joshuabalbuena.rpt

Physical Therapist
Jun 21, 2019
35
8
Status
DPT / OTD
Hello!

I was planning on doing weekend classes or night classes for the following Medical School Prerequisites:
  • One year of biology with lab
  • One year of general chemistry with lab
  • One year of organic chemistry with lab
  • One year of physics with lab
  • At least one semester of biochemistry
  • A math requirement (some schools require calculus, some require statistics, some require both
  • One year of English
I wanted to divide this load of a span of 2 to 3 years. I don't know if medical schools frown upon this method but any insight will help. I will also be working full time as a PT 8-4, 5 days a week. Does anyone have any tips on managing this type of workload AND does anyone have experience with working while taking the subjects?
Any insights would help a lot.
 

DadIsFat

2+ Year Member
Feb 23, 2018
19
5
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi! I worked while taking my prerequisites very slowly- took 2.5 years. The lower level sciences (gen chem and biology) I was able to take at night. The upper levels were only available during the day and I had to change my work schedule. I was able to work on the weekends (I’m in allied health) so that may be an option for you as well. Have you had physics? 1 year is required for many schools and some physics is on the MCAT. Also, if you already have a year of English you probably do not need to retake that. I am starting med school in August and my English courses were from the early 2000s. You can double check with each school but it is typically science courses that schools care about being recent.

See what is available around your area as far as night and weekend courses go. And see if your employer is willing to be flexible with when you work your hours. It’s tough but doable. Best wishes!
 
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Jun 27, 2018
378
487
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Pre-Medical
I worked a FT job and started a real business while earning my business degree and taking the prereqs. I also started a family during the time.

I’m saying all this not to brag but to give you confidence that it is manageable but it takes a lot of discipline and sacrifice. I had to take a bunch of summer,Intersession, and online courses. I found that night classes were often hard to come by even at a community college. So I eventually had to use my vacation time to leave work early to attend classes.

Start with one or two classes until you figure out your routine and study habits. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself and hurt your GPA and knowledge for MCAT
 
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findoc

Burt Macklin, FBI
Oct 21, 2019
42
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MD/PhD Student
I also found that upper level science courses were generally only offered during the day. Honestly you will be busy but you find a routine and get used to it. I did it in two years.
 
OP
J

joshuabalbuena.rpt

Physical Therapist
Jun 21, 2019
35
8
Status
DPT / OTD
Hi! I worked while taking my prerequisites very slowly- took 2.5 years. The lower level sciences (gen chem and biology) I was able to take at night. The upper levels were only available during the day and I had to change my work schedule. I was able to work on the weekends (I’m in allied health) so that may be an option for you as well. Have you had physics? 1 year is required for many schools and some physics is on the MCAT. Also, if you already have a year of English you probably do not need to retake that. I am starting med school in August and my English courses were from the early 2000s. You can double check with each school but it is typically science courses that schools care about being recent.

See what is available around your area as far as night and weekend courses go. And see if your employer is willing to be flexible with when you work your hours. It’s tough but doable. Best wishes!
That's good if they offer the same thing for me. Having night classes would help a lot. I'm actually planning to do the same thing you're doing, have it spread out in a span of 2.5 years. Thank you very much for the advice and ideas.
 
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OP
J

joshuabalbuena.rpt

Physical Therapist
Jun 21, 2019
35
8
Status
DPT / OTD
I worked a FT job and started a real business while earning my business degree and taking the prereqs. I also started a family during the time.

I’m saying all this not to brag but to give you confidence that it is manageable but it takes a lot of discipline and sacrifice. I had to take a bunch of summer,Intersession, and online courses. I found that night classes were often hard to come by even at a community college. So I eventually had to use my vacation time to leave work early to attend classes.

Start with one or two classes until you figure out your routine and study habits. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself and hurt your GPA and knowledge for MCAT
Alright, thank you. I still have to check the schedules from the school.
 
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bent1993

2+ Year Member
Mar 16, 2016
311
285
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I took the prerequisites over a 2-3 year period and never got any grief over it. If you have a bachelors degree they can see that you at one point were probably taking a full course load and doing fine. It's impossible to do well in full time courses and work full time as well. I'm a nurse so I worked my hours into 3, 12 hour days but I'm not sure about FT 8-5, are you able to cut down your hours to PT or take out loans as a last resort? When I became pre-med after being out of school, that became my sole focus.
 
