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This page features messages from MEDPREP students. The most recent message will be provided first. To date, there have been four messages.
After 20 months in the program, MEDPREP students, Kari Jones, Sonya Kuhar, Danielle Waldrop, and Wanda Williams describe their experiences in the program and offer advice to other students who are planning a career in medicine. A brief biography of these students and their responses to an interview when they first entered the program in June 2000 are provided in Message 3.
Q: What have you accomplished in MEDPREP? Were your expectations met?
"Yes, I can start off by saying that my expectations of MEDPREP were met. MEDPREP has continued to keep its promises by providing the proper support, guidance, and resources in assisting us to become successful medical school applicants. Also, one has to remember that these goals were equally accomplished by hard work and dedication. Most importantly, I have grown tremendously as a person and student; and I have gained a great deal of self-confidence regarding my potential and capabilities. I have also learned the importance of time management and my study skills have blossomed, which will make the transition into medical school a bit smoother. I have always wished to gain entry into medical school this year, but my main concern was to change my academic and personal "outlook" as an aspiring medical student. Fortunately, I have improved as a student and I have gained multiple acceptances into medical school. It is a relief to know that I will be attending medical school this coming fall (2002). Thus far, most of our students this year have multiple acceptances for the 2002 entering class and I am sure that many more will come because it is still relatively early in the process. Needless to say, my expectations of the Program have been met, but I, as well as my peers, had to put time and effort into our future goals. Prior to entering MEDPREP, I did not realize how much of a difference self-confidence and self-appraisal could make, especially during my "transformation" here at MEDPREP. I can honestly say that coming to MEDPREP was the best path I could have chosen at this point in my life. Don't worry-- two years goes by quick and you can make changes that will last a lifetime!"
"The expectations that I stated before coming to MEDPREP have been met. I have become a more effective and efficient learner. I have gained insight into the amount of time that I need to understand a problem. I have become more confident about my academic ability and have been able to prove to myself that I can be successful. I definitely embarked upon a personal journey when I entered MEDPREP, this program has allowed me to push myself academically and seek to become a stronger student. I have been able to take the information given to me in learning skills and find out what would be helpful in making me successful. I began to preview and review my information and set up daily and monthly goals that allowed me to complete tasks before the last minute. I have become better at integrating information and I understand that the information that I learn now needs to be retained for the future. Ultimately, becoming a physician is a life-long learning process. I have become better at organizing my time and am better prepared for my courses as a result. I have been able to improve both my GPA and my MCAT score and as I look toward choosing a medical school I have been able to ask questions that are relevant to my success in the future. I am asking schools what type of USMLE board preparation exists for their students? What type of support systems exist? Therefore I am able to understand the type of personal preparation that I will need to make before entering a medical school. I have used these two years in MEDPREP to fortify my science foundation in an effort to ease my transition to the volume of information that it will be necessary to understand in medical school."
"When I first arrived at MEDPREP I expected to be given the tools I needed in order to increase my MCAT scores. I have to say, I got a lot more than I bargained for in the past year and a half. Since arriving at MEDPREP not only have I increased my scores enough that I now have multiple acceptances to medical school, but I have become aware of invaluable information about how I learn as a student. I have found that I am a strong self-directed learner, and that I work well in a group. My critical thinking and problem-solving skills have greatly improved. I have developed more efficient note-taking and study skills, and I have come to respect the importance of good organization skills when attempting to handle voluminous amounts of information. I think it is an understatement to say that MEDPREP has met my expectations."
