Thursday, July 18, 2013

Should you retake the MCAT?

One of the most important factors in your med school application, whether you decide to attend a Caribbean Medical School or a US medical school is your MCAT score. Most successful applicants score a minimum of 30, but the test is designed to have a median score of 24-25. This means that half of the people who take the test will have a score too low to get into medical school. Most medical school applicants will at least briefly consider  retaking the test, but before making that decision, it is important to consider a number of factors.

The first thing you need to consider is the necessity of retaking the MCAT. If you scored 30 or higher on the MCAT and have a strong application you will have a good chance of getting accepted into medical school. However, if the remainder of your application is poor, even with a great score, your chances of getting admitted are poor. Your time and energy would be better spent, in that case, on improving other areas of your Medical application by gaining clinical experience or volunteering. Another consideration is the likelihood that you will get a higher score. If your MCAT score is within three points of your practice scores, it is unlikely you will improve.
Most re-testers score within three points of their original score, and your score may go down. This is a good reason to seriously consider whether you need to retake the test, particularly since it will require you to invest a lot of time and energy. If you had extenuating circumstances that impacted your score on test day, such as a sickness or personal issues, you will have a better likelihood of doing better the second time. You need to look at how indicative your score is to your ability. If you really think you could do at least three points better or you have a plan to help improve your score, it is probably worth retaking the test. Think about what part of your test preparation strategy you would change. You will be more likely to improve if you have a better strategy, such as taking an MCAT prep course or having a better study schedule. The sub scores will also be an important factor. A sub score below a 7 in any area would be a good reason to retake the test. If you scored low in any section, particularly verbal reasoning, it can cause your application to be rejected.

If you think you will do better the second time and your score is subpar, you should consider retaking the test. However, if you have less persuasive motivations or don’t think you can make the alterations you would need to make to improve your score, it wouldn’t make sense to retake the test. You may want to consider other career options, or take a look at less competitive schools. Remember, once you have your MD, you will likely find work as a doctor regardless of your medical .Caribbean Medical Schools are slightly less competitive and may be a better option to successfully achieve your MD than retaking the exam.

Monday, July 8, 2013

How to survive Medical School

Medical School is one of the most difficult things you will face during your educational career. One of the reasons getting into medical school is so difficult is because the time, energy, and effort required once you succeed in getting into medical school is huge. However, there are definitely things you can keep in mind, as well as things you can do in order to survive your medical school experience, no matter which medical school you choose to attend.

The first thing you need to do is remember that most medical students have type A personalities and are extremely competitive.  However, it is important to try to enjoy the first two years of medical school. This is the time where you take classes that help you learn the basic medical concepts in order to prepare yourself for future patient interaction. This is the time that is spent in the classroom. While it is important to study and do well, it is also important to realize that almost all of your measured performance, at least all that will be looked at for your future career, will take place during your third and fourth years.  It will be helpful if you spend time studying each day, rather than cramming before any tests or quizzes. While you want to make sure you pass your tests and that you do well, you should try not to stress about acing them. Take time to enjoy yourself as well. Down time is definitely an important survival tool. When you do study, pay attention to the tips and techniques that work best for your particular learning. While medical school is more work, and is a different kind of work, if you know what studying techniques work best for you it will help you succeed.

Another important piece of advice is to take the time to explore what you are interested in and be aware of everything. Begin thinking about the next step in your career by looking at the specialties that are available and what opportunities there are. Medical school will fly by, so if you don't the time to think about your future, you won't be able to adequately prepare for it. Once you get into the third and fourth year of medical school, you will be dealing with a number of different people and personalities. This is true of the doctors you work with, as well as the patients you are now interacting with. Learn to speak concisely so you don't waste time during rounds on busy days, but make sure you continue to study to have a good knowledge base during rounds. You will need to be able to adept quickly, since you will have a number of patients, as well as personalities to deal with. You should also remember that , while it is important to take some downtime and get to know the residents, the patients will always come first. 

Throughout your medical school career, it is important to be efficient. There is a lot to learn and there isn't much time to do it in. Your study strategies and people skills are the most important tools you have to help you survive medical school and come out of it with an M.D.