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joshuabalbuena.rpt

Physical Therapist
Jun 21, 2019
35
8
Status
DPT / OTD
I took the prerequisites over a 2-3 year period and never got any grief over it. If you have a bachelors degree they can see that you at one point were probably taking a full course load and doing fine. It's impossible to do well in full time courses and work full time as well. I'm a nurse so I worked my hours into 3, 12 hour days but I'm not sure about FT 8-5, are you able to cut down your hours to PT or take out loans as a last resort? When I became pre-med after being out of school, that became my sole focus.
Yes, I am I'm looking into Home health and Inpatient rehab now because they offer 3 to 4 day work weeks and 12 hour shifts.
 

bent1993

2+ Year Member
Mar 16, 2016
311
285
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Yes, I am I'm looking into Home health and Inpatient rehab now because they offer 3 to 4 day work weeks and 12 hour shifts.
That sounds like a good plan to me, but I really would recommend going part time if you are able. The courses can be very time consuming and you want to do well. I cut my work down even more to PRN the 4 months leading to the MCAT because I was spending at least 40 hours a week studying in preparation, immediately after the MCAT you have to begin (hopefully have already began) writing your personal statement and many, many essays for each school that need to be checked and rechecked prior to submitting your application. I wish I had known how time consuming this process would have been ahead of time so that I could have began preparing earlier.

On a side note, in a year or so begin contacting doctors you work with to see if you can shadow them and begin collecting 1-2 recommendation letters as well as from professors at your school. The pre-med departments should offer a "committee letter" that you submit an application and interview for, which comprises all of your letters in one and the school ranks you, many medical schools prefer this letter than you just submitting your letters individually. My school only does this for applicants 1 time per year, so it would be good to just look into it and save the date so you don't miss the deadline.
 
Last edited:
OP
J

joshuabalbuena.rpt

Physical Therapist
Jun 21, 2019
35
8
Status
DPT / OTD
That sounds like a good plan to me, but I really would recommend going part time if you are able. The courses can be very time consuming and you want to do well. I cut my work down even more to PRN the 4 months leading to the MCAT because I was spending at least 40 hours a week studying in preparation, immediately after the MCAT you have to begin (hopefully have already began) writing your personal statement and many, many essays for each school that need to be checked and rechecked prior to submitting your application. I wish I had known how time consuming this process would have been ahead of time so that I could have began preparing earlier.

On a side note, in a year or so begin contacting doctors you work with to see if you can shadow them and begin collecting 1-2 recommendation letters as well as from professors at your school. The pre-med departments should offer a "committee letter" that you submit an application and interview for, which comprises all of your letters in one and the school ranks you, many medical schools prefer this letter than you just submitting your letters individually. My school only does this for applicants 1 time per year, so it would be good to just look into it and save the date so you don't miss the deadline.
Of course, I would be going off work for at least 6 months or maybe do part time while studying for the MCAT (PRIORITIES, PRIORITIES, PRIORITIES).
The essays I haven't researched it that much yet since I'm mainly prioritizing the subjects and MCAT since I'm gonna do this within a 2-4 year time period. But thank you for bringing that I had no idea that it would be that time consuming. I'll take note of the essays as well.

Question: currently I'm working directly with a Doctor(PMR) in his clinic so we interact most of the time and we discuss patient details also Would this be considered shadowing hours? I'm also planning for him to be one of my letter of recommendation.
 

bent1993

2+ Year Member
Mar 16, 2016
311
285
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Of course, I would be going off work for at least 6 months or maybe do part time while studying for the MCAT (PRIORITIES, PRIORITIES, PRIORITIES).
The essays I haven't researched it that much yet since I'm mainly prioritizing the subjects and MCAT since I'm gonna do this within a 2-4 year time period. But thank you for bringing that I had no idea that it would be that time consuming. I'll take note of the essays as well.

Question: currently I'm working directly with a Doctor(PMR) in his clinic so we interact most of the time and we discuss patient details also Would this be considered shadowing hours? I'm also planning for him to be one of my letter of recommendation.
No problem and yes it's good to just start thinking ahead about everything so when the time comes it doesn't overwhelm you! And shadowing would be unpaid time. So for instance I work w/ several peds hospitalist, I filled out the hospital paperwork for shadowing and came on my off time to stay by his side through the day and see patients together as basically a fly on the wall. You don't necessarily have to shadow as you have clinical exposure to physicians but my take on it is that everyone else will have it in their application, so if you don't it could be seen as a negative. You working counts as clinical "volunteering" though so you don't need to do that. Many medical schools like to see roughly 60-100 hours of shadowing and from at least two physician types. (I shadowed adult ED 50 hours/peds hospitalist 50 hours) and that sufficed. It's also really interesting to be with them for that long and to be able to pick their brain on different patient cases. If you're interested in a certain field, I suggest you shadow that type of physician.
 