"During my matriculation in MEDPREP, I have developed several tools---academic and personal---- that will be instrumental for success in medical school. I have learned how to be more efficient in studying. The first change I made---breaking my study time into thirty-minute increments--- became an effective way for me to manage my time. While thirty minutes may not sound like much study time, for me, it was more than enough to keep me on track and be more efficient. My second achievement was learning how to take notes properly. MEDPREP's methodology of taking lecture and textbook notes increased my efficiency by helping me to get through several pages of material without rereading it over and over again. Also my new note-taking skills have afforded me a greater ability to store that information in my long-term memory. I also learned to work with others in study groups. The fourth tool was how to be more assertive in my learning process. I learned how to monitor my learning process closely and consistently. This is very important for medical school because if a student identifies a problem early, perhaps before his professors do, those issues can be addressed early. The fifth, and probably the most important goal I could have ever accomplished was that of gaining better test taking skills. When I learned how to apply what I knew, I improved my MCAT scores and my performance on lecture exams."
Q: Describe your MEDPREP experience
"I can still say that my experience here has been a very positive one. I have made miraculous changes as a person, as well as a student. I have greatly improved my GPA and MCAT scores; and I have become a competitive medical school applicant. After the first few weeks in the summer of my first year, my nervousness drifted away while excitement crept in. You need to remember that your dreams are always attainable as long as you are willing to work to achieve them. I have also made friends with some wonderful individuals and I believe that our relationships will last well beyond MEDPREP and medical school. We have journeyed down similar paths, whether it be dodging obstacles to improve our GPAs or enduring long and tiresome study sessions to prepare for the MCAT. Regardless of our struggles, we have become better people because we fought for what we believed in... ourselves."
"MEDPREP has been an enlightening experience. While you are in it you may feel tired and worn down, but when it is over you realize that you have gained something while you were here. The experience makes me think of the phrase " Change is good", but unfortunately it is also uncomfortable. It is much easier to continue functioning utilizing old habits than it is to try something new. While here though it is important to utilize the resources that exist. It is imperative that you ask questions to find out what you need to do to be successful. The faculty in MEDPREP is a wealth of information as you begin the journey to medical school. Also because of the emphasis placed on studying in small groups individuals learn interpersonal skills about working with others who will be important in the future. From my small group experiences I learned what I need to do personally before I can begin to study with others, as well as I know what size group is most beneficial to my learning style. I can now say that I am a more informed student and I feel confident that I will be successful when I do begin medical school in the Fall. I am more aware of what I need to do be an effective and efficient learner as well as I know that there are faculty members here at MEDPREP that will help me if I have any questions in the future. I have also made friends here in MEDPREP that will be spread out at various medical schools across the country, but I know that I can call them up anytime and ask them questions and they will find an answer for me. The ties that are made here will become an invaluable resource in the future, for these individuals will be my colleagues. Ultimately, this program has aided in increasing the number of minority and disadvantaged medical students that enter the field."
"My experience in the MEDPREP program has been both positive and rewarding. In MEDPREP I have had the opportunity to do things I would never get to do otherwise. I have had the opportunity to do everything from take a gross anatomy program with human dissection to shadow a local neurosurgeon. MEDPREP has given me a well-rounded scope of what it takes to succeed not only in medical school but also in the medical profession. Because MEDPREP has been successful in preparing medical students to succeed in medical school for almost thirty years, I now have the confidence that I am prepared to be successful in medical school."
"Initially, I had a lot of anxiety about whether or not the program would be like others that I'd been in. I worried that I would be so nervous that I couldn't take advantage of opportunities if they were even there. However, later, I began to make better use of the tools I learned. I ultimately regained control of my personal learning process. I became efficient and sharp in terms of approaching my learning issues. Remaining stagnant was no longer an option for me. I felt that as long as was willing to believe in myself, to put forth an effort, and to ask questions, I could make it. I became a student who would not let any missed concept linger for more than a day. I constantly made appointments with my professors! I became more assertive in my learning process.
My MEDPREP experience was very rigorous. However, I needed rigor! Here, if you aren't efficient, you may not make it! I became more of active, problem-based learner. I learned how to improve my ability to extract ideas from a page of information rather that just reading words on a page. That was very important in terms of my efficiency! I gained more confidence in my ability to matriculate in medical school. While medical school may be a challenge, I have no doubt in my mind that I can handle medical school with the tools that I have gained here.
