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What to do the summer before M1 as a non-trad?


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Hey everyone! I am an incoming M1, but non-trad and no MCAT. I did not touch basic chemistry/biology/orgo for over 9 years, and any science courses for over 5 years....

I really don't want to go into a rude awakening, so should I prestudy beforehand? I know this is typically discouraged because it is going to be one of the last summer vacations ever, but in my situation, where the sciences happened so long ago, would this be a good idea? Should I briefly review bio/chem/orgo?

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I had a science background, so my situation was different than yours. But honestly I don't recall chem/orgo being useful during preclerkship at all (unless you want to take the USMLE lol). If you want to pre-study anything beforehand, I think reviewing basic anatomy might be useful; anatomy tended to be what my classmates at Western struggled with the most.

 

But I agree with Butterfly, you'll probably be fine if you do no pre-studying at all. Any studying you do will probably be lower yield because you're studying out of context. Enjoy your summer! 

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Depends on what your curriculum is like, if you go to one of those schools that doesn't have exams and doesn't emphasize medical knowledge in M1, then probably just chill.

If you go to a school where the curriculum emphasizes medical knowledge, or at least will test it on your exams, then watch YouTube videos on the most useful subjects. I'd say the most high yield stuff are basic human physiology, basic human anatomy, some pathology and pharmacology.

In terms of physiology, cardiovascular, respiratory and gastrointestinal are good topics to review. Some reproductive and endocrine are also helpful. In terms of anatomy and pathology, neoplasia and oncology is a good topic. Some basic musculoskeletal and neuroanatomy are nice. In terms of biochemistry and molecular biology, they might test that stuff on exams but it's not that helpful for practical purposes.

I am pretty sure if you watch comprehensive videos on these topics at the second/third year undergrad level, then you'll be well prepared.

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I don't even remember what organic chemistry is

You'll learn everything you need to know for medicine in your medical training, that's how it works.

And for the record, you don't really need to know any basic sciences... It turns out, medicine is exactly what everyone it is, just a lot of memorization of random facts and recipes.

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I somewhat disagree with the suggestion you don’t need to know basic science. There is basic science in medicine, although it’s true that you can/will learn most of what you need to know in medical school. There’s apparently decent evidence that by the end of first year Med students with a classical Science background and those without are essentially on an even playing field - this is why so many more schools have been eliminating pre requisites. 

Some people probably can learn everything by memorization of random facts, but I am not great at that. I was a non-trad as well, and I found some of the sciences I learned for the MCAT were decently relevant, bio chem in particular. For example, it’s a lot easier to understand some aspects of disease if you have basic concepts like ‘what’s an enzyme’ or ‘what is glycolysis’; learning how to interpret a blood gas can be easier if you understand basic acid/base concepts and le chatelier’s principle; etc.

All that said, definitely agree with the suggestions that you do NOT need to review this stuff before you start. And trying to would actually probably be a waste of time. It’s not that often that these sorts of concepts are relevant, and you can just look up the things you want to understand better as you go. And it’s mostly high-level concepts that matter anyways. Organic chemistry basically never comes up. You’ll never need to know low-level things like the steps in the kreb’s cycle. I got a subscription to Osmosis in first year, and found it quite helpful for learning common year 1/2 concepts, as well as reviewing or learning random physiology and bio chem when I needed it.

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Thank you all for the responses!

It seems going ham on studying isn't the best option. Also, going technical on the chem and orgo doesn't seem like a good idea either.

But, as a non-trad, who has not taken a science course in years, I still think it is going to be useful to prestudy a bit, so I think I will nail down some basic bio and biochem, and see how things go from there. If there is some extra time, I think I'll study a bit of anatomy and physiology. Importantly, from what I have gathered here and in other forums, I think it is important to build up some life skills during the summer. Examples are cooking/meal-prepping, working out and getting your finances in order, so that we won't have to worry about these things when school starts. Also, I am thinking about learning how to use Anki and giving it a shot during the summer. Lastly, as a person with a master's, I think I'll even do a bit of research on the side this summer.

