Jump to content
Premed 101 Forums

How Tough Is The Med School In Terms Of Workload?


sggh665

Recommended Posts

4th year med student here -

 

I didn't find preclerkship to be that hard compared to undergrad. Like ubc2012 says, the main issue is high volume. The volume of content and fast pace of learning can be overwhelming at first, but as you learn how to efficiently study for med school exams and learn what content is more important for the exams and for future practice, it becomes easier than undergrad in my opinion. Also, it is pass fail (60,65,70% pass depending on the school and course) and so you are no longer stressing out about getting a 4.0.

 

In clerkship I found the biggest challenge was getting thrown into new environments daily/weekly/monthly (depending on the rotation) and trying to get used to new content and get used to the way things are done at each clinic.

 

Overall I never found the content that hard to learn, I just had to find a way to study efficiently for high volume low complexity exams. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The actual content in my undergrad was way harder, but the volume is not even comparable, as others have said.

 

If I procrastinated as much as I used to now, I'd fail. I don't think I ever started studying more than a week before a test in undergrad, now I study everyday.

 

You have three midterms next week (and believe me, not trying to minimize how much that sucks), but our quiz next week probably has more content than 3 of my undergrad midterms combined.

 

I don't mean to sound scary, it's totally doable, but it's definitely an adjustment, especially if you had less than pristine study habits in undergrad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Med school has a greater volume of information to it, but it's not necessarily tougher. For the most part, the subject matter is easier conceptually, and unlike in undergrad, you don't need to know it all. There are things I don't bother learning, even when they may be on an exam, because I know I'd just be cramming it into short-term memory and losing it after the test. As long as I do well enough on the exam - and you can generally do that by focusing on the big-ticket items - it doesn't really matter if you miss some minor details or smaller subtopics within a course.

 

On the other hand, Med School, like undergrad, is a choose-your-own-difficulty-level situation. I probably spend about as much time on ECs as I do on school itself, and that definitely makes keeping up with everything difficult. There are a few people in the class who do even more work outside of the curriculum than I do, and I have no idea how they keep up. On the other hand, some people do only a few ECs or none at all - they've got a lot more time to keep on top of their schoolwork (and to maintain their health/social life/sanity).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are things I don't bother learning, even when they may be on an exam, because I know I'd just be cramming it into short-term memory and losing it after the test. As long as I do well enough on the exam - and you can generally do that by focusing on the big-ticket items

 

I'm just curious, how does not studying everything not affect a student's future competency as a doctor? Or is this content fairly theoretical stuff like processes on a cellular level?

I'm just in undergrad so I don't really know but it kinda worries me that our future doctors are only expected to know 60% of their content.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm just curious, how does not studying everything not affect a student's future competency as a doctor? Or is this content fairly theoretical stuff like processes on a cellular level?

I'm just in undergrad so I don't really know but it kinda worries me that our future doctors are only expected to know 60% of their content.

 

Much of the content isn't required to be an effective clinician if you are a general practitioner. For example, you might learn 4 different lines of treatment for depression. But as a general practitioner, if someone hasn't responded to the first or at the most second, you are probably sending them to a specialist anyway, who focus's in that area. If you forget #3 and #4, that's not a huge deal.

 

Believe it or not, all doctors don't know all the content of medicine. It's impossible. Heck, all specialists don't know every last detail of their specialty either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm just curious, how does not studying everything not affect a student's future competency as a doctor? Or is this content fairly theoretical stuff like processes on a cellular level?

I'm just in undergrad so I don't really know but it kinda worries me that our future doctors are only expected to know 60% of their content.

 

The things I don't put much of an emphasis on when studying can basically be broken down into 4 categories.

 

1) Underlying science that has limited clinical utility.

 

2) Subjective topics or evaluations where getting things right is often conflated with appeasing the evaluator, 

 

3) Topics of minimal relevance to the specialties I'm interested in (or, more specifically, topics with relevance mainly to specialties I'm definitely not interested in).

 

4) Details which are clinically relevant but of minimal utility at this stage. Some of these are logistical details for which I lack context to use, having not spent much time in a practice setting as a physician-in-training. Some of these relate to relatively rare pathologies which are only briefly discussed. Even if I learned that information well, since it won't be reinforced, it'll likely be forgotten by the time I can make use of it. I'd rather put in the effort to commit it to memory when I'll be in a situation that makes long term memorization more likely. Quickly-lost short term memories do me (or my future patients) little good.

 

I don't want to give the impression that I'm being satisfied with mediocrity, far from it. I certainly care if I miss questions on topics relevant to specialties I'm interested in, or ones related to common pathologies. I'm not happy with a low pass - I'm just not going for a 90+ either. The effort necessary to get to that point would keep me from doing some of the activities I care about, ones which will help make me a better physician. I don't want to give those up for the sake of a higher mark that no one will ever see.

 

For me, the real test isn't in preclerkship, it's in clerkship, when I start my residency, and especially when I start practicing. I make choices that I think will best prepare me for those future challenges - and sometimes that means doing a little worse on the official evaluations now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm just curious, how does not studying everything not affect a student's future competency as a doctor? Or is this content fairly theoretical stuff like processes on a cellular level?

I'm just in undergrad so I don't really know but it kinda worries me that our future doctors are only expected to know 60% of their content.

 

 

Depends.  If you tell me you're depressed (to extend NLengr's example), I'm probably gonna mutter something about treating it with SSRIs, or maybe SNRIs possibly benzos, transcendental meditation, EtOH or the power of positive thinking.  I think SSRIs are probably first line, but after that I'm just guessing.

 

Point being, I'm an honest-to-god physician and I don't know what the current state-of-the-art thinking is about the treatment of depression.  I could look it up if I had to, but even then I'm not going to diagnose you or write a script for you because it's simply not what I do.

 

On the other hand if you're in septic shock and about to die you're likely better off having me taking care of you and not a psychiatrist.

 

Bottom line: there's too much to know about medicine for any one person to know everything.  The knowledge you need for the areas that you're trained in and practice in will be there at the top of your brain, but everything else fades into the static of synaptic noise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...