Is Med School Really That Hard?

Recently, a reader sent me a message asking me if it’s true that “all you will do is study” in med school and whether or not it is possible to find balance between life and studying. I’d like to share my answer to all. Thanks for your question! 🙂

Congratulations on your acceptance to AUC! That’s really awesome. I completely agree with you on finding a balance between life and school. I’m sure there are some people who really do just study all day and night and not get any sleep, thinking that would help their grades, but this is unhealthy, decreases memory retention and focus, and they burn out quickly. On the opposite end, there are people who go out too much, which is easy to do here on temptation island, and then cram the week before the exam. And these people might be the ones who exaggerate how hard med school is.

The key here is time management. If you keep up with the material everyday and manage your time wisely, things will be easier. Medical school is no doubt a lot of work, and I definitely feel challenged, but after a few weeks of classes, I started finding a pace of studying that was right for me. The material is not hard. It’s just the amount of material, and that’s why time management is so important. You will for sure study everyday for a few hours, but I don’t think “all you will do is study.” If you keep up, you’ll always be able to find some free time everyday to do what you want, as well as on the weekends. The school even understands the workload and encourages us to go out with some friends once in a while, take a walk, study on the beautiful beach outside, etc… whatever that can help.

The difficulty of med school is something that should already be expected before coming here, yet I’ve seen too many people who come here and start complaining, as if they are finding it out for the first time. But if you come in mentally prepared to take on the challenge, and have an idea on how you can strategize your time, you’ll find that nothing’s as bad as they say. In fact, every semester, about 15-18% of the student body makes it onto the Dean’s List, which requires at least an 87% average for the semester. In terms of academics, don’t think AUC is any more or any less challenging than any other medical school  in the US.

Again, congratulations on your acceptance and I’ll see you next semester!

Benji

**UPDATE 2/18/2011**
A question that I get asked a lot is which semester I felt is the hardest semester. Well, let me tell you. After being here a few semesters, I have to say every semester gets more and more challenging. In hindsight, previous semesters seem easier in comparison, but I will never say that they were easy when I was experiencing those semesters. Every semester you are in med school will be the “hardest semester so far” and do not let what upper semester students tell you make you think the first few semesters of med school is a breeze. But since I’ve already made it as far as I have, in my honest opinion, fifth semester is the most challenging semester by far.

 

7 comments to Is Med School Really That Hard?

  • aakriti

    Thank you for your insight! I’m heading there in May and this helped in preparing me:)

  • John

    How many hours free time do you think are there (breaks, eating time included)?

    • Benji

      During first semester, you have 3.5 hours of lectures in the morning, 2 hours of anatomy lab in the afternoon, and later in the semester, an hour of ICM. All other time in between is free for you to choose how you spend it.

  • chris

    hey benji,
    do you if the AUC provides video recording of the lectures?
    thanks a lot!

  • Mark

    Hi Benji, I really appreciate you taking the time to write the blog. I have found it quite informative.
    I have heard that only 80% match on their first attempt, is that true? If so, thats a scary number.. Any thoughts?
    Also is AUC near the touristy area where the cruise ships go and all the hotels are etc?
    Thanks!
    -Mark

    • Benji

      Hi Mark, this is true. The official AUC match rate on its website and from school officials is a little above 80% from year to year. It is low compared to the average US med school but better than the average off-shore Caribbean med school. You’ll have to work hard to make sure you are cream of the crop. AUC is a few minutes away from the airport, shops, beaches, and a few hotels. It is about 20-30 minutes from where the cruise ships dock when traffic is OK.

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