Wednesday, 17 August 2011

2. To Prereq, or not to Prereq... Not!

This week’s post is an argumentative debate between Danielle and Jeff on the prerequisite course requirements imposed by medical schools on prospective students, i.e. “the pre-reqs.”  Danielle is arguing for them and Jeff is arguing against them (despite what the truth and our opinions may actually be).

Now, when I started university I thought Danielle was pretty dumb as well – considering she still listens to what I have to say, not much has changed! Having said that, Danielle will soon learn that there is nothing useful gained by medical schools or society (including our patients) by forcing future physicians to take the current prerequisite courses before admission into med school. 

Falsity #1 – it’s the specific course content.
These courses provide no specific knowledge for success in med school or as a future physician. Most students begin to forget course content within days of writing a final exam, with retention continually declining for years. Furthermore, if knowledge retention from these courses correlated with medical school success, one would expect those students who enter medical school after two years of a Baccalaureate year would do better than those who enter after completion of a degree. However, the amount of education one receives before entering medical school has no effect on med school success – In other words students with four or more years of university before med school do just as well as students with only two years; despite the fact that the pre-reqs are taken during the first year or two of university. 

Falsity #2 – it’s the learning process.
Ever wonder why you went through twelve years of grade school? …Only to be fed useless information on dinosaurs, space, Greek mythology, and integral and differential calculus? Well, one of the many reasons was to prepare you for the next level.  Elementary for junior high, high school for university, and so on. To make my point, the “learning how to learn” processes gained from the pre-reqs are not exclusive to these courses alone. Do you honestly think a full year of biochemistry gives prospective students the learning experience, obtainable nowhere else, by preparing them to be better learners, educators, advocators, scholars and caregivers?

Falsity #3 – it’s the amount of material.
Danielle seems to think that the prerequisites prepare for you for the difficult learning curve you will face in medical school…. BUUUUULL...Shoot!  The only hell I remember in my undergrad were the arts courses I was forced to take. If med schools wanted their freshman-virgin students to be prepared for a hellish course load they would make an engineering degree a prerequisite. Engineers are the Oompa Loompas of science!

You want a useful prerequisite? Get a business degree.  …I don’t have one by the way.

- Jeff