Applying To Medical School This Summer? Check Out This Checklist

If you are applying to medical school for the 2011 cycle, hopefully you have started working on your primary application. If not, it’s ok, you still have some time. Click for AMCAS (MD applications) or AACOMAS (DO applications) to get get going!

Here is a checklist of things you need to keep track of for your application.

    Transcripts. You must send your transcripts from every college you attended (even if you only took a class) to AMCAS or AACOMAS.
    Letters of Reccomendation. If you have not asked for letters of reccomendation yet, today is the day. If you’re applying to DO schools, do they need a letter from an osteopathic physician?
    Personal Statement. This is your time to shine. Do you have a good working 1st draft? Have you asked for feedback from multiple sources who know you well? Make sure you edit carefully! Check out this post from a med student on how to ace the personal statement. Hat tip: Pre Med Hell
    MCAT. If you’ve taken it already, great. If not, do you have a study plan? Have you thought about what you will do if your score is not as high as you would like?
    AMCAS or AACOMAS (or both). Even if you have your personal statement done and all your activities listed, this can be a huge time sink. The most time consuming part? Probably entering in every grade from every class you have taken. It’s maddening.
    Money. Applying to medical school is expensive. Do you have enough money saved up? Think around $500 for the primary application, and then about $100 per secondary application. Then flying for interviews. It all adds up very quickly.

The application is long, but do not be discouraged. In the big scheme of actually getting into medical school, you are towards the end of the road. Finish strong.

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18 Ideas for an Enjoyable Summer

Summer break has either started or is coming very soon for you. Here are 18 ideas to take advantage of your free time during the summer. Some have to do with being pre med, but most are just about enjoying life!

Start a blog. It’s fun, everyone and their mom does it, why not you?

Read. Fiction, nonfiction, comic books. It doesn’t matter. Just pick your favorite spot and relax.

Build something with your hands. It can be very satisfying.

Take a class. Don’t take a full year of A&P over the summer though, trust me, it sucks.

Volunteer. Medical, non-medical, just make sure it’s something you’re interested in.

Play Ultimate Frisbee.

Run a Marathon.

Start a Happiness Project.

Simplify your life. Get rid of things you do not use or need. Talk less, listen more.

Plant a garden. Healthy and fun.

Do some soul searching. Ask yourself, “Is my life going in the direction I want it to? Am I maturing as a human?”

Go camping and roast marshmallows.

Go on a bike tour.

Buy a Lonely Planet Guide to your city or state and explore places you’ve never been before.

Write a letter to yourself and do not open it for a year, or five.

Backpack. Anywhere, just make sure you’re only surviving with what you’re carrying.

Do a research project.

Take a vacation. You deserve it, right?

Share some of your ideas in the comments below!

MCAT Examkrackers Complete Study Package: A Med Student’s Review

Are you considering the Examkrackers MCAT Complete Study Package? Read my review first!Examkrackers complete package

The MCAT can make or break your medical school application. Choosing how to study for the MCAT is important and should be considered carefully. There are basically two options:

I knew I could study well on my own. After exploring pre med forums, it was clear that the Examkrackers books were the most popular option among successful MCAT test takers. What follows is a brief review of the MCAT Examkrackers Complete Study Package.

Pros

  • Comprehensive. The Examkrackers books cover Biology, Organic Chemistry, Chemistry, Physics, and Verbal Reasoning in great detail. The necessary formulas to memorize are clearly displayed. All the material is relevant to what you may encounter on the MCAT.
  • Easy to Understand. The books are written in plain English with a light-hearted tone, tossing in cheesy jokes without compromising the material.
  • Colorful. You´d be surprised how this makes studying the books more attractive.
  • Great Practice Questions. Practice questions are key to mastering the MCAT.

Cons

  • Writing section. The preparation for the writing section is weak and downplays it´s importance. I took this advice and scored poorly on the writing section.

Conclusion

I loved the Examkrackers Complete Study Package and was very pleased with my score of 32 on the MCAT. Click here to check out the Examkrackers Books at Amazon. It is well worth the investment.

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Also check out these other titles from Examkrackers:
Examkrackers MCAT101 Passages in MCAT Verbal Reasoning

Examkrackers: 1001 Questions in MCAT in Physics

Examkrackers 1001 Questions in MCAT Chemistry

Examkrackers: 1001 Questions in MCAT, Organic Chemistry

Affiliate links are present in this post.

Improve Studying with a ¨Winner´s Brain¨

I stumbled across this article from Harvard Medical School called ¨Cultivating a ´Winner´s Brain´¨ which has several applications for pre med students.

When procrastination is a problem, the issue may be that the task at hand seems too big to accomplish. The authors suggest that people first envision or “map” the multiple steps necessary for reaching an ultimate goal, and then concentrate on achieving each step.

How many people have had trouble starting a large task? The key is breaking the project down into steps. Whether it´s a huge lab report or studying for a final, this is how to tackle it.

Multitasking — can take a toll on the brain. In a study of 14 participants who underwent fMRI, researchers at Vanderbilt University found that when people try to juggle two tasks at once, a bottleneck occurs in information processing. The posterior lateral prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that is involved in decision making, delayed one task until the other was complete.

This backs up Study Hacks´ idea of hard focus.

The article also notes that sleep, nutrition and exercise are all vital to keeping your brain healthy. Do all of these things! You will be happier, plus you´ll do better in college!