Yay! First Med School Application submitted

I am super excited to share with you all that I’ve submitted my very first medical school application ever. I keep reminding myself to be realistic that admissions is very competitive, and even more so for a third year applicant. As I said before, I’m going for it because I subscribe to “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” so you might as well take a shot. But I know there really isn’t a need to be too rush to get from one place to another.

The applications are taking up a fairly big chunk of time even though I tried to get as much done before school started. There are a couple more applications to submit so I’m going to get those done as soon as possible, and head back into focusing on classes, work and extracurriculars.

Speaking of applying to medical school, I want to recommend a MCAT test prep company that  called Magoosh. If you’re applying to graduate school or law school, they also offer tutoring for the the GRE, GMAT and the LSAT. Magoosh is offering  Save 20% on Magoosh test prep plans  to readers of this blog through that promo link – yay!

Have an awesome weekend!

What’s difficult about MCAT studying

What’s been the most difficult about studying for my upcoming MCAT exam has been:

  • Balancing other obligations with the amount of studying. Even though during the year, I, like every other student, juggle multiple commitments but in the end, I am a full time student with dedicated time to attend class and learn. In the summer, I am a full time worker and studying is wedged into the remaining pockets of time, and it has its pros and it has its own challenges. I now have a much deeper respect for individuals that work full time and work towards a degree on the side – if that’s you, you’re incredible! It’s totally do-able but not a walk in the park!
  • Staying motivated through the whole study period. Re-finding energy and motivation day after day, week after week, month after month. It’s a good exercise though because it forces me to remind myself why I want to go into medicine 🙂
  • Feeling bad about having to turn down time with your family, friends. And missing out on fun summer activities.

The content is not too bad. It’s actually super interesting! I feel like I have learned so many useful bits of knowledge.

I’ve been changing my study spot every day after I realized studying at home is not the most effective for me. This morning I studied at McDonalds which made me nostalgic for high school. My elementary and high schools were near a McDonald’s so I socialized with friends and studied at a McDonald’s quite a bit.

I have an awesome study buddy who keeps me motivated. I’ve been back and forth about caffeine. When I have tea, I’m pretty energetic but I don’t like relying on any substances. I am way too jittery when I have coffee.  But for example, today I went caffeine-free and I had a slow, not as productive as I would have liked study day. My hypothesis is that when I have tea to flavour my water, I drink a healthy amount of water and that helps keep my energy up. (Sidenote: I am in love with Tetley’s raspberry white tea! ) When I just have plain water, I drink much less and it’s dehydration that is making me sluggish rather than lack of caffeine. Anyone else think that’s plausible?

Hope you’re all enjoying July so far!

Shanna

My first MCAT full length

I did my first full-length MCAT yesterday!

For those of you also looking to write the MCAT, I used the unscored AAMC sample test.I purchased the AAMC practice bundle that includes 3 practice exams and questions banks. My wallet cried but I think the investment will be worth it.

  • Fighting fatigue during a 7.5 hour exam is really hard! I need to train my endurance. I had an interruption halfway so I  took a longer break midway than I supposed, which I regret doing because It would have been better to do the exam straight through to get the most accurate representation of my abilities. So I think my actual score would have been lower than it was.
    • To be honest, it felt brutal mentally and physically.
  • The chemical and physical section was my worst section so I need to prioritize improving this section. I need to review content for this section
    • I need to review a lot of general chemistry that I vaguely recall from 11th grade chemistry
    • I also need to learn fluids
    • I also need to learn electricity
  • CARS felt alright. Not too rushed.
  • I was surprised at how well I did on the Biology section. I had to draw on knowledge from MICB 202, BIOL 200, and BIOC 202.
  • Psych/Socio section: I need more content review.

UBC thankfully has a long weekend this weekend so I was able to spend the majority yesterday writing the full length (as well as working on our upcoming club event. Hooray!) , and a chunk of today reviewing what I got wrong.

You might be wondering why I am taking a full length so early. I think it’s important to get a feel for the exam early on rather than wait until you’ve finished all your content review first before taking an exam. I’m a first time MCAT taker so I don’t know whether this is the right philosophy. I’ll let you now after I write the real test and see my score (eek!).

I have to be productive the rest of today because I’m going with my friend Veena to the Japanese design exhibition downtown tomorrow.

Do you have any tips for writing standardized tests? Any advice about the MCAT? I’d love to hear you from you!

Cheers,

Shanna

Best MCAT books

The word MCAT strikes dread and fear into the hearts of premeds.

Best content review: 10th Edition Examkrackers MCAT Complete Study Package (EXAMKRACKERS MCAT MANUALS). Past MCAT takers and medical students have said that ExamCrackers is best if you want a concise review of content. It also comes with a 10-week study plan that details which chapters to cover.

Best CARS practice: MCAT Verbal Practice: 108 Passages for the new CARS Section. It’s a thick book. Advice from past MCAT takes is that the only way to get good at CARS is to practice. 

If you’re weak in Biology: Examkrackers 1001 Questions in MCAT Biology. A medical student I talked to did ALL the questions. A current surgical resident said that she did every 3rd question or so.

If you’re weak in OChem: Examkrackers: 1001 Questions in MCAT, Organic Chemistry  OChem. Enough said.

Best on-the-go study resource: Barron’s MCAT Flash Cards