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!

An Adventure before the Adventure

I am not in the United States.

While I realize I rarely post frequently, this is the reason for longer-than-usual hiatus.

As far as med school goes, I’m still waiting to hear from that state MD school. I’ll probably know in May.

For now, I’m enjoying a new adventure in another country, polishing my Spanish skills, watching babies being born (and cleaning them off!) and hiking around some breathtaking mountains. Where am I? Let’s keep it a secret for now.

Good luck in all your pre med journeys, I hope they are as enjoyable as mine has been.

Study Hacks: The Best Online Resource for College Students

I wish I had known about Study Hacks six years ago. 

The blog devoted to college success is a wonderful resource for any student, but is especially relevant for pre meds. In the highly competitive, stressed out pre med world, the Study Hacks philosophy towards college offers a refreshing perspective. 

As a pre med can you realistically expect to have a low stress life? Study Hacks that through some careful planning, strategic studying and limiting extracurricular activities, the answer is an emphatic YES. Check out the quick summary post on being a successful pre med student.

I thouroughly enjoyed college and I was a successful student. However I worked hard and was often stressed. I recognize now that much of this stress could have been avoided and I could have even been a stronger candidate for medical school. How? By being disiciplined enough to follow a few simple principles that Study Hacks reccomends. 
The blog is full of great ideas, but here are a few of my favorites-

The Straight A Method: How to Ace College Courses. Self explanatory.

 Do fewer things, do them well and know why you’re doing them.

The Interestingness Hypothesis. Here’s a quote from the article, “For these students, extracurricular activities play a different role than for their peers.  They don’t use activities to signal their qualities, they use them instead to transform themselves into more interesting people. In other words, what’s important about an activity is not its impressiveness, but its impact on your personality.”

 The Value of Hard Focus.

 The Power of Context when Studying. In med school (only 3 months away!) I’m looking forward to studying in my favorite pub with a microbrew in hand. This post is my inspiration.
Explore Study Hacks on your own, it’s well worth your time. Cal Newport, the author, knows what he is talking about and he is truly passionate about helping students. He’s also written two books which I haven’t read, but if the blog is any indication of the quality of his work I have no problem reccomending them.

How to Become a Straight-A Student: The Unconventional Strategies Real College Students Use to Score High While Studying Less

How to Win at College: Surprising Secrets for Success from the Country’s Top Students

Is Medical School a Big Goal?

I saw this article today called “Eight Simple Tactics for Achieving Your Big Goal” at The Simple Dollar (a great personal finance blog by the way). I couldn’t help but think how applicable it is to getting into medical school.

“Take Small Bites Every Day”

“Find a Mentor”

Just a few of the nuggets in the article. Enjoy!

Summer Medical And Dental Education Program: Awesome Opportunity

Summer Medical and Dental Education Program

Apply for the Summer Medical And Dental Education Program, a great opportunity for pre med and pre dental students. For all the details check out the site here.

Here is a brief overview:
-The program is a free (tuition, room and board included) 6 week educational experience for those interested in medicine or dentistry. This includes some clinical exposure as well as information on financial aid and career development.
-There are 12 program sites at these schools:
Case Western Reserve University
Columbia University
Duke University
Howard University
University of California-Los Angeles
UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical and New Jersey Dental
University of Louisville
University of Nebraska
University of Virginia
University of Washington
University of Texas-Houston
Yale University

-Application closes March 1st, 2010.

Has anyone participated in this program? Care to share experiences?

Pre Med Resources

495524570_415c91b283_mThis is the best list of relevant websites, articles and blogs regarding the pre med journey that you will find on the internet. Bookmark this. I’ll be updating the list as I find more useful info.

Pre Med Basics

MCAT Links

Perhaps the most dreaded part of the pre med journey. Be not afraid.

Medical School Application

Best Books for Pre Meds

These are books that I have either read and used or heard great things about.

Pre Med and Med Student Blogs

Pre Med Forums

Health Care Reform Primer for Pre Med Students

‘”I am not the first president to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last.”

