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5 Tips for Finding and Working With a Mentor

Do you know anyone who raves about their mentor? A mentor can offer you expertise and motivation as you work toward your goal of entering medical school and becoming a doctor. A medical student, professor, physician, or anyone with experience and knowledge in the medical field who is able listen, relate, and help invest in your future can be a mentor. For example, finding a mentor who is a physician can provide you with the perspective of someone currently in the profession. Whereas a medical student can give you the first hand perspective of someone who has recently gone through the application process and is currently working toward their degree.

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Dealing With Premed Stress

premed stress

With another busy semester behind you, you might be using your summer to work or volunteer, prepare for the MCAT exam, or work on your medical school applications. But summer is also a good opportunity to catch your breath and practice a little self-care. Being a premed is stressful, but there are healthy habits you can start practicing now that will help you manage stress next semester, and later when you’re in medical school.

1. Cook at home. It’s tempting to save time by always buying meals on the go, but cooking for yourself can actually be a stress relieving activity. And it’s often the healthier choice. Plus, it will save you money! Try listening to music, a podcast, or an audiobook while you cook, or turn it into a social activity by cooking with your roommate or significant other.

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Four Tips for Completing Your AMCAS Application

amcas application

The 2018 AMCAS application cycle has started! If you plan to apply to attend medical school starting in Fall 2018, the application is now open for you to begin working through the nine different sections of the application. While the application is straightforward, it can be easy to make simple mistakes that can delay the verification process. To help you fill out an application that may be processed faster, we asked for tips from the AMCAS Verifications Team, as they review and process thousands of AMCAS applications each year. The Verification Team provided us with some important tips to help you avoid making mistakes and ensure your application gets successfully verified.

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Where to Apply to Medical School: Factors to Consider when Making Your School List

where to apply to medical school

If you’re applying to medical school this year, you’re probably starting to think about what school you’d like to attend. Many students are encouraged to apply broadly, and on average, applicants apply to 16 medical schools. While the right number of schools is different for everyone—you may apply to more or less—a good rule of thumb is to only apply to the medical schools you would attend if accepted. This will save you time and money overall, even if it means doing more research before the application cycle begins.

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New Student Success Stories: How I Prepared for the MCAT Exam

Studying for the MCAT exam can be daunting, and chances are, you’ve typed “How do I study for the MCAT exam?” or “What’s the best way to prepare for the MCAT exam?” into your search engine. You may have even wondered how long you should spend studying.
Whether you are about to begin studying or are currently in the process, it’s likely you are still looking for guidance about where to start or where to find the best review strategy, or whether you are on the right track with your preparation. To find these answers, you may have searched the web, skimmed online forums, and consulted with friends or family, likely uncovering hundreds of different results, advice, and opinions that can leave your head spinning.

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Is a Post-Bacc Program Right for Me? Seven Benefits to Consider

It’s important to remember that as you prepare for and apply to medical school, there isn’t one set path you must take. It’s okay if your path takes different twists and turns along the way. Increasingly, applicants are taking gap years, sometimes called bridge years, between graduating from college and applying to medical school in order to gain more medically-related experience, pay down educational debt, or prepare for the MCAT exam.

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Five Tips for Staying Healthy and Productive in School

staying healthy and productive

While your dream of getting accepted to medical school probably involves countless nights studying, hundreds of volunteer hours, and a very long application process, taking time for yourself may not always be at the top of your priority list. What many aspiring doctors tend to forget is that taking some time to relax can actually boost your productivity once you get back to work.

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Medical School Interview Do’s and Don’ts

One of the most important phases of the application process is your interview. It’s your chance to demonstrate your communication and interpersonal skills, judgment, maturity, and the qualities that are important for a future physician. It’s also your opportunity to see if the school’s learning environment and culture is a good fit for you. It may seem early to start thinking about interviewing, but some medical schools start as early as July, while others interview throughout the fall and spring until their class is filled.
To help make your interview day a success, here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind as you prepare.

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Top 3 Myths about MCAT Scores Busted

As with any high stakes exam, it’s not surprising that there are a number of rumors circulating around the MCAT exam. So we are busting three of the top myths about the MCAT scores and score scale.
Myth #1: The MCAT exam is graded on a curve. 
There is no curve associated with the MCAT exam. Instead, the MCAT exam is scaled and equated so that scores have the same meaning, no matter when you test. What does that mean, you ask? There are many different test forms that are produced for a testing year, any of which you could see on your exam day. The forms of the exam are designed to measure the same basic concepts and skills, but each form contains different sets of questions. While care is taken to make sure that each form is about equivalent in difficulty, one form may be slightly more or less difficult than another. We adjust for these differences in the difficulty of test questions when we convert the number of questions you answer correctly to the MCAT score scale. This ensures that scores have the same meaning across test administrations and testing years.

