A Black Female Medical Student

Anatomy Vs. Biochemistry….

Posted on: October 18, 2008

I had my Biochemistry test today. I think I’m going to shoot my undergraduate Biochem and Cell Bio professors a thank you e-mail because if I hadn’t taken those classes in undergrad, I would probably be feeling a lot different. Not that I really retained very much information from those classes in undergrad, but my Cell Biology professor’s testing style seems to be very similar to my current Biochemistry professor so I wasn’t too freaked out on the exam today.

Its a completely different type of class from Anatomy, and I know I felt frustrated the night before. I was going over old exams with one of my classmates, and they were hard! We had the book, lecture notes, lecture sildes, and reading notes all laid out in front of us and it was still hard! For the life of me, I could not figure out some of those problems.

Our professor will give you a whole bunch of information by way of lectures and a note set he prepared, but will not tell you what to do with it. He does expect us to read the book, and while I didn’t for this exam, I think I will for subsequent exams because its the only study source with all the information he may choose to cover. I have found it to be an easier read than his note set, which has grammatical errors, incomplete sentences, and is just poorly worded in some areas. The lecture slides fill in some gaps that were left in the note set, but I feel it would just be too easy for me to miss something, especially since I retain very little from in class lecture. I do much better by reading. I can sit in a class for an hour maybe only pick up like 30% of what they’re trying to teach me.

For example, last night, my friend and I were trying to understand the reaction mechanism of aspartyl proteases (HIV-protease is a example of these), and I stared at the picture for about a minute to no avail. He picked it up a immediately, but I didn’t until I read the notes, and then it was like a light bulb clicked in my head. He couldn’t believe it and called me weird. He said it was akin to him showing me how to open a bottle of Gatorade or reading out the instructions like: “Grasp the bottle at the neck and at the cap…” Lol.

Okay, back to Biochemistry. So we do have access to past exams, but he never repeats questions, so the exams are just a huge test of your problem-solving ability. My classmate said, it’s just a test of your ability to make up “plausible explanations”, a statement which I agree with. I probably came up with at least 3 or 4 different answers to each question before I settled on one.

Anyways, the test was okay. I don’t know if I got that 90% I was shooting for, but I should make it into the 80s somewhere. I think. I hope. 🙂 I don’t even know how our class felt about the test overall. There was little to no discussion afterward. Generally, after our Anatomy tests, that would be ALL people would talk about for the next  hour or so. I think its because in Anatomy we have definitive answers, while in Biochemistry there are definite concepts. Memorizing doesn’t really serve you as well, it most about understanding the how and the why and applying that to whatever random scenario he throws at you.

Our last Anatomy test is coming up this Monday, THANK YOU JESUS!

I am not a big fan of Anatomy. I like Biochem so much more. I don’t know how I feel about Physio yet, because I haven’t been to class. 😛

What I do like about having taken Anatomy is that my memorizing skills have increased like… 100-fold since coming here. Anatomy was just a test of how well you can memorize massive amounts of information and then regurgitation of those details on the test. Also, I know a whole bunch of just really random stuff! I’m glad we got it out of the way first though, I cannot fathom having to look forward to 3-4 more months of lab. That would be horrendous.

Okay, I have to get back to studying. Have a great weekend!

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