3 Things to do Right Now to Prepare to Apply to Medical School

Applying to medical school can feel extremely far away, especially when you are working your butt off studying for the MCAT. While it isn’t a bad idea to wait until the MCAT is over to do most of the work on your application, there are some things that you should do immediately in order to avoid some major application mistakes. Here are 3 simple things that you can easily do right now before it is too late:

Take a tally of the meaningful activities/experiences you will include in your medical school application. In the AMCAS primary application, there is a place for you to report 15 meaningful experiences you had and the hours you spent on those activities. For instance, for one experience you might want to report your experience shadowing doctors and the number of hours you spent shadowing. It is important to have a good mix of activities that show you to be service-oriented, a leader, interested in medicine, etc. Using the MCAT Self Prep Medical School Application Spreadsheet, you can quickly tally up the hours you’ve spent on each activity, giving you a snapshot of where you currently stand. If you still need more experiences, it would be a good idea to plan in some more meaningful activities that you can do between now and when you submit your application. And if you want to earn service hours and gain leadership experience all while studying for the MCAT, you should consider becoming an MCAT Study Group Leader!

Decide which individuals you will ask to write a letter of recommendation for you. Good relationships are built on regular positive interactions. If you simply stroll up to someone that you haven’t interacted with for several months or even years and ask them to write a letter of recommendation for you, chances are high that they won’t be super interested in the task. By deciding on some letter writers now, you will be able to plan to have some positive interactions with them before popping the question. And if you are not sure who to ask to write letters for you, be sure and enroll in my Medical School Application Course. I walk you through a detailed process for selecting and asking individuals to write awesome letters of recommendation for you. I recommend asking your letter writers in February/March of the year you are going to apply, so make sure to get started on this important task soon!

Start generating ideas for your personal statement. It can be argued that the personal statement essay is the most important part of your medical school application. It tells admissions committees why you want to go to medical school. Because it is so important, I recommend writing this essay using a 4-stage approach, the first of these stages being the Idea Generation Stage. During the Idea Generation Stage, you will need to come up with the overall thesis for your essay and think of several experiences you can talk about that will back up this thesis. As a way to generate ideas for yourself, I’d recommend talking with everyone you know about why you want to go to medical school. After talking with them, make note of the things you said and the experiences you shared. By talking these things out with other people, you will come up with many more ideas than you would by yourself.

By getting started on these three tasks now, you will save yourself loads of heartache down the road. Getting a top MCAT score is meaningless unless you have the full package to back it up, so make sure to put just as much (if not more) effort into your application as you are putting into your MCAT studying. And if you have any questions along the way, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I am here to help!

Warm regards,

Andrew  George

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How we Matched up the Khan Academy Passages with the eCourse Lessons

Each lesson of the eCourse contains links to 1 to 5 Khan Academy science passages for the purpose of providing you with non-AAMC material to practice your science passage reading skills on. By completing all the linked passages within every lesson, you will have finished all the freely available Khan Academy science passages.

To match up the Khan Academy Science Passages with the eCourse lessons, we carefully examined the passage and question content of each one. Then we decided which lesson of the eCourse best correlated with that content. You may notice that some passages don’t match up perfectly with the current lesson. If they don’t match up with the current lesson, they should match up with one of the previous lessons in the module. We did this carefully so that you could practice your science passage reading skills on passages that contain the content you’ve already learned.

Why we don’t recommend non-AAMC CARS practice questions

We recommend practicing CARS by reading non-AAMC CARS passages but not doing the associated practice problems. The reason we don’t recommend doing the practice problems is because the MCAT is written by the AAMC. They have a very unique style in which they write CARS practice questions that third-party companies (try as they might) are unable to replicate. When students spend time on non-AAMC CARS practice problems, they get familiar with the wrong style of questioning, leading them to overthink and incorrectly respond to the questions written by the AAMC. Thus, it is in your best interest to solely practice on AAMC CARS practice questions.

That said, we highly recommend practicing your reading skills on non-AAMC CARS passages. In our Ultimate CARS Strategy Course, we provide you with 1,000 free CARS passages and 100+ homework assignments, giving you ample material to practice on. Reading countless passages while practicing the proper reading habits and strategies will prepare you well to conquer the CARS section as it was written by the AAMC.

Which books do the lessons match up with?

The books we use in each lesson are linked below. We plan to stick with these older editions of the books since very little has changed and the older editions are much more affordable:

First Edition of the Kaplan 7-book Series
First Edition of the Princeton 7-book Series

Do the chapters match up perfectly?

The Kaplan Books, Princeton Books, and Khan Academy Videos were all produced by different authors. For this reason, there are some chapters in the Kaplan Book or Princeton Book that are not even found in the Khan Academy Videos and vice versa. For instance, the Kaplan and Princeton Books have chapters that cover certain experimental procedures that the Khan Academy Videos do not cover.

Our goal in matching up the books with the videos was to correlate the content as best as possible while also covering ALL the content from every resource. For this reason, when nothing in the Kaplan Books matched up with one of the video playlists, instead of leaving the reading assignment for Kaplan blank, we inserted material that did not fit in anywhere else (i.e. one of those chapters on an experimental procedure that was not covered by Khan Academy). So, when the assignment doesn’t appear to match up right, please know that this was intentional.

*If you follow the reading assignments outlined, you will finish the entire Kaplan 7-book series and/or Princeton 7-book series by the time you finish all 10 content modules.

Do the sections match up perfectly?

If the sections assigned in our eCourse do not match up with the sections contained in your content review book, you may have a different edition. The sections should still match up the large majority of the time, but in the rare instance that they don’t, I’d recommend simply reading sections that do match up and saving the ones that do not for a future lesson.

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