Homework or just hard work?

Dear fellow OPM’s:
Actually I guess I should call you guys OMS’s in deference to your achievements to date! Looking ahead to med school and what to expect, I am wondering what the outside-of-classroom time commitment is like. I am a PhD student simultaneously doing my premed coursework. I just successfully completed what may have been the hardest week of my academic life to date, and I still can’t get the cramp out of my corrugator supercilii! Seriously, though, sitting for 10 hours of doctoral prelims while also writing a term paper, grading 400 short answer exams, doing chem/bio homework and preparing a powerpoint presentation put me closer to the edge of my capacities than I have ever been yet. Not a precipice I wish to view too often! I don’t mind studying like a maniac for exams, or memorizing huge amounts of multi-syllabic terminology, etc, because you can pace yourself for that throughout the semester. What I worry about is all the extra “homework” type assignments with hard deadlines on top of all that (e.g. papers, powerpoint presentations, lab reports, biochem homework, quizzes, etc). Can any of you tell me how much of that sort “homework” comprises the med school grind? Your advice would be appreciated!

At my school the “extra” homework BS is minimal which is a good thing…it takes way too long to memorize and learn all the itsy bitsy details…

almost everything is multiple-choice exams. that’s because we don’t have the funding for people to grade anything except multiple-choice exams.
we did have some fill in the blank for anatomy, but that was short-lived.

Hi there,
There isn’t so much homework as there is “study-work”. You have to study on a daily basis to master the huge volume of material that you must assimulate. Exams are multiple choice or “multiple guess” as we were fond of saying back when I was a medical student. There are not too many papers to write (I wrote two in four years) because there is just no time to read all of that stuff. Tests are graded by computer after you “bubble-in” little charts. My school is now going from computerized exams since every exam room is wired. The exams will be graded as soon as the student is done so you get your grades back sooner. This is also good for ferreting out “cheating patterns” which have cropped up from time to time. This should be interesting and something like what happens on USMLE exams.
Anyway, you study more than do “homework assignments”. I found the material (except biostats and epidemiology) pretty interesting. The material was not difficult; just the volume. You ramp up and wisely come to the realization that you can’t learn it all. After that, you settle into whatever style you need to get the job done.
Good luck!

For schools with clinical classes running through the pre-clinical years there are a lot of patient write-ups to do. More bring-backs and presentations in problem-based learning formats–but a lot less class time too.