MedSchoolCoach advisors often are asked to give talks at various schools around the country. After all, no firm is more experienced and more knowledge about the process of becoming a physician. With over 40 advisors with admissions committee experience at various schools across the country, there is no better place to turn to for advice than MedSchoolCoach.
Recently, Dr. Marinelli visited University of California Riverside to give a talk to the Pre-SOMA (The Pre-Student Osteopathic Medical Association at UCR was founded in Spring 2014) and AMSA@UCR groups. We were thrilled to share advice with over 50 students at Riverside on their path to medical school! If you are interested in having an advisor come to your college to speak, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can arrange for one!
Dr. Marinelli shared some secrets to being a successful medical school applicant with the students, including how to pick the right extracurricular activities and get an application in order that will stand out to medical schools!
Step 2 CK can be an extremely important test. More and more residencies are interested in your score on this test in order to establish your competency within clinical medicine! Step 2 CK becomes especially important if you haven’t performed as well as you liked on Step 1. We sat down with Dr. Mili Mehta, a University of Pennsylvania Chief Internal Medicine Resident and Former Member of the Columbia University admissions committee to ask her about her experience taking Step 2 CK.
Having taken the USMLE Exams, could you provide some key strategies for preparing for the Step 2 CK Exam? The step 2 CK exam is a combination of what you learn during the course of your clinical year of medical school, with some Step 1 knowledge thrown in there. While there are a lot of good books out there with the outline of various topics of medical school, I found that the best way to study was to constantly do questions from the UWorld Question Bank during the school year. You can purchase it and you can use it to study for your shelf exams and then when you’re taking Step 2 you can repeat these questions, because there’s going to be a long enough interval between the Step 1 and Step 2 exams. I usually do the questions on tutor mode first, and then I take the time to read through explanations, and read through what I got wrong. If you have any Step 2 books for studying, you can take the time to look over the information in there as well. Just as important, before the actual exam, when you’re studying for the exam, you should practice timed questions. This can be very tricky as there are a lot of questions to answer in a small amount of time, and pacing yourself is important.
“While there are a lot of good books out there with the outline of various topics of medical school, I found that the best way to study was to constantly do questions from the UWorld question bank during the school year. “
And is there a particular study schedule you suggest following? Not really; It depends on what other things you’re doing if you’re on a rotation. I would say the most important thing is to practice questions on tutor mode, and then read the explanations. You should also get comfortable doing questions in timed mode.
We sat down with Dr. Davietta Butty and discussed her life in medicine and what advice she has for prospective medical students to be a stand out premed student!
When did you decide what you wanted to pursue in medicine?
I think I decided somewhere between middle school or high school. I knew I wanted to do some sort of career that was science related because I really enjoyed biology and stuff like that. My mom during that time actually didn’t have health insurance but my brother and I did so living with her and seeing her trying to figure out her own problems – like what’s worth paying for and what’s not worth paying for – was something that really affected me and I wanted to be able to have a set a of skills and knowledge to be able to, at the very least provide advice so that she wouldn’t feel so lost in trying to figure out what was going on with her. I wanted to be able to help other people in that way so that’s sort of how I ended up thinking about becoming a doctor or some sort of teacher.
That’s nice, thank you for telling me that. When you do decide to pursue this path and you perhaps think about shadowing or volunteering, what do think are the key aspects of shadowing a doctor? Is there anything that you think that students should keep in mind or observe?
Yes. I think this is a case for me and many premed students, that you go and shadow a doctor and if it’s an outpatient world then you follow them around for a reasonable length of day; they send you to lunch or they get you lunch. If you are in a hospital with an attending and you are following them though, you get a different view of what the day to day activities are as opposed to say, shadowing a resident. I think it’s better in terms of getting a better realistic expectation on what being a doctor will look like at least for the first several years. After medical school, it’s more realistic to shadow a resident and follow that resident around for the entire day. Don’t let them send you off for a two hour lunch or don’t let them send you home early, just follow them to see what’s involved in taking care of patients in an actual full day.
Okay, that’s helpful. Are there any specific things that you should at least keep in mind when shadowing an attending or any other doctor? Could you share with us one specific thing that you would want to make sure that you observe?
I personally think that the most important thing in any interaction is to observe how the doctors are interacting with the patient. See what things the doctor is saying or doing to make that patient feel at ease, to gain that patient’s trust and then to inform that patient about what the plan is or what’s going on with them. I think that is more important than seeing “this is when we go to the OR” or “this is when we go to write notes.” I think it’s at the person to person level where you really get to see what being a physician is about and I think students should pay attention to the relationship between the patient and the physician when they are shadowing.
“When shadowing, I think the most important thing in any interaction is to observe how the doctors are interacting with the patient. See what things the doctor is saying or doing to make that patient feel at ease and to gain that patient’s trust”
I think that you are very right because the one thing that would make me to tell a doctor everything in my history would be the trust that they established in that moment. I think that that was well said. Also, going forward in the process, how do you think that students should determine whether they are a good fit for the school?
Most of that is determined on the interview day; it’s the actual feeling that you get being in that environment around your future classmates and colleagues. In terms of choosing a medical school, I think the most important thing is to know who you are, what your learning style is and what patient population you want to work with. If you know that you are really good at independent learning and working by yourself or researching materials then reading it, versus a lecture then choosing a school that has a lecture based format might not be the best choice for you because that’s not the type of learner that you are. Conversely, if you like to work in groups (and I think most medical school are leaning in this direction) or you want to work with a certain population then choose a school that focuses on problem based learning and team based activities then pick a program where you will have exposure to that population. I think it’s dependent on the curriculum, the atmosphere and the exposure that you want to get.