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  • Charting A Course to Medical School: PART IV

    So here you are... done with the MCAT, and probably feeling like a great deal of weight has been lifted off your shoulders. You are relieved, happy, and excited about what is about to happen next -- your application to medical school. Yes, in many ways, the worst is over, but that does not give you an excuse to let up now. In fact, you should be more vigilant than ever. You are about to make some very important decisions, decisions which will affect the rest of your life. Now let's talk about: Selecting Medical Schools.

    Where do I apply, and how do I know this medical school is for me?

    Every year, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) puts out an updated copy of Medical School Admission Requirements. The book contains valuable information regarding names, addresses, and locations of every allopathic medical school in the United States and Canada. It also contains data pertaining to every medical school, including GPA/MCAT score ranges associated with accepted students, class size, curriculum, requirements for entrance, selection factors, financial aid, class composition, tuition, et cetera. For students interested in osteopathic medical schools, there is a comparable book published by AACOM called ...

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  • Charting A Course to Medical School: PART III

    Today we will get to the topic you've all been wondering about....or stressing about: The MCAT EXAM!

    The Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT, is offered twice a year, once in April and once in August. The MCAT is required by 98% of all medical schools; the other two percent of schools require other standardized tests. Applications are available through your school's health professions advisor, an office of measurement and evaluation (if your school has one), or directly through the American College Testing service. Beware: the MCAT is a rather expensive test. Fortunately, there is a fee reduction program for financially disadvantaged students.

    What does the MCAT consist of?

    The MCAT consists of four sections: physical sciences, biological sciences, verbal reasoning, and a writing sample. The testing period takes a total of approximately eight hours and is split up in the following way:

    • Verbal Reasoning, 85 minutes
    • Physical Sciences, 100 minutes
    • 50% Physics
    • 50% Chemistry
    • Writing Sample, 60 minutes
    • Biological Sciences, 100 minutes
    • 75% Biology
    • 25% Organic Chemistry

    **NOTE: The MCAT Exam will be making some changes starting in 2015. If you are planning on taking the exam then, please read more here.

    How much should I study?

    No ...

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  • Charting A Course to Medical School: PART II

    Today we will be exploring Extracurricular Activities

    You might ask yourself, "What does it take to become a doctor?" It takes intellectual and heart-rending endurance, the desire and ability to relate to people effectively, and especially, the competence to think logically and to use common sense. Medical schools look for evidence that demonstrates traits such as leadership, maturity, determination, inquisitiveness, and a demonstrated interest and knowledge about what medicine encompasses. This can be accomplished, in part, by having experience in a health care setting, by speaking with health care professionals who have been through it, or by getting exposure to research at the undergraduate level. Not only will involvement in extracurricular activities show your determination, it will also give you a realistic view of the medical field, enabling you to observe its shortcomings, demands, and rewards first-hand.

    If you are unable to volunteer or find a health-related job at your local hospital or clinic, there are other alternatives. Working, playing sports, or even playing a musical instrument will demonstrate your commitment to a particular activity. These activities may take large amounts of time and may help explain your lack of involvement or enthusiasm elsewhere.

    Many college students who have no ...

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  • Charting A Course to Medical School: AMSA's Map for Success, PART I

    Premeds - this article is for you! This post is taken from, "Charting A Course to Medical School: The AMSA Map for Success." Written by AMSA members, this guide offers help straight from students who have followed the same route you are facing now. Over the next few weeks, we will post a complete series of articles, so follow along as we dive in and create your course to medical school! 

    What does it take to become a doctor? The most important trait is a commitment to medicine, to individuals, and to society. Dedication, determination, and devotion to helping people through medicine are of paramount importance. Without these, your training and resulting career will not be very enjoyable or rewarding. 

    The time and financial commitment involved in this pursuit can be staggering. Most students accumulate a large amount of debt while in medical school. This debt, coupled with four years of training and a variable number of years spent in residency training, can seem daunting. Yet with confidence and motivation, these will appear only secondary in importance when you consider what you are gaining in the long run. The time and financial commitment can be viewed as an investment in ...

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  • What's science got to do with it?

    by Ken Williams
    Graduate Special Student
    The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

    This is the first of what will be a series addressing the current state of premedical education in the United States and the debate that surrounds it. We will explore the role of the natural and social sciences, humanities, and the arts and how they relate to both the education of physicians-in-training at all levels of their schooling and to life as a doctor. With this year being the 100th anniversary of the Flexner Report, the seminal work that caused the educational requirements for physicians to be codified, it is the perfect time to ask questions about what, if anything, should be changed with the path we have to take to get into med school? Are the requirements creating better physicians? How are we measuring that?

    For the record, my first degree was in philosophy, where I focused on ethics and logics. Since then, I have studied all sorts of things: health policy, graphic design, architecture, culinary arts, religious studies, and environmental studies, among others. All of these have helped to color my current perspective on both life in general and health care specifically. I ...

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