September 1, 2011

Study groups

Filed under: Med School and the MSTP — sanguinemare @ 10:38 pm
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I have discovered that as an MSTP, it is next to impossible to study with someone who is not an MSTP.  This is because a large chunk of the material we are studying is different.  Since we have a much shorter amount of lectures we are required to cover, when trying to study with people in the med school, very likely most of what they would like to go over are things we are not responsible for.  So in effect, being part of the MSTP drives you to study with other MSTP’s who will need to know the same material in just as much depth as yourself.  Which intrinsically makes us “hang out”/spend more time with each other – as if we don’t get enough of that already.  Ah well.  It is nice to have other people to study with though – one of us used to be an English teacher in Japan for 4 years.  He is really good at teaching things in a way that is easily understandable, so I’m really glad I got a chance to study with him as he was going through his flashcards today.  Through that, I’m also glad because I realized that whatever I’m doing to study (which is basically re-writing all the lectures while looking at slides/transcripts of lectures at the moment) is working, because when we cover the stuff I have gone over, I knew them all pretty well.  It’s really slow going though… and I don’t think I’ve really “studied” like this for so many hours at a time in my life (except maybe cramming the day before the test in undergrad… which I guess I’m kinda doing right now haha…)

It’s definitely important to form study groups in med school though, regardless of who or how many people are in it.  Actually, that’s probably the case for any school you’re in.  It always helps to see different people’s perspective on what’s important, and to just review things multiple times.  Plus, they say when you teach someone something, you learn it much better (and it also exposes all the things you thought you knew, but actually didn’t!)  So I would definitely encourage people to do that – generally after you’ve already studied by yourself so you can contribute to the discussion, instead of just mooching off and being a sponge like I was for most of today. Heh.

We found out a few hours ago that our test tomorrow is going to only be 34 questions long, which we have to finish in 51 minutes (compared to our classmate’s 100+ to be finished in 2.5 hrs), and yet it is still going to be worth 15% of our grade. That means missing each question is going to factor a lot, so we have to know each lecture really well.  Bad news for someone like me, who tends to get general pictures, but doesn’t remember details very well.  Well, we’ll see.  I suppose I’ll have to skip grad school in the morning after all, so I can study.  Lots to catch up on…

August 11, 2011

Guess who just finished her first med school exam?? and mini-rant on computerized tests

Filed under: Med School and the MSTP — sanguinemare @ 12:19 pm
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We just had our first medical school test this morning.  We were separated into 3 groups by last name, and took the test at 3 different times this morning.  The third group should be going by now.  I caught myself almost violating the Honor Code because I almost slipped and mentioned what topic I should have studied more on when I was chatting with a classmate who hadn’t yet taken the test.  A slightly awkward silence ensued, and was politely covered up by both of us.  Oops.

I did fairly well, especially for not having studied much.  I got a little distracted with a new comedian I discovered on Youtube, and with talking with a friend about how much we miss my home state.  He also convinced me to finish my Wards reflection essay instead of continuing to study last night (which I will probably be posting on here at some point), because as he said, I wouldn’t want to work on it after finishing the test.  He was right!  Haha.  So yes, didn’t get much sleep, didn’t study that much, did fine.  The fact that we all knew we only needed a ~12% on the test and that no quartiles were being formed yet for the class was a major stress reliever.  Although I hear some students still spent the whole last week studying… guess that shows who the hard workers are.

There seems to be a pretty big dichotomy here – those who study for hours and “don’t have a life” and people who think it’s boring, a waste of time, and still have fun every day.  Of course, this may just be a last hurrah for the latter before the real grind starts, but it is interesting to see.  I personally am somewhere in the middle – I think some of the topics are interesting (otherwise I wouldn’t post about them haha), but I also subscribe to the feeling that “real” school hasn’t started yet.  We shall see how we change throughout the next year I suppose.

On a slight tangent, I really hate taking computerized tests. Why? Let me list the ways:

  1. Inability to use a pencil and paper, which is my preferred method of taking notes or tests.  A lot of stuff goes with this, as you will see in 2, 3, 5, and 6.
  2. Inability to fill in bubbles!  This goes along with the first one, but I used to love filling in bubbles for multiple choice tests.  There’s just something satisfying about it, and erasing and re-filling a bubble if you need to change an answer.
  3. Inability to mark the sheet when you are unsure of an answer.  Yes, I know, you can “flag” answers, like we had today, but it’s not the same.  And you have to scroll through a long list of numbers to find a particular marked question, instead of just quickly scanning a sheet that has everything laid out right there.
  4. Infernal clicking from all corners of the room, which interfere with thought processes, both when trying to figure out the answer, and when trying to read the actual question in the first place.  Perhaps I should invest in some good ear plugs.
  5. Inability to take notes/use the test question booklet as scratch paper to draw on the diagrams, etc to help figure out the problem.  This requires having to either supply your own scratch paper and redraw any figures, potentially difficult for those who can’t draw and wastes precious time, or having to do things in your head.
  6. Along with that is the annoyance of having to move your head up and down as you try to solve the problem on a piece of paper, then looking at the answer choices, then going back to the paper if you messed up, then looking back at the screen to click the answer. And repeat.  Much easier if you just write and fill in a bubble right on your desk.

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