You need to memorize everything from Physical Assessment (Spring Class) and perform it in a 30 min physical exam... perfectly! Be prepared, practice every day, practice practice, practice.
Now this could not have been more untrue to what I experienced. They were stressing about the Clinical Competency Exam where we perform a physical exam with a patient in the PSCCC. Think of what your provider does when you go for a physical... the provider doesn't do every tiny detail and exam because... its just a physical. If there is a finding, then, they exam further. I am not sure why everyone in the class above us made this seem like it was one of the worst parts of the summer. Most people in our class seem to find this pretty easy and … fun! Even though they told us to study and practice a thousand times, I felt that I did not really need to. Its pass/fail. There was no need to completely change my study habits and review this more than I felt necessary. I honestly ran through it once before every practice and before the final testing date and passed without any issues. I am not saying this to "boast" I am saying this because I have a hard time memorizing things (it takes me much longer than I would like it to) but even with this which is a heavy memorizing activity, I did not need to review it as much as they made it sound like I needed to. Now, I cannot speak for others, some people wanted to review this everyday before the exam, and thats fine there is no problem with that, but I would say that not everyone needed to do that (at least those in my study group). Others are nervous about it but do not think, by any means, that its very "difficult." I actually loved this part the most because it is pass/fail and we get to actually pretend to be providers for once.
FCM is the hardest class you have ever had up so far
Granted, we have a different instructor, however, she still claims she uses many questions from the other instructor and our class have averages 88-90 almost every exam. Yes, there is a ton of studying required for this class but the exams are not anywhere near what the upperclassmen were making it sound like. If you study the important parts, "most commons" "least commons" gold standards, treatments of choice etc then you know enough about a condition to get by. Before this class they even had an introductory about how to study and how to plan everything out .... which was very nice in thought but it did not help us as much as they probably thought it did. I guess it was partly our fault too for thinking we would have the exact experiences as them even when they told is that we may be different students.
*DISCLAIMER* I know it seems like I am bashing everything they told us, but that is not true. This upperclassmen class has been super helpful acclimating us the area, PA school and everything in gradschool life in general. They are amazing and have helped in more ways than they have hurt. NEVERTHELESS, the information they provided for us about the summer term was more inaccurate in my mind than accurate. (no one is perfect and our class may simply be different than their class, so I am not upset, but I just wanted to address these because many students who I study with discuss the misinterpretation on how difficult this would be due to skewed advice).
HERE ARE SOMETHINGS THAT THEY WERE SPOT-ON ACCURATE ABOUT:
You will be spending all your free time trying to study and get ahead
They could not be more accurate with this statement. Every second of everyday I am thinking about what I should be studying if I am not already studying it. (Don't take that as that I study every second of every day... I just think that I should be studying. e.g. going to get my car inspected I was thinking, 'I need to review my patho slideshows so I dont get behind') There is about 1-2 tests a week during the summer which pretty much destroys any weekend plans you want to have. The good news is that it is not HARD per se but its just a lot of information all at once that you need to organize into class tests.
You will surprise yourself
There are many things that I have learned and am almost confident that I will forget, but I go to work and then realize... I know more than I thought I did. Little things about a patient's presentation will key you into a memory of the condition and the rest just flows naturally.