cruising into the buzzsaw of my academic inadequacies

It is highly probable that I am going to score an Unsatisfactory on the 1st anatomy block final (Friday morning, 21 Sept.) I REALLY do not want to go on the five-year plan (there are seven repeaters in my 1st-year class! Boom-- an additional year and $40,000 more debt than you anticipated accruing) or spend my summer experiencing the joys of anatomy again.

This is not that famous false modesty/paranoia of the studious person. I am just woefully unprepared and untalented at this subj. All I can do is memorize like crazy for the next 4.5 days and try not to sleep.

Here is today’s word to the wise: you will be urged to go to open lab hours to study for exams. If you do not know the basic facts of the structures before you go I don’t think this is a good idea. I wasted four nights in that place having various kind people brandish probes and bits of sinew at me and learned NOTHING therefrom.

Oh well!!! Mustering my optimism and prayerfulness now and mãos à obra (that’s portuguese for nose to the grindstone). At least I’m in the best shape of my life… exercise is a cheap stress reducer and I can’t afford unwholesome food :slight_smile: For those of you who are doing part time study and fulltime work I can unequivocally say that fulltime study is far more enjoyable.

Matt -

You have my sympathies. I’ve been there. I flunked our first anatomy exam, and I was not at all surprised by that. I knew going into the exam that I was not well enough prepared. You can bounce back from this. On the second exam, I scored a 94% and only missed one practical question.

Honestly, if you don’t feel you gain anything out of going to lab, then don’t go. I found it was much more valuable to spend time in the library with Rohen’s photographic atlas or online at SUNY Downstate’s website or UMich’s website. I don’t know how much of your exam is practical vs. written, but there are a number of good websites out there with anatomy practice questions. Send me a PM if you are interested in them.

Keep your head up. It took me most of first year to figure out what I needed to do to succeed in medical school. After failing five exams first year, I came back second year and didn’t fail any. Not only did I not fail, I scored near or above average on all of the exams. I also know how hard it is to struggle, feeling like everyone else is doing fine (trust me, there are others struggling as well).

You can do it!!

Matt…I cannot provide any helpful or hopeful advice, but I can say I definitely feel your pain. My school starts off with biochemistry, histology, etc. in the first block. This is supposed to be the easy part…and as I am 1 week away from our first exam. I know I am not in good shape. I fear what awaits me in the “hard” classes…

Anyhow, I wasted the first two weeks of school whining how I don’t fit it, missing my hubby, or that I didn’t take grad level or even med school biochemistry & histology unlike some of my class mates. The separation from the hubby was more difficult then and I spent many weekends coming back and forth without cracking a book…now we have gotten more into a routine so it is better, but I find it impossible to catch up on 2 weeks of material. Anyhow, I hoping to somehow eke out a decent score on this first exam…and learn from my mistakes from my next 2 exams so that I may be in a good place at the end of it all.

I wish you the same…I have many reasons not to do well (some time out of school, only basic science course up to this point, away from my hubby, some health problems), but I knew all these things going in…so I can only do my best and quit wasting time worrying and complaining. Not at all suggesting that you wasted time and/or complaining…just talking about me! Also, I will take your advice regarding lab time.

bombed my first histo/embryo exam, now desperately studying for the first biochem. the pace is brutal. i don’t even have time to hit the shift key! the good news is, the school wants us to pass; the weeding out already happened! best of luck,

wow everyone is miserable!!! I guess that’s september of the first year for you. I am GOING to pass this exam if it kills me-- I simply refuse to have invested so much time just to flunk anyway. (And besides, as we all know, flunking with a 64, say, is much much easier to recover from than a 30 or something.) Best of luck to everybody!

I also did not pass the first anatomy practical…and now I am a fourth year getting ready to graduate (all done within the appropriate time)! Do not stress, do your best and move on. Like others have said there are other exams. Good luck!


I thought I posted earlier to this thread, but I guess I was too tired and did not hit “add post”!

I had my second block exam this morning and the anatomy written and practical (equally weighted) tomorrow. I do not think the lab is helpful unless I already know the names and can visualize them in my head! I am more worried about the written than the practical though. One thing that I think will help, is the BRS Gross Anatomy book. My school highly recommends these and pretty much gets their questions from these.

After tomorrow I can tell you for sure!

Even if you don’t perform as well as you would like, there is a lot of time to make up for one poor grade. I always figured the first exam to be sort of a “trial” anyway…after that you know what to expect and how to study more efficiently.

best of luck!

Anatomy lab for me was also a “waste” of my time hence I discovered the best book ever! I think it is a book by Rohen? and it has an awesome dissection with ALL structures on there that you need to know. These are actual photos not cartoons…

Just checking in to see how it’s going for all you MS-1s…I had my first exam already. As I expected, I knew going into the exam that I was not as prepared as I could and should be. In those final weeks before the exam, I really buckled down and tried not to think of what could have been. Anyhow, I found the exam to be very hard…but overall, I think I survived. We had an opportunity to review the exam questions in small groups so I sort of have instant feedback. Granted, I do not expect to get a good grade by any stretch of the imagination…but I am hoping that I passed, which I think is possible. In any event, I felt that while I did do not WELL, I think it was not so bad that I cannot recover. So I am headed to library, keeping up and quite possibly getting ahead for test 2!

