MedSchoolCoach http://www.medschoolcoach.com Helping you achieve your medical school dreams Tue, 21 Mar 2017 16:56:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.3 42371106 What is a BS/MD Program? http://www.medschoolcoach.com/what-is-a-bsmd-program/ Wed, 15 Mar 2017 08:00:58 +0000 http://www.medschoolcoach.com/?p=8348 College application season is no doubt one of the most arduous parts of any high school student’s career. It requires a large amount of time and dedication to be spent on essays, interviews, financial aid applications, and so, so much more. And the worst part? Doing everything you possibly can and still somehow feeling like

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College application season is no doubt one of the most arduous parts of any high school student’s career. It requires a large amount of time and dedication to be spent on essays, interviews, financial aid applications, and so, so much more. And the worst part? Doing everything you possibly can and still somehow feeling like you haven’t done enough. So why would anyone voluntarily decide to go through such a grueling process all over again? Well unfortunately, for any undergraduate student who’s decided to pursue a career in medicine, there isn’t much of a choice. When it comes to high school seniors interested in medicine, however, there is! And that’s exactly where BS/MD programs come into question.

So what exactly is a BS/MD program? It’s a dual-degree program that has been constructed by undergraduate universities in partnership with some local medical schools to provide high school seniors with conditional acceptance into medical school. The two degrees, Bachelor of Science (BS) and Doctor of Medicine (MD), are offered to students who successfully graduate through both the undergraduate school as well as the medical school. Typically, these programs last anywhere from 6-8 years (in contrast to the traditional 4 years of undergraduate + 4 years of medical school), and they’re specifically targeted towards students who’ve shown a great deal of interest in medicine throughout their entire high school career. These programs are known to be some of the most competitive programs in the country (some of their acceptance rates make Stanford and Harvard’s 5% acceptance rate sound like a joke), and there are a great number of things to know in order to be a competitive applicant. Getting in depth on any point would take an entire post, so below, I’ve outlined the most important points to note when trying to better understand a BS/MD program.

Start Early!

First, and perhaps the most important piece of advice, is to start early. Given that some of the most difficult BS/MD programs have an acceptance rate of near 2%, these universities are looking for students who have known for quite some time that they are interested in medicine and can really show for it. Most students who are serious about getting into these programs don’t just wake up one morning of their senior year and make a spur of the moment decision to apply. On the contrary, many know before they even step foot into high school. Many might ask, “How can you know what you want to do for the rest of your life in just 9th grade?” and they pose a valid point. But even if you don’t know exactly what you want to pursue career-wise at that age, most students will know whether or not they have an interest in science and if they are even open to the possibility of becoming a doctor. It’s okay to not know for sure (that’s what the rest of high school is for!), but it is important to start getting involved with health-related activities so that either (1) you can decide this field isn’t for you after all, or (2) you realize that studying medicine is something you can envision yourself doing and already have the experience to back that statement up. Whether it’s research, volunteering at a hospital, getting EMT certified, or simply shadowing your family physician, it’s never too early to start get involved with the field of medicine.

Get those grades

Secondly, keep your GPA high and study hard for your ACT/SAT/SAT Subject tests. As previously mentioned, some of these programs have single-digit acceptance rates, which means having a strong GPA and high ACT/SAT score is of upmost importance. Some schools (such as Drexel University, Case Western, Penn State/Jefferson) require BS/MD applicants to be in the 10% percent of their graduating class in terms of GPA and to have standardized test scores to be above a certain number. Keep in mind, though, that even if a school doesn’t explicitly state a certain GPA or SAT/ACT score that they’re looking for, they still expect stellar statistics. Take, for example, the BS/MD program at Northwestern University, which had an average application SAT score of 2309 and ACT score of 35 in 2015. By no means will a 2400 SAT score and 4.0 GPA guarantee you acceptance into any BS/MD program, but high academic statistics are an indication of academic maturity and thus will increase the chances of being considered for the program.

Organize yourself

Thirdly, stay organized. If you haven’t already, by the time you get the application season of your senior year, you will quickly realize how easy it can be to get lost in all the submission dates, essay topics, and other requirements being thrown your way. And on top of that, if you’re applying to a multiple of BS/MD programs, you’re going to have even more essays and date requirements. So my greatest piece of advice is to narrow down your list of colleges early (and by early, I mean by the end of the summer before senior year, at latest) and to create an excel sheet noting down all the important pieces of information in separate columns. Though it may be a pain to sit down one day and spend hours researching all the specific submission details for each university you are applying to, it will largely pay off in the long run. Some BS/MD programs require you to submit essays through email, while others require it through the common app. Some have an earlier application date set for BS/MD applicants (sometimes as early as mid-November), while others ask you to submit at the same time as all other students in January. Some may ask for 4 extra essays, while other simply ask you to checkmark a box that indicates your interest in being considered for the program. Each of these little details is unique to each program and can easily get past you. Rather than having to Google it every time you forget one tiny detail, having an easy-access document with all the necessary information is much simpler. Take my word for it; this document will quickly become your holy grail!