I often communicate with some friends who are in medical school. When I tell them about my experience, they often say, "Wow, you will be ready for medical school.You guys are doing some of the same things that we are doing.Make the best of your opportunity there because it will save you a lot of trouble when you get to medical school." Since MEDPREP was an opportunity for me to close the gap between my "before MEDPREP" self and "after MEDPREP" self, I can truly say that I am, now, about to close that gap!"
Q: Do you have advice for others preparing for medicine?
"As stated in my previous interview (summer 2000), I still feel that time management and study skills are extremely important; and if you can fine tune them prior to entering medical school, or any graduate school or career for that matter, the better off you will be in the long run. Also, having faith in yourself makes a world of difference. Also, do not ever become discouraged if your grades are not perfect or your MCAT scores are not as high as you may like them because you can always improve those numbers by working hard. Most medical schools look fondly upon students who have taken the initiative to improve on their academic trends-- this shows maturity and growth as a person and student. Another piece of advice would be to look at what type of learner you are. Do you need a lot of lecture time or do you find that you are more of an independent (or self-directed) learner? This will make a huge difference in the type of medical schools you choose to apply to; and you could end up saving money by applying to the appropriate schools. My final words to you would be... Good Luck and keep moving forward."
"As you begin to prepare to go into a career in medicine stay focused on your goals. Set realistic goals and seek out resources and individuals that will be helpful to you in your journey through medical school. I think that from the time you decide that you want to go to medical school think about going to a Minority Medical Education Program (MMEP) supported by the AAMC. Read about the profession and speak to admissions officers at medical schools, to practicing physicians, to the pre-professional advisor your college. It is important to be prepared and informed as you begin this journey to medical school. You want to do all that you can to be successful so that you can look back on your journey and have no regrets. You want to feel confident that you did all that you could do to reach your goal. As far as academically, purchase an MCAT book and as you go through your courses understand the information that you need to store in your long term memory. Utilize your time in your science courses in college to become a more critical learner and to begin to integrate and retain information. Work on organizing your time and keeping a daily and monthly planner of assignments to stay on task. Seek out those students who are striving for a goal and utilize their assistance along the way. Work on test taking skills and endurance while testing, the MCAT is a long test and its multiple choice. If your college mainly tests you in essay format begin to become familiar with how to take multiple choice tests. Ultimately become aware of your needs as a student, take the time to figure out what type of learner you are and what resources you need to utilize for your ultimate success in the future."
"My advice to anyone preparing to go into the medical field can be summed up in one of my favorite quotes: "Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did." GOOD LUCK !!!!!"
"I most definitely have some advice for those preparing for medicine! They must be willing to inform themselves about the medical school application process early. It is important that they become assertive individuals. In terms of preparation, it is extremely important for students to learn more about how THEY learn best! A careful self-assessment is crucial. How can we help others if we don't know ourselves? They must know what they know and what they don't know. Then, they must be willing to seek answers to what they don't know. They must not avoid or be afraid of what they may lack in terms of medical school. With self-confidence, tools of success, and EFFICIENT, hard work, they can make it! And for those who are nontraditional students, as one professor told me here, they should, 'throw the clock out the window and go for their goal of medicine!'"
Thirty-five new students enrolled in MEDPREP, June 2000. Four students, Kari Jones, Sonya Kuhar, Danielle Waldrop, and Wanda Williams, were interviewed about their expectations of MEDPREP, their adjustment to the program and the goals they have for themselves while here. They were also asked what advice they would have for undergraduates who are interested in becoming physicians. Their responses are the current feature of this page, Students Speak.
Kari Jones is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He graduated with a biology major from Southern University. Sonya Kuhar majored in biology/chemistry and graduated from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She was working as a Certified Nursing Assistant prior to enrolling in MEDPREP. Danielle Waldrop, a native of Pennsylvania, earned her BA in English from Amherst College and her EdM in Physical Education from Temple University. Wanda Williams earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees in biology from Tennessee State University in Nashville. She is originally from Covington, Tennessee.
