Medical Students Are Skipping Class in Droves — and Making Lectures Increasingly Obsolete

STAT (08/14/2018) Farber, Orly Nadell

Nationally, close to 25 percent of second-year medical students said in 2017 that they “almost never” attended class during their first two, preclinical years, up 5 percent from 2015. Experts say medical students increasingly are skipping class to learn at twice the speed, with some following along with classes remotely. One in four preclinical students watches education videos on a daily basis, according to 2017 data from the Association for American Medical College. The trend indicates increasing dissatisfaction over the perceived mismatch between what they are taught in class during those years and how they are tested on national licensing exams. In response, Harvard, for instance, has eliminated most lectures, with students instead learning the course content at home and applying the knowledge in mandatory small group sessions. Meanwhile, the trend has spawned a cottage industry of online study aids, which observers say are likely to remain in business as long as licensing exams continue to require rote memorization.

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