Keep calm

Fourthly, don’t take it personally! Of course the hardest part of this entire process isn’t editing your essays long into the night or sitting through hour-long interviews. The hardest part is always rejection. And though there is nothing you can do to change the outcome, you can remember to not take the results personally. Of course it’s easier said than done, but this statement holds true for BS/MD programs even more so than it does with regular college applications. Most of these programs accept only a handful of students (10-15) out of the hundreds or thousands (yes, sometimes even more than a thousand students!) of those that applied. They are looking to maximize their diversity, and as you can imagine, that is quite difficult to do in such a small group of people. So at the end of the day, you might have been the perfect match for that school in every way possible, but somebody else just happened to match their criteria (however ambiguous it may be…) a bit better. Getting through the entire BS/MD process is an accomplishment in itself; it’s something not any and every student can do. It takes a great deal of commitment, maturity, and strong work ethic to get through this process successfully. Those are the very same qualities that differentiate a successful pre-med from an unsuccessful pre-med, so hey, you’re already ahead of the game! Look forward to all the great opportunities that have presented themselves throughout this application process and take advantage of them in your upcoming undergraduate career.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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MedSchoolCoach Webinar: Putting together a great application and personal statement http://www.medschoolcoach.com/medschoolcoach-webinar-putting-together-great-application-personal-statement/ Mon, 13 Mar 2017 12:09:49 +0000 http://www.medschoolcoach.com/?p=8556 Free Webinar: Putting Together a Great Application and Personal Statement April 10th at 9 pm EST Join the experts at MedSchoolCoach for a free webinar focused on putting together a great application and writing an outstanding personal statement. MedSchoolCoach advisors will take you through the elements of a medical school application, how it is evaluated by

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Free Webinar: Putting Together a Great Application and Personal Statement

April 10th at 9 pm EST

Join the experts at MedSchoolCoach for a free webinar focused on putting together a great application and writing an outstanding personal statement. MedSchoolCoach advisors will take you through the elements of a medical school application, how it is evaluated by admissions committees, and how you can stand out!

  • Understand the logistics of the AMCAS/AACOMAS and TMDSAS applications
  • Understand how an application is viewed by the admissions committee
  • Learn what makes a great personal statement (and what makes a bad one)
  • Get insights on how to choose which schools to apply to during the application process
  • Learn from actual physicians who have served on admissions committees!

Register Today for the Free Webinar

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USMLE Step 2 CK: How to Ace the Test. Advice from an Expert http://www.medschoolcoach.com/usmle-step-2-ck-ace-test-advice-expert/ http://www.medschoolcoach.com/usmle-step-2-ck-ace-test-advice-expert/#comments Mon, 06 Mar 2017 08:38:39 +0000 http://www.medschoolcoach.com/?p=7879 We sat down with Dr. Amy Chen, a MedSchoolCoach tutor and expert on the USMLE Step 1 and 2 exams. We asked her for some advice for students who are currently preparing for the USMLE Step 2, specifically how students could ace the exam! Included below are also very helpful USMLE Step 2 CK references

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We sat down with Dr. Amy Chen, a MedSchoolCoach tutor and expert on the USMLE Step 1 and 2 exams. We asked her for some advice for students who are currently preparing for the USMLE Step 2, specifically how students could ace the exam! Included below are also very helpful USMLE Step 2 CK references for our students.

How should someone best prepare for the USMLE Step 2 CK exam? Are there any resources that you suggest? Is there any schedule that one should follow?

