A Bachelor of Science (BS) and Medical Doctor (MD) combo is an undergraduate institution and a medical school partner that allows students to gain admission to both straight out of high school. Many BS/MD programs take eight years, the typical minimum amount of time a student would normally spend getting a BS and MD through separate programs.
Pre-med is a term college students use to show they plan on attending med school and are taking the right classes. Pre-meds can major in whatever subject they want and just take the required classes needed to apply to med school.
A post-baccalaureate program is completed after graduation from college for a variety of reasons: to complete a second BA/BS degree, to attain a graduate certificate, to complete med school prerequisite courses, or to raise a GPA. Most post-baccalaureate programs take 1 to 2 years to complete.
The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is developed and administered by the AAMC, and is a standardized, multiple-choice exam created to help medical school admissions offices assess problem solving, critical thinking, and knowledge of natural, behavioral, and social science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine.
The Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics (CASPer) is an admissions test that measures traits like professionalism, ethics, communication, and empathy. It’s a psychological test with realistic hypothetical scenarios that asks what you would do when faced with particular situations—and why.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) administers the MCAT exam. They focus on transforming health care across medical education, patient care, medical research, and diversity, inclusion, and equity in health care.
AACOMAS (for DO)
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOMAS) is the application process for those applying for a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) in medical school.
AMCAS (for MD)
The American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) is the AAMC’s centralized medical school application processing service for those applying for a Doctor of Medicine (MD) in medical school.
Texas Medical & Dental Schools Application Services (TMDAS) is the common application that prospective professional students can use a to apply to all public medical, dental and veterinary schools in the state of Texas.
The Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) is the centralized online application service students use to deliver their application, along with supporting documents, to residency programs.
M1, M2, M3, M4
M1 = First-year medical student
M2 = Second-year medical student
M3 = Third-year medical student
M4 = Fourth-year medical student
USMLE / Medical License Exam
The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) assesses a physician’s ability to apply knowledge, concepts, and principles, and to demonstrate fundamental patient-centered skills, that are important in health and disease.
USMLE Step 1
Step 1 tests mostly pre-clinical knowledge (basic science) and is typically taken after the second year of medical school.
USMLE Step 2 CK
Step 2 CK assesses clinical knowledge and is typically taken between the third and fourth years of medical school, sometimes later in the fourth year if you did well on Step 1 and do not want the Step 2 score to affect your residency application.
USMLE Step 2 CS
Step 2 CS assesses clinical skills and is a practical examination as you see a panel of standardized patients, conduct a medical interview, perform a physical exam, and integrate laboratory findings to arrive at a differential diagnosis.
USMLE Step 3
Step 3 assesses whether you can apply medical knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical science essential for the unsupervised practice of medicine, with emphasis on patient management in ambulatory settings. It is taken after the intern year of residency.
MedSchoolCoach helps medical students match into their desired programs after medical school. Here, we define the different phases to becoming a doctor, and continuing education as a skilled physician, even after you’ve graduated from med school.
Internships are the first year of training after medical school and are considered a minimum requirement to be eligible and qualify for a general license in medicine. For example, a PGY1 Internship is done Post-Graduate Year 1.
After completing medical school, typically doctors enter a residency program for an additional 2 to 7 years of education and training. A family practice resident could serve 2 years of residency while a surgery residency may last 5+ years. If you do one year of an internship, your first year of residency would make you a PGY2, or Post-Graduate Year 2.
A fellow is a physician who has completed their residency and elects to complete further training in a specialty. The fellow is a fully credentialed physician who chooses to pursue additional training, the fellowship is optional and is not required to practice medicine, but is necessary for training in a subspecialty.
An attending physician has completed their training and is practicing independently in their chosen specialty. This term is typically used at teaching facilities to differentiate fully credentialed senior-level physicians from junior physicians who are still completing their higher education.
In the hierarchy of physicians, the attending is at the top under only the physicians who run the hospital itself. Attendings may also be known as staff physicians or a rendering doctor and may be trained as an MD or a DO.
Various specialties have “boards” which are used to further signify and accredit physicians as trained in a particular area. These tests can be oral or written or a combination. Every specialty has different requirements and formats. Some are multiple years that require retesting every few years to maintain certification. These are typically taken after residency and fellowship. Examples include American Board of Radiology or American Board of Internal Medicine.
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