The first year of medical school is classroom-based and has limited patient contact. Well, now most medical schools are attempting to give their students more exposure to patients and the clinic so you may have seminars or shadowing opportunities with physicians.
But remember, the goal of the first year curriculum for medical students is to become familiar with normal body function and anatomy. While the second year is primarily devoted to pathology and what can go wrong with the body. Your courses in year one will include:
Your exams in medical school will primarily be multiple-choice. Although, some institutions do use essay exams to test your knowledge in biochemistry with all of their pathways to be memorized. But your molecular biology class can also be tested via essay as well.
In medical school grades do matter because it relates to your class rank which is important for securing a residency position after graduation.
But in most medical schools they try to reduce the competitive nature of the first year medical school class by not using letter grades e.g. A, B, C and F. It is more important for you to know the information and know it well. As one of the first year medical school professors stated, "Everything that I am teaching you guys is important otherwise I wouldn't be saying it."
This is very relevant so anything that a medical school professor says is going to be fair game on his/her exams. The reason being you will be in the hospital dealing with real patients and you will have to apply what you've learned in the first years to help them.