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3 hours ago, Organic Chemistry said:

Thank you all for the responses!

It seems going ham on studying isn't the best option. Also, going technical on the chem and orgo doesn't seem like a good idea either.

But, as a non-trad, who has not taken a science course in years, I still think it is going to be useful to prestudy a bit, so I think I will nail down some basic bio and biochem, and see how things go from there. If there is some extra time, I think I'll study a bit of anatomy and physiology. Importantly, from what I have gathered here and in other forums, I think it is important to build up some life skills during the summer. Examples are cooking/meal-prepping, working out and getting your finances in order, so that we won't have to worry about these things when school starts. Also, I am thinking about learning how to use Anki and giving it a shot during the summer. Lastly, as a person with a master's, I think I'll even do a bit of research on the side this summer.

I definitely agree that creating habits before school would be the best use of your time. And doing some things to make your life easier. Practice cooking some bulk recipes that you'd enjoy making throughout the year or make some freezer meals, get into a good schedule of working out and/or finding a way to get activity, etc. I would say that you could probably learn how to use Anki when school comes. Maybe run through it for like 30 mins to get the feel for it but I wouldn't practice before hand. You'll get tonnes of practice in school with Anki lol

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On 3/31/2021 at 4:00 PM, Organic Chemistry said:

Thank you all for the responses!

It seems going ham on studying isn't the best option. Also, going technical on the chem and orgo doesn't seem like a good idea either.

But, as a non-trad, who has not taken a science course in years, I still think it is going to be useful to prestudy a bit, so I think I will nail down some basic bio and biochem, and see how things go from there. If there is some extra time, I think I'll study a bit of anatomy and physiology. Importantly, from what I have gathered here and in other forums, I think it is important to build up some life skills during the summer. Examples are cooking/meal-prepping, working out and getting your finances in order, so that we won't have to worry about these things when school starts. Also, I am thinking about learning how to use Anki and giving it a shot during the summer. Lastly, as a person with a master's, I think I'll even do a bit of research on the side this summer.

If that works for you :) I am not sure how useful biochem specifically would be - physiology and anatomy are probably much higher yield on a practical level (you would be surprised how generally useless most of premed courses are in med school). Just don't kill yourself though - no matter what you do in the summer you are have very different learning requirements in fall. Don't exhaust yourself in advance (it is tempting to go nuts but it is counter productive). 

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On 3/28/2021 at 11:24 AM, Organic Chemistry said:

Hey everyone! I am an incoming M1, but non-trad and no MCAT. I did not touch basic chemistry/biology/orgo for over 9 years, and any science courses for over 5 years....

I really don't want to go into a rude awakening, so should I prestudy beforehand? I know this is typically discouraged because it is going to be one of the last summer vacations ever, but in my situation, where the sciences happened so long ago, would this be a good idea? Should I briefly review bio/chem/orgo?

Chill.

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Enjoy your time off, for a couple reasons. 

1) All of my classmates that used the summer before M1 to finish their masters/PhD/whatever has told me they regretted it. They had no break and felt worn out before they even started.

2) I don't know how efficient/productive you will actually be at self studying, and if you're not as productive as you'd hoped you would? You'll feel bad/guilty for it. I know we are all extremely capable of self study, but you won't know exactly what will be useful for med school, so you might waste time studying useless stuff. MCAT material wasn't always useful, and when it was it was mostly as a passing "oh I've seen that before" before the prof spent another 30 mins explaining it. I'd have to agree with previous posts here; biochem/gen chem/orgo had limited value. Physiology/anatomy would have been much more useful, but you learn it anyways since it's not considered actual required background knowledge.

3) I'm going on a limb and assuming you've gotten an offer from McGill based on the date+no MCAT situation (congrats, btw!). And in my class, there are plenty of people with varying backgrounds who all somehow feel they lack so much knowledge. The med-Ps think they know nothing, the non-trads feel they know nothing, the ones who did "more" studies (undergrad, grad, etc...) feel like they did studies in such a niche topic it's only ever useful once/twice per month, and even then only tangentially useful. So don't feel bad about it!

