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Thomas the Fox

Current students: what is your schedule?

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This is for the didactic year.

 

What does your M-F schedule look like?

 

Bonus: how many hours a day do you study on top of class time?

 

Thank you.

 

The reason I ask is I currently do home health care in occupational therapy and am seeing the viability of PA school and 1-2 visits a day for HHC in OT. The hours are flexible so that wouldn't be the issue. The issue is how difficult the combination would all be.

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Up by 6 and at the gym....In class by 8-9, one hour lunch break every day, done by 4ish, sometimes 5. At home studying from 5-9 w/ a 30min dinner thrown in somewhere in between those hours. Repeat x5. Try to get in a good 8-9 hours of studying on Saturdays and Sundays as well (in front of the TV of course to keep myself from going crazy.) Not allowed to have a job in my program. 

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Damn, that is impressive dedication. Would you say your routine is typical? (Minus the gym part I'd assume).

 

See, I have ADD and it scares me. I am not naive enough to think I can do what I did for my Bachelors / OT / OT Boards. I studied 20 minutes before tests, and 1 hour a day for 7 days before taking the OT certification board. I just don't know if I can will myself to change that to studying 4-8 hours a day. Scares me to death.

 

But, like I said, would you say your routine is typical in terms of studying? Is that the degree at which your classmates seem to, as well?

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Class pretty much from 8:00-5:00 everyday with an hour for lunch. Then I work out will about 6 and study until 8:00-9:00. Repeat the next day. On test days the two nights before I typically stay at school studying with a group until 1-2 in the morning. I know a lot of people can't do that but that's what works for me.

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Every school is different, too.  Some have mandatory attendance and others do not.  My program varies daily but essentially classes can be scheduled between 8a-6p though rarely do they go for that whole 10 hrs, always with an hour for lunch.  Some don't allow you to work at all while others do (though even those programs strongly discourage it and reserve the right to make you quit should your grades suffer).  Some students spend all their free time studying while others make sure to make time for the gym or significant others.  Even the ones who study all the time usually try to take one night off (Friday usually) or even a whole weekend day off if there aren't a lot of exams coming up.  But yes, most students spend a great deal of their free time studying or unwinding.

 

Basically you wouldn't be the first person to attempt to work during PA school, but either your free time or study time will be sacrificed (or sleep time though I don't recommend that).  Most people look at it as 'it's just one year of hard core dedication'.  Personally, the small financial gains from sparse work wouldn't be worth it for me (and wouldn't put a dent in my need for loans).  A lot of it is going to depend on you.

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It's possible to have a part time job outside of school. I know one person in our class who has one. You will be very busy. I would only recommend it if you already have a very solid grasp of medicine going into school (ie: have a good differential list, known signs and symptoms, labs, drug classes and indications etc). If you frontload a lot of knowledge prior to going into school you can have more time outside of class where you dont have to study as much and could find time to work.

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Not everyone studies the same amount to achieve the same level of understanding or memorization; in this way, people aren't created equally.

 

My class is strict. M-F 8am-5pm. We rarely deviate from this schedule. One hour lunch. We are allowed to eat in class, so many of us workout during the lunch hour and eat during class. Studying for me varies. I usually spend 5pm-8/9pm studying. Dinner is in there. Weekend...at least 6 hours on Saturday are spent studying, often more. Sunday as well. But I also make sure to schedule fun things. I rarely study Friday after school. I do grocery shopping and laundry on Saturday. You'll find a routine that works for you.

 

Most programs do not allow students to maintain a job on the side. Programs are just too intensive. It's a good thing, you want your free time for studying or relaxing, not work! Maybe that's just me. The federal government offers more than enough loans to survive off of. The average compensation of a new graduate more than allows the comfortable pay off of these loans. No sweat. 

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Our fall semester is Monday and Wednesday 8-5, Thursday 8-3 and Friday 9-12. However we sometimes have extra lectures or trainings in the afternoon on Fridays. On Tuesdays we are either in clinic (8-5) or have other trainings like simulation or physical exam teachings (if not in clinic had 3-4 of our Tuesday's completely off). Studying varies on what exams are upcoming, but easily studying about 3-4 hours a day during the week and 6-8 hours each day on the weekend. Again sometimes it's less or more depending on what we have going on that week.

