know you're not alone, and I've talk to a BUNCH of people about this, and they all have similar feelings. My strategy is to keep pushing through, but I'm also going to keep attending the open mics, and personally email some of the administration because frankly, this is ridiculous, and a lot of our class and lecture hours and straight up a waste of time and also really poorly planned.

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25 minutes ago, SmartfoodLover said:

Heya! Another Western 2023 here. I feel you SO hard, it's actually ridiculous how much time we have to put in, and I'm putting in like 3-4 hours after class every day just to keep up with the ILs, I haven't had time to go back and review anything, I'm barely passing the readiness assessments and self-assessments (this raising a pass to a 70 is really screwing us) and I literally have no idea how I'm going to have a chance to review before the midterm. Oh and I'm already burnt out during week four. So, just know you're not alone, and I've talk to a BUNCH of people about this, and they all have similar feelings. My strategy is to keep pushing through, but I'm also going to keep attending the open mics, and personally email some of the administration because frankly, this is ridiculous, and a lot of our class and lecture hours and straight up a waste of time and also really poorly planned.

Oh man I loved reading this. I've also talked to some of our class reps and admins, hopefully they can make some changes but I doubt it. 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Firehoseistoomuch said:

Oh man I loved reading this. I've also talked to some of our class reps and admins, hopefully they can make some changes but I doubt it. 

 

 

A kind reminder that class reps can only relay the messages - so far we have relayed every piece of feedback and followed up with the student indivudally.  Being a class rep does not give us the power to directly change the curriculum :P I'm glad you talked to some of us though - please do not hesitate and reach out whenever you like!

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As others have said, if the whole class is suffering they won't fail all of you. The curriculum committee has been quite accepting of feedback in the past. Unfortunately you will not see much the fruits of your labour (complaints). It will mostly be subsequent years who benefit hah. I feel bad for you guys. On most days I'd sit at home watching lectures at 1.5-2x speed and supplement whatever I needed with my own material.

My suggestion in the past was to just make all of med school more streamlined and accessible (online lectures you can watch quickly, removal of most ILs, creating supplementary notes mirroring the lectures so students wouldn't have to write anything down). Unfortunately these committees tend to draw out the wrong kind of person. The M1s and M2s on the committee were basically clamouring for more work. Attendings would defend their useless lecture/IL to the death.

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I'm a former Schulich graduate, now a consultant, I'm not involved with teaching or curriculum at Schlich.  Your feelings on this are entirely valid and much closer to being the norm rather than an oddity.  Going through medical school is like trying to take a drink from a fire hose.  The volume of material you cover is certainly more than can be digested, you will not learn everything, you simply won't.  There many things that can be helpful to keep in mind.  Failing out of medical school is uncommon.  For those who do not get through the program the most common issues are related to unprofessionalism (often this is merely a transient slip of judgement that ends up with unfortunate outcomes rather than being someone who never should have gone into medicine) and mental health issues, rather than inability to pass based on academic capacity alone.  Unfortunately some people are the victim of medical concerns (mental, physical, somatic, all the same in the end) that develop or just bad luck.  Overall this occurring to the degree that you don't make it through isn't common, but be careful not to jump to conclusions too quickly about your colleagues and their struggles.

As far as the material, you need to do well enough to get through, there's no way around that unfortunately.  From what I have read here it seems that the expectations have increased compared to what they used to be.  The IL content was always heavy.  Upper years will generally minimize the stresses they went through because they want to seem like there is an olive branch and they have always had more time to develop a sense of what material needs to be prioritized. Classes all morning long in M1 with 2-3 afternoons tied up with group work has been the case for many  years). Not that the expectations were ever low by any stretch of the imagination, but there was more room to have a slip and recover from it.  As far as the long-term learning is concerned, your M1 and M2 blocks are just the first kick at the can for learning the material.  The first blocks are hard, not necessarily because the blocks themselves are brutal, but you don't know much at this time.  Every time you do another block your knowledge will grow synergistically.  Once you get more blocks under your belt you see how different pieces fit together and will find that overall things make a lot more sense.  Although the end of semester exams are a super busy period, I always felt a sense of accomplishment getting to the other side of them as its amazing to see how much better sense the material makes when you get another chance to review it again (with a bit of pressure to motivate you to work hard) and put it in the context of having other blocks under your belt as well. Then after that you will get into clerkship and realize that everything is extremely different compared to what you thought it would be.  In the reality of the clinical world things aren't black and white, its not a situation where you are looking for those key few words within a multiple choice question that will make one answer correct rather than another.  The reality in the clinical word is that most things are in various shades of grey, a lot of things are done based on it being the norm rather than it being supported by data and things are done drastically different from one person to the next.  You will get your hand slapped just because the person supervising you does it one way vs another or just because they are having a particularly bad day. Clerkship and residency are probably more about learning process rather than learning fact. 

The longer you have been in clinical practice the more you will start to realize just how much we don't know as a medical field.  You will also start to realize how much of what you learned in the past you have never used and probably won't use.  Your work will become more and more related to acting based on clinical experience, pattern recognition and learning when to act vs when to let something go.  You will also get a better idea of what is imminently serious and what is reasonably within your scope vs when to ask for help.

This is a long process, it doesn't happen overnight.  Most people make it out the other side okay, the chances are very good that you will be among them.

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