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I agree with most of the comments above! 

I took 1.5 months off to just relax before medical school and definitely have no regrets about it.  Taking time to chill, catch up on chores/hobbies/whatever you enjoy, etc. is really refreshing before starting a busy program. 

I also didn't have a ton of recent bio/chem prior to medical school, and I don't feel like there was anything I was behind on or slower to learn because of it.  If you really do feel inclined to study before starting, anatomy/basic physiology would probably be the highest yield (but also VERY realistic to learn during your pre-clerkship years). 

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On 3/28/2021 at 9:24 AM, Organic Chemistry said:

Hey everyone! I am an incoming M1, but non-trad and no MCAT. I did not touch basic chemistry/biology/orgo for over 9 years, and any science courses for over 5 years....

I really don't want to go into a rude awakening, so should I prestudy beforehand? I know this is typically discouraged because it is going to be one of the last summer vacations ever, but in my situation, where the sciences happened so long ago, would this be a good idea? Should I briefly review bio/chem/orgo?

Hey! I actually disagree with some on here. Came from a totally non-traditional background. Was a social worker and almost 29 when I started my first year. I hesitated to write this post because I’m not super open on social media and I think some of my classmates will recognize my story. But I think this is important so I’ve decided to post anyways.

 

I wrote the MCAT for CARS only and managed to get accepted to U of C and Mac - their admissions policies were friendly to my strategy. Everyone in my life at the time, including those already in medicine, echoed the same ideas as the thoughts currently posted on this forum... i.e. “enjoy your last few months off, don’t study hard now because you’ll regret it later when you’re super busy!”
 

Taking these comments and applying them to my own life was a mistake. Namely because they drew from vastly different lived experiences than my own. 
 

I ultimately took a year off between first and second year because I found it SO hard not understanding basic science concepts, it seemed impossible to excel. I knew I wanted to match to a specialty, but I was concerned that if I continued, I may begin to fail my classes, rendering that goal impossible. I wanted to be proactive and avoid black marks on my transcript, and I don’t regret my decision. But it came at the expense of an entire year of my life.
 

I studied alone in my apartment almost every day for a year, getting myself up to speed, studying independently, mustering all of my internal motivation to learn everything my colleagues already knew prior to medical school. I knew what the cost would be if I didn’t make the most of my year off. Needless to say, it was an extraordinarily difficult year. I temporarily felt like I’d failed, while watching all of my classmates progress to second year, and then clerkship - without me.

I regret not spending the few months I had between getting accepted to medical school and starting first year getting myself up to speed on basic science concepts. I easily could have.... I had the time. And I think it would have saved me a year of debt and struggle. My match day would be this month, rather than one year from now. But at the time, my most reliable sources told me I would be fine. My lack of experience was reportedly a “non-issue.”  So rather than study, I relaxed until early July when I started my first year. 


My god. If I could go back and tell past me anything, it would be “DON’T DO THAT.” The commenters on here - absolutely wonderful and I see tons of helpful feedback. However, I believe they aren’t aware of just how much their science backgrounds have helped them in medicine. I think they are so smart, they forget what it’s like to be science naive. They fail to take the perspective of their younger selves, forgetting what life was like before undergrad. This knowledge is now so ingrained, they’ve lost that ability to be objective. So hopefully as someone in my final year of medical school, on the other side of academic challenges, I may be able to help you make an informed decision with that. 