In terms of resources, I don’t think it’s necessary to have too many resources. There’s a lot out there. You could potentially study from 5-7 different resources. I’d suggest keeping your number of resources down to 3-4 just because it can focus your concentration.  I’d say UWorld is definitely the #1 Resource. That is 100% necessary and definitely key to really learning a lot of information. Another resource I really like is Step Up to Medicine. This has a detailed overview of Step 2 CK for internal medicine topics. I think it does a really great job of breaking down the topics and the key information you need to know for each different disease. It also has a lot of nice diagrams and information. It does go into a little bit of detail but I do think it gives you a comprehensive overview of internal medicine. For the other topics like surgery or pediatrics, I think Master the Boards is a good resource to use. I would use Step Up to Medicine for internal medicine topics. Some people find OB-GYN is not covered very well on Master the Boards. If you’re struggling with OB-GYN and you would like a more detailed overview of the subject, I would recommend Case Files’ OB- GYN for that particular topic.

Alright. Is there any specific way you suggest studying from these resources? Would you suggest looking at the topics first and then answering questions? Or is there another way? 

Yes, I think before you start studying, it’s good to get a sense of your own weaknesses and strengths and to kind of start studying from your weaknesses. You can identify those multiple ways. Some people already have a handle just from their classes and their rotations, about what they maybe strong in or what they don’t do so well in. Or you can take an NBME and kind of get a break down of your score. So I would say, start with your weaknesses and start with kind of reading and learning the material. I actually like to do the questions simultaneously with the material. I don’t think you need to finish reading a chapter before you start doing the questions. I think there’s a lot of learning that occurs just from looking at the question and looking at the explanation and really kind of reading and digesting and trying to remember the explanations; then go back and annotate on your textbook the notes from the UWorld questions.

“I think before you start studying, it’s good to get a sense of your own weaknesses and strengths and to kind of start studying from your weaknesses.”

Is that the same way you studied?

Yes. That’s the same way I studied for them. I would focus on Step Up to Medicine because internal medicine is such a big part of the exam. It’s more than 60% of the questions. So I would start there. Make sure you brush up on all your internal medicine topics. Feel comfortable with that and then you can go on and branch out to other topics like pediatrics, psychiatry and surgery and so on.

Great! Then, are there any other mock tests you suggest taking?

Yes definitely. There are 4 NBMEs available. You can buy them – I think they’re like $50 each to buy them online. That way, you can take them in a timed environment and it gives you a score at the end. Otherwise, if you don’t want to buy them, try googling to see unofficial NBMEs. You can get the questions and the answers but the disadvantage is you don’t really get a score at the end. It doesn’t score automatically. You have to score it yourself. But NBMEs are a must. They’re great at assessing your progress. There’s also the 131 Step 2 Questions booklet. It’s a PDF that can be found online. It’s an official resource put out by the USMLE with 131 sample CK questions. Those are also good to go through for practice and they give you the answers as well.

Is there anything one should keep in mind while scheduling the test? 

I don’t think there is anything in particular you have to keep in mind. I think it depends on when you’re applying for residency. Many residency programs will want to see that CK score back by the time you rank in February; by the time you submit your rank lists. Keep in mind though that it can take a month or two for those results to come back. You want to take it with enough time that your results are back by the time your rank list is due in the year you’re applying to residency. Other than that, there isn’t too much scheduling consideration you need to do. It depends on the individual person and when they’re freest in their schedule. I want to say you want to give yourself at least a month to study, but ideally more than that. But it depends on what your goal score is and how well you did on Step 1. But ideally, you’d have some time where you wouldn’t be studying as well with an intense rotation.  Also, if you’re an international medical student or foreign medical student, you do need to have your Step 2 score by the time you apply; so by the time you submit your application. For that you would need your score back by September 15, instead of February.

That’s good information. Would you suggest any schedule that students should follow? 

I think it really is student-dependent. I think it really depends on how they are already doing and how far they are away from their goal score in terms of studying. But as I said, you need at least a month to prepare for it and ideally more time.

That makes sense. What’s the best advice you got for the USMLE Step 2 CK? After taking it, what do you think you could have done better? And what would your suggestions be based off of that?

I have a couple of ideas of what’s helpful to keep in mind while studying for Step 2. One of the things that’s really challenging for many people is time management. You only have a certain amount of time to answer each block of questions and it’s very easy to get bogged down and then run out of time by the end of each block. The way I encourage people to approach their questions is, when you’re reading the question, you should be actively thinking of differential diagnoses. By the time you reach the end of the question stem, you should already have a most likely diagnosis in your mind before you even look at the answer choices. I don’t think it’s advantageous to look at the answer choices first or read the question and look at the answers and think about the diagnosis. I think you end up using a lot of time in trying to go back and reread the question and so on. Be able to train yourself to have a clear diagnosis by the end of every question because that helps a lot with time management. Also, be very familiar with the lab values. You can lose a lot of time if you always have to go and check if this value is a normal value, if it’s high, or if it’s low. If you can do a good job of learning the normal lab values, that will also save a lot of time. You should know what does it mean when someone has hypernatremia, what are the specific diseases that could cause that? What does it mean when someone has elevated gluten levels? A lot of the times you can get the diagnosis just from the labs. They’re very very helpful. Being sure that you feel comfortable with EKGs and chest X-rays – those are often overlooked but Step 2 will test you on whether you know how to read an EKG and can identify abnormalities in X-Rays. Don’t forget about those as well while you’re studying.