Q: What were your expectations of MEDPREP before you came to the program?
"This program puts you in an environment away from the distractions, from your job, away from your family, away from everything else and they give you the resources, they give you teachers, they give you students/colleagues so that you can enhance your own performance. You can do it yourself and that's what I was expecting. I was expecting to do it myself, I was expecting to get resources, I was expecting to get the teachers, the books, other students so I don't have to hunt for someone to do practice test with. I can just call somebody up and do the practice tests. It makes it a lot easier. And that's what I was really looking for when I came here. I was looking to enhance my performance on the Medical College Admissions test, of course, and I knew that I could do that because I did a lot better on the summer programs in Boston. I figured if I could do that for 8 weeks, I can do this for an entire year and I should also be able to do a lot better on the MCAT. So that's what I expected, to be in an environment so that I can do it myself, so that I can enhance my performance."
"My goal, knowing what I know now, is to start medical school off on the right foot looking towards the USMLE, from day one getting the books and preparation and starting to prepare from the very beginning so I don't find myself caught behind the eight ball like I have been in the past. I was looking for a program also, that would help make me more efficient, more effective as a student, to learn some of the study skills that I was not able to acquire up to this point, to be able to maximize my learning when I'm going through a subject, to understand different ways to make myself more effective in return for retaining the information and being able to then apply that information to other situations and have it be manageable and on hand."
"Well for me actually, pretty much the same as Kari, but I was looking for changing, not just better MCAT scores, or better grades, but changes within myself. I know the guidance and support are here and I was just like wow because I'm going to be supplied with it and I know how to use it now."
"Well, mine were a lot like everyone said. When I came here, I expected to better define my deficiencies and with the resources here, and hopefully I can use those resources that will fit my deficiencies like a puzzle and then I'll work from there."
"I like the idea of assessing our strengths and our weaknesses because a lot of times we're not forced to look at that."
"What I like about MEDPREP is MEDPREP puts it out there on the table width="100%". I'm going to put this book right here and you do whatever you want to do with it. You can pick that book up and you can read it or you can just sit there and complain because the book is there. You understand what I'm saying? I view MEDPREP as an opportunity to see yourself and also to see yourself in terms of where you would like to be and make the initial self and the goal of self bring them closer and closer together. So, I view MEDPREP as an in-between, as an opportunity to close the gap."
Q: What has your experience been like after five weeks in the program?
"Really positive. Everything that I've learned are things that I needed to change anyway and just having the support of the faculty and staff and just knowing that they're there any time is really impressive actually. To be honest with you, at first I was actually really nervous because I had been out of school for over five years so I thought was going to be much further behind, but I started thinking that we were all probably a little nervous. So, that kind of made me calm down. And I thought, well, if MEDPREP has faith in me, I have to have faith in myself. It goes back to the confidence issue. I'm just beginning to learn my potential. I know I have it now."
"I would describe my first few weeks here at MEDPREP as unique. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how well the teachers here know the MCAT. I mean really know the MCAT and what it takes to do well. The first thing the teacher said in the problem-based class was the MCAT was about 10% knowledge and about 90% testing skills. I said, Oh, my God, they actually know that. I've done Princeton Review where they knew the testing skills, but we were being taught by an undergrad level of people and they didn't know the information. Whereas, I was in Boston and we had Ph.Ds from MIT teaching us, they knew the science, but didn't really know the in-depth details of the MCAT, so you had two sides of a coin. I came here and I had teachers who knew the sciences at the Ph.D. level, but also knew that the MCAT involved testing skills. For the MCAT you'll need extensive knowledge of the information, you'll need the testing skills, you'll need the problem solving skills, you'll need to do passage after passage after passage, that's how you do well on the MCAT.