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J

joshuabalbuena.rpt

Physical Therapist
Jun 21, 2019
35
8
Status
DPT / OTD
No problem and yes it's good to just start thinking ahead about everything so when the time comes it doesn't overwhelm you! And shadowing would be unpaid time. So for instance I work w/ several peds hospitalist, I filled out the hospital paperwork for shadowing and came on my off time to stay by his side through the day and see patients together as basically a fly on the wall. You don't necessarily have to shadow as you have clinical exposure to physicians but my take on it is that everyone else will have it in their application, so if you don't it could be seen as a negative. You working counts as clinical "volunteering" though so you don't need to do that. Many medical schools like to see roughly 60-100 hours of shadowing and from at least two physician types. (I shadowed adult ED 50 hours/peds hospitalist 50 hours) and that sufficed. It's also really interesting to be with them for that long and to be able to pick their brain on different patient cases. If you're interested in a certain field, I suggest you shadow that type of physician.
Oh I get it now. Is it possible to shadow a surgeon? I was always planning to be a Orthopedic surgeon, cardiac surgeon or a neurosurgeon. Do you have any insight on that?
 

DadIsFat

2+ Year Member
Feb 23, 2018
19
5
Status
Pre-Medical
Do you have any surgeons you know through work? That may be your best bet for shadowing a surgeon. From my understanding, most schools like to see some shadowing hours in primary care (peds, family medicine, internal medicine, OB) so you may want to try to shadow in those fields as well.
 
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joshuabalbuena.rpt

Physical Therapist
Jun 21, 2019
35
8
Status
DPT / OTD
Do you have any surgeons you know through work? That may be your best bet for shadowing a surgeon. From my understanding, most schools like to see some shadowing hours in primary care (peds, family medicine, internal medicine, OB) so you may want to try to shadow in those fields as well.
I think it's better if I just shadow primary care since it's easier to get a Doctor to let me shadow in that area. Thank you for the advice!
 

bent1993

2+ Year Member
Mar 16, 2016
311
285
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Oh I get it now. Is it possible to shadow a surgeon? I was always planning to be a Orthopedic surgeon, cardiac surgeon or a neurosurgeon. Do you have any insight on that?
It would be easier if you knew a surgeon. I don't know how traditional students shadow in a hospital because in my hospital you have to know the physician in some way which I did because I'm a nurse there, otherwise I have no idea. Many of the medical schools have an interest in producing primary care doctors so it would be wise to shadow a GP for at least 40-50 hours. If you're interested in surgery you could shadow one after the GP. At my hospital I had to wear a large name tag and the doctor had to introduce me as a shadowing student when I came into the room so I imagine a surgical patient might need to verbally consent to you being there prior to the surgery but I'm not sure.
 
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joshuabalbuena.rpt

Physical Therapist
Jun 21, 2019
35
8
Status
DPT / OTD
It would be easier if you knew a surgeon. I don't know how traditional students shadow in a hospital because in my hospital you have to know the physician in some way which I did because I'm a nurse there, otherwise I have no idea. Many of the medical schools have an interest in producing primary care doctors so it would be wise to shadow a GP for at least 40-50 hours. If you're interested in surgery you could shadow one after the GP. At my hospital I had to wear a large name tag and the doctor had to introduce me as a shadowing student when I came into the room so I imagine a surgical patient might need to verbally consent to you being there prior to the surgery but I'm not sure.
I was planning on just doing the GP since I don't know any surgeons. I'm applying for a job at a Hospital in Florida on August. I'm hoping I can meet some surgeons and doctors there who will let me shadow them.
 

bent1993

2+ Year Member
Mar 16, 2016
311
285
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I was planning on just doing the GP since I don't know any surgeons. I'm applying for a job at a Hospital in Florida on August. I'm hoping I can meet some surgeons and doctors there who will let me shadow them.
Sounds like a good plan, you’re headed in the right direction!
 
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