– President Obama in his address to congress last night

Health care reform is dominating the American public discourse currently, and with good reason. As future physicians, you have a responsibility to understand these issues. It will affect how you practice medicine in the future.

But where to start? A couple months back, I felt overwhelmed at the thought of unraveling this whole debate. It seemed far too complex for me to understand. My lack of understanding led me to fear taking a position.

That changed several weeks ago when I started to do a little research. What I found is that the issue is not as hard to comprehend as I originally thought. What I’ve prepared here is a series of articles that answer the most common questions regarding the health care system and efforts to reform it.

  • First check out this article titled “Your Handy Health Care Cheat Sheet” over at the Washington Post. ,
    • Alec MacGills says“ What follows is an attempt to boil the health-care debate down to 1,000 words — a summary you can take to the beach or on the plane or, if you already know it all, send to your Aunt Millie. Love the proposals or hate them, people can try to make sense of them. There is no excuse!”
  • A lot of misinformation is being spread about health care reform. You may have received a chain email with comments regarding “A few highlights from the first 500 pages of the Healthcare bill.” Check out’s article regarding the false claims in the email.
    • “Our inbox has been overrun with messages asking us to weigh in on a mammoth list of claims about the House health care bill. The chain e-mail purports to give "a few highlights" from the first half of the bill, but the list of 48 assertions is filled with falsehoods, exaggerations and misinterpretations. We examined each of the e-mail’s claims, finding 26 of them to be false and 18 to be misleading, only partly true or half true. Only four are accurate.”
  • The Wall Street Journal opinion section has a good article outlining some alternatives to the reforms proposed. "”How to Insure Every American"
    • “We must stop punishing Americans who buy their own plan by forcing them to purchase their care with after-tax dollars, making it at least one-third more expensive than employer-provided care. Individuals should be able to take their employer’s plan, or turn it down and select insurance of their own choosing without any tax penalty.”
  • For the official government site regarding reform, check out In particular read the Reports section. Lots to read, but lots of good info as well.


  • I highly recommend watching or reading President’ Obama’s speech last night. Watch the video here or read the full text. Just don’t read the youtube comments. Ugh.
    • “You see, our predecessors understood that government could not, and should not, solve every problem. They understood that there are instances when the gains in security from government action are not worth the added constraints on our freedom. But they also understood that the danger of too much government is matched by the perils of too little; that without the leavening hand of wise policy, markets can crash, monopolies can stifle competition, and the vulnerable can be exploited. And they knew that when any government measure, no matter how carefully crafted or beneficial, is subject to scorn; when any efforts to help people in need are attacked as un-American; when facts and reason are thrown overboard and only timidity passes for wisdom; and we can no longer even engage in a civil conversation with each other over the things that truly matter — that at that point we don’t merely lose our capacity to solve big challenges. We lose something essential about ourselves.”

Yes, health care in this country is complex. But with a little effort you can start to understand it. Pre meds have the added motivation knowing that questions regarding reform are going to be asked in a medical school interview. But if that’s the only reason you want to learn about health care reform,  you should question why you’re going into medicine in the first place.

Follow me on Twitter!

I know, I know… Twitter? Really?

Yes. I realize I’m six months behind the times. I’ve resisted for so long…

Check it out.

I think Twitter will be a great way for me to communicate short quotes, ideas and links related to the pre med journey as well as my work.

Right now I have a total of ZERO followers. Please change that! You can also see my twitter updates in the sidebar –>

Mobile Blogging

I’ve already admitted that I’m a bit of a geek, but now I have Nokia N800 internet tablet and that just further confirms the fact. This thing is so cool. I have a wireless portable keyboard to go with it, so blogging, email and all that is actually pretty easy (hopefully anyway!)

I love it! And hopefully it will lead to me writing more often now that I don’t have to lug around my 5 year old laptop.

Hope the summer is going well, to those of you applying, turn around those secondary applications as soon as possible!