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Tips to Get the Most from the Medical School Admissions Requirements® (MSAR®)

Medical School Admissions Requirements

Chances are after deciding to become a doctor, you’ve likely heard a lot of opinions about where you should apply to medical school. There is a lot of information out there, which can create the perception that you should look for the “best” school only based on average GPAs and MCAT scores of its applicants. But we know that your success is not measured by scores and academic data alone.
Just as you want a medical school to evaluate you as a whole applicant—considering your experiences, attributes, and interests—you shouldn’t evaluate medical schools based just on the numbers and statistics that represent them. The most important thing to consider is whether the medical school is a good fit for you. But how do you figure that out with so many schools and programs?

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Time to Start Thinking About Your Medical School Application

If you are planning to start medical school for the 2017 Fall Semester, it’s already time to start thinking about your application!
You will apply using the American Medical College Application Service® (AMCAS®) for your medical school applications – the 2017 application cycle opens in early May. AMCAS is the primary application method used by most US medical schools. For you, this means that you’ll submit only one online application, regardless of the number of medical schools you choose to apply to.
We’ve highlighted tips and resources to help you begin to prepare for completing your application whether you are applying for this upcoming cycle or sometime down the road.

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Attend a Pre-Med Fair – Connect with Admissions Officers and the AAMC

Why attend a pre-med recruitment fair? Pre-med recruitment fairs are great opportunities to learn about applying to medical school, admissions requirements, and resources all in one place! You’ll be able to engage with medical school admissions officers and representatives in person to learn about specific opportunities at their schools. You will find a variety of medical schools, programs, and associations, like the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges), that have a wealth of resources to support you on your path to medical school.

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6 Tips for Med School Interviews

The interview is one of the most important steps in the medical school application process. It’s your chance to get to know the medical school in person while demonstrating good communication skills, professionalism, maturity, and your passion for medicine.
Below are six tips to help you make a good impression:

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Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Pre-Health Advisor

If you’re interested in a career in medicine, one of the most important and helpful people will be your college’s pre-health advisor. There’s a lot of planning and preparation to do before you’ll be ready to apply to medical school, so it’s a good idea to meet with your advisor early. Make an appointment or go to drop-in hours at least once a semester to keep in touch about your classes and activities. When your advisor knows you well, they can help you find opportunities relevant to your interests and strategize about when and where to apply.
Here are some important things to ask about when you meet:

1. What classes should I take and when? 
Your advisor can help you create a plan for which pre-requisite classes you should take and how you should schedule them. This will help you develop a timeline for when you’ll be ready to take the MCAT® Exam and apply to medical school. Different medical schools have different requirements, so your advisor can help you determine if you’ll need a post-baccalaureate or other program to help meet coursework requirements.

2. Are there any campus pre-med clubs, email lists, or workshops? 
Many colleges have student run pre-med clubs that are a great way to make friends, form study groups, learn about local opportunities, and stay motivated. Your advisor may also send out information through an email list or social media and may hold workshops on various pre-med topics.

3. Does our school have a specific process for writing Committee Letters or Letters of Evaluation? 
One of the most important and influential components of your application is the Committee Letter or Letters of Evaluation that you’ll receive from faculty and staff members at your college. The Committee Letter is a document or collection of letters written on your behalf to tell medical schools about you, your commitment to medicine, and your strengths. It’s important to know your school’s procedure so that you can begin early and have your letters sent in on time. Some medical schools will not consider your application complete until they have this letter.

4. Do you know of any medically-related opportunities in the community that will help me get experience? 
Some colleges have relationships with local hospitals, clinics or other community-based centers that may allow you opportunities to shadow, volunteer, or work in a lab. There may also be a connection with a local medical school, or another organization, that has a pre-med summer or pipeline program. Your advisor will likely know about many of these and be able to help you decide which might be right for you. They’ll also be able to steer you away from places where other students may have had negative experiences. Be sure to check with them each semester as opportunities may come available at different times of the year.

5. Do you think I should take a gap year before starting medical school? 
More and more students are taking a year or more in between undergrad and medical school for various reasons. Last year, more than 50% of accepted applicants had one or more years between graduating college and applying to medical school. Your advisor can help you decide what’s best for you and discuss what opportunities might make you a more competitive applicant.  
Whether you’re just starting to think about medicine or you’ve already applied, your advisor can be a great resource throughout the process. For more tips, see AAMC’s Partnering with your Advisor.

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