What I really appreciate about how the PharmD program at OSU teaches students is its employment of a module-based curriculum. This is a little different from how coursework was traditionally set up in undergrad, where you took multiple courses at once throughout the whole semester. What you’re probably used to is simultaneously taking 4-5 courses a semester—which most likely differs in subject matter and having to take multiple exams in one week.
However, the module-based curriculum consists of coursework set up in blocks—where for a certain period of time, you will only focus on one class at a time consisting of weekly or bi-weekly exams. In P1 (first year), your first week starts off with a transition course that’ll be your stepping stone into integrating the professional PharmD curriculum. The next few weeks will be a course on pharmacy administration, the U.S healthcare system, and pharmacy law along with the corresponding lab and IPPE (part-time professional pharmacy experience based on coursework). The subject matter for each block of coursework varies, but essentially the same model is employed.
A normal week for a P1 student will consist of a morning portion of class starting at 8:30-11:20am and an afternoon portion from 12:30pm-3:30pm (later or earlier) every day of the week. Mondays and Wednesdays are reserved for lab and/or workshop; you are assigned a morning or afternoon lab. Wednesdays are especially unique because that is the when workshop takes place—a smaller class size to help reinforce content learned throughout the week. If you are assigned a Monday morning lab, then your afternoon can be reserved for your IPPE—which consists of geriatric and community pharmacy experiences. Having a schedule designed as such, could mean a half-day of class or no class on Mondays. Although this seems like free-time, it is wise to schedule this time to study course-work—as it can be easy to fall behind on lectures if you don’t keep up.
Keep in mind, the gaps in your schedule do not necessarily mean that you have this time to do nothing, it’s the time you should be using to study. Setting up a study schedule is really crucial to your success in the PharmD program throughout your time here—especially with the amount of content presented in a single lecture. This fast-pace nature of content presentation is a one of the key differences between coursework in undergrad and a professional program. This might sound like an exaggeration but trying to survive without a calendar or planner will be a tough. It is central to keeping track of deadlines and most importantly, making time to study. Find somewhere that works for you, sometimes all it takes to get started and to actually have a successful study session is the environment—some of my usual spots include the Health Sciences Library, Biological Sciences/ Pharmacy Library, or Starbucks near campus. It is also helpful to create a study group—everyone exhibits varying strengths in their knowledge base, which is helpful in learning content in a different manner. Also, don’t hesitate to make friends in the classes ahead of you (P2, P3) and ask for study tips for different professors.
Most importantly; with all that studying, don’t forget to take a break. Eat a snack, watch a YouTube video, whatever it takes for your mind to rest before you have to start studying again. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Lastly, remember to have fun! Go Bucks!