I was in the day program so I can't speak to the other programs (and yes, the are run differently) but for days you have a fundamentals course and a head-to-toe assessment the first semester. The difficulty with have two courses was that there was an exam every other week. However, it's all basics to start and once you enter second semester (in my opinion the hardest) you should feel like first semester was a breeze! Second semester is medical/surgical and psych. The volume of information increases susbtantially. Third semester was labor and delivery and maternity...this was the most organized, easy semester for me...I just "got" the L&D topics and once of the professors has very detailed study guides that makes reading the text unnecessary. Fourth semester is complex med/surg and ethics. Our ethics class was very simple - one power point presentation and one 3-page paper. Complext Med Surg was difficult but the teaching was great and knowing that your going to graduate soon makes it all more bearable.
The program overall is a bit unorganized. Communication isn't very strong. Expect the first week of class to have no clinical, BUT you will be in class for the clinical hours.
I did notecards and I did very well with them. Notecards are NOT for everyone, however I noticed that more and more people were switching to notecard-based learning as the semesters progressed. You really need to know your info, you really need to focus on how the body works. It's very DIFFICULT but very DOABLE if you put the work into it...you NEED to study, and you NEED time to do so...so my greatest piece of advice is to make backup plans...it was always disappointing to see people who had to drop out of the program because they weren't doing well because they had to work 40 hours a week...you know in advance that you are going to school so plan well for it...take out student loans in the event you may need them, be ready to quit your job if you can't manage your hours, put your kids in part-time daycare or leave them in daycare longer so you can get your work done and then be fully present for them after you have all of your schoolwork done. It's a crappy two years and its a busy two years...be prepared for that committment. Your house won't be clean, laundry won't always be done, etc.
As for clinical...first semester the clinicals are based in Boston and in Tewksbury, MA. Lots of people carpooled and there isn't much room for switching. Second semester we go to Salem Hospital, Roxbury VA, etc. Third semester is a New England Pedi in Billerica, Winchester Hospital, Cambridge Hospital and fourth semester in Lahey Clinic in Burlington and Roxbury VA. This is for the day program, I know there are differences with other programs. You will get asked for your preferences but other than that you get what you get and you have to deal with it. People carpool, etc. and its not much of a problem. Not each clinical is alike and some provide more experiences than others, for example at NE Pedi all patient's have trachs, G tubes and most are on vents...and then if you had your Peds experience at Winchester Hosp you may get one child in for an asthma attack...