Fourth-Year Medical School Course Load and Success as a Medical Intern

I had mixed feelings going into my fourth year. I had heard that there is not much use to it. Besides applications to residency the rest of the year was meant for coasting. I decided to structure my year a little differently and filled my year with different subspecialties within medicine, the specialty that I am going into. I always wondered if this was the right decision or should have I just filled my schedule with filler classes. A study from 2016 looked at the value of the fourth year of medical school. The study found a positive association of number of intensive courses taken and the performance during intern year. Areas of excellence during intern year included medical knowledge, patient care and practice-based learning. I wonder if this affect is only present during the first part of the year and if it later evens out. I also wonder if students that usually take intensive courses are students that are top performers regardless, so there is a confounding factor. However, I do feel somewhat justified in making my fourth year a bit challenging.


  1. Christopher J. Richards,Kenneth J. Mukamal, Nikki DeMelo, and  Christopher Smith (2017) Fourth-Year Medical School Course Load and Success as a Medical Intern. Journal of Graduate Medical Education: February 2017, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 58-63.


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