Today is a new day!

I just finished my first block of exams last week and am preparing for my physiology exam (cardio module) on Monday. All in all, I have passed every single exam that I got back (histology, OMM, Biochemistry). I am just waiting for genetics. I received a high pass, almost honors, on OMT.

UMDNJ works a little different. I do not have anatomy until next semester. But I am still in the histology lab for about 4 hours every weekend looking at slides.

Anyhow, keeping up is tough. I am constantly reading and outlining the chapters. I have also found that looking at material online is a good way to supplement the material. Terry, in histology try the site for Blue Histology (

The work in incredibly time consuming. In addition, I have several clinical correlations to complete, several online quizzes to do, and I have started seeing patients in my preceptor’s office.

If I just read the material in the lecture notes, the book, and outline the material I will learn it well. In addition to all of the practice tests and listening to the lectures again helps.

I am sure that you guys will overcome.

Terry, do you have the programs Digital Histology and HistoTime? If not, I can mail you a disk with them. They are very helpful and have quizzes that you can do as well.


thanks for the tips. My MS2 “big sibling” gave me Histotime and I’ve found it very useful indeed. I’m changing my approach and will summarize the lecture notes and review them every A.M. in the hopes of keeping up a little better. We have a monster anatomy/histo/embryo exam this Monday that everyone is freaking over. well back to the grind!


How to learn the brachial plexus in 5 minutes

this is very handy.

Here’s a few more things you can fill in that may come in handy. Draw your diagram of the nerves and mark the lesions as you go. It really helped me!

Lesions of:

Long thoracic = winged scapula

Upper trunk = waiter’s tip

Musculocutaneous = Loss of elbow flexion & some sensory loss

Posterior cord = Wrist drop

Axillary = Deltoid paralysis

Radial nerve = Wrist drop/Saturday nite palsy

Median nerve = Decreased thumb function; loss of forearm pronation; loss of sensation thumb/lateral palm/radial 2 ½ fingers; thenar atrophy

Lower trunk = claw hand

Ulnar nerve = Loss of intrinsic muscle use in hands; loss of sensation over medial palm/ulnar fingers

Regarding the diagram you posted up. I have no idea about what much of that meant, although I could extrapalate some info. However, it was pretty cool.

That is just as cool. I can’t wait to get into this stuff. I was reading about what third years do regarding patient rounds (internal medicine especially) and I was getting really excited about it. I don’t know if it’s solving problems, or helping people, or both but it sounds like so much fun!

Thanks Linda! I’ve pasted that one into my pda.

medeirosaurus, the brachial plexus is a big group of nerves you will have to learn in your first year. Every little tip helps!

The latest mnemonic I got is for the axillary artery:

Screw the lawyers, save a patient:

Division 1:

Superior thoracic a.

Division 2:

Thoracoacromial a.

Lateral thoracic a.

Division 3:

Subscapular a.

Anterior circumflex humeral a.

Posterior circumflex humeral a.

It’s a miracle… as of Friday I am passing all my courses. So far I have finished two:

Medicine and Society: Honors (!)

Molecules, Molecular Genetics, and Cells: Satisf.

Ongoing courses, I’ve got:

Principles of Disease and Therapy: an 80 average, hoorah

Clinical Practice of Medicine: either High Sat or Honors

the dread Gross Anatomy– I JUST pulled it up over 65 after the 2d block exam, climbing out of an awful first block hole by my bloodied fingernails. If I can pass the 3d, I won’t have to repeat this course again.

Woot! You go, boy!

Matt - the thread title is quite the intriguing metaphor!

Keep up the strong work!!

Matt –

I had a guy who was about to start a radiology residency after graduating from a well-known school here in Texas tell me this and I’ve found it to be very true…Medicine is not about who’s the smartest or brightest—it’s about who can endure the most…

Just make up your mind and settle it forever that they’re going to have to throw you out and nail the doors shut before you’ll leave…and you’ll do fine…

A tip an anatomy prof gave me was — 1) Preview the provided notes the night before the lecture. 2) Go to lecture and PAY ATTENTION, annotating the notes/PPTs as you go. 3) Go to lab and PAY ATTENTION. Work through the dissection at YOUR pace. Talk to yourself and pimp each other as you go along – ‘what’s the innervation, arterial supply - where does that come from, what’s the action’ type of stuff. 4) Review your notes that day and along the way – PAY ATTENTION to the pictures/figures in the book. It costs around $250 to put a figure in a book so it must convey important info. 5) Review both lecture and lab notes before the exam. For the practical, they should give you a sheet of important structures. Get a buddy and go in the lab the night before (or a few days before if necessary) and just ‘hit it’ – rapid recall – down the list.

That’s about 4 to 5 intense exposures through the material and should get you to at least pass, he said it would get you about a B…

Hope it helps…