Onwards, to another semester of med school! + winter break updates

Welp, I checked all my grades and I’m happy to say that I’ve passed all my classes! No remediation! I got what I was expecting, with the exception of two classes: one was Foundations, which turned out to be my lowest grade (really?), and the other was physiology.

I calculated my grade after the final cardio phys exam key was posted and knew I had passed. When I went to check my final grade, I was expecting a 6-8% curve based on previous years, so I knew my grade was going to be bumped up. But instead of 6-8%, they curved it by 12%, over a whole letter grade!

Speaking of grade boosts, something we have at Nova that gives you some free points at the end of the semester isΒ called the Blood Point(s). It takes the phrase, “I shed blood, sweat, and tears for medical school” to a literal level. Our histology professor is heavily involved with blood, plasma, and bone marrow donations. Every year, she offers the M1 class a point of extra credit in biochemistry, histology, anatomy, and physiology if they can get at least half of the people in their class to donate. Pretty much everyone I know in my class donated something or registered for the bone marrow registry, or both. When our final histology grades were posted at the end of finals week, our professor had added 4 blood points instead of just one. Perhaps the physiology department was also feeling generous when calculating final grades and added 4 blood percentage points? In any case, my class mates and I were more than happy with the extra boost.

Classes start up again for us on the 6th, and I’m experiencing a mix of emotions about going back. First of all, when I’m not sleeping, eating, or hanging out with friends/family, I am bored out of my freakin’ mind. When it hits around 3:00 PM, I start wishing time would just go faster so I can go to bed, wake up, and be one day closer to starting school again. Other times, I think about school starting so soon and start freaking out about how much work I didn’t do this winter break. I brought back my Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple book to help me get a head-start in microbiology I and II for this coming semester. Guess how much I’ve read?


I’ve read exactly zero pages of that book so far.

I don’t know why I thought I could get through the whole book over break because it’s a pretty thick book. I know some other people that had planned to memorize it over break, and I wonder if they were successful/if they’ll retain the information/if it will significantly help for class. I guess we’ll see in a week or so.

Some good-ish news is that I got myself a month’s worth of free subscription to this program called Firecracker. It’s essentially a flashcard system that quizzes you on subjects that will be tested on the COMLEX and USMLE exams. You can flag different topics and then take a quiz on them. You can also just study the material on the cards first and then take the quizzes to test your knowledge. What I find to be a pro with the program is that the quizzes aren’t multiple choice. You type out an answer in a box. Or if you’re lazy like me, you think about the answer in your head and then click on “show answer”. Then you compare your answer to the correct answer. It’s not multiple choice, so it eliminates the possibility of guessing an answer correctly. You have to really know it. After you compare your answer with the correct one, you can then give yourself a grade on a scale of 1-5 on how well you answered the question. Depending on the grade you give yourself, the program re-shuffles the cards and quizzes you on the topics you’re the weakest in. The program also has a scheduling function, so it can program itself to spread out the flagged topics over a period of time. This way, you stay on schedule. I’m finding that the scheduling part is a little glitchy. On one day, it’ll give me 20 cards, and then on other days it’ll just give me 1 card a day for the next week. I’m not sure if it’s just me and I’m not understanding the scheduling function well enough or if it’s a glitch in the free trial system.

I’m very much so a flashcards person, so I’ve been finding that it works pretty well for me. I’ve been reviewing some anatomy and biochemistry on and off throughout break with it and wow I’ve forgotten a lot. I’m glad that I’m starting this now, or at least attempting to. With class starting so soon though I’m thinking about switching gears to previewing lectures for the first week of the new semester. I don’t think our BlackBoard content is available until tomorrow or the day after, so I’ll just have to keep myself busy until then.

– NB


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