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Nontraditional Q's-sort of..

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by shoppe, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. shoppe

    shoppe Member 7+ Year Member

    131
    0
    Sep 18, 2005
    I didn't thought of Med school until this year, which is my Senior year in college. Thus, I'll be taking a year off to tackle the MCAT and gain some experiments. So far, i have no research or clinical experiences. I will have a BS of Chemistry and Biology (double major) in two weeks with a 3.86 GPA. I have 94% on my PCAT but heard that the MCAT is much harder. So I guess my question is, from now until the next application cycle, do you think I gain "enough" clinical experience and take the MCAT to get into Med school? I'm afraid they might question my short, and sudden devotion in the field. However, I've worked at an acupuncture clinic for almost a year and at a pharmacy for two years. Do you think they are "clinical" related?
     
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  3. spicedmanna

    spicedmanna Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    A year's worth of clinical experience should be sufficient, as long as it is a quality experience. There's no set number of hours you need to have; you just need to know what it is like to work with patients and what doctors do on a day-to-day basis. Thus, some physician-shadowing might not be a bad idea, in conjunction with your clinical experience. Keep in mind that many medical schools also like to see community service/volunteer work. Of course, sustained experiences do demonstrate commitment.

    The MCAT is a test of your basic science knowledge and your test-taking abilities. You review all of your basic sciences (Gen. Chem., Organic Chem., Gen. Biology, and Physics) for the MCAT. On average, it should take about 3-4 months to review. Take as many practice tests under real conditions as you can; use the AAMC pratice tests in conjunction with other material to get a feel for what the actual test is like. Study smartly, meaning analyze your tests and make corrections to your tactics. Learn how to read and analyze data and complex graphs efficiently and accurately. Most of the MCAT is passage-based, so you will need to be good at sifting through lots of crap to find what is important. To do well in verbal reasoning, you need to be good at timing yourself and quickly getting the gist of difficult and lengthy passages without getting lost in the details. Practice reading lots of complex scientific and liberal arts/philosophy articles, such as from Nature, Science, social science journals, and literary magazines such as the New Yorker, as examples. Read the 30+ study habits thread in the SDN MCAT forum.

    Well, it's standard for all medical schools to ask you, "why medicine?" and "why do you want to become a physician?" You have the burden of proof. Therefore, you should most certainly have a good answer to those question in your essays (particularly in your personal statement) and in your interviews. Furthermore, they may indeed ask you why you are suddenly wanting to become a doctor, if that's what your application leads them to ask. So, yes, definitely have a compelling and poignant answer for that. If your motivations are authentic, then you needn't worry. Back up your answers with tangible evidence. The strongest answers to the above questions and to others that might be posed will be evidence-based.

    Consistant, direct patient contact, usually in a medical setting, qualifies as a clinical experience.
     
  4. shoppe

    shoppe Member 7+ Year Member

    131
    0
    Sep 18, 2005
    I don't even think I have a year. I'll graduate in two weeks and will be out of the country for a month. So I'll be back in June. Given that I can start working right after my vacation and studying the MCAT at the same time, do you think I'll gain enough clinical experience to explain to others why I choose medicine? What worry me is that the application deadline is usually in November so I only have a few months to do well on the MCAT and gain experience. Do you think I'll make it in time for the next application?
     
  5. spicedmanna

    spicedmanna Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Hmm. If you want the most optimal route, with the most options and best chances, then no, I wouldn't apply this cycle starting in June 2007. If you wait as late as November to apply, you will be effectively shooting yourself in the foot, as it will be late in the cycle by then and you also won't have had the fullest of experiences set up. You want to apply as EARLY as possible in a given application cycle; in this process, the early bird gets the worm. I would give it a full year to round out your clinical experiences, volunteer work, physician-shadowing experiences, and time to study and do well on the MCAT, and apply in June 2008, for a Fall 2009 matriculation. That's my suggestion.
     

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