Baylor Med’s Accelerated Curriculum – Too Demanding?

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Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) is one of the few schools which has an “accelerated” basic sciences curriculum. Finishing this portion medical school in eighteen months (rather than the traditional two years) gives BCM students an additional six months to master their clinical skills on the wards. However, several interviewees and prospective students alike have posed the same question from time to time – is the faster pace too demanding?

I suppose I’m in a good position to address this question having nearly completed the basic sciences. In retrospect, BCM’s tried and proven curriculum is simply… for lack of a better term… magical. I really have no idea how we’ve learned so much by being in class for such a short amount of time (relatively speaking)!

We’re in class for only four hours of lecture a day, and on certain days, labs are built into that time. This translates to having an enormous amount of free time on most afternoons to use as we see fit. And this is where one of the hallmarks of BCM’s curriculum becomes apparent – flexibility.

All medical students are smart. They’re dedicated. They’ve proven themselves through grade school and college to overcome challenges successfully. So why should a medical school subject them to hours upon hours of lecture, when in reality, each student has a slightly different way he or she learns the best. The flexibility we receive at BCM empowers us to explore different ways to learn the material. Group studying, reviewing structures in the anatomy lab, independent studying, and rewatching lectures by video streaming are all methods routinely used by my classmates to gain a better grasp of the material. This simply wouldn’t be possible if lectures ran from 9 to 5.

So with all this free time, can students still excel on standardized exams and match to awesome residencies? Well, quite frankly, yes. BCM has consistently scored well above the national average on the Step I, and consequently, had some incredible matches. We’re just a bunch of happy, fun-loving, and ridiculously good looking students ( 😉 ) who live by the “study hard, party hard” mentality. Or maybe that’s just my class. 😀

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