In Physics, the first thing the Physics teacher said was we want you to learn the concepts. Now I'm actually liking Physics class and I've never liked Physics before in my life. "
"I guess when I first got here, it was a little uncomfortable for me. I don't know if that's the right way to describe it or not, but I think some of it is based on what Kari was saying. It was a new way of looking at information. Both Physics and Chemistry have definitely thrown a new light on the subject for me because there are concepts and if you understand the concept you're able to get to the conclusion without necessarily running through things like a 3/4 page solution to get there. When you see some of the answers and you think about them conceptually, you realize that took half a second. Even though I'm receptive to learning new things and open to them, I think it's somewhat difficult to think about them in that manner and to say, I can do this. I think when something new is put into my life, I have the tendency to look at it and feel I can't do it this way, let me immediately go back to the old way that I'd done it to just get it done and feel more comfortable. I'm feeling confident about things as we go through them and recognizing that it's a learning process, that it's not all going to happen yesterday, that there is still tomorrow out there to get to that point where it does fit into its place."
"I had anxiety about whether or not the program would be like others that I'd been in. I feared that. I worried that I would be so nervous that I couldn't take advantage of opportunities if they were even there. To touch on what someone said earlier, I was really impressed with how the faculty knew our needs and knew how to meet them. What I've found in the past with other programs, is that they underestimate the needs of the students. They'll say this program is so good, we have such a high percentage of students being accepted, but I think they spend so much time on that they underestimate the needs presented before them."
"One or two things I want to add. I've been out of school for a while and coming back, I was a little bit nervous. It's been easy to work in smaller groups and to find people who are similar to yourself. I've never really spent a lot of time seeing how other people come at a problem. It's funny how three people can look at the same problem and come at it with a different twist on how to solve it or how to do it, which I think has been helpful."
Q: What do you want to accomplish while in MEDPREP?
"Because I've been out of college for a while, I've learned that sense of responsibility for self. I think you gain that just from working at most jobs. But academically I've seen that there are individuals and plenty of people who can help you with the topic, and you have to make that step where you can zoom in on what you need to work on, then go to those individuals and seek out that information that you need."
"In addition to what I said about the grades, MCAT scores and everything, it's probably better self-confidence for me. It's something that I'm still working on, and it's getting better."
"What I want out of MEDPREP now has changed a little even in the first few weeks. When I first came here, all I wanted to do was improve my MCAT scores. Since I've been here, I've been told that my study habits were not effective, my planning has not been effective and I had no idea that they were ineffective. I'm opening up my mind. I want to learn what I'm doing wrong. I want to be better prepared, not just to get into medical school, but once I get in there I want to be effective in performing at my top level. I want to learn once I'm there. I want to go in there knowing how to take notes, how to plan and I think that what I want out of MEDPREP now. I don't want to just increase my MCAT scores, although that's my main focus, but now that I have been introduced to faults that I didn't even know that I had, I want to improve those maybe find some more that I know will be pointed out to me next year and to improve those, too."
"I'm kind of opposite of what he was like because I knew in undergrad I had no structure whatsoever. So coming into this program has definitely opened me up all around because I knew I needed to change in all those areas. I wasn't reluctant like he was at first because I knew I needed to do something that worked and it's happened. For all of us actually."
"When I came here I expected to, of course, improve my MCAT scores. I figured that's probably the main reason why I'm not in med school now, but I think for me, since testing has been a problem from day one, I want to go deeper. I just decided that I needed to go deeper beyond the test itself because like she said, if it's not the MCAT then maybe USMLE for me. I want to get to the root of the problem and at the same time prepare for the MCAT. I want to gain tools for the long haul, but for the time now I want to get those tools and use them to prepare for the MCAT and then continue to use those tools in the second year."
Q: What advice do you have for undergraduates who are preparing for careers in medicine?
