The school that I attend has a midterm and a final exam which determines your grade in the class. There are other extremely minor grades along the way, but basically the bulk of your final grade are those two exams. I don't like it as much, because there is VERY little room of "messing up". I thrive with the consistent exams as the course progresses to test your mastery of the subjects and it forces you to keep up with the material.
One of the initial challenges faced with students is studying strategies. A common phrase to describe medical school is "drinking from a fire hose" with the amount of information that is thrown at you and that you must know. I also like to describe it with pancakes. You HAVE to eat six pancakes a day. For the first few days, you're really excited and it tastes delicious, so eating six is manageable. However, very soon (usually within the first couple of weeks) you realize you can't seem to digest six anymore. So one fine day, you decide you only want four. But that means the following day, you know have eight pancakes to eat. This describes lecture material. It's SO easy to get behind and once you're behind, it's a strenuous workout to get back on track.
I've kind of been battling staying on track with all my lectures, studying, and practice problems. Usually I'm only a couple lectures behind *knock on wood*, but then I'm struggling to find time to physically remember all that I'm supposed to. I feel like one day I know it, and even just few hours later it's already out the door. I've also been struggling to find my optimum studying style. I know I'm very visual so I try to draw out my notes by making flow charts and diagrams - but more often than not, there's information that can't be placed in the diagram, and I just need to know it. Because there are a finite number of hours in a day, it's close to impossible to do absolutely everything you ideally would like to do. Prioritizing high-yield information is key. But, you don't want to be wrong =).
Since this is our first semester, we have sort of "mini-test" on Monday to test what we've learned thus far. It's worth about 6-7% of our entire grade, but it covers about a month's worth of information. Also, there are only three weeks between this mini-test and midterms, so there really isn't much of a wiggle room to catch up on previous material. There are so many things that I would have ideally like to have done by this point, but realistically won't get through. I was doing practice questions the other night and realized how little is ingrained into my tiny, little brain. I have four more lectures to catch up on, which I'm not too worried about - but it's all the essential details that I need to make sure I have down in two days. EEK!
Besides all of this, what really worries me daily - is the feeling of inadequacy. I know this is just the beginning, but I'm constantly afraid that I won't be able to know everything I'm supposed to, that I won't be able to do well on the exams, and that I won't be able to complete my dream of becoming a doctor.
But anyways, I'm trying to take a positive outlook this weekend. I can only do as much as I can do - can't really do much more than that. I'm hoping this mini-test will give me some insight of my current studying habits and how much information I can retain.
On a completely separate note, good luck to all the MS4s who are turning in their ERAS application this weekend. Congrats on making it this far and good luck on your interviews! I hope to be in your position soon =).