Jump to content
Premed 101 Forums

Rank the 4 years of medical school from easiest to hardest

Recommended Posts

It probably depends on your school's curriculum structure, but I would say 4th (easiest) > 1st > 2nd > 3rd (hardest)

IMO, 4th is easiest because you're done exams (especially if you write LMCC early), don't have regular lectures, and are choosing your electives based on your interests/preferences (*caveat: CaRMS stress is another beast, so I considered my rankings to be based on medical school content/rotations alone).

3rd is hardest because you're doing clerkship rotations with the most variable/long schedules, lectures, and studying/writing exams/OSCEs during the whole year, plus many of us this year studied for and wrote the LMCC at the end of 3rd year.

1st the content was easier than 2nd at my school, but both were less challenging than 3rd year clerkship for me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

1st (easiest) > 4th > 2nd > 3rd

1st (easiest):

you feel like a million bucks going to medical school,

spend the summer lounging and dipping in a pool;

white coat ceremony you feel ever so  blessed,

smile for camera because you are sharply dressed.

banks eager to loan you 250K at less than prime,

no longer rely on ramen counting nickels and dime;

no need to aim for 4, because courses are all pass or fail,

fancy yourself high class reading "Desire Caught by the Tail". 

4th (not bad)

fall of 4th year is a hectic and busy with electives,

going new places and taking staff's stupid directives;

feeling good you're gonna match to your first,

hiphop to the hospital feeding that energy burst.

come carms panic set in and not feeling so hot,

worry not match, unemployed and you'll go rot;

match day, and you get your second prize,

hey, at least my debt is only half your size.

2nd (so so):

excitement of first year is already wearing thin,

write a research paper only to throw it in the bin;

do observership and feel like senior resident's tool,

have no answer to the questions and look like a fool.

go on vacation this summer and LOC is getting tight,

can't repay, you know who'll call you day and night;

how come everyone else know what they'll do?

not match, and my pants will be soiled by poo.

3rd (worst):

first day at the hospital don't know where things lie,

hyperventilate at arounds feeling you are gonna die;

get asked to name 20 diseases, you can only name seven,

the other 13? they are named after guys already in heaven.

try to set up electives at some distant faraway land,

COVID hit, and they might as well chop off my hand;

finally finished calls and clerkship is coming to a close,

better ace my electives or gonna regret the life I chose.





Link to post
Share on other sites

3rd (easiest) > 4th > 2nd > 1st (hardest)


1st year I came in with no science background at all other than self-studying for the MCAT. So first year was a brutal catch-up period, in a class where nearly everyone had bio/chem/pharm/nursing/neuroscience degrees +/- masters and PhDs.  Pretty much non-stop studying.

2nd year was more of the same.  I had gotten marginally better at studying some subjects, but there was also more volume so almost as hard as first year.  Very close to non-stop studying.

3rd year was the easiest in terms of medical content, since it was mostly just applying what I'd already learned, and looking up the stuff I'd missed or forgotten.  Some of the personalities were pretty unpleasant, but lots were really great. Did ok on exams with only reading around patients and 2 hours of review the night before each exam.  Loved call shifts since it was easier to learn with fewer people around, and nobody trying to suck up to attendings (since the attendings were all gone).  Also loved getting the following day off.

4th year was harder than third year because of the number of projects I had to finish up from 2nd and 3rd year, and preparing for MCCQE in the fall, on top of electives.  I also picked challenging electives, so it was harder than third year but also more enjoyable due to more relevant content for my field. I appreciated having much more control over my hours and work assignments, so that I could lead a healthier lifestyle and steer clear of unpleasant personalities.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For a 3 year school: (hardest) 3>1>2 (easiest)

Hardest Year—3rd: Carms and lmcc are very stressful. I definitely underestimated how emotionally draining CaRMs can be. I’m halfway through interviews and literally counting down to match day—which honestly cannot come soon enough.

Second Hardest Year—1st: Adjusting to medical school was a steep learning curve.  Found preclerkship less interesting than clerkship.

Easiest Year—2nd: Clerkship was surprisingly manageable, had lots of work life balance. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

From easiest to hardest, in my experience:

2nd: You know how to study, you know your classmates well, at my school our lectures were half days (so plenty of spare time) :) 

1st: Bit of an adjustment figuring out how to study and getting settled in the new environment, but then it's manageable after that.

4th: In terms of clinical time, I've had most weekends off and minimal call, and many of my electives were ~8:00-5:00.  CaRMS was SO much work though - I didn't anticipate truly how much time and energy the application would take.  Interview period is so far pretty relaxed, and then will start studying for MCCQE1 afterwards.

3rd: The hardest because you have no control over your schedule (which at times can be quite heavy), and you're constantly being evaluated and getting used to new environments/teams/specialties while also constantly studying for an exam (and pretty frequent overnight calls).  BUT I found it very manageable and lots of fun still. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...