Conquer the Obstacle Course of Medical School By Building Multiple Strengths

Everyone has this perfect image of how fun medical school is when they enter. You daydream about working with patients and saving lives from your first year, but the reality is, medical school is a giant obstacle race. Many people say that it is a marathon, but I do not think that this is accurate. A marathon requires you to be a good runner. Marathon training is gruesome and tiring, but the focus is on increasing your mileage until you feel confident that you can achieve the 26.2 miles on race day. Obstacle race training, on the other hand, is a little more dynamic. You must train yourself to be able to handle the long mileage of running the course, but you also have to develop your body and mind to conquer obstacles requiring strength, agility, strategy, and overall grit. In my drawn-out analogy here, obstacle race training is the “preparing to apply for medical school” stage and the actual application and interview seasonCon is the beginning of your long obstacle race that ends with a medical degree. I will come back to these two points, but first I would like to elaborate on why medical school is an obstacle race.

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Keeping the Cynic out of the Clinic: Books to Renew your Love of Medicine

Most people don’t associate being a premed with relaxation. Outsiders imagine your existence as a combination of serious studying, late nights in the lab, and an extensive cornucopia of community service and leadership roles. Let’s be honest: Those impressions are mostly right. Because of that, today I’ve decided to escape my usual role as a professional medical school admissions advisor to shine a bright light on some recommended premed, non-science reading. If you dutifully want to balance your “pleasure” reading with more utilitarian medical school admissions advice, please see my recent Student Doctor Network piece, “Ten Ways to Improve Your Medical School Application.”

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Is a Combined Bachelor’s/MD Program Right For You?

combined bachelor's/md program

By Jessica Friedman

For students who are fully committed to a career in medicine, combined programs – those that grant you acceptance to both undergraduate college and medical school – can be a great option. They allow you to earn a bachelor of arts or science and a medical degree and are called BS/BA-MD programs. Some programs are as long as 8 years (4 years of college and 4 years of medical school), some are 7 years (3 years of college and 4 years of medical school) and a few are 6 years (2 years of college and 4 years of medical school). The more abbreviated programs are especially rigorous since you complete your college degree in a shorter time. Students in these programs often are in school year round.

Before deciding to apply to combined programs, you should understand the plusses and minuses of doing so.

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The Changing Landscape of the Multiple Mini Interview

The Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) was first adopted by McMaster University in Ontario, Canada at the Michael G. DeGroote, School of Medicine back in the early 2000s. Initially, MMIs were used strictly during the admissions process for medical school.
For starters, depending on the specific program where you interview, your MMI circuit will likely consist of 6 to 12 stations and may include rest stations. There will be as many participants in your interview circuit as there are stations. The instructions for each station are typically posted directly outside of each room and you are given up to two minutes to carefully read the prompt prior to entering the room. At the end of the two minutes, a bell will sound and this is your cue to enter the room. Typically, a bell ringer type method is used to keep track of the time and you will be allocated six to eight minutes for each station before moving on to the next station.

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Finding Clinical Opportunities: Show Up, Ask, and Follow Through!

I was recently asked to give advice on finding clinical opportunities. Here’s the short version: show up, ask, and follow through! This is an exciting and supportive profession you are entering. Physicians not only remember what it feels like to be in your shoes but they are eager to support you. Part of our responsibility in medicine is to educate and mentor the next generation. This applies to everyone from a first-year medical student all the way to the most seasoned attending.  I’ve had opportunities to tutor my classmates, write for Elsevier, deliver a heart from its pericardium, coordinate a helicopter landing and practice my old fashioned medical skills on the 7th continent all because I have shown up, asked for opportunities, and followed through when given the chance. Here are a few notes on how I approach gaining these clinical opportunities.

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Maximizing Your Predental Experience

Being a dentist is a lifelong dream for many people. Yet few are able to make this dream a reality. Year by year, the application pool for dental schools has become more competitive, and selection committees have a more difficult time choosing the best candidates. As the number of applicants increase, it has become more vital to stand out from among other applicants. Strategically planning your undergraduate years can significantly increase your chances of acceptance at your dream dental school. Looking back at my experience, this is the advice I would give a friend to maximize the experience and overall results to yield the best outcome.

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Get a Top Score on the MCAT for Less Than $300


Many MCAT prep companies will try to sell you on the idea that you need to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a fancy prep course with all its bells and whistles in order to get a top score on the MCAT, but this just isn’t the case. We carefully analyzed the experiences of students that scored above the 95th percentile on the MCAT and looked for patterns in their preparation, and our analysis revealed that the students who performed well weren’t necessarily the students who spent the most money on a prep course. In actuality, top scorers use a variety of low-cost resources. And this actually makes perfect sense. Think about it. Every MCAT prep company has a single (likely slightly inaccurate) perspective regarding the most important concepts to know for the MCAT. By preparing using a variety of materials, you will gain several perspectives on the material, which when combined together provide you with a much more accurate picture of the MCAT.

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4 Ways to Get Accepted With a Low GPA

low GPA

The fastest way to  not  get accepted to med school is to think that your GPA doesn’t matter. It does, in fact, matter quite a lot, as it’s the way medical schools can see how you perform academically. It also serves as an easy way for adcom to compare applicants; it is imperfect, given different grading scales and study paths, but it is something that all students have in common.Not thrilled with your GPA? Worried it might get in the way of your med school acceptance? Here are 4 things you can do NOW to increase your chances of acceptance:

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How to Skillfully—and Successfully—Revise Your AMCAS Personal Statement

revising personal statement

Nowhere else on your medical school application will you have the chance to represent your personality and goals as strongly as you do in your AMCAS personal statement. Your personal statement is one place to which schools will turn to understand who you are separate from your MCAT score and GPA.
For those individuals aiming to submit their primary AMCAS applications in June or early July, revising your personal statement throughout May is essential to crafting an application that represents your unique attributes as a future physician, as well as what you will bring to your medical school class. Use this checklist as you revise to ensure that you are covering all that you must in order to submit a successful personal statement.

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Get A Better Letter: An Insider's Guide to Letters of Recommendation

letter of recommendation

By Michelle Finkel, MD Whether you are a candidate for medical school, residency, fellowship, dental … Read more