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A guide to academic success and social etiquette for competitive (and non-competitive) pre-medical students.

Most of the images belong to us. Otherwise, the original can be found by clicking on the images/links.

Who are we? We are two UCLA alumni who majored in Neuroscience currently pursuing our M.D.s at USC's Keck School of Medicine and Albany Medical College.

Posts tagged science

Oct 1 '14

Anonymous asked:

Hello, I am a student a transfer student at UCLA and I am majoring in Sociology. I have taken a year of biology at my community college and got good grades in them. However,it only counts for LS1 & LS2 at Ucla. Am I supposed to take LS3 and LS4 and LS 23L? I went to an advisor and they gave me this advice but it seems repetitive if I have credit for a year of bio? Any information would be greatly appreciated. PS I really want to go to Ucla's medical school so I am willing to take 2 extra classes

Many med schools won’t accept community college classes for the pre-med requirements.  I’d suggest you listen to your academic adviser and take the extra classes to ensure you can apply directly when the time comes.

Sep 22 '14

medhurdles asked:

what do you think are effective study strategies for you?
  • Studying in groups
  • Pre-reading lecture material
  • Reviewing material within 24 hours of first seeing it
  • Mind-mapping or otherwise translating material into something more accessible
    (I’m a visual learner, so making flowcharts or diagrams helps.)
  • Seeking other methods of learning the same material (youtube videos, Pathoma, asking someone else to explain, reading a textbook, etc…)
  • Repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition
Aug 1 '14

Anonymous asked:

Hello! I was wondering if you could give me methods of raising my GPA. For instance, can I take classes at a community college after I've graduated? Thanks so much!

This answered question should help.  You can definitely take classes at a CC or through a university’s extension program too.  Remember that your science GPA and your cumulative GPA will be calculated separately in your AMCAs so focus on taking science classes for higher grades.

Jul 29 '14

Anonymous asked:

Hello, I just wanted to say that the blog you guys/gals have up is amazing so thank you for that! I have a question about frustration.. did you guys ever feel frustrated from some of the basic science classes? I feel as if the subject matter is very difficult for me but some medical students are telling me that after the 2nd year of medical school it will be mostly over. Is this true and what do y'all think about built-up frustration over basic science classes?

First, thanks! :)

I def feel this way a lot of the time (in fact, I have an exam on Friday that I’m clearly not studying for).  

I find it helpful to engage in activities that provide me with patient contact.  I spent my summer pursuing a health-related internship and shadowing.  During the school year, I volunteer for health fairs, free clinics, community events, community service projects at school, and other types of outreach when I have time.  Simple things like helping with health education at community events or taking blood pressure at the the health clinic help me stay focused on why I chose this profession.  I even learned how to draw blood at a health fair during my first year (at my school, we learn this during orientation before 3rd year)!

Despite all this, staying focused on the basic sciences is still tough for me.  Studying in groups makes the process bearable and even fun!  Regardless, it is a work in progress, even for a med student.  Hang in there! 

Jul 28 '14

Anonymous asked:

Hi! I recently graduated from UCLA, and I didn't decide I wanted to pursue a career in medicine until the end of my third year. I didn't do so well in my upper divs (I was an MCDB major, lots of B's with a couple C's), and I didn't do any research, aside from taking the MCDB research lab course (104 AL/BL). I have no idea what the next step is. Do you have any advice? Thank you for your help!

The answer we gave here should help.  With a few C’s, you could definitely benefit from taking more science classes to help boost your GPA through a post-bac or special master’s program.  You could also look into finding a job ER scribing for the clinical experience or a research assistant position while you’re still in the UCLA area.  

The next step is always tough, but you have lots of options!

Jul 25 '14

Anonymous asked:

I'm going to be an incoming freshman in college. I'm taking anthropology 101, calc 2, chem 101 and bio 101. I took ap bio, ap chem, and ap calc in high school. Do you think I'll be able to do well this semester or do you think I should take easier classes? I want to do well and I'm not sure what these classes entail. Thanks

Hrm, every school & every class is different, so I really can’t say if you can or cannot handle the classes you’re describing.  Personally, I enjoyed taking 3 classes per quarter at UCLA with only 2 being science classes.  I did take 2 quarters of 4 classes (3/4 being science classes), but those quarter were challenging.  

Having AP credit should help, but every teacher is different, so be prepared to work no matter what.  If you have flexibility with the number of credits you take per quarter, perhaps you can try taking all 4 for the first week & then drop anything you think you can’t handle.  

