In this second study in our series of rather un-scientific studies on medical student habits, we examine medical student class attendance during the first two years of medical school. There has been anecdotal evidence of medical student attendance in class declining as medical schools adopted an attendance-not-required-except-at-certain-special-classes policy. To obtain actual data on this phenomenon, we conducted a longitudinal study of medical student class attendance habits during the first two years of medical school. Results were collected by the same carefully-placed-disguised-as-medical-students scientists as in the medical student hydration habits study. These scientists simply recorded the number of medical students attending class everyday in addition to their recordings of medical student beverage choice. These scientists followed the entering classes of 2005, 2006, and 2007 for two years to obtain the following results.
Medical student attendance at class starts high at the beginning of every quarter but drops off as the quarter progresses, with the end of each quarter seeing the lowest student attendance. Fewer medical students attended class by the end of quarter six when compared to the end of quarter one. This drop-off in attendance may be explained by the fact that most medical students were freaking out and cramming for the USMLE Step 1 by the end of quarter six.
1. There was not 100% attendance in orientation activities, showing that even at this early point, it seems that some medical students already think they are above attending hokey group activities.
2. Surprisingly, attendance was not 100% for ethics, a required attendance class. This result may be due to failure of these students to realize that attendance at this class was required, but is unlikely as the trend continues throughout the second year of medical school. The more likely explanation is that a small minority of first- and second- year medical students do not believe ethics is an integral part of their education because they need that time to study to score >260 on the USMLE Step 1 to be competitive for the ROAD specialties and/or think they already know everything there is to know about medical ethics. This group likely includes the same group of students that were above attending orientation activities. We are currently in the process of determining how they got away with not attending this and other required classes.