"If you don't have the proper study skills and time management skills now, go out there and find them because it makes things so much easier. Within these few weeks what I've learned so far has been great and it's going to help in other aspects of my life, not just school and as a medical student, but as a physician and in my everyday life. So that would be my advice, to learn those skills ASAP and have a lot of faith in yourself."
"To be prepared and informed. Regardless of the profession you go into, the basic skills and the study skills you learn along the way are the same. I think that even if you may not be in a program that may be conducive to that, try to seek out individuals who can really help you along the way. I think you need to know yourself, to find what's right for you, to make you successful."
"I often communicate with some friends who are in medical school. When I tell them about my experience, they often say, "Wow, you will be ready for medical school.You guys are doing some of the same things that we are doing.Make the best of your opportunity there because it will save you a lot of trouble when you get to medical school." Since MEDPREP was an opportunity for me to close the gap between my "before MEDPREP" self and "after MEDPREP" self, I can truly say that I am, now, about to close that gap!"
"I would tell them to be well-rounded. You have to have the science, but you also have to be able to speak and have knowledge of other things. If you want to volunteer, you don't have to volunteer at a hospital, you don't even have to volunteer with some place in the sciences. If you like children, volunteer at the YMCA, if you like the elderly, volunteer at a home for elderly people. It's like everyone said, know yourself. Know the things you like to do, but be well-rounded. Don't be narrow minded, be open-minded and have a lot of interests, pursue them and develop them."
"You have to be able to relate. Be able to talk to somebody. Regardless if they make six figures or if they're on welfare. You have to be able to adapt to anybody because you will encounter all walks in life. And to add to what Wanda had said about seeking out an advisor in regards to premed, originally, as an undergrad, I started off in biomed engineering and I had a great advisor and at that point I wanted still to go to medical school. Then he told me if I wanted to go to medical school go with an easier major. Then I got stuck with a horrible advisor. So my big advice would be, if an advisor doesn't work out, find someone else. My big thing would be to seek out additional help."
"To add to what Wanda was saying, go out and get a review book to really start to narrow down information you're getting as you go through courses as an undergraduate. When you take a Physics class, you're learning a lot of concepts and the MCAT, in certain cases, narrows down some of that information. Most of my undergraduate courses had essay tests (here's the problem, give me the answer to the problem). If you're just not good at a test-taking skill, like multiple-choice questions, that can also hinder you later on. So from freshman year on, you really need to focus on getting the information that you're going to need to produce later and that test-taking skill."
"I have wanted to become a physician since I graduated from high school. Reaching toward my goal, upon entering college, I enrolled in pre-medical courses. Unfortunately, many of the grades that I earned were mediocre, sometimes worse. I did not have very good study habits and my grades reflected my inadequate efforts.
Faced with slim chances of gaining acceptance to medical school, in my sophomore year of college, I began taking education classes to become a science teacher. In my senior year of college, however, I participated in a program where I shadowed an anesthesiologist. Despite my grades, my interest in medicine was rekindled. As I watched doctors use their knowledge to cure and comfort patients, I knew that I wanted to be in a similar position. But with my academic record, I wondered how I would ever gain admission to medical school.
Luckily, a wonderful post-baccalaureate program called MEDPREP existed. I knew that my past grades were not competitive for medical school admission. But given another opportunity, I knew that I could perform well in rigorous science courses and improve my academic record. MEDPREP was the just the opportunity that I needed.
At first, I questioned whether I should enroll in MEDPREP. There had to be a better way for me to gain admission to medical school, preferably one that did not entail moving a thousand miles away from Connecticut, where I lived. The more that I learned about MEDPREP, however, the more I realized that I was making a sound decision. Of all of the post-baccalaureate programs that I was considering, I discovered that MEDPREP students had the best acceptance rate to medical school.
But for me, like many other students, MEDPREP has been more than a means towards the end of gaining acceptance to medical school. One of the things that I like most about the program is the cohesiveness of the students. When most students enter the program, they have a grading or testing history that will not allow them to easily gain acceptance to medical school. But rather than engaging in ultra-competitive behavior to improve their medical school candidacy, students actually help each other obtain their goals.
