Med School Journey


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Med School Journey

  1. 1. YOUR Med School Journey
  2. 2. Goals of Presentation <ul><li>Provide tools for self-assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Provide resources to improve your application </li></ul><ul><li>Explain the process of applying </li></ul><ul><li>Answer your questions and address your concerns </li></ul>
  3. 3. Prior to the AMCAS
  4. 4. Things to Keep in Mind <ul><li>As you go through this journey reflect on: “Why do I want to be a physician?” This will help you when it comes to the application </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep a journal of your experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explore experiences in your specific areas of interest in medicine </li></ul></ul><ul><li>You want to go into medicine because you enjoy helping people </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A med school may wonder: Why not begin a non-profit career? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>You want to go into medicine because you want to impact public health </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A med school may wonder: Why not get an MPH? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What is it about medicine specifically for you that makes you want to spend 8 years of intense training and go into 150k in debt? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Things to Keep in Mind <ul><li>A medical career is extraordinarily demanding, know what you are getting into: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>8 year minimum of school and training (80 hr/wk) before independent practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-med clinical experience is absolutely crucial </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Over 95% of medical students graduate </li></ul><ul><li>When a medical school reads your AMCAS, secondary, and interviews you… they are looking for a physician years down the road. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Things to Keep in Mind <ul><li>Medicine is evidenced-based , and therefore your application must be as well: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Example: you want to help underserved communities as a pediatrician </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You should demonstrate evidence of… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Working in an underserved community </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Working with youth and possibly shadowing a pediatrician </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A knowledge of the challenges facing underserved communities (e.g. lack of health insurance) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Insights you’ve gained (e.g. with no primary care, conditions get attention later at a higher cost in the ER) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Things to Keep in Mind <ul><li>Doctors hold many diverse titles, but the most important is that of humanitarian. Physicians are expected to dedicate their whole lives to working with others, especially the marginalized of society - namely the poor, the sick, and the elderly. If you want to get accepted to medical school, you must show that you care about others. </li></ul><ul><li>It is FINE if you are not totally committed to going into medicine yet. Questioning the career along the way is very healthy. </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on “interactive” and “first-hand” volunteer experiences. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, and get out of your comfort zone. </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Components of Your Future Application <ul><li>Clinical Experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Extracurricular Activities (ECA’s) </li></ul><ul><li>MCAT </li></ul><ul><li>GPA , Degree, & Undergrad School </li></ul>
  9. 9. Clinical Experiences <ul><li>Standard: ER & OR shadowing, volunteering at a community clinic </li></ul><ul><li>Go beyond the “standard”: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hospice work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>International experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consistent and proactive clinical work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attend an actual Medical conference </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Become an EMT </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. ECA’s <ul><li>Standard: volunteering (tutoring, soup kitchen, homeless shelter, etc.), research “technician,” hobbies (music, running, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Go beyond the “standard”: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>International volunteer work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Authorship on a research paper or abstract </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attend a research conference on your specific area </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Run a marathon, compose a piece of music and perform it </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Demonstrate Your Passions <ul><li>Your time is valuable. Med schools will assume you chose your activities for a reason. Therefore, demonstrate your passions by going beyond the “norm.” </li></ul><ul><li>Example : you are passionate about volunteering at a camp for Native American youth as a camp counselor </li></ul><ul><li>Going beyond : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You attend a Native American child health conference </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You begin teaching your own health science lessons at the camp </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You recruit physicians to visit the camp to talk to the children and community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You take leadership roles (e.g. recruiting new counselors, make a group website, taking over the insurance paper work) </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Taking A Year Off <ul><li>More and more accepted applicants are not coming straight from undergrad </li></ul><ul><li>It reveals your values and independence </li></ul><ul><li>Bolster your application where it needs improvement </li></ul>
  13. 13. Assessing Your Components Outstanding Below Average Average GPA ECA MCAT Clinical < 3.5 3.5 > 3.8 30 < 28 > 35 Disclaimer : these numbers are only our opinions
  14. 14. Situation #1 : low GPA, shoot for a high MCAT Outstanding Below Average Average GPA ECA MCAT Clinical < 3.5 3.5 > 3.8 30 < 28 > 35
  15. 15. Situation #2 : low GPA & low MCAT shoot for high ECA and Clinical Outstanding Below Average Average GPA ECA MCAT Clinical < 3.5 3.5 > 3.8 30 < 28 > 35
  16. 16. Every Pre-Med’s Favorite Word: the “ MCAT ”
  17. 17. Basic Facts <ul><li>Currently offered in April and August </li></ul><ul><li>3 sections worth 15 points each for a total score of 45 and an essay section. No calculators allowed. </li></ul><ul><li>The test (from 8am to ~4pm): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical Sciences: physics & general chemistry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>77 questions, 100 minutes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>10 minute break </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Verbal Reasoning: critical reading & comprehension </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>60 questions, 85 minutes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lunch (60 minutes) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2 timed writing samples (60 minutes total) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Biological Sciences: biology & organic chemistry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>77 questions, 100 minutes </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Coursework <ul><li>Required: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cell Biology (BIOL 3) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Physics series </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>General Chemistry (1A and 1B) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organic Chemistry (112A and 112B) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Recommended: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physiology </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. The Good News <ul><li>There are a TON of resources: </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Courses (e.g. Kaplan, Princeton Review) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> for old course materials </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If you study hard you CAN get a good score. You don’t need to be a genius to rock this test, you just need to prepare intelligently. </li></ul>
