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Essay Prep for UCSF/UCSD or any pharmacy school

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Oneday_9

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Hey everyone,
I have received three or four PM's about the essay portion of the interview. I posted this on another thread but it was somewhat buried on the third page of it. I think it gives you a good idea of the variety of subjects the schools may have for their essay portion.

I am sure your personal statement essay written for pharmacy school was good practice and a good start. But here are some examples and exercises you might use to practice before your interview experience(s).

1) I guess, a strategy would be to look at some "hot" topic in healthcare affecting pharmacy, let's say, FDA and Cox-2 Inhitbitors. Then try to gauge what a possible question could be on the topic. For example, what do you think should be the course of action for this class of drugs and what can the FDA do to better regulate these meds? Give possible policy, prescribing, economic suggestions, what could you do as a pharmacist? What about patient safety? How does the pharmacist fit in?

Take an hour to write an essay, best you can. Probably start with a brief outline and then start the body. Try to write max 3-4 pages.


I know for UCSF you are given a box that you must write your response in...if you go outside that box, there is some consequence...failing the exercise. we see this same thing in our short answers in pharmacy school. The box on the essay was about a page or so.


2) For the U of Arizona, I had an essay that asked:

The Surgeon General has invited you to help plan a way to improve prescription and non-prescription use in senior citizens. What is the elements, goals, and objectives of your plan, and how will you implement it?

Now take an hour and write an organized essay without a page limit.



3) The final exercises are similiar to what UCSF/UCSD asked. UCSF asked to choose from three potential topics:
a) what does "Make Haste Quickly" mean and how does it apply to you?
b) they asked a question on technology and science, how technology
affects humanity or something.
c) the final option was to create some sort of myth/children's story
story...very creative and off the wall, not as straightforward as my
previous two examples.

Finally, UCSD asked the following question:
Your friend comes into your home town, where would you take him or her and why?

You have until the end of the interview (say 11:00AM) to write your response.


These exercises will help you think on the spot. Try simulating the experience with a time limit.

By this time, you should have your own style of writing and be efficient in communicating your ideas, so I can't think of any other strategy that can save you there. Just be good at outlining and structuring a coherent, cohesive essay, and you should be fine.

Good Luck!!!
 
M

mangokc

So UCSF & UCSD ask questions not specifically related to pharm? Anybody know about WSU, OSU, & UOP?
 

faradayampere

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wait, so you have to know how some new, "hot" drugs work?? What if they give you something you've never heard?? To be honest, I have no idea what COX-2 is when I first read the question ... just look it up recently ... my biochem lec flashed back to me now =)
 

Lexian

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mangokc said:
So UCSF & UCSD ask questions not specifically related to pharm? Anybody know about WSU, OSU, & UOP?

I think a lot depends on who you get as an interviewer as well. There might be areas that the adcoms want the interviewers to hit, but I'm sure they are also afforded some latitude to ask questions that they feel would better help them assess the applicant.
 

ultracet

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faradayampere said:
wait, so you have to know how some new, "hot" drugs work?? What if they give you something you've never heard?? To be honest, I have no idea what COX-2 is when I first read the question ... just look it up recently ... my biochem lec flashed back to me now =)
This question sounds to me to be more current events related. if you are really interested in pharmacy and a HUGE thing has happened like the vioxx recall i would expect you to find out as much as you can.

If you don't find out as much as you can about hot topics before you enter into pharmacy how could you really be all that interested
 

Oneday_9

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bbmuffin said:
This question sounds to me to be more current events related. if you are really interested in pharmacy and a HUGE thing has happened like the vioxx recall i would expect you to find out as much as you can.

If you don't find out as much as you can about hot topics before you enter into pharmacy how could you really be all that interested


I'd say this is good advice. The Vioxx scandal has been a pretty huge deal in the federal scrutiny of how drugs are approved and monitored.

I want to stress these were examples of how to find something pharmacy related, such as in California they are going to have refill kiosks, where patients can essentially have their refill without a pharmacist or something like that, and respond to such issues in a one hour essay. If it isn't an essay question, it could be an interview question, you never know, so cover your bases.

More so, although the refill kiosk may not be a national issue, rather a state one, how do you react to that, against or for? This is simply an exercise. So don't fret if you off hand don't know these topics, start visiting pharmacy sites or start following health news. It's a profession, you must begin to submerse yourself in its issues, vocabulary, etc.
 

fidelio

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What other hot topics are there? I'm not very good with current events. There's always something I've never heard of.
 

Glycerin

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fidelio said:
What other hot topics are there? I'm not very good with current events. There's always something I've never heard of.

Medicare Part D.
 

fidelio

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FutureRxGal said:
Medicare Part D.

Thanks. Though I have heard a lot about medicare part D just walking around hospitals and stores.

What is part D? And A and B and C? I heard that Part D is for people over 65 only. But I don't understand why there are other parts and what's the issue with Part D.

Is part D the only medicare that's changed? I'm having trouble understanding. All I know is is that people complain about how complicated it is.
 

Apteka

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fidelio said:
Thanks. Though I have heard a lot about medicare part D just walking around hospitals and stores.