Countless times, I have relied on the help and assistance of my classmates. Among other things, students have willingly allowed me to copy their notes and participate in their study groups. Many times they have explained difficult concepts to me. Equally important, the students in the program are excellent motivators. Whenever I am about to have a major relapse into my old, procrastinating ways, some friends are there to push me back on track. Students revel in your success as much as they delight in their own. I cannot imagine being in a more supportive environment.
Without question, the unwavering support of the MEDPREP faculty has also been crucial to my success in the program. Everyone wants to see you succeed. Faculty members are readily willing to offer assistance to help you understand a difficult concept, often on a moment's notice. I can recall many instances where I have walked into the office of a faculty member, unannounced or late in the evening, and was able to obtain help.
Due to the combined support of the students and staff in the program, I have been able to tremendously improve my academic record. As a result, opportunities that were unavailable to me two years ago are now within my reach. Once rejected from all the medical schools where I applied, I now have the opportunity to choose between several offers of admission that have been extended to me, with the possibility of earning a partial scholarship.
Without a doubt, my participation in MEDPREP has conferred me an advantage in the admissions process. Upon obtaining several interviews in Philadelphia, Dr. Henry, the interim director, arranged for me to complete them during my winter break, sparing me the expense of traveling from Carbondale. Similarly, when I informed some of my interviewers that I was a MEDPREP student, they often said that it enhanced my candidacy.
Looking back, attending MEDPREP was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. The program was crucial in helping me gain acceptance to medical school. More importantly, however, the program has made me more self-confident. Because of the challenging courses that I have completed in the program, I know that I am one of the best-prepared prospective medical students in the country. MEDPREP has placed me a step closer toward my career goal. Because of my preparation, I am unequivocally certain that I can successfully take the remaining steps to become a physician."
"When second year students were asked how they prepared for the MCAT, most said it was important to start early. This not only gives you the chance to evaluate strengths and weaknesses, but also develop strategies that work for you. Preparing for the MCAT now also allows you time to use the many MCAT experts, tutors, and library materials available to us.
Most second year students started during the first semester by scheduling 1-2 hours per week to go through outside practice materials and worked in groups of 2-3 people. They started with untimed practices in order to work on accuracy, and timed practices were incorporated as the semester progressed. It is important to finish the tests/passages in the allotted time, and, at the end of each practice session, go over answer choices to understand why they are correct or incorrect.
As spring semester began, most students increased their practice time to up to 2 hours each day. You will also be given mock exams, and it is important to treat the mock MCAT as if it were the real exam. This will give the best assessment of your performance on test day. Some students did additional full-length exams for added practice. Students also utilized the holidays and breaks to do extra practice materials, and, again, advise not waiting until spring to incorporate outside practice materials. The earlier you start, the better it will be. Students used LSAT, GRE, and available MCAT practice passages for verbal practice. For those weak in verbal, it takes a longer time and many more practice passages to improve than it would for the science sections. Therefore, verbal should be done on a daily basis. Reading materials such as JAMA, New England Journal of Medicine, as well as anything you find boring and uninteresting, everyday will help. If you can't read for a half hour each day, students suggest reading for at least ten minutes every morning.
The second years realize what a blessing and privilege it is to be a part of one of the most competitive and successful post-baccalaureate programs in the country, and mostly accredit prayer and hard work for their success. They warn against burnout, and suggest first years don't cheat themselves on break time. To stay motivated, they thought of future medical school acceptances, and performing well enough on the MCAT to not have to endure the summer review, where the entire year's courses are crunched into two months. It is also crucial to develop confidence within yourself, and take care of yourself through some form of physical activity."
Medical/Dental Education Preparatory Program
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine | MC 4323 | Carbondale, Illinois 62901
Phone: 618.536.6671 | Fax: 618.453.1919