Like I said, at U of C, I was told I would learn everything I needed to know via our curriculum in first year and not to worry. This was false. Imagine my surprise when we began learning about Celiac disease in our second month. The lecturer kept talking about IgG and IgA tTG lab tests. I could not for the life of me, in spite of numerous google searches, figure this out. WHAT IS IGA. WHAT IS IGG. You might think this is in the realm of a simple google search. It’s not. Because the google search for IgG itself has a number of unfamiliar concepts I subsequently also needled to google. Such a convoluted rabbit hole. You need to teach yourself what B cells and T cells are, then you need to understand the various functions of each. But before you do that you need to know what the immune system is, and presumably if you’re like me and you like to know “why”, you want to know where all of these cells come from and what makes them all different. Needless to say, this is SO far beyond the scope of one quick lecture slide. And before you know it, you’re onto the next slide you don’t understand, with ten more related things to google. Sometimes I would leave lectures feeling so stupid, I would be in tears. I would tell myself I’d go home and teach it to myself on my own time, but there wasn’t enough time to learn medicine AND science concurrently. So I was constantly behind. I’d arrive the next day still not up to speed on the previous days’ content, and every day in med school is like a week in undergrad, so I was not at the same level as my classmates. And that gap became larger each day.
 

You may have heard that going to medical school is like “drinking knowledge from a firehose.” Imagine doing this, while also juggling 10 balls in the air, and also you’ve never been told what water is so you don’t know you’re supposed to drink it, but you’re definitely thirsty, and also you don’t understand the concept of gravity, so you can’t properly aim yourself to get even a single sip of water from that hose, because no one has explained to you that up is up and down is down and you haven’t figured it out for yourself yet. But also you’re supposed to juggle too in spite of the lack of understanding re: gravity. So you just stand there smashing tennis balls into the ground crying like a 2-year-old, while getting sprayed in the face with water, yelling “I’M DOING MY BEST!!!!!” That might come close to how I felt in first year?
 

I knew I wasn’t stupid. But I kept thinking, I was promised someone would properly  explain this to me from the ground up before delivering 140 esoteric lecture slides in 2 hours, all fundamentally based on the premise of me knowing basic immunology. This isn’t fair, I thought. I was promised I would be taught everything I needed to know on the inside of this journey!  Where are the “introduction to the immune system lectures?” I think UME thought they were teaching that content, but it wasn’t being taught to the beginner level that was promised. And there I was, struggling academically for the first time in my life.
 

We had three “introduction to basic science” lectures at the beginning of first year, I thought they would cover cell structure and function, maybe basic chemistry. Like, and what is a mitochondria, what is the cell cytoskeleton, and what is a proton etc. But the lecturer talked about sodium/water homeostasis in the body and then subsequently explained prostglandins and the mechanism of ibuprofen. Decidedly NOT basic. But that’s the bare minimum you’re expected to come in with. Even if they tell you “oh you’ll be just fine!”, that was not my experience, I was not just fine. I take partial responsibility for not knowing how much would be expected on me upon my arrival, but to be fair, this was not properly communicated to me. 

Needless to say, the circumstances set me up for failure and I’ve only just begun forgiving myself for it, while also acknowledging that what happened wasn’t entirely my fault. 
 

So what is my point? Please, if you have a gut feeling that studying this summer will help you, trust that feeling. I didn’t, and it came at the expense of a year of my life. I’m already in my 30s, I’m not exactly a spring chicken. While I’m happy with where my knowledge is at now, I wouldn’t wish my experience on anyone. I want nothing more than for you to avoid the hardship I went through. 

My advice to you is to spend the summer teaching yourself basic anatomy and physiology as your foundation. Use Anki. If you don’t know what that is, please google it and download Anking’s deck on **DELETED**. Please don’t listen if someone says it goes too much into depth re: basic science to be useful to Canadian students. This is precisely why it was so helpful to me. Spaced repetition and basic science are now your closest friends.

I’ll end this with the caveat that not everyone has the experience I did. I met someone in person shortly before starting first year - via this forum. She was two years ahead of me at U of C, also a social worker, and my understanding is she did quite well. She is now a resident in her chosen specialty. So I will admit the issue is multifactorial, I won’t discount the experiences of non-science, non-trad students who excelled off the bat like she did. All I can offer is my own cautionary tale. I didn’t think something like that would ever happen to me, and I want people to know it could happen to them, too.

Don’t hesitate to private message me if you have any questions. 

