Ask Away: Pre-Med/Med School Q&A - October Edition

Preparing for Medical School

1.   What’s the #1 piece of advice for getting through organic chemistry? 

First and foremost, if there’s a class you don’t think you’ll get an A the best advice is to see that professor regularly. This way the professor will curve your grade up if you’re on the cusp because they’ll be familiar with your effort.

Second, the key to Orgo is practice problems. Honestly, you just have to do all of them. It’s not similar to math where you can do 10 math problems and get the gist. I also really appreciated Examkrackers when I was MCAT studying because it made everything very basic and I wish I used that for regular classes. I would definitely recommend Examkrackers as a study tool.

 

2.   What are some of the most difficult challenges you faced when deciding which medical school to attend? What are some study techniques to best prepare for the MCAT?

For me honestly it was location. I know this isn’t applicable to most people but I was still fencing so I decided to be at a medical school closer to NYC. Everywhere I applied to was in the NYC area. Outside of fencing I looked at 3 things: match rate into residency, diversity and cost.

The first thing you want to see is how many people are passing step 1 USMLE and how many people are matching into residency. If both are 100% that’s great. If both are around 80% that’s not good. I would also look at the average step 1 score of the students, you want to go somewhere with an average much higher than the national average.  

Diversity is a must for me. Both my hometown and college environments were incredibly diverse. I wanted an environment that appreciated various cultures and backgrounds. 

Lastly cost, it’s very expensive everywhere you go but if you’re in-state that helps lower the cost. $50k for 4 years is much higher than $25-30 and if you’re offered a scholarship it’s definitely worth considering that school.

The best ways to study for the MCAT are start studying at least a year before and you have to have to have to do a prep class (even though it’s expensive).

 

3.    Throughout high school, I was an average student. I got mostly B’s to be honest. I never really tried to aim for higher grades like others did because I think I lacked determination. However, I always knew I wanted to go into the medical field. I just finished my first year of college and this year has made me think about aiming higher than a nurse. I am a smart person when I apply myself and I know I could make it if I try hard enough. Do you think I still have a chance getting into a med school? 

That’s awesome!!  You absolutely have a chance of getting into med school. The sky is the limit, accept that. High school grades have nothing to do with how well you can do it med school. Just focus on your classes now and study for the MCAT junior year. 

 

4.    In your med school class, do you have any older students? I am in my 30s and currently doing a post bacc for med school. I need physics, o chem, and biochem to take MCATs. 

Yes we have several older students in my class! We also have several people in their 30s with 7-8 year old children. It’s never too late to go to medical school so do not let age be a factor.

 

Medical School Questions

1.    I’m currently an M1 and in search of a mentor. How should I go about finding and mentor? Any tips/advice on how to reach out to someone and ask for mentorship?

 That’s a great question and it’s something I’m still trying to master. First, you want to join the interest group of your chosen specialty. From there you can bond upperclassmen and ask them for advice. You can also meet the attendings that participate in lunch lectures and other activities. Once you meet an attending you think was helpful or you felt a connection with, shoot them an email and meet up with them. When you contact them tell them you really admired something about them (either their lecture or anything really) and ask if you can use them for advice and as a resource through medical school. 

99% of people will say yes because they’re interacting with students because they enjoy teaching. Once you find someone don’t be afraid to ask them questions about study tips or opportunities to go to their practice or see them in the hospital. That’s how you build the relationship. Worst case scenario you switch interest in specialties and that’s fine! They’ll know someone in your new specialty or can guide you in that direction. 

Email (teamkamali@gmail.com) or DM (@dr.mali.mallz)  me questions about the pre med track or medical school and you’ll be in next month’s Ask Away!