  20. 20. The Not-So-Great News <ul><li>It is crucial to your application, no matter what anyone says. </li></ul><ul><li>Shoot for a score of “10” in each section for a total score of 30 or greater. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Scores below 30: it’s real hard to get looked at by schools </li></ul></ul><ul><li>For about 3.5 months, you must organize your life around studying (30 hr/wk). It’s a full-time job. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Advice <ul><li>A solid 3.5 months of 30 hr/wk with at least 4 simulated tests </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t dread this test, approach it as a game. </li></ul><ul><li>Register early (3 months in advance) on in order to get SJSU’s test site </li></ul><ul><li>Study for it like you will only take it once </li></ul><ul><li>You may totally suck when you first take it </li></ul><ul><li>(> 20): don’t be discouraged, you can still get a 30 </li></ul><ul><li>The hardest section to improve your score: VERBAL </li></ul><ul><li>The most “important” section: VERBAL (best indicator for medical board scores) </li></ul><ul><li>The easiest sections to improve your score: PS and BS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As you review and memorize facts your score will go up. Obviously, this isn’t available for verbal. </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Advice <ul><li>If VERBAL is hard for you, START EARLY and don’t delay </li></ul><ul><li>The MCAT is very much a “practice” type of test, it requires practiced skills such as </li></ul><ul><ul><li>speed reading and comprehension </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>understanding brand new information on the fly and problem-solving with it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This is not a “plug and chug” test. </li></ul><ul><li>Time is the huge factor with this test. Given a whole weekend, anyone can get all the right answers, but your time is limited. </li></ul><ul><li>Finish your review of the material early and practice timed passages. </li></ul><ul><li>You can review and memorize until you are blue in the face: practice timed passages. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Advice <ul><li>Practice timed passages </li></ul><ul><li>Practice timed passages </li></ul><ul><li>Practice timed passages </li></ul><ul><li>Practice timed passages </li></ul><ul><li>Practice timed passages </li></ul><ul><li>Practice timed passages </li></ul><ul><li>Practice timed passages </li></ul><ul><li>Practice timed passages </li></ul><ul><li>Practice timed passages </li></ul><ul><li>And then… practice some more timed passages </li></ul>
  24. 24. Taking the MCAT 3x <ul><li>How it can happen: </li></ul><ul><li>You study for the April MCAT, about 15 hour/wk, take on too many classes and/or work to many hours </li></ul><ul><li>You decide to take the April MCAT to just “see what happens.” </li></ul><ul><li>April 15th is the MCAT, scores are not released until late June . </li></ul><ul><li>Your scores come back in June and aren’t so hot. Now you only have about 4-5 weeks to try and cram for the next MCAT in mid-August . </li></ul><ul><li>Your cramming didn’t work and now… you’ll be taking it for a 3rd time next April . </li></ul>
  25. 25. Re-taking <ul><li>The statistics for re-taking the MCAT aren’t so great: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>All the more reason to study like you will only take it </li></ul><ul><li>once. </li></ul>
  26. 26. The Application Process
  27. 27. Brief Outline <ul><li>MCAT is completed </li></ul><ul><li>AMCAS submission (shoot for late June) </li></ul><ul><li>Secondaries granted and submitted ASAP (usually arrive around July - November) </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews are granted (September - March) </li></ul><ul><li>Decisions are sent by the medical school (accept, deny, waitlisted by May 15th) </li></ul>
  28. 28. MCAT Timing <ul><li>Try your best not to take the August MCAT the year you are applying. The speed of the process and rolling admissions ARE factors. </li></ul>
  29. 29. AMCAS Highlights <ul><li>The Personal Statement: a 5,300 character statement on why you want to be a physician (1.25 pages single-spaced) </li></ul><ul><li>15 Experiences / Activities (1,325 character statements) </li></ul>
  30. 31. Secondary Questions <ul><ul><li>Who would you consider to be the most influential person in your life and why? Limit your response to 6000 characters. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Describe a difficult situation you have had to overcome in your life or during your college academic experience. How do you feel this will prepare you for a career in medicine? Limit your response to 6000 characters. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each applicant brings with them goals of what they want to accomplish as a physician. They also have their larger dreams with regards to what they hope to accomplish in their lifetime. In a brief paragraph, please describe how you would want to be remembered at the end of your life. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Admissions Committee is interested in gaining insight into you as a person. Type or Copy and Paste a brief essay on a subject outside of medicine, which has been an area of great interest to you. Please limit your essay to 1 page (about 3,500 characters). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you have had experience doing research or other scholarly work, please describe your experience, including the question you pursued and how you approached it, your results and interpretation of the results, and any thoughts about what this experience meant to you. Please limit your response to 1 page (about 3,500 characters). </li></ul></ul>
  31. 32. To Think About Now <ul><li>Get out there and get quality experiences to draw from for your application; reflect and write on them. </li></ul><ul><li>Visit with your professors (at least one from humanities) and mentors that may write you letters. They must know you well, and letters are a crucial part of the process. </li></ul>
  32. 33. Great Resources <ul><li>MCAT: Examkrackers ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1001 MCAT Biology Questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>101 MCAT Verbal Reasoning Passages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Information and forums for anything pre-med: </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Excellent and FREE e-book on the whole process: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The Not So Short Introduction To Getting Into Medical School” by Ryan Aycock: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Medical School Admissions Requirements Book (MSAR): </li></ul><ul><li> for Med School rankings </li></ul>
  33. 34. Inspiration <ul><li>Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder (about Paul Farmer) </li></ul><ul><li>What My Patients Taught Me by Audrey Young (med student journey through UW) </li></ul><ul><li>Healing and the Mind, edited by Bill Moyers </li></ul>