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Advice for Aspiring Med Student

future_DOg_mom

New Member
Mar 19, 2016
10
12
  1. Medical Student (Accepted)
    Hello!

    I am looking for advice on coursework to prep for the MCAT/med school. I graduated in 2015 with a BA in Psychology. I moved to Nashville, TN shortly after. Once I started my job as a medical device rep and am in the OR once to twice per week, I have decided I want to go back and fulfill the prereqs for med school. I have always loved medicine, but this has renewed my passion.

    I just applied to a local college to start taking classes this summer. Through all my research, I've found that I need to take 2 semesters of Gen Chem, 2 semesters of Gen Bio, 2 semesters of Physics, and 2 semesters of O Chem. I know the MCAT now requires coursework in Psych and Soc, but I have those covered through my undergrad degree. However, I did notice that I need to look into BioChem now as well. Is there a specific class for that, or a variety of them? Should I also take electives such as Genetics?

    My plan is to take two classes per term (2 in summer, 2 in fall, 2 in spring, and 2 next summer). Should I also take MCAT test prep courses during my studies or wait until afterwards and spend several months studying for the MCAT alone? My goal is to be accepted and start med school in the fall of 2018.

    Thanks for your help!
     

    CaffeineTwitch

    Full Member
    2+ Year Member
    Mar 4, 2016
    62
    42
    1. Medical Student
      I took a specific Biochem class. As far as test prep, I would wait to see how my classes are doing and go from there. If you are going to have a rough time keeping As, there is no point throwing MCAT study on top of that. If you are easily rocking everything, go ahead and throw in MCAT study; but if your practice tests suck, postpone your test date.
       

      thatwouldbeanarchy

      Full Member
      5+ Year Member
      Nov 6, 2014
      976
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      1. Medical Student
        I know the MCAT now requires coursework in Psych and Soc, but I have those covered through my undergrad degree. However, I did notice that I need to look into BioChem now as well. Is there a specific class for that, or a variety of them? Should I also take electives such as Genetics?
        You don't necessarily need to take Psych or Soc classes to prepare for the MCAT. Most of the material tested on the exam is pretty basic and you can use test prep materials to refresh your memory.

        An introductory Biochem course should be fine for the MCAT.

        Upper level courses like Genetics definitely look good on your application (assuming you do well in them) and may help you somewhat for the MCAT - but they're not really necessary courses to take beforehand. So much of doing well on the MCAT has to do with stamina and critical thinking. You definitely want to devote plenty of time to studying content (whether you take a prep course or self-study) but you don't need a ton of upper level science courses to do well on the exam.

        In terms of when to take a prep course, I would base this on how well you're doing in your classes. If you think you can keep up a strong GPA and do MCAT prep on the side, then go for it. But the best thing you can do is take your time and really do this stuff right the first time around.
         
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        Citron

        Full Member
        2+ Year Member
        Dec 30, 2015
        24
        23
        1. Pre-Medical
          My plan is to take two classes per term (2 in summer, 2 in fall, 2 in spring, and 2 next summer). Should I also take MCAT test prep courses during my studies or wait until afterwards and spend several months studying for the MCAT alone? My goal is to be accepted and start med school in the fall of 2018.
          Not sure if you can make it for Fall 2018. If you want to attend in Fall 2018, you must submit your app in summer 2017 for best chances (most likely as soon as AMCAS opens, which is the first week of June 2017). That means MCAT should be taken in May or earlier and MCAT prep should start in early spring 2017 at bare minimum. By the time you start the prep, you should have finished Biochemistry, however you can't really take Biochem until you have finished the chemistry sequence: Gen Chem 1 -> Gen Chem 2 -> Orgo 1 - >Orgo 2 (Optional for quite a few schools) -> Biochem. Even if you can take both Gen Chem 1 & 2 this summer, by end of spring 2017 you'll only finish Orgo 2 or Biochem and either 2 courses in Bio, or 2 courses in Physics, or Physics 1 & Gen Bio - i.e. not enough for MCAT prep. On top of that, you still need time for shadowing & volunteer as well.
          I definitely recommend adding another year to your plan. It's best to submit application when it looks best and most competitive, you don't want to have to reapply. There's no need to rush; Actually many traditional pre-med students nowadays enroll med school 2 years after graduation.
           
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          future_DOg_mom

          New Member
          Mar 19, 2016
          10
          12
          1. Medical Student (Accepted)
            Dude you asked your question in the thread "Class of 2022" below

            http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/class-of-2022.1107970/page-4

            Like what thatwouldbeanarchy said "But the best thing you can do is take your time and really do this stuff right the first time around."

            Sorry to double post @Shotapp, it said there was an error with this posting and I didn't even think it posted, so that's why I took my question to another forum. Regardless, thanks for your advice on both posts!
             

            wisemaster

            New Member
            Mar 23, 2016
            1
            0
            1. Post Doc
              If you are only looking at courses to get into medical school, I think you have enough information on this page to help you with that task. One of the most difficult things to do in the face of just getting into medical school, no matter which one, is to expand your focus farther out into your career. You can do that if you maintain a high confidence that you not only will make it into medical school but that you have the capability to be a great doctor. I'm looking at this from the position of an experienced medical doctor that spent 39 years in clinical medical practice. I have seen all the changes in the profession over 50 some years, but the basics for getting the greatest advantages out of your career begin right where you are today. For example, do you know why there are so many doctors now losing their medical practices because they don't make enough income to keep the doors open? It's not because they are incompetent doctors, lack appropriate medical knowledge, or are just lazy critters. It's because in private medical practice no one has taken the time during college and medical school to tell them all of the benefits of a business education. Doctors are business ignorant because you are never told how important a business education is to your future income, career goals, and family obligations.
              Medical practice is a business and to be successful it has to be run on business principles and knowledge, something that every successful business owner in the world knows. You won't get that education in college or medical school... so when??
              My advice to you is to somehow get as much practical business experience and courses as possible now, instead of wasting time on useless courses in the liberal arts. If you quit medicine later, you will have a leg up on all others for jobs because of having a business education... not because you have a medical education. You are trained and educated for only one type of career and if you lose that, there aren't very many alternatives for you.
              If I were starting over today, I'd plan to visit every medical school that I intended to apply to, ask or arrange for a personal interview at each right now, long before you apply to them. Arrange to get several recommendations. And have on hand all the research about that medical school, in detail, before the interviews. Choose a medical school where you want to live and set up practice there. That way you can establish relationships with local doctors who will help you get started, partnerships, etc. In the midwest you will find net incomes significantly higher for doctors than in the rest of the USA. Just never give up on your passion because that's what drives you to the top and inspires you to succeed.
               
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