Edit: I thought the tone of my post was explicit, but let me explain what I meant by "it could happen to them too". The above, *or potentially some less extreme version*, could happen to others as well. I assumed it was quite obvious my experience was not the norm and that I was describing something on the far end of the bell curve. I stated that not everyone goes through what I did and even provided a counter-example of someone with my exact background who thrived. I do hope that my original point was not lost, should this have failed to clarify my position. For what it's worth, my intention was to help anyone who could see even a portion of their story in mine, rather than to imply every non-traditional student is inevitably doomed. Because that rhetoric was not available to me when I needed it, and it might have helped me a lot if it was. 

The crux of my post was that not every non-trad struggles, but there is great news for those who fear they might. Based on my own past mistakes, I feel that anyone questioning their level of preparedness for medical school should self-reflect and decide whether that's right for them rather than uncritically accepting the standard advice to relax and take the summer off. This is not the best course of action universally, and minority experience or not, mine is as valid as any other.

I've added all possible qualifiers and asterisks to my story. I don't mind if it is directly applicable to only a handful of students every year, with distant applicability to some others. Take it for what it's worth, and if it doesn't apply to you, that's okay.

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5 hours ago, catlady403 said:

Hey! I actually disagree with some on here. Came from a totally non-traditional background. Was a social worker and almost 29 when I started my first year. I hesitated to write this post because I’m not super open on social media and I think some of my classmates will recognize my story. But I think this is important so I’ve decided to post anyways.

 

I wrote the MCAT for CARS only and managed to get accepted to U of C and Mac - their admissions policies were friendly to my strategy. Everyone in my life at the time, including those already in medicine, echoed the same ideas as the thoughts currently posted on this forum... i.e. “enjoy your last few months off, don’t study hard now because you’ll regret it later when you’re super busy!”
 

Taking these comments and applying them to my own life was a mistake. Namely because they drew from vastly different lived experiences than my own. 
 

I ultimately took a year off between first and second year because I found it SO hard not understanding basic science concepts, it seemed impossible to excel. I knew I wanted to match to a specialty, but I was concerned that if I continued, I may begin to fail my classes, rendering that goal impossible. I wanted to be proactive and avoid black marks on my transcript, and I don’t regret my decision. But it came at the expense of an entire year of my life.
 

I studied alone in my apartment almost every day for a year, getting myself up to speed, studying independently, mustering all of my internal motivation to learn everything my colleagues already knew prior to medical school. I knew what the cost would be if I didn’t make the most of my year off. Needless to say, it was an extraordinarily difficult year. I temporarily felt like I’d failed, while watching all of my classmates progress to second year, and then clerkship - without me.

I regret not spending the few months I had between getting accepted to medical school and starting first year getting myself up to speed on basic science concepts. I easily could have.... I had the time. And I think it would have saved me a year of debt and struggle. My match day would be this month, rather than one year from now. But at the time, my most reliable sources told me I would be fine. My lack of experience was reportedly a “non-issue.”  So rather than study, I relaxed until early July when I started my first year. 


My god. If I could go back and tell past me anything, it would be “DON’T DO THAT.” The commenters on here - absolutely wonderful and I see tons of helpful feedback. However, I believe they aren’t aware of just how much their science backgrounds have helped them in medicine. I think they are so smart, they forget what it’s like to be science naive. They fail to take the perspective of their younger selves, forgetting what life was like before undergrad. This knowledge is now so ingrained, they’ve lost that ability to be objective. So hopefully as someone in my final year of medical school, on the other side of academic challenges, I may be able to help you make an informed decision with that. 

