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AMCAS language question

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by silverlining1, May 3, 2007.

  1. silverlining1

    silverlining1 7+ Year Member

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    Oct 9, 2006
    California
    MDApps:
    In the languages section, should I put languages that I am not fluent in but am able to have conversations in?
     
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  3. armybound

    armybound future urologist. Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    yeah I was curious too. good question.

    I just filled out that section and chose not to, since I've heard interviewers sometimes will talk to you in a foreign language, and I didn't want to jumble through a couple sentences and look like a liar.
     
  4. Schaden Freud

    Schaden Freud MiSanthrope II 2+ Year Member

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    If you put a foreign language down be prepared for your interviewer to speak to you in that language.

     
  5. postbacker

    postbacker Banned Banned

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    Fluency is an extremely high standard. Don't list it unless you are prepared to have a conversation in the language with no hesitation, no confusion, no limits. They want to know about fluency, not if you can order a meal or check into a hotel...
     
  6. jochi1543

    jochi1543 President, Gunner Central 2+ Year Member

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    Alberta, Canada
    MDApps:
    Honestly, I've met lots of people who claim to be fluent in something after taking a year's worth of courses.....and it makes me wonder if those people are gonna put 8 languages down while I'll only put down the 2 I am REALLY fluent in as opposed to the 5 I've done coursework in and then I'll end up being the stupid one.:confused: :laugh:
     
  7. postbacker

    postbacker Banned Banned

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    I don't think being able to claim "fluency" in any foreign language really matters - it may make you a more interesting person in the interview - but in terms of qualifications for med school admissions, it has to be very, very low on the list.

    BTW, I am fluent in a very difficult language, but I think what makes it important for me is that I have lots of interesting experiences living in that foreign country, etc., and I only hope that someone will find it interesting, too.

    Clearly AMCAS is looking for native level fluency and nothing short of that - to put down a language without that level of ability is foolish (plenty of anecdotes to support interviewers who conduct the interview in the language)...how embarrassing would that be?
     
  8. alwaysaangel

    alwaysaangel 5+ Year Member

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    Sep 4, 2006
    Orange, CA
    MDApps:
    Don't put it unless you're absolutely fluent and could conduct an interview in it. I didn't list my two (Spanish - 6 years and Sign Language - 4 years) because I'm not fluent in them. You'll have opportunities to mention them on secondaries and in interviews so don't stress about it, but when AMCAS asks languages they're asking languages you could be a full translator for.

    If you couldn't walk into a room with a doctor and translate everything the doctor says then I highly recommend AGAINST listing it.
     
  9. TheAmazingGOB

    TheAmazingGOB It ain't easy bein' white 5+ Year Member

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    Jan 8, 2007
    Only mark it if you are fluent. Just because you picked up an "Italian in 15 minutes book" and can order a glass of wine does not make you fluent. Some schools will pair you up with interviewers that are actually fluent and your goose is cooked if they walk in and ask "porque quer ser um medico?" and you have no idea what they just said. I don't think being multi-lingual will make or break your application. In fact, Spanish is probably the only language that will really get an adcom's attention.
     
  10. silverlining1

    silverlining1 7+ Year Member

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    Oct 9, 2006
    California
    MDApps:
    Got it - thank you everyone for your clear responses! I'm especially glad to hear what you said, alwaysaangel, because I have found my Spanish to be useful in the community health clinic where I volunteer, but I'm certainly not fluent. I will definitely mention this elsewhere.
     
  11. emaj1n

    emaj1n M1 2+ Year Member

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    Oct 16, 2006
    This is the answer. If you could go to a country and speak its language without hiccups, then sure, put that language down. Otherwise, forget it.
     
  12. M.Furfur

    M.Furfur 5+ Year Member

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    Dec 15, 2006
    would you put english as primary even that it is not your mother language?
     
  13. Schaden Freud

    Schaden Freud MiSanthrope II 2+ Year Member

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    I would consider your primary language to be the one you use for thinking.

     
  14. armybound

    armybound future urologist. Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    if your parents raised you speaking a language other than english, I might have a hard time putting english. that's a tough choice though.
     
  15. jochi1543

    jochi1543 President, Gunner Central 2+ Year Member

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    Alberta, Canada
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    I'm putting it as my other language. While I speak English better simply due to the fact that I've barely used my native language in the last 6 years (though of course I read and comprehend conversation 100% in it, it's just the speaking where I have a bit of a challenge), I feel that putting down English as my primary language might make the adcom think that I'm actually an American heritage-wise who was just born in my home country.
     
  16. TheAmazingGOB

    TheAmazingGOB It ain't easy bein' white 5+ Year Member

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    Jan 8, 2007
    When you talk about volunteering in a community health clinic in the activities section, mention that you did some translating and that you are PROFICIENT in Spanish.

    I speak fluent portuguese and went on a medical trip to Peru and translated for the American doctors. I was able to get by, but I am by no means fluent in Spanish which I clearly mentioned when I discussed this activity on AMCAS. My interviewers didn't seem to have a problem with that.
     

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