Cramming not an option for med students

Studying for exams in medical school begins well before the last few weeks of the semester. There is no last minute cramming. Studying begins at the end of every class.

“Every day I go home and go through exactly what we did and all the objectives so a month later when the exam comes, I don’t have a months worth of studying to do,” first year medical student, David Hales said.

The medical school has had three exams so far and are currently preparing for their final Dec. 9. The exams are made up of two parts: faculty written and sample questions from the past United States Medical Licensing Exams (USMLE).

The biggest difference between this exam week and undergraduate exam week is that there is one test. An undergraduate has an exam for each of their classes whereas the medical students have one final to study for that includes all of the information they have gone over.

“The teacher is the same, the test is the same so you don’t have to learn four different teacher’s test styles,” Hales said.

Although there is only one test, studying can be difficult due to the mass quantity of information it overs. It is also written differently than an undergraduate test.

“It is all multiple-choice but don’t let that fool you,” first year medical student Trista Osantoski said. “The shear volume of material on one of our exams is the same volume of material that I’ve covered in several entire undergrad courses.”

Multiple-choice questions can have up to eight different options that students have to choose from. If students have to guess, their chances of guessing correctly are slim.

Preparing for exams to this caliber also come with their own set of study tactics.

“In undergrad, I could get away with not studying,” Hales said. “In med school you really have to stay up on it.”

At the end of each class is the time to begin studying the material. Due to quantity of information, cramming at the end of the semester is a grave mistake.

“I study all the time now,” Osantoski said. “I have to change my study habits with the different doctors teaching the material.”

Lucky for them, CMed comes stocked with students in the same boat. With every first year student on the same exam schedule, it is easy to find a study buddy.

“During exam week at CMed, you’ll see everyone studying,” Hales said. “It’s easier to buckle down when everyone’s studying for the same thing.”

There is no special trick to passing the exams, but each student has their own tactics.

“I like to listen to music, it keeps me focused while I’m studying,” Osantoski said. “I’ve also become best friends with YouTube videos. It really helps to hear material being presented in a different way.”

The books medical students are required to have include ways to help the students.

“In the book, there’s a lot of pneumonic devices, so those definitely help keep all the terms straight,” Hales said. “I like to write them out at least 10 times per muscle or organ and just keep going down the list again.”

Medical school exams are not a multiple-choice test a student could pass with a week’s worth of studying. They are a tough compilation of material covered and sample questions from national exams to test students’ progress.

Medical school comes with its own styles of study strategies and habits, but in the end, each students masters exams in their own way.