Is there any other advice you’d like to give?

Practice is really important. So just practice as much as possible. Practice with the UWorld Question Bank, practice with your NBME exam. Try to find resources out there that encourage active learning so that you can test yourself with some questions. I think that’s really the key. Get used to the format of the test and used to how the questions are asked; get used to time management and just get used to answering this many questions in 8 hours essentially.

 

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Medical Shadowing: what to do when you have the chance http://www.medschoolcoach.com/medical-shadowing-chance/ Tue, 28 Feb 2017 08:00:00 +0000 http://www.medschoolcoach.com/?p=7963 Every premedical student knows that shadowing is an important part of their medical school application. Shadowing is a great way to understand the profession, see what doctors do on a day to day basis and make sure that you enjoy it! However, oftentimes students are confused as to how to get the most out of

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Premed Shadowing a Physician

Every premedical student knows that shadowing is an important part of their medical school application. Shadowing is a great way to understand the profession, see what doctors do on a day to day basis and make sure that you enjoy it! However, oftentimes students are confused as to how to get the most out of medical shadowing. But if you follow these two simple tips, you’ll be able to maximize your shadowing time and eventually be able to talk about it intelligently on your medical school application as well as during interviews.

Tip 1: Do some homework!

For shadowing experience to be worthwhile, it makes sense for the student to do a little bit of reading before hand just to understand the terminology used. Often times, especially when shadowing a specialist, there are a lot of acronyms and names that are brought up and thrown around.

Preparing a little beforehand to know what types of procedures or what types of things may come up before that experience happens is important. If its going to be a regular shadowing experience, go home and do so some reading about what you saw that day to get a better understanding of what happened.

Tip 2: Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Questions are never something to be afraid of! In fact, as you move along in your medical education, questions will be how you learn! Don’t expect someone to always force feed you knowledge; you must be proactive in wanting to understand medicine. For example, if you are in a clinic and you have seen a patient with a doctor for 20-30 minutes, keep a mental note of questions that would be interesting to ask afterwards. Questions such as, “Why did you do that?”, “Why did you ask that question to the patient?” would be helpful. In addition, I think the key thing to any encounter with any patient is to figure out why the doctor decided to go with a certain plan of action. Each encounter with a patient is split up into two parts: the information gathering part, with questions such as, “Why are you here?”, “Where do you have pain?”, and the second part is the counseling: “Given what you told me, here is what I think we should do.” I think to learn the most you have to really try to understand from the doctor, why did he or she prescribe a certain medication, why did he or she decide on a particular diagnosis over another. I think asking questions around those pieces will provide more insight to what medicine is about and really help you get something out of the experience.

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Military Scholarship and Medical School http://www.medschoolcoach.com/military-scholarship-medical-school/ Mon, 20 Feb 2017 23:39:32 +0000 http://www.medschoolcoach.com/?p=7949 Many medical students consider a military scholarship for medical school and have many questions surrounding the process. Medical school is expensive, bottom line, and the anticipated debt after four years can be daunting. The average medical student graduates with just over $180,000 in debt. With a typical re-payment plan, the total repayment cost can exceed $400,000.

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Military Medical SchoolMany medical students consider a military scholarship for medical school and have many questions surrounding the process. Medical school is expensive, bottom line, and the anticipated debt after four years can be daunting. The average medical student graduates with just over $180,000 in debt. With a typical re-payment plan, the total repayment cost can exceed $400,000. With such a steep price, it is no wonder why applicants seek out alternative ways to finance medical school.

One of these options is the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) offered by the Army, Navy, and Air Force. The deal is full tuition through medical school, including all costs for books and equipment along with a living stipend in exchange for four years of military service once your education is complete. In this article we will briefly explore the path and day-to-day life of an HPSP student.

Signing up

In order to join the military you will have to be in touch with a recruiter and complete an application. Many branches still have an automatic acceptance program in which a certain GPA and MCAT score will earn you the scholarship as soon as you get your first medical school acceptance letter. A 1 year scholarship requires 2 years of service, everything after that is year for year. Most students end up taking a 4 year scholarship to cover all of medical school incurring a 4 year commitment to the military.

