Hi I go to Rush University in Chicago!
How many exams do you usually have per week?
1-2 exams/week. Sometimes we'll get lucky and not have an exam one week, but there are always things to study for.
Does your class schedule stay the same or change week to week (sometimes changing last minute)?
Our program has a rule that any "TBA" time slots have to be filled by 8pm otherwise we do not have to go to them. Our schedule is generally 8am-5pm, but most days we'll start a little later or end a little early.
Do you ever feel that professors are presenting info one way and testing you in a completely different way? Do you ever feel that tests aren't "fair" and, if so, do you just suck it up?
I feel that every test I have taken, thus far, has been "fair". We have learning objectives to help guide us with studying, but generally I just study all the slides for lectures and I am good to go. It is a lot of material and very challenging, but they don't try to trick you.
Do you feel the need to look to other resources (books, youtube, articles) to supplement your education? Or is the classroom enough?
I feel the slides are enough, but I will read the book or watch a youtube video that a classmate has posted for clarification. Some people like to use outside sources, especially for anatomy because there is a lot of great content out there, but it is not necessary, just supplemental.
How challenging are your exams? Are you usually tested on "bigger picture" concepts?
The exams are challenging because there is a lot of material. Like I said, the instructors in my program do not write their questions in a "tricky" way, and if the majority of the class gets the question wrong, then generally they'll throw it out.
Do professors often make mistakes on exams such that the exams have to often be re-graded?
There are no obvious errors in our exams. Sometimes the professor will announce that there's a typo in a question during the test, but other than that, we have not had any exams "re-graded".
Are your exams curved? What is a failing grade? What is grounds for dismissal from your program?
Exams are not curved, but they will throw out "bad" questions. Depending on the class we have to score either a 70 or 80% on every exam, or we have to remediate it. If we score lower than an 80% in the class overall then we have to remediate the entire class during the break. Our program is very supportive. They work with anyone who is struggling and make sure that no one falls behind. I have not heard of anyone being dismissed from our program, because they intervene and help you before that happens.
Do your classmates ever express negativity towards the format of your program and, if so, do you have a formal way to submit grievances?
The instructors and the program director encourages an open discourse. Our program faculty is fairly small, as is our class size, so they are able to address any concerns we may have. In general, people complain here and there but we all feel like everything is fair and that we can talk to any of the faculty if we have an issue with something.
Do you ever think that other PA programs are better than yours or are you happy to be in your program?
I love my program. I am so happy I am in such a small cohort (only 30 people), I think it makes a huge difference.