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Exam after each block or multiple blocks


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Hi guys,

I`m trying to make a choice here between which medical school I`ll be attending this fall, if given the chance.

 

At one school, there`s an exam after each block during preclinical years. e.g. one exam after psych, one after neuro, one after hemato etc...

 

At McGill, exams during preclinical seems kind of gimmicky as it seems like an exam week could test you on 3 blocks, for example at the year of year 1.

http://www.mcgill.ca/new-mdcm/sites/mcgill.ca.new-mdcm/files/cc_new_curriculum_schema_mar_25_2013.pdf

 

My question is, what would you have preferred during your preclinical years, between 1 exam after each block, or 1 exam/exam week after 2-3 blocks.

 

Thanks

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We had an exam after each block and it was great. First off, you avoid the danger of procrastinating til the last two weeks and then being miserable/having no life whatsoever during the holiday season or right before summer. Second, your knowledge is very fresh at the exam - worst case scenario, you covered the material like two months ago, usually only a few weeks beforehand. And in general, the amount of material is less overwhelming.

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Oui, c'est parfaitement possible d'avoir une vie tout en étant en médecine, autant à l'UdeM qu'ailleurs! Il y en a plusieurs qui travaillent une journée la fin de semaine, qui ont des enfants, qui ont de grosses activités parascolaires, etc, et ils s'en sortent très bien quand même. Nous avons beaucoup de temps libre à l'UdeM (une journée par semaine +2/3 après-midi), donc c'est possible de s'organiser pour avoir du temps libre. C'est un programme exigeant bien sûr, mais je crois que ce l'est partout.

 

Quand j'ai appliqué en médecine je voulais aller à McGill (j'ai été refusée), mais je suis contente d'être à Montréal entre autres parce que j'aime mieux les APPs que les cours magistraux et parce que j'ai aimé allé à l'hôpital dès la première année. Par contre, McGill a beaucoup changé son curriculum et je pense que ça ressemble plus à Montréal maintenant (Plus d'APPs et ils voit la pathologie tout au long du pré-clinique?), mais je ne suis pas trop au courant des changements spécifiques...

 

Si tu as des questions pour l'UdeM, hésite pas :)

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Wow, an exam at the end of each block would be amazing. We have all our exams crammed at the end of each semester with a couple of exams covering the entire first and second semester of this year. It makes studying extremely stressful (there are 11 exams we need to write this semester).

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Wow, an exam at the end of each block would be amazing. We have all our exams crammed at the end of each semester with a couple of exams covering the entire first and second semester of this year. It makes studying extremely stressful (there are 11 exams we need to write this semester).

 

This is why I would be extremely concerned about going to UBC (should I be lucky enough to receive multiple acceptances), even though it's my first choice location wise. It seems really outdated and unnecessarily stressful.

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This is why I would be extremely concerned about going to UBC (should I be lucky enough to receive multiple acceptances), even though it's my first choice location wise. It seems really outdated and unnecessarily stressful.

 

I feel sort of the same way. UBC is also my top choice. None of the 2017's seemed too bothered by the curriculum though. I talked to quite a few of them and while I never asked directly about the exam scheduling, none of them mentioned it when asked what complaints they have about the program.

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I feel sort of the same way. UBC is also my top choice. None of the 2017's seemed too bothered by the curriculum though. I talked to quite a few of them and while I never asked directly about the exam scheduling, none of them mentioned it when asked what complaints they have about the program.

 

That's good. I've definitely heard people list it as a downside though... Maybe they were just trying to "sell" the program. :P

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I never thought of the end of semester exams as a downside. Sure it can make for a more stressful exam period, however, I liked being held accountable for knowing all of that info at the end of the semester. It means you have to revisit the material a couple of times, and for me it takes a couple of times for information to stick around. This isn't undergrad where you just learn for the sake of getting credit for the class and then ditch the information, one day we will have to make decisions about patients' medical care based on our knowledge. I don't know of any studies comparing retention of information comparing the two examination methods (end of block vs end of semester), however, I know for myself that end of the semester will yield longer retention. my 2 cents

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I never thought of the end of semester exams as a downside. Sure it can make for a more stressful exam period, however, I liked being held accountable for knowing all of that info at the end of the semester. It means you have to revisit the material a couple of times, and for me it takes a couple of times for information to stick around. This isn't undergrad where you just learn for the sake of getting credit for the class and then ditch the information, one day we will have to make decisions about patients' medical care based on our knowledge. I don't know of any studies comparing retention of information comparing the two examination methods (end of block vs end of semester), however, I know for myself that end of the semester will yield longer retention. my 2 cents

 

Those are good points. Not sure it works like that for me since I currently have all cumulative exams at the end of the semester, and I don't retain very well, haha.

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I feel sort of the same way. UBC is also my top choice. None of the 2017's seemed too bothered by the curriculum though. I talked to quite a few of them and while I never asked directly about the exam scheduling, none of them mentioned it when asked what complaints they have about the program.

 

First year exams aren't too bad (especially the first semester exams- bell ringer no where near as scary as you dream it to be). I found the exams first semester of year 2 more difficult and predict this upcoming exam period (semester 2) will be more difficult still. A lot of us have already been studying for exams for the last few weeks and we still have 4.5 weeks left in the semester. There is just way too much info to cram like you do in undergrad - will not work.

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Hi guys,

I`m trying to make a choice here between which medical school I`ll be attending this fall, if given the chance.

 

At one school, there`s an exam after each block during preclinical years. e.g. one exam after psych, one after neuro, one after hemato etc...

