3 Ways to Explore Medical Specialties

Medicine is a vast field comprised of specialties so different that it’s hard to believe they stem from the same core training. Once you’ve made the important decision to pursue a career as a physician, you must then begin the process of sifting through various medical specialties to identify your own interests. But with limited or no training, you might ask what steps you can take to begin narrowing down your options. Whether you are in high school, college, or have already begun medical school, consider these options as you begin exploring the various medical specialties:

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How to Have a Successful Premedical Freshman Year

premedical freshman

The transition from high school to college is stressful for many students, and perhaps more so for those who already have their hearts set on attending medical school. For newly-minted premedical students, the first two semesters of college can represent the first steps toward their professional goals, and the prospect of doing less than their anticipated best is daunting. If you are one such new premedical student, you may be asking what steps you can take to maximize your success in your freshman year of college. How will you manage a new kind of social life? Which clubs and outreach activities should you consider? And most of all, how will you navigate your first academic course load as a premedical student? If you’re pondering any of these questions, read on for some tips about how to have a successful first year in college.

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4 Things I Wish I’d Known About the MCAT

taking the mcat

Walking out of the test center after I had completed the MCAT was a surreal experience. Somehow, the far-off test date for which I had been preparing for months had not only arrived, but had already passed. I was suddenly and thankfully in possession of all of the components of a complete medical school application, as an MCAT score was the last blank space to fill on my impending AMCAS application.

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4 New Year’s Resolutions for Pre-Medical Students

Being a pre-medical student means committing to a years-long process aimed at ultimately gaining admission to medical school. No matter how many years away you may currently be from applying, starting the new year with a resolution or two that is geared toward helping you achieve your goal of becoming a physician is a great way of ensure that you are on track. Whether you vow to finally enroll in that EMT class, or to broaden your academic horizons by taking an elective outside your major, find time to build yourself as an applicant while also maintaining a life outside of your pre-medical activities. Consider taking on one or more of the below resolutions, or craft your own to fit your academic and personal needs.

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What Students Should Know About Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Programs—Part Two: SMP Students

In Part One of this series, we discussed post-baccalaureate pre-medical programs for career-changers (i.e. those who have not yet taken any of their medical school prerequisites). In this article, we will address a different kind of post-baccalaureate program—the Special Master’s Program, or SMP—that is designed for pre-medical students who need to show academic preparedness via additional coursework before applying to medical school. 
Let’s face it—one of the most important components of your medical school application is your numerical data. Is your MCAT score competitive? Is your BCPM GPA strong? For many medical school hopefuls, falling short on one or more of these aspects is a frightening reality. And while studying for and retaking the MCAT is a relatively simple way to address weaknesses in your test results, remedying a low GPA can be trickier.

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The Most Important Lessons I Learned While Applying to Medical School

Applying to medical school is a humbling experience, even if you have a successful application cycle. No matter how great your pre-medical advisor is or how many articles you have read about the process, you are still bound to have a few missteps that will leave you doubting yourself as a potential MD or DO candidate. It has been nearly a year since I submitted my primary AMCAS application, and as I reflect on the application cycle, several moments stand out to me as essential lessons to learn before you begin your own application process:

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How Should I Transition From a Gap Year to Medical School?


With one or more years between undergraduate study and a medical school education becoming more common, many medical students must now figure out how to transition from their gap years back into the classroom. Some students worry that they will have forgotten how to study effectively, while others worry about transitioning from the relatively stress-free environment of a gap year to the rigor of medical school. If you are a newly-minted medical student trying to prepare for your first year of medical school after some time away from academic life, consider making your transition smoother with these tips:

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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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3 Tips for Interpreting Medical School Rankings

medical school rankings

Whether you are just beginning your medical school application process by compiling a list of programs that interest you, or if you are choosing one program from multiple acceptance offers, chances are you have referred to a ranking of medical schools. There are a number of such lists, many available online, and each ranking relies on a unique methodology when judging programs. These lists can be very helpful when investigating the differences between medical schools, but they should not be the sole factor when making decisions about where to apply and where to attend. Consider these three guidelines, which can help you best use medical school rankings:

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Top Tips for Sub-Internship Success

The sub-internship is a crucial rotation for all medical students, no matter which specialty they plan to pursue. During this transitional phase in their clinical training, students begin to assume more independent responsibility for patient care. A sub-internship introduces students to life as residents, and it is often a source of recommendation letters for the residency application process. Below are my top tips for success during your sub-internship.

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Three New Year’s Resolutions for Medical Students

Winter break is the perfect time for medical students to take a step back to relax, re-assess, and re-engage for the remainder of the academic year. Below are three resolutions that all medical students should make to motivate themselves for the grueling months ahead:
1. “I will schedule time for self-care” 
Many medical students simply do not spend enough time caring for their most valuable asset—themselves. Given the intense academic and clinical workload that medical school involves, it is common for students to lose sight of the importance of their own wellbeing. Use winter break to carefully review your schedule for the upcoming semester and deliberately schedule in self-care “appointments.” Self-care appointments can range from daily meditation for just a few minutes to a leisurely cup of coffee with a friend. The key is to choose those activities that help you de-stress and relax.

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What I Learned During My First Semester of Medical School

Students will feel a variety of emotions during the weeks and days leading up to the start of medical school, ranging from excitement to anxiety. Below are five key things I learned during my first semester in medical school, some of which I wish I had known before I began:
1. Every student is unique, so do what works best for you
Many people equate the preclinical years of medical school to standing before a water hose and attempting to drink all of the water that pours from it. The vast amount of information that you will be exposed to may seem overwhelming at times, but it is important to remember that generations of physicians have successfully completed their medical training. There is a way to manage this wealth of information.

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