rmsteinberg

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Feb 6, 2005
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I'll be getting my PhD in Neuroscience and Pharmacology/Toxicology from the University of Texas in Austin next spring and I'm starting to think about applying to medical school. I haven't taken the MCAT yet, although I received very good marks in my GRE and subject GRE.
As an academic researcher, I don't know much about the medical school process. Will my Neuroscience PhD allow me any additional freedoms in medical school? i.e., will I have a greater freedom in choosing classes, or be able to skip a research requirement?
Does anyone have any MCAT advice specific to someone like myself who took all the required courses as an undergrad (but that was 6 years ago!)?
Can anyone recommend medical schools with a strong neurology branch and a solid overall program?
I'd appreciate any help you can offer.
 

Molecule

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Feb 5, 2005
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Hey there. My answer to you comes from the perspective of having done an MD-PhD at the same institution (and with my PhD in Neurosciences, like you)--and my feeling here is that, no, you won't get any special treatment as far as being able to waive medical school course requirements. Not every medical school has a research requirement--but, if they do--asking them directly is your best bet. (I'm sure answers will vary on that point.)

For the MCAT, I'd just get a test preparation book and spend a couple of months taking practice tests. Reading Comprehension, Essay Writing, and then the Biological and Physical Sciences are the major categories--and I think you'll be fine after a few practice exams. Despite the fact I was a Biology major, much of the Biological Sciences material was actually not stuff covered in my coursework (which was more molecular than the MCAT). So I don't think you're at any particular advantage or disdadvantage, necessarily.

As far as good Neurology programs...I'm not sure I would judge medical schools based on that. Neurology tends to be the shortest of your required clinical rotations (typically only 4 weeks in 3rd year!)...and you're really not judged too much in residency applications/interivews by your home school's Neurology program. What I would concentrate most on is finding a medical school that has a few different medical centers--and different opportunities to work with diverse patient populations. This way, you tend to see more interesting cases.

If a medical school you're looking at runs a county hospital, for instance, I think that's a boon. You want to have access to indigent/Medicare/Medicaid-type populations--and not just see rich people, for instance, whose chief complaint is "mild headache."

Also, you're always free in 4th year to do away-rotations at other medical schools--to explore the Neurology departments at other places.


I would focus on finding a solid medical school with great patient opportunities.