 

At McGill, exams during preclinical seems kind of gimmicky as it seems like an exam week could test you on 3 blocks, for example at the year of year 1.

http://www.mcgill.ca/new-mdcm/sites/mcgill.ca.new-mdcm/files/cc_new_curriculum_schema_mar_25_2013.pdf

 

My question is, what would you have preferred during your preclinical years, between 1 exam after each block, or 1 exam/exam week after 2-3 blocks.

 

Thanks

 

Congrats on your acceptance :). As a potential member of your new med school, I'm going to have to tell you that you're sliiightly misinformed :P. We do have exams after each block at McGill - so one every 4 - 5 weeks. Our curriculum is dense, don't get me wrong, but not overly so. We all have plenty of time for a life and actually my social life is MUCH better in med than before - we had Frosh, Ski Trip, Osler Banquet, InterNos dinner with all years and dent students, Med-Law party, etc, all of which were very well atrended by the class.

 

Now for the "gimmick" - we do have occasional "cumulative exams". These are not death - they are CLINICAL exams that test if you have an idea of how to manage heart failure, MI, diabetes, jaundice, etc. it's all stuff you pick up during clinicals and in class and don't forget. Mac started with these exams and found that their scores on the LMCC exams skyrocketed, and so McGill has implemented these to give us better preclinical teaching. In the end, they are not terrible to study for and we appreciate them.

 

So should you pick McGill? Are you ready for a crazy year, an awesome social life, and checking out all the opportunities this school has to offer? We're looking forward to meeting you - and hey, it's already in your signature, so I don't see why not ;).

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Oh I just saw your reply. And thanks for your email too! I wrote another one with 2 questions. :D Thank you so much for clarifying this!

 

Yeah, definitely, that, and TCP, i.e. sooner in a clinical setting, mean that I'm not considering UdeM anymore :D

 

Edit@ Larrivee

Yeah definitely, me too, I retain information better with repetitititititititititition, and I do want to retain as it's not appropriate to learn and plunge undergrad-style for obvious reasons including the one you mentionned. I'm definitely not against of those kind of exams, especially if we have been tested on them with bloc exams. At Sherbrooke University, in med 2, you have 3 huge blocs, and then you have a week of exams (with OSCEs) testing you for the first time on all the 3 blocs. That's something that I obviously want to avoid, and I was misinformed, thinking that it was going to be the case at McGill too. But now, no more confusion. yay!

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Does Ottawa med do exams at the end of each block or are they like UBC?

 

It's kinda complicated over here in the 'wa - it's a bit of a combination. For first year, over the whole year, we actually only have five exams. We don't have an exam after every "block", as we don't technically have blocks. Rather, we have units, which are 12-18 weeks long.

 

First year goes like this:

Foundations unit - 12 weeks (Sept 16 - Dec 6)

- Midterm on 6 weeks of material (with a written exam and a practical, bell ringer sort of thing on the same day)

- Cumulative final in December (practical exam on a Tuesday and final on the Friday; final written exam on all 12 weeks of material is about 3 hours long if I remember correctly)

 

Unit I - 18 weeks (Jan 6 - May 16) - this is the longest unit in all of preclerkship

- Midterm #1 on 5 weeks of material (written exam only)

- Cumulative midterm #2 on 12 weeks of material (written + bell ringer)

- Semi-cumulative final on last 13 weeks of material - i.e. everything except what was covered on midterm #1 (bell ringer on Tuesday, written on Friday)

 

So, yeah. Our exams are kinda monstrous. But you get everything over with at once, and you don't have to worry about those stressful, prolonged exam weeks that you had in undergrad. And even though are exams are a bit hard and you don't have much time to review, it's a pass/fail system, so if you've done your work throughout the unit, realistically, you'll pass. I'm a *lot* less stressed than I was in undergrad.

 

Also, if you want a calendar of how first year is laid out, you can go here: http://www.med.uottawa.ca/md/assets/documents/pre_clerkship/year_1_calendar_eng.pdf

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I never thought of the end of semester exams as a downside. Sure it can make for a more stressful exam period, however, I liked being held accountable for knowing all of that info at the end of the semester. It means you have to revisit the material a couple of times, and for me it takes a couple of times for information to stick around. This isn't undergrad where you just learn for the sake of getting credit for the class and then ditch the information, one day we will have to make decisions about patients' medical care based on our knowledge. I don't know of any studies comparing retention of information comparing the two examination methods (end of block vs end of semester), however, I know for myself that end of the semester will yield longer retention. my 2 cents

 

+1. Not to mention that the class is generally full of smart kids. Class average on exams is always between 85-92%.

 

To those who interviewed at UBC, don't let exams decide your choice. Pick UBC, and come experience life in the best place on earth!!

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+1. Not to mention that the class is generally full of smart kids. Class average on exams is always between 85-92%.

 

To those who interviewed at UBC, don't let exams decide your choice. Pick UBC, and come experience life in the best place on earth!!

 

I'm not worried about not doing well, I'm worried about the stress. And while I understand that everyone loves their school, curriculum structure is definitely a big factor when choosing a school.

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+1. Not to mention that the class is generally full of smart kids. Class average on exams is always between 85-92%.

 

To those who interviewed at UBC, don't let exams decide your choice. Pick UBC, and come experience life in the best place on earth!!

 

What is the class schedule like for first year at UBC? Do you have afternoons off on certain days?

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We have both - one at the end of the block and another during finals week.

 

Personally, I think that it a good way to do it, for the reasons described previously - two passes through the material, greater retention.

 

I am a HUGE one for stressing out about exams, but you'll be surprised by how much the pass/fail thing helps with that.

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