What is part D? And A and B and C? I heard that Part D is for people over 65 only. But I don't understand why there are other parts and what's the issue with Part D.

Is part D the only medicare that's changed? I'm having trouble understanding. All I know is is that people complain about how complicated it is.

It is something we are all learning as students now, so if you can keep up to date on the current changes (not sure where you are, but there is breaking news right now from our governator's office) on Part D.

Here are a few places to start:

cpha.com (if you are in CA)

http://www.medi-cal.ca.gov/ if you are in CA

also, google for the booklet "Medicare Part D what you need to know" by the AARP. It's a useful PDF with just the basics.
 

fidelio

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Apteka said:
It is something we are all learning as students now, so if you can keep up to date on the current changes (not sure where you are, but there is breaking news right now from our governator's office) on Part D.

Thanks a lot you guys. That helped a lot. I think I have one more question and I don't want to sound stupid, but who's idea was it to make these changes from state to federal? Was that voted on or something? I'm so lost.

It reminds me of proposition 79, though that was turned down. It just sounds oddly familiar, but I don' t know.
 

sdn1977

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fidelio said:
Thanks a lot you guys. That helped a lot. I think I have one more question and I don't want to sound stupid, but who's idea was it to make these changes from state to federal? Was that voted on or something? I'm so lost.

It reminds me of proposition 79, though that was turned down. It just sounds oddly familiar, but I don' t know.

Ok...try to keep it short (it will never be simple though). The federal govt enacted the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) on Dec 8 2003 which was the result of a lengthy process to try to provide medicare beneficaries (elderly & disabled) with drug coverage. Prior to this...many of these folks drug needs were paid by the federal govt under a program called Medicaid. This money was given to the states and the states got a significant amt of leeway in what was covered. Initially, in 2003, Medicare beneficaries were offered drug discount cards which could be used to lower their drug costs until a comprehensive benefit plan could take effect (Part D). My opinion - the drug discount cards were a bust for far too many reasons to list. Now we have Part D - there is no reason for the govt to fund Medicaid dollars for these same folks - so they have been rolled randomnly into all the plans, supposedly so each plan would have its share of the economically underserved as well as those folks who are Medicare eligible who can opt into the program. Hopefully, you know Part A is the Medicare insurance that covers hospital care, SNF, home health services & hospice. Most folks don't pay a premium for this. Part B covers physician services, outpt services & medical equipment. Part B requires a premium & the amt varies each year. Folks can participate in A or A&B, depending on their needs. Part D is a dramatic change in that it allows all eligible Medicare reciepients to participate (previously, each state could set limits on Medicaid eligilibility-in CA it was complex, but they usually had to demonstrate economic need). But....very important to the pharmacy profession is that it Part D recognizes the need to provide medication therapy management to high risk individuals and actually provides a mechanism for compensation to do that. Now....not all medicare beneficiaries are real happy about it - you might talk to your parents or grandparents - they would have good thoughts about what these changes mean to the actual patient. But...that is Part D in a nutshell & how it relates to A&B - hope it helps
 

sdn1977

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As an addition....in CA, our Medicaid program is/was called MediCal. MediCal still exists - it covers those folks who still qualify economically and are not medicare eligible and it also covers reproductive services to all ages. I'm not real sure of how the money breaks down, but some of it is federal funding in addition to state funding.
 

tomrocks

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god, i can't remember what my questions for ucsf were. i know the one i answered was if i agreed with a quote or not. i can't remember the quote. the other two had to do with women's rights (i think) and the local neighborhood at ucsf. none were pharmacy related.
 

sdn1977

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As a thought...if any of your work in a pharmacy, ask the pharmacist if you can read and/or copy articles on Part D. We have been inundated with lots and lots of articles since October of last year. I would gladly give you any info if a prospective student asked.
 

fidelio

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What's funny is that I do work in an independent pharmacy with a pharmacist, but this pharmacist isn't much of a talker! I know so many different pharmacists, but everyone has something different to say. It's all very interesting.

You know, if I didn't know any better, you guys sound like professors.
jk.

Anyway, gotta jet. It was so much fun. bye!

P.S. I'm sorry if I'm been a bother. I feel bad for not trying harder to read up on this so I'm going to now. cya.
 

Mangosteen

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Wow those are hard essay questions! At my school, University of Oklahoma, my question was "How would you define character? What are the 3 most important character trait that a person should have?" We had 30 minutes to write it and most people finished well ahead of time.
 

flor

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tomrocks said:
god, i can't remember what my questions for ucsf were. i know the one i answered was if i agreed with a quote or not. i can't remember the quote. the other two had to do with women's rights (i think) and the local neighborhood at ucsf. none were pharmacy related.

The other question was something like: is there a difference between bad and good stress?
 

Tarutaru

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Keep in mind that the essays are only to assess your language capability and writing capacity. You must write clearly, concisely, and succintly. They basically want to know if you can speak english well and if you are in fact the person who wrote your personal statement! :eek: It doesn't make sense to write pages and pages on a topic given to you at an interview if a limit was not given (as at the UCSD interview). It is a writing "sample," is it not?
 
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