Good luck!

Jul 16 '14

Anonymous asked:

how do I go about getting research @ UCLA? If I'm interested in the SRP 99 positions listed online, do I go ahead and email the professor with my CV and resume or do I have to complete a safety course first?

Email first, schedule an interview/meeting, then do whatever the lab requires for certifications.

Feb 18 '14

Anonymous asked:

Just wanted to drop by & say I'm so glad this exists. :) I'm in 1st year undergrad in Canada. If you could please answer the following, I'd really appreciate it: 1. I'm probably going to end up with a year 1 GPA of 3.9. Is it good enough? Without a 4.0 am I at a real disadvantage? Also, I got a research position but it's mostly just data entry, not actual lab work. Does it still count or does lab work look better? I'm trying to get it for next year but for now this is all I have.

Sounds like you’re off to a great start!  


Second, most people start their research experiences with data entry and develop from that point.  Use this opportunity to make connections within your lab and learn more about what types of research or what topics interest you.  You can always change labs in the future once you have a better idea of how you want to focus your studies.

Remember, focus on your goals, but don’t forget to have fun and use college as a time to develop as a whole person.  

Good luck!

Jan 25 '14
The truth about the Brachial Plexus.

The truth about the Brachial Plexus.

Dec 12 '13

another-keeper asked:

I'm a junior in college right now, and I don't think getting into medical school willl be successful for me. My cousin is the same age as me in Mexico, and in two years she will be a general doctor. Is it a good idea to (graduate here of course) go to Medical school in Mexico, become a doctor, then come back to the US?

For some people, this can be an option, but we would seriously caution against it IF you want to eventually practice medicine in the US.  

It is notoriously difficult for students who study medicine outside of the US (including schools in the Caribbean) to match for residency in the US, especially for non-US citizens.  However, if you have specific reasons for wanting to study in Mexico, then research your options.  Try reaching out to graduates from Mexican medical schools who are now working in the US.  They will have a wealth of information regarding their experiences.

Be aware that your training in Mexico may not teach you everything required for the boards and that you will be competing with a very large group of medical students from US schools for a limited number of residency spots.

Bottom line: You still have plenty of time to improve your application before applying to medical school.  Consider a post-bacc program if you are weak in the sciences, a graduate program if you want to raise your GPA, a volunteer or work experience if you want to increase your clinical experience, or even DO, PA, or other allied health programs that might also fit your interest in medicine and healthcare.

Don’t resign yourself to a path that may be harder than you think before you have explored all your options.

Dec 5 '13

Anonymous asked:

Hello! I'm currently a HS senior who wishes to pursue medicine in the future. In college, would it hurt me in any way if I chose to major in a non-science major? Also, do you have any tips/advice on what I can do in college to help me on my path to med school?

You can definitely choose a non-science major, just be aware that you will need to fulfill all the required classes for medical school before you matriculate.  Sometimes it can be difficult for non-science students at larger schools to get into classes that are restricted to science majors. Taking a science minor may help, if this is a concern for you.

As for time in college?  Do well in your classes, make connections with faculty, participate in research that interests you, shadow physicians, volunteer in clinical settings, etc…  There are a wealth of things that you can do to prepare yourself for the science and medicine aspect of medical school, but remember to cultivate your non-medical interests as well.  Join clubs that showcase your hidden talent, take on leadership roles or community outreach positions, grow a garden, learn a new instrument, travel if possible!  

Use college as a time to find your passions and allow them to flourish.  Medical schools want independent thinkers and leaders who can learn from and contribute to the medical community.  

Good luck!

Dec 5 '13

Anonymous asked:

So I've basically been pre-med all my life, but I got a 23 on my MCAT. That's a pretty low score, right? I don't know if I should even continue on with my pre-med route anymore at this point. :[

This answer is pretty similar to your situation.

In short, you can definitely stay pre-med! You just need to focus on retaking your exam and doing significantly better on your retake.  If you are still in school, make sure that your GPA is high enough to offset your MCAT score; if not, consider a post-bac program or Master’s Degree to boost your GPA and prepare yourself for the rigors of medical school.  Do as much as you can to make the other aspects of your application flawless and unique.  You want to stand out as an applicant despite your score, not because of it.

Don’t lose hope!  

Dec 5 '13

Anonymous asked:

Hello, I'm not sure if this is a relevant question as this is for MD, but do you know anything about the PCATs compared to the MCATs? Thank you very much for your time :)

We didn’t take the PