How to Study for the MCAT Strategically

How to Study for the MCAT Strategically

For most of us, studying for standardized tests is stressful – perhaps very stressful.  But the MCAT is particularly nerve racking; one of MyGuru’s senior tutors describes the MCAT as “a beast of an exam.”  Unlike the ACT, SAT, GRE, or GMAT, the MCAT goes beyond testing core academic skills like reading comprehension, verbal reasoning, critical thinking, mathematics, and writing.  In addition, it tests factual and conceptual knowledge of biology, chemistry, and physics.  So, you don’t have to just build your core skills, have knowledge of the test, and employ solid test-taking strategy with a high degree of confidence – you also have to literally know and recall a lot of information under time pressure. More MCAT prep is always better than no MCAT prep, but it’s not always better than less MCAT prep. How can this be? We all have limited time and resources, and your MCAT score is only one element of your medical school application.  Overinvesting in MCAT prep, or in preparing for one part of the MCA, can and will lead to underinvesting in other areas that either brings down your overall MCA score or overall med school resume. By preparing for the MCAT strategically, which essentially means stepping back and applying some perspective and structure to the MCAT prep process, you’ll maximize not just your MCAT score, but the quality of your medical school application 4 Steps to Preparing for the MCAT strategically #1 Start by setting a goal: identify target school(s) and associated MCAT scores It’s tempting to say “I just want to get the best MCAT score possible, and then I’ll figure...
The Medical, Dental, Pharmacy and PA School Interview

The Medical, Dental, Pharmacy and PA School Interview

For a free 20-minute consultation or to learn more about our services call us at 1-888-839-9997 or email us! The interview process The final step in the application to medical school, dental school, pharmacy school or physician assistant (PA) school is the in-person interview.  Admissions committees value grades, MCAT/DAT/PCAT/GRE scores and extracurricular activities, but they will not offer an applicant a spot before evaluating the applicant’s interpersonal skills.  As you can imagine, having good interpersonal skills is extremely important in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and the physician assistant profession where you are required to interact with patients on a regular basis, show compassion, and demonstrate empathy towards those who are sick.  Some medical schools and pharmacy school have recently adopted a new interview format to evaluate applicants known as the multiple mini interview (MMI).  To learn more about the MMI and see some sample MMI questions, please visit our entry on MMI interviews. How to prepare for your medical, dental, pharmacy or PA school interview: Preparing for your medical school interview, dental school interview, pharmacy school interview or PA school interview does not have to be as daunting as you think.  Many applicants spend time carefully memorizing answers to a laundry list of questions like “Why do you want to be a dentist?” or “What will you bring to our school as a medical student?”  But this approach could hurt you because you will sound overtly scripted and rehearsed when you present answers to these questions.  Medical school, dental school, pharmacy school and PA school admissions committees are not looking for scripted answers.  Instead they want to assess your ability...
The Multiple Mini Interview (MMI)

The Multiple Mini Interview (MMI)

For a free 20-minute consultation or to learn more about our services call us at 1-888-839-9997 or email us! The multiple mini interview (MMI) In the last several years a growing number of medical schools and some pharmacy schools have started to employ the multiple mini interview format to assess applicants.  Some schools believe the MMI is a better predictor of a candidate’s performance in medical school and pharmacy school.  Some research suggests that the MMI predicts a candidate’s clinical competency, professionalism, and communication skills more accurately than the traditional interview format. What is the multiple mini interview (MMI)? The MMI is an interview format that utilizes several short independent timed assessments by different interviewers to evaluate a candidate’s interpersonal and professional skills.  It was developed by the Michael DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University in Canada.  The scenarios presented at each stations assess your ability to think quickly when presented with a scenario, organize your thoughts, and effectively communicate your ideas.  The MMI also seeks to ascertain whether or not you have put thought into issues that are clinically important. What is the format of the MMI? The MMI is comprised of a series of timed interview stations that each last about 8 minutes.  Each station presents a clinical or ethical situation or a scenario that requires the candidate to employ problem-solving and critical thinking skills.  There is an interviewer at each station who evaluates the candidate.  The candidate rotates from one station to the next, but the interviewer stays at the same station.  Each mini interview takes place in a separate room.  On the outside of...
Profile of Successful Pre-Medical Students

Profile of Successful Pre-Medical Students

Getting into medical school has become quite competitive.  Applicants often wonder whether their grades, MCAT scores, and activities are on par with those who have recently been accepted to medical school.  In this entry, we share some success stories of pre-medical students who were accepted to medical school. Student 1: Names of Medical Schools Where You Received Interviews: UCLA, UCSD, UCSF, UCI, UC Davis, USC, Stanford, Univ. of Arizona – Phoenix, Univ. of Arizona – Tucson, Harvard, Boston Univ., Yale, Northwestern, Mount Sinai, Columbia, Georgetown, SUNY Downstate, Univ. of Pittsburgh, Case Western Reserve University Names of Medical Schools Where You Received Acceptances:  UCSD, USC, UCI, Boston Univ., Georgetown Undergraduate GPA: 4.0 (math& science), 3.992 (total) MCAT Score(s): PS:  14   VR: 8   BS:  12 Undergraduate Major:  Psychobiology Timing of Application: Early (June) National Ranking of College Attended: Top 25 Did you take time off between college and medical school?  No Did you apply as a disadvantaged applicant: No Type of Clinical Experience: • Hospital Volunteer – Helping identify patients, assisting in enrolling patients into clinical trials • International Experience – Traveled with a medical team to Mexico to help provide basic medical care to local villagers for 2 weeks Duration of Clinical Experience: More than 2 years Type of Research Experience: Basic Science Laboratory Research Duration of Research: More than 2 years Number of Research Publications Cited in Pubmed: 1 Extracurricular experiences and the position held: • Coordinator of undergraduate research team • VP of undergraduate chapter of community health organization • Co-founder of organization that provides music therapy for children with autism • Volunteer for organization that...
Guide to Writing a Personal Statement for Medical, Dental, Pharmacy, and PA School

Guide to Writing a Personal Statement for Medical, Dental, Pharmacy, and PA School

This entry is a guide to help you write your personal statement for medical school, dental school, pharmacy school, or PA school.  The information provided here can help you put together the elements for a compelling essay and make you more competitive on paper.  To learn more about our personal statement coaching and assistance services, call us today at 1(888) 839 – 9997 or email us! Need help developing ideas for your personal statement?  Click here and get help using our development tool can help you! Need your essays edited?  Click here to take advantage of our editing services! Admissions Helpers Guide on Writing a Strong Personal Statement for Medical School, Dental School, Pharmacy School or PA School: Before writing a personal statement, it helps for us to consider why admissions committees look for a personal statement.  Having an understanding of the purpose of a personal statement could help you get a better sense of what important elements to include.  The personal statement serves several purposes.  It helps to: • To describe who you are as a person • To add a personality to your numbers • To bring your motivations to light • To provide reflection on your relevant personal and professional experiences • To demonstrate your understanding of the healthcare profession you want to pursue Many students fall into the trap of not knowing what to write about or how to tackle the personal statement.  We recommend a few important pieces of advice that would help you approach your medical school personal statement.  These pointers also apply to the dental school, pharmacy school and PA school personal...