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It's possible to have a part time job outside of school. I know one person in our class who has one. You will be very busy. I would only recommend it if you already have a very solid grasp of medicine going into school (ie: have a good differential list, known signs and symptoms, labs, drug classes and indications etc). If you frontload a lot of knowledge prior to going into school you can have more time outside of class where you dont have to study as much and could find time to work.

 

I wish I could say I do, but it may be foolish ignorance. OT goes indepth in anatomy & phys and a few other typical pre-reqs as well as other classes used in PA, but I honestly just think they're in different leagues.

 

I like what you said, cg. Study for an hour each day. That is more along the lines of what I would be used to. Do you have a history like me of not really needing to study for anything, or is your program part time?

 

Thank you all

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Keep in mind every program is different (best to ask faculty and current students of the programs you are specifically looking at to gain an idea of a typical day); and every student is different, what works for one person doesn't work for another. I have taken a completely different approach to studying in grad school than I did in undergrad.

Wake up, pack lunch and get ready/breakfast (Mon & Wed up at 530 to work out until 715)

Ride bike and bus to school.

Class from 9-2 or 9-4/5, depending on the module and the day of the week. Currently we have 4 classes going on but soon we will do one module at a time in a sort of block style.

1 hour for lunch midday. Eat and review for upcoming afternoon lectures.

Go home, take 30 min to unwind and deal with life stuff.

Study 4-5 hours each weeknight, with an hour for dinner.

Friday nights review study for 1-2 hrs then the rest off for me, Sat/Sun 5-8 hours studying each day.

I work out Mon & Wed from 6-715AM, Tues & Wed after class, Friday later at night. Sat AM workout. Sun is a rest day. Keeping a solid workout schedule helps me organize my life and stay on top of everything else. 

Lots of "Oh god, I need clean clothes and food" moments....

Only 1 person in my program works, part time two 24hr EMS shifts a month. They strongly advise against it. Honestly, it doenst really make a dent in the debt and the stress from balancing it often proves to not be worth it for many. Some can handle it and alot depends on the person and the program they are in.

PS- Studying 1 hour a day will not be sufficient, and do not fool yourself into thinking that it will be. Perhaps there are a few nationwide that can get by with this, but expect to spend a few hours a day studying.

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That's great advice. Thank you. Thank you all for your insight.

 

Can you guys (or anyone here) tell me your methods of studying? What works for you? Do you write it out, take a break every 30 minutes, etc.?

 

I literally have the worst study habits on Earth. I get bored after 20 minutes max and struggle. I need to find a good method, and employ greater discipline. Because I've heard from doctors that PA school in a few ways can be harder than med school. So I need to change and learn some good methods.

 

Thank you all

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That's great advice. Thank you. Thank you all for your insight.

 

Can you guys (or anyone here) tell me your methods of studying? What works for you? Do you write it out, take a break every 30 minutes, etc.?

 

I literally have the worst study habits on Earth. I get bored after 20 minutes max and struggle. I need to find a good method, and employ greater discipline. Because I've heard from doctors that PA school in a few ways can be harder than med school. So I need to change and learn some good methods.

 

Thank you all

Reading some of the other schedules on this topic, you can tell there is some degree of variation between programs. Sometimes that doesn't really change, is the amount of time we take to study. 

 

As far as study techniques, you'll figure out what works for you. You will quickly refine your study skills in order to keep up. Next week, I have 6 exams. The following week, I have 4 more (this is not an exaggeration). I study today for what I have coming in a week or two. I use my text books, wikipedia, youtube videos, lecture slides, lecture materials to study. It depends on the topic and day. Sometimes I just don't have time to read 20 pages of a dense textbook, I find other ways to get the material. 