Like I said, at U of C, I was told I would learn everything I needed to know via our curriculum in first year and not to worry. This was false. Imagine my surprise when we began learning about Celiac disease in our second month. The lecturer kept talking about IgG and IgA tTG lab tests. I could not for the life of me, in spite of numerous google searches, figure this out. WHAT IS IGA. WHAT IS IGG. You might think this is in the realm of a simple google search. It’s not. Because the google search for IgG itself has a number of unfamiliar concepts I subsequently also needled to google. Such a convoluted rabbit hole. You need to teach yourself what B cells and T cells are, then you need to understand the various functions of each. But before you do that you need to know what the immune system is, and presumably if you’re like me and you like to know “why”, you want to know where all of these cells come from and what makes them all different. Needless to say, this is SO far beyond the scope of one quick lecture slide. And before you know it, you’re onto the next slide you don’t understand, with ten more related things to google. Sometimes I would leave lectures feeling so stupid, I would be in tears. I would tell myself I’d go home and teach it to myself on my own time, but there wasn’t enough time to learn medicine AND science concurrently. So I was constantly behind. I’d arrive the next day still not up to speed on the previous days’ content, and every day in med school is like a week in undergrad, so I was not at the same level as my classmates. And that gap became larger each day.
 

You may have heard that going to medical school is like “drinking knowledge from a firehose.” Imagine doing this, while also juggling 10 balls in the air, and also you’ve never been told what water is so you don’t know you’re supposed to drink it, but you’re definitely thirsty, and also you don’t understand the concept of gravity, so you can’t properly aim yourself to get even a single sip of water from that hose, because no one has explained to you that up is up and down is down and you haven’t figured it out for yourself yet. But also you’re supposed to juggle too in spite of the lack of understanding re: gravity. So you just stand there smashing tennis balls into the ground crying like a 2-year-old, while getting sprayed in the face with water, yelling “I’M DOING MY BEST!!!!!” That might come close to how I felt in first year?
 

I knew I wasn’t stupid. But I kept thinking, I was promised someone would properly  explain this to me from the ground up before delivering 140 esoteric lecture slides in 2 hours, all fundamentally based on the premise of me knowing basic immunology. This isn’t fair, I thought. I was promised I would be taught everything I needed to know on the inside of this journey!  Where are the “introduction to the immune system lectures?” I think UME thought they were teaching that content, but it wasn’t being taught to the beginner level that was promised. And there I was, struggling academically for the first time in my life.
 

We had three “introduction to basic science” lectures at the beginning of first year, I thought they would cover cell structure and function, maybe basic chemistry. Like, and what is a mitochondria, what is the cell cytoskeleton, and what is a proton etc. But the lecturer talked about sodium/water homeostasis in the body and then subsequently explained prostglandins and the mechanism of ibuprofen. Decidedly NOT basic. But that’s the bare minimum you’re expected to come in with. Even if they tell you “oh you’ll be just fine!”, that was not my experience, I was not just fine. I take partial responsibility for not knowing how much would be expected on me upon my arrival, but to be fair, this was not properly communicated to me. 

Needless to say, the circumstances set me up for failure and I’ve only just begun forgiving myself for it, while also acknowledging that what happened wasn’t entirely my fault. 
 

So what is my point? Please, if you have a gut feeling that studying this summer will help you, trust that feeling. I didn’t, and it came at the expense of a year of my life. I’m already in my 30s, I’m not exactly a spring chicken. While I’m happy with where my knowledge is at now, I wouldn’t wish my experience on anyone. I want nothing more than for you to avoid the hardship I went through. 

My advice to you is to spend the summer teaching yourself basic anatomy and physiology as your foundation. Use Anki. If you don’t know what that is, please google it and download Anking’s deck on **DELETED**. Please don’t listen if someone says it goes too much into depth re: basic science to be useful to Canadian students. This is precisely why it was so helpful to me. Spaced repetition and basic science are now your closest friends.

I’ll end this with the caveat that not everyone has the experience I did. I met someone in person shortly before starting first year - via this forum. She was two years ahead of me at U of C, also a social worker, and my understanding is she did quite well. She is now a resident in her chosen specialty. So I will admit the issue is multifactorial, I won’t discount the experiences of non-science, non-trad students who excelled off the bat like she did. All I can offer is my own cautionary tale. I didn’t think something like that would ever happen to me, and I want people to know it could happen to them, too.

Don’t hesitate to private message me if you have any questions. 