Medical School

Most students will complete their basic officer leadership course the summer before medical school or in between their first and second years. During medical school you will look and act just like your civilian peers with no other requirements. In your 4th year, the military will pay for you to do 2 audition rotations/interviews at programs you are interested in for residency. Room, board, and daily costs are covered for a maximum of 45 days.

Residency

                  Most students will end up going to a military residency program. There are exceptions for some of the more specialized branches of medicine but this gets tricky and is a larger discussion. During these 3-7 years, depending on your specialty, you will be active duty. This means you will be wearing a uniform and working in a military hospital. It also means you will be paid as an active duty service member.

Life After Residency

                  While some physicians will now go on to fellowship training, many will now begin their payback working in their field of specialty at a military hospital or clinic. This is now the first time you will be eligible for deployment. While deployments work on a rotating basis, it is safe to assume that during a 4 year payback you will likely be deployed at least once for 6-9 months. There are, of course, many exceptions.

All in all, the military scholarship is an attractive option. You can finish medical school with zero debt in exchange for military service as a physician which can be very rewarding in its own right. Military physicians receive extra training in leadership skills and adaptability which easily carry over into civilian life.

About the author: David is a board certified family medicine physician in the Army currently working as a flight surgeon. You can contact him at dflick@medschoolcoach.com for more information about the HPSP scholarship or life as a military physician in general.

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Typical Day in the Life of a Radiation Oncologist http://www.medschoolcoach.com/typical-day-in-the-life-of-a-radiation-oncologist/ Tue, 14 Feb 2017 15:26:59 +0000 http://www.medschoolcoach.com/?p=7874 We recently sat down with Dr. Aneja, a former admissions committee member and radiation oncologist. He is one of MedSchoolCoach’s lead advisors and provides advising to students looking to gain admission into medical school. We asked him about his life as a radiation oncologist and what students who shadow physicians can learn from them. Could

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radiation-oncologyWe recently sat down with Dr. Aneja, a former admissions committee member and radiation oncologist. He is one of MedSchoolCoach’s lead advisors and provides advising to students looking to gain admission into medical school. We asked him about his life as a radiation oncologist and what students who shadow physicians can learn from them.

Could you please describe a typical day at work in your specialty?

Sure. I’m currently a resident in radiation oncology which is somewhat a unique field in medicine. Because it’s a little bit smaller, it’s something pre­medical students don’t know about and you learn about it in medical school. My typical day of working with a multidisciplinary team of radiation oncologists as well as medical and surgical oncologists includes us seeing patients in clients in clinic who are candidates for radiation therapy. So my typical day involves consultation with them and discussing radiation therapy. The second part of my day involves planning radiation therapy for patients who had previously consented to receive radiation therapy. The planning process includes designing radiation therapy plans as well as approving those plans with our staff members and then the last part of my day is also continually managing the patients currently receiving radiation therapy. I think unlike a lot of other medical fields where patients are seen once every couple of months or every couple of weeks, our patients when receiving radiation therapy are seen every day somewhere between two to five or even nine weeks. It allows you to develop a relationship with them throughout the course of their care.

Do you have students who shadow you sometimes as a radiation oncologist?

Yes, definitely. We have students from all different ages. We have students involved in our high school programme here at Yale who come from the New Haven county who are interested in oncology as a field and we expose them to the ways in which oncology is different than what they have been exposed to just from the current studies. We also have undergraduates who shadow us for a period of time then we have medical students who are rotating and then other residents as well who are involved.

So, when these students shadow you, what are the key things that they should keep in mind? Is there anything in particular that they should be observing or would learn by observing?

Generally when undergraduate students shadow I recommend that they really get an understanding of the way that the clinic flows, the types of patients that we see in an oncology setting and if that is something that they are interested in. I think the other thing that’s important for undergraduates to understand is that medicine is a multidisciplinary field so it’s not only doctors. There are nurses, nutritionists and many others involved in medicine. It is something that involves a multidisciplinary team so despite your position you still have to work with people. For high school students, it’s important for them to see patients and whether or not they enjoy interacting with patients and whether or not they feel like that intellectual processor trying to help patients through solving medical problems. For residents and medical students already in medical school, the important thing is for them to see if this field is something that they are interested in, if they enjoy the clinical flow, if they enjoy the ways in which this field is different than the surgical subspecialties, or feels better, little more diagnostically focused. So things like pathology and radiology would be distinctly different than radiation oncology and that would give them a more patient centred versus radiology and pathology which is centred on diagnostics.

