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Should I Retake the MCAT?

retake the MCAT

Believe it or not, it is not uncommon to take the MCAT twice. Though sitting for seven hours and thirty minutes more than once is not anyone’s idea of fun, scheduling a second test can be the best option if your target MCAT score is not reflected in your actual score report.

If your current score does not meet your expectations, you may be wondering if another test day is the right choice for you. Should you apply with the lower score, or should you study again? Is it worth the delay, cost, and effort to re-test? While you should consider your individual case with the guidance of an academic advisor, these guidelines can help you decide whether to schedule another test.

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How to Choose Extracurriculars as a Premedical Student

You may have heard that there’s a “perfect formula” of undergraduate extracurricular activities sought by medical schools. Research experience? Check. Hospital volunteering? Check. A summer internship in a lab or clinical setting? Check.

While these endeavors might demonstrate your interest in and commitment to clinical medicine, the idea of selecting your extracurricular activities solely based upon this perfect formula ignores one key trait that medical school admissions committees are looking for in their applicants: authenticity. As you navigate your pre-medical years, you may be wondering how to cultivate a resume that evidences your investment in medicine but also leaves plenty of room for pursuing your other interests. The key to selecting your extracurriculars is to not treat these two intentions as mutually exclusive—medicine can overlap with your other interests (and vice versa). Check out these suggestions for choosing your undergraduate extracurriculars in a way that will please both you and admissions committees.

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5 Tips for Developing a USMLE Step 1 Study Plan

USMLE Step 1 study plan

Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (or USMLE) covers all preclinical topics taught in medical school, from DNA replication to the details of disorders like ulcerative colitis and diabetes. Depending on your school’s curriculum, you may take this test anywhere between completion of your preclinical requirements and graduation, with the majority of schools offering a “dedicated” study period in which to review after wrapping up preclinical classes. No matter when you plan to take Step 1, however, one thing is clear: there is a lot to go over, and you probably do not feel like you have enough time to cover everything. Developing a reasonable study plan as you head into your dedicated study period can help reduce Step 1 preparation from an impossible task to one that seems difficult, yet doable. Studying for Step 1 will never be easy, but these five tips can make it more manageable:

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Should I Reapply to Medical School?

should I reapply to medical school

Each year after the medical school application cycle is complete, thousands of medical school hopefuls are left without an acceptance to an MD or DO program. The number of students who didn’t receive an acceptance is large enough that the AAMC keeps data, broken down by various criteria, on how many people made or didn’t make the cut each year.

If you are in the unfortunate position of having received a rejection notice from every school to which you applied, you may be asking yourself if reapplication to medical school in an upcoming admissions cycle is worth the effort. Do you have a reasonable chance of getting into medical school? Are the less attractive aspects of your application ones you can fix? While the decision about whether to reapply to medical school is a personal one, considering the following criteria may help you gauge whether you are likely to be successful in subsequent admissions cycles.

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3 Study Strategies for the Behavioral Sciences on the MCAT

behavioral science

As essential as it is to know the pathophysiology of various diseases and the pharmacological and surgical interventions used to treat them, it is also necessary to understand the social and psychological aspects of illness in order to effectively treat patients. Physicians must situate their treatments within psychosocial parameters that best serve the individual patient, asking questions like, “What will motivate this patient to take his medication as prescribed?” and “How do the social supports of this single parent influence his or her ability to get his/her child to well-visits with the pediatrician?”

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How to Maximize Medical School Second Looks

second look

While most students dream of getting an acceptance letter from just one medical school, others find themselves in the enviable position of having to choose between two or more schools to which they’ve been accepted. If you are deciding between schools, Second Look days can help you determine where you’ll commit. Second Look days are offered by most medical schools, usually after their application cycles are complete and acceptances have been extended to candidates. They are meant to give potential students an idea of what attending that particular school will be like. While many students attend Second Look days with the intention of getting to know potential classmates and to see what the academic environment “feels like,” others may want to head into these days prepared with a few specific questions aimed toward helping them gather the information they need to make a final decision. If you’re getting ready to travel to some potential medical schools this spring, keep these questions in mind:

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