Medical School Genetics: Epitome of First Year Bliss

What Is Medical School Genetics?

Medical school genetics was one of my favorite first year classes. Well, before I tell you why, let’s first discuss the basics. What is it? The class focuses on diseases that are passed down from generation to generation. These diseases can range from cancer to sexual abnormalities. The course is actually quite interesting.

One example of a disease that I distinctly remember is Prader-Willi syndrome. For some reason, the name has a stickiness factor, which means it is hard for me to forget. People with this syndrome are obese. And whenever I think of Prader-Willi syndrome, I think of a fat kid named Willy prattling (babbling) around. I still remember the exact quote in lecture describing the syndrome: “You have to padlock the fridge to prevent them from eating.”

medical school genetics - the monster

Eugenia Martínez Vallejo was called “The Monster” because of her obesity. She probably suffered from Prader-Willi syndrome. This painting is currently in El Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain.

If you read about my thoughts on the first year of medical school, you will notice that I loved medical school. Now, as a second year, I am not loving it anymore. But that will be a topic for another day. One of the reasons why I loved first year so much was because of medical school genetics.

This was one of the easiest and most interesting classes I have taken so far.

How to Succeed in Medical School Genetics?

Succeeding in genetics class is not hard. As long as you do your work, you will do well. The main difference between this class and other medical school classes is that doing practice exams is totally unnecessary! I tried doing practice problems for the very first exam, I score 10 points below the class average. Without doing practice exams, I scored higher.

In UMDNJ, the teacher was very straight forward. He would also hold a review session before each exam. In his reviews, he will highlight the key points of each disease. He would guide you on exactly what to focus on for the upcoming exams. As I previously mentioned, as long as you do your work, you would do really well.

When I took the class, a really cool classmate would send out her own condensed notes. All I did to prepare for the test was study her notes for one, maybe two, hours and then I would be set for the exam. So if you go to the same school as me, definitely go to the reviews. Take notes on what the teacher is stressing about. See if someone is awesome enough to share his or her notes. And if no one is sharing notes, create one for yourself and study off of it. You can also become that awesome person and share your notes and make everyone’s life easier.

That’s It!

The reason the tips for medical school genetics is so short compared to tips for other classes because this course is really straight forward. I, personally, attended all the classes and did well, but I am sure that you can skip class without any harm to your grades.

Now, why can’t all classes be this straight forward? A sign of a good teacher is not how well you can trick your students on the exam, but on how much you learn from their teaching. Most teachers from my second year classes can learn how to teach from my genetics professor.

Study Tips

  • go to review sessions
  • study notes

Additional Medical School Genetics Resources

None is needed. Really! But if you really want to study from a book, all you need is First Aid. Read about my review for the book in the medical school books section if you are interested.

Hey, you! Do you want to know how an accountant, without a science background, made it through medical school without any difficulty? Do you want to know how I memorized a sea of information without cracking my skull in half and dumping the books into my brain? No, I did not slave away all night studying in the library either. If you want to know my complete study system, check out The Secret of Studying.

This article is part of the How to Survive Medical School series. Click on the link if you want more tips and hints about surviving academic hell.


  1. james kupamupindi says:

    i am really encouraged and elevated by your sharing. i am also a medical student in ZIMBABWE and i would really appreciate it if yoou can post anything on my email that is medicine related. THANKS

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