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Ok I dont mean to be the voice of dissent, but I am at a reputable program and I don't study anywhere near that much! PA school is totally doable and achievable.  I probably study average 10 hours a week, maybe 15? Program is scheduled for 8-5, but commonly 7 hours instead. I have time to exercise everyday and do things with my wife. Just manage your time well, know your study style and what habits work for you. Most importantly study effectively. Don't do it with facebook open or in front of the TV. It will vary person to person. THere are time you will struggle and need to put in more work. Basically just realize their is variation, as there is in my class. If you make it into school you can make it out.

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Ok I dont mean to be the voice of dissent, but I am at a reputable program and I don't study anywhere near that much! PA school is totally doable and achievable.  I probably study average 10 hours a week, maybe 15? Program is scheduled for 8-5, but commonly 7 hours instead. I have time to exercise everyday and do things with my wife. Just manage your time well, know your study style and what habits work for you. Most importantly study effectively. Don't do it with facebook open or in front of the TV. It will vary person to person. THere are time you will struggle and need to put in more work. Basically just realize their is variation, as there is in my class. If you make it into school you can make it out.

10-15 hours per week... that's 2-3 hours per day aside from PA school. If you get out at 5, eat dinner, that pretty much fills up your evenings. If you don't study on weekends (applause), it's still intensive considering you're in school for 40 hours a week. But like I said in a previous post, not everyone needs to study the same amount to achieve the same level of understanding or memorization. It also depends on your program. My program is 24 months. I'm trying to pass tests and actually retain the material I am presented. For me, that means more than a few hours a week of studying. 

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How much do you think the length of the program plays into this? 

 

I have been accepted into two great programs, one which is 24 months, the other 36 months. My fiance and I will be newly married when I begin PA school. Part of me wants to go to the shorter program so that I can get out and start making money, but I also don't want to be too busy. 

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How much do you think the length of the program plays into this? 

 

I have been accepted into two great programs, one which is 24 months, the other 36 months. My fiance and I will be newly married when I begin PA school. Part of me wants to go to the shorter program so that I can get out and start making money, but I also don't want to be too busy. 

I have no idea. I assume shorter programs cram more in a shorter amount of time, considering the ARC-PA has the same curriculum requirements across the board for all programs. 

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I know when I interviewed at a 36 month program (mine is 26) that what you mentioned was a huge selling point, this idea that you get longer in didactic year to absorb the info and go at a more manageable pace. Personally I am not big on the 36 month idea, but that is neither here nor there.

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How much do you think the length of the program plays into this? 

 

I have been accepted into two great programs, one which is 24 months, the other 36 months. My fiance and I will be newly married when I begin PA school. Part of me wants to go to the shorter program so that I can get out and start making money, but I also don't want to be too busy. 

 

If it helps, I am in a 36 month program and I do tend to study a sufficient amount. For my program, we are currently taking 10 classes and I am in clinic one day a week from 8-5. 

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That was the kind of question I would have asked prior to entering school but trust me, none of us can remotely prepare you because your background, your personality, the program you choose, your professors, everything will be different and there is no way to know until you're in it. In the summer I studied an hour or 2 each night, quite a bit on the weekends, and crammed more before exams. The days were much shorter. Now we do one exam every Friday, including everything from that module, and I study pretty much all the time including most lunches. Friday definitely not. You cannot get behind. It does help to have a good background in healthcare but there is just so much to learn, things you never even knew possibly existed beyond "normal" medicine, so you just have to roll with it. It's only temporary. That being said, if you really are one of those people that retains everything said for 8 hours per day (on average 400 slides of info on ppt per day for my program), you could swing a shift here and there.

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Damn, that is impressive dedication. Would you say your routine is typical? (Minus the gym part I'd assume).

 

See, I have ADD and it scares me. I am not naive enough to think I can do what I did for my Bachelors / OT / OT Boards. I studied 20 minutes before tests, and 1 hour a day for 7 days before taking the OT certification board. I just don't know if I can will myself to change that to studying 4-8 hours a day. Scares me to death.

 

But, like I said, would you say your routine is typical in terms of studying? Is that the degree at which your classmates seem to, as well?

To the ADD (in all of us)... I struggle with that as well and personally have found that creating a regular schedule for my weeks and days has helped me calm the ADD and focus. Just a thought.

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