 

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How to improve your GPA for BS/MD Programs http://www.medschoolcoach.com/improve-gpa-bsmd-programs/ Thu, 09 Feb 2017 20:54:20 +0000 http://www.medschoolcoach.com/?p=8197   Gauri Patil, our resident BS/MD expert, wanted to share some tips on how to improve your GPA during high school so that you can get into a great BS/MD program. These tips are also relevant for college students looking to maintain a high GPA! Don’t take shortcuts This is one of those tips that,

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Gauri Patil, our resident BS/MD expert, wanted to share some tips on how to improve your GPA during high school so that you can get into a great BS/MD program. These tips are also relevant for college students looking to maintain a high GPA!

  1. Don’t take shortcuts

This is one of those tips that, even though I heard it in high school, I never really took seriously until I got to college. But now that I have used and applied this piece of advice, I could never go back to my old high school ways.

In high school, depending on your teacher, it’s possible to sometimes get away with not doing your homework or barely studying for an exam and still doing well. And while at the time this may sound ideal, it’ll actually hurt you in the long run. When it comes time to finals week at the end of the semester and you have to take four or five huge tests all at the same time, there is no way you can cram in an entire semester’s worth of material into one night. No matter how easy the teacher is or how lenient the curve is, if you put off the work until the very last minute, it’ll come back to bite you.

In college, if you were to implement that same strategy of putting off all your work until the very last week of the semester, you would most likely fail the class (as opposed to high school in which you would probably just get a slightly lower grade). In college, the difficulty of content is much greater and the pace of learning is much quicker. So as a result, students are expected to take initiative and keep up with the material in a consistent and timely manner. Sure, there are students who slack off and keep up with their high school study habits in college (aka procrastinating on all work until the last minute), but you will find that those students often end up dropping out of the class before finals week even approaches because their grades are so low that there is no chance of recovery.

Ultimately, the main difference between high school and college is time of realization. In high school, you can get through the entire semester by taking shortcuts and only in the end will you realize how horrible of a mistake this was. In college, however, you will quickly notice your grades plummet if you consistently choose to put off your work. The temptation of procrastination is thus greater for high school students, because they don’t realize the negative effects of it until much later. If you give into this temptation, though, you will likely end up hurting your GPA.

So even though you may not realize it now or have the pressure to really so, try to be thorough and consistent in keeping up with lecture material. It will pay off in the long run not only with your GPA, but so too with your success in college.

 

  1. Figure out what works best for you

 

There isn’t much to say on this topic other than the fact that different people thrive in different environments, so figure how/where you work best and stick to it!

I’ve listed below some questions you can ask yourself that’ll help guide you when you’re trying to “figure out yourself.” Remember, there’s really no right or wrong answer to any of these questions, they’re simply meant to help you maximize your efforts:

  1. How do I respond to pressure situations?

This is an extremely quality to know about yourself when determining what study habits are best suited for you. Some people tend to work better under pressure while others crack under pressure. If you’re of the former type, then perhaps procrastination isn’t the worst thing ever for you. In fact, it might be one way for you to produce some of your best work (read: don’t “pretend” to be someone who works well under pressure just so procrastination is a valid excuse for you… it’ll hurt you later on!) If, however, you’re of the latter type (like me!) then you should make sure to keep close track of your assignment due dates and allot enough time for you to be able to finish them in a timely manner.

  1. How much time do I usually take to work on assignments?

This question is a good follow up to the last question because it’ll probably reinforce your answer. If you’re typically someone who likes to take their time with assignments and spread out the workload over a number of days, then you probably aren’t the type of person who does well under pressure. On the other hand, if you tend to get distracted easily and need an imminent deadline to make you focus on your work, you likely do better under pressure. Whatever the answer may be, make sure you plan ahead of time to make sure you have enough time to produce your best possible work.

  • What kind of ambiance do I work best in?

To answer this question, there are a lot of sub-questions you could ask to figure out where you work best. For example, how easily do you get distracted? If easily, then would you mind working in a loud environment? Or would you be able to pop in your headphones and tune out the noise? If you don’t get distracted easily, then can you study with friends? If so, how many friends? Do you work better early morning or late night? These are just some of the questions that’ll really help you narrow down your list of ideal workplaces.