I’m sorry for the hardship you had to endure but also, congratulations for being so resilient and overcoming! Recognizing what you needed to do (take a year off) in order to succeed must not have been easy, going against the grain and paving your own path...

it’s really great to read about your experience and hear the other side of this question too. As a non trad myself, I find it very helpful and informative.

i will note one additional factor, that is you mentioned you’re at u of c - that’s a 3 year curriculum, isn’t it? Could the condensed nature of such a program also have played a role, compounding the effect of your non traditional background?

i know that most programs in Canada are 4 years- some, where I’ve applied to, are even 5 year programs for ppl with a non trad background, where the 1st year is a so-called preparatory year designed to get us up to speed.

so I’m just wondering whether this also played a role and whether it can be beneficial for non trads to choose a curriculum which caters more to our non-science university background (ie 4-5 year programs with a mandatory prep year, as opposed to 3). 

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Catlady403, thank you for sharing your experience. I agree that it is important for incoming students to see both sides of the coin!  After reading your reply, I wonder how much influence program structure has on comfort with the foundational science material. The first 4-6 weeks of my program were basic/introductory sciences as a unit that was intended to bring everyone up to speed on the foundational knowledge we would need for the technical medicine we would learn moving forward.  

Perhaps the OP's best bet would be to talk to current M1's in the program they'll be starting to see what their thoughts are.  My program with 4-6 weeks of intro material, is evidently a lot different than Catlady403's program with just a few lectures of introductory material, and other programs likely have other variations of intro material. 

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Yo just so everyone knows coming from a 3 year program the vast majority of my classmates without science background didn't have a problem with the content at the pace we were required to go through it. Not to take away from the above poster's experience, but that is absolutely the exception, and I'm not aware of anyone in my class who had to delay a year to understand the content. The vast, vast majority of people will be better off relaxing and focusing on themselves prior to starting medical school than pre-reading.

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53 minutes ago, bearded frog said:

Yo just so everyone knows coming from a 3 year program the vast majority of my classmates without science background didn't have a problem with the content at the pace we were required to go through it. Not to take away from the above poster's experience, but that is absolutely the exception, and I'm not aware of anyone in my class who had to delay a year to understand the content. The vast, vast majority of people will be better off relaxing and focusing on themselves prior to starting medical school than pre-reading.

that's because at McMaster there are no tests and you "self teach" yourself almost everything compared to every other school that has quizzes/tests literally every week that are high stakes/need to pass etc..

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16 minutes ago, offmychestplease said:

that's because at McMaster there are no tests and you "self teach" yourself almost everything compared to every other school that has quizzes/tests literally every week that are high stakes/need to pass etc..

Do they just use assignments for eval cause that sounds like a low-key nightmare

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7 hours ago, offmychestplease said:

no there is very little formal evaluation, you're supposed to search and learn stuff on your own. In other schools you get tested very frequently and need to pass, but at McMaster you can float by in the background...which is why it's unfair for @bearded frog to compare those experiences to the UofC student

I guarantee you that the majority of U of C students do not pre-read or take a year off of medical school to catch up. The point is not to scare people without a science undergrad away from a 3 year medical school.

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Thank you all for the answers and advice, and especially catlady403! It seems that we all have a different baseline, and the tricky part is to know your own. Most likely, I guess we won't need to prestudy, but I think just for fun, I'll focus a bit on high yield topics like others in the thread mentioned, and see how it goes from there. It obviously won't be my whole summer, but it should cover some basics and get me back in the grind of studying. 

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8 minutes ago, Organic Chemistry said:

Thank you all for the answers and advice, and especially catlady403! It seems that we all have a different baseline, and the tricky part is to know your own. Most likely, I guess we won't need to prestudy, but I think just for fun, I'll focus a bit on high yield topics like others in the thread mentioned, and see how it goes from there. It obviously won't be my whole summer, but it should cover some basics and get me back in the grind of studying. 

I feel like this is what I would do too but I suck at relaxing haha. I think learning things here and there to help keep you excited for med school can’t do any harm if you’re actually enjoying yourself and only spending small portions of your day or week doing it. But I mean, if covid restrictions ease up I’d definitely go do some things I haven’t been able to do in the last year versus study lol. Good luck!

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