Ranking at the top of your class will open opportunities for scholarships and help you secure the specialty of your dreams (see my post, How to Win a Dental School Scholarship)! I graduated in the top 10% of my class. Here is my advice to boost your class rank! HINT: It’s all about working SMARTER, not harder!
Look at your course list for the semester. Identify the courses that are assigned the MOST credits. These classes will be weighed the most heavily in your GPA calculation. Therefore, you should prioritize your study time to focus most these classes. Then, identify the courses that are assigned the LEAST credits. These classes will be weighed the least heavily in your GPA calculation. Therefore, you should prioritize your study time to focus least on these classes. Let’s look at the example below. This is the D1 course list at my Alma Mater, University of Maryland.
For courses denoted year long, your grade is calculated at the end of the Spring semester, but then applied to your GPA for both the Fall and Spring Semesters. For example, Operative Dentistry is 2 credits in the Fall, and 3 credits in the Spring. You will receive a grade for the course at the end of the Spring semester, which is then applied to both Fall and Spring semesters. These courses are worth spending extra time on, as your success has a cumulative effect over two semesters.
The courses with the MOST credits in the Fall semester are: Cell and Molecular Bio (3), Dental Anatomy (3.5), Microbiology (4), and Gross Anatomy (3). You should devote the most study time to these courses. The courses with the LEAST credits in the Fall semester are: History of Dentistry (0.5), Ergonomics (0.5), and Clinical Research Conferences (0.5). You should devote the least amount of study time to these courses.
What other ideas do you have to work smarter, not harder? Comment below!