Personally, I can tell you that I my workplace varies based on the type of work I’m doing. For example, when I’m studying science or math related subjects, I prefer to work in a quiet study area and only listen to classical music (because any lyrical music distracts me). If I’m working on an essay or doing some writing work, though, I like to be in a coffee shop ambiance (with a little more activity happening around me) and have lyrical music playing because it gets my creative juices flowing. Regardless of the type of work I’m doing, though, the one distraction I must always avoid when studying is friends. I find that when I study with friends, I just end up socializing with them instead of being productive.

One of the benefits of college is that you meet people of all different types, which makes your individuality more acceptable. In high school, every one is trying their hardest to fit in, so they’ll just do what everyone else is doing even if it isn’t in your best interest. Of course, this is a natural part of high school, but if you’re serious about getting a good GPA, I strongly recommend you find what works best for you and stick to that even if it isn’t what everyone else is doing.

  1. Where do I fall in the VARK model

The VARK model is used to distinguish between different types of learners: Visual, Aural, Read/write, and Kinesthetic. Knowing which of these categories you fall into can help you figure out which study strategies might be most effective for you. For example, I’m an auditory and visual learner, so if there’s a concept I don’t understand, I like to have someone talk me through it and then I’ll later go and draw a visual representation of the concept to reinforce it in my head and also to help me remember it better. There’s plenty of surveys and tests online you could take to figure out your exact learning type, or you could just think back to how you’ve approached concepts that have given you trouble in the past and what you did to better understand them. Either way, once you figure out how you learn best, try putting it to the test every time you have an upcoming exam. Sometimes teachers tend to focus on one learning strategy more heavily than others (such as taking reading notes, which falls under the read/write category) so it might require a bit of effort on your part if you prefer a category that you teacher doesn’t usually emphasize. But hard work and effort never goes to waste, so just put in the work then and you’ll appreciate it when you later ace that test!

 

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DO vs MD Schools – Understanding the differences and career implications http://www.medschoolcoach.com/do-vs-md-schools-understanding-the-differences-and-career-implications/ Thu, 02 Feb 2017 07:26:33 +0000 http://www.medschoolcoach.com/?p=4922 Check Out Education Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with How to Get into Medical School on BlogTalkRadio Dr Sahil Mehta from MedSchoolCoach, one of the nation’s best medical school admissions consulting companies, explores the DO vs MD debate. Deciding whether to apply to, and accept an osteopathic admission is a big issue in the minds

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Check Out Education Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with How to Get into Medical School on BlogTalkRadio

Dr Sahil Mehta from MedSchoolCoach, one of the nation’s best medical school admissions consulting companies, explores the DO vs MD debate. Deciding whether to apply to, and accept an osteopathic admission is a big issue in the minds of many medical school applicants. There are pros and cons to the DO/osteopathic route and we explore some of them here. Learn how your career maybe impacted by going to DO school versus MD school and what you should consider before deciding to apply to osteopathic schools.

MedSchoolCoach is the nation’s leading medical school admissions consulting company. MedSchoolCoach employs only physicians who have been on admissions committees. They understand the medical school admissions process inside and out and can help you with your personal statement, interview preparation, AMCAS application, secondaries and much more.

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Premedical advice from an expert: how to find the right school http://www.medschoolcoach.com/premedical-advice-expert-find-right-school/ Tue, 31 Jan 2017 15:34:37 +0000 http://www.medschoolcoach.com/?p=7877 Dr. Aneja is a former Yale School of Medicine Admissions Committee member and MedSchoolCoach advisor. He provided some advice for premedical students applying to medical school, including how to find the right school for every applicant. Applying for medical school is a very tedious and difficult process so what kept you going through your personal

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Sanjay Aneja MDDr. Aneja is a former Yale School of Medicine Admissions Committee member and MedSchoolCoach advisor. He provided some advice for premedical students applying to medical school, including how to find the right school for every applicant.

Applying for medical school is a very tedious and difficult process so what kept you going through your personal journey?

I think understanding that medicine as a career is a process. For students who are applying for medical school, I think that they should appreciate the ups and downs of the process and I think if you are continually interested in becoming a physician and have a passion for taking care of patients then it really is worth it. It becomes rather difficult when students feel that after each step they are done. It’s never a complete process and once you appreciate that fact, the entire journey of becoming a physician and the constant learning process then that’s when it becomes a lot more manageable. I also think that everyone finds the right fit, the right medical school and opportunities are not limited by not being at the top schools. I think that’s an important thing to highlight to students. You can still take care of patients and be a great doctor even if you don’t go to your top choice. The most important thing is that you actually become a physician.

I also think that everyone finds the right fit, the right medical school, and opportunities are not limited by not being at the top schools. You can still take care of patients and be a great doctor even if you don’t go to your top choice. The most important thing is that you actually become a physician. 

You mentioned finding the right school. How can a student determine whether they’re a good fit for the school they are looking at and what do you think determines a good fit?

When I think about medical schools I would really think about trying to evaluate if you have a specific career goal in mind. I think when a lot of students are applying to medical school, they don’t really think about where exactly they want their career to pan out and I think that’s okay. In those situations I really do think that medical students should really go to the schools that afford them the best opportunity to have a diverse career. Often times those are the schools that are perceived to be ranked higher but at the same time I think that students are becoming more knowledgeable about medicine in their undergraduate education. I think that they are able to discern whether or not they feel like their career will be more academically focused; whether they’re more interested in research and teaching or interested in being clinicians whether it may be community practice or private practice. I think that in a world where you think that you are more academically focused you should go to a school that allows you to pursue scholarly activities. When I applied to medical school I knew that I was interested in an academic and research focused track so I was mostly looking at medical schools that offered me that ability within my four years of medical school. Alternatively, I’ve met students who had done research but it wasn’t something they were willing to dedicate their life to so for them, I think it’s important that they go to schools that are very clinically focused, has really great teaching and exposes you to a lot of patients so that you’re clinically strong when you become a resident. Lastly, when students become a little older, more often than not students have geographic preferences based on where they are from, significant others or spouses and obviously that would play into all of it. But I will say that I think that if you are coming out of an undergraduate school then geography is not as important because it’s more important that you find a medical school you will be successful at.

Okay. As an admissions committee member then, what is the biggest thing that you are looking for in a prospective student?

I think that when we look at students the most important thing to see is whether they have an idea of what they want to do in the future. Do they actually spend time to think about where they see their career? It’s not necessarily about seeing themselves becoming a specific type of physician like a paediatrician or an oncologist or if they see themselves practicing at a specific location but how they want to divide their time in the future. Do they see themselves primarily caring for patients? Do they see themselves primarily doing research? Do they see themselves teaching? Doing something very alternative like policy work or entrepreneurial things? It could be all of those things but I think having students who have an idea of where they want to be is really helpful because then we know whether or not our school can provide them the next step or the tools to achieve those goals. When we think about students in the admissions committee, it’s very easy if we see that the student has a plan and he needs to come to this school to achieve that plan and our school can provide the resources for him. It’s a lot more difficult to project students who are very unsure of what their future is and have not really thought about it so they just know that they would like to become a doctor or something in that context.

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Combined Undergraduate and Medical School Programs http://www.medschoolcoach.com/combined-undergraduate-and-medical-school-programs/ Wed, 25 Jan 2017 12:46:57 +0000 http://www.medschoolcoach.com/?p=3710 Combined undergraduate and medical school programs are very popular and becoming more so everyday. They are so very competitive. The amount of students applying to combined undergraduate and medical school programs (also called Direct Medical Programs and BS/MD programs) increases every year. This is because the competition to get into medical school out of college

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Combined Undergraduate and Medical School ProgramCombined undergraduate and medical school programs are very popular and becoming more so everyday. They are so very competitive. The amount of students applying to combined undergraduate and medical school programs (also called Direct Medical Programs and BS/MD programs) increases every year. This is because the competition to get into medical school out of college is tougher than ever, so many high school students feel it may be easier to get in to medical school out of high school. This isn’t really true though. Combined undergraduate and medical school programs are uber competitive, taking less than 20 applicants in most cases.

In general, a combined undergraduate and medical school program guarantees a student admission into medical school contingent upon certain criteria, specific to each program. Some programs require that students achieve a certain score on the MCAT (after their second/third year into the program), while others completely waive the MCAT although requiring a certain GPA to be met. Other programs require the MCAT to be taken but do not require any specific score (in other words, they want you to just take the exam but your score does not impact your admission into the affiliated medical school.

Almost one quarter of US Medical schools offer this combined BS/MD program for well-qualified high school students. As mentioned, often times, admission into these programs is more competitive than admission into the top universities.

Some of the schools that offer these direct programs include Northwestern, SUNY Stony Brook, Brown, Rice/Baylor, Drexel and many more. MedSchoolCoach offers a full array of services to help students gain admission into combined undergraduate and medical school programs. You can learn more about MedSchoolCoach’s combined program admissions at http://www.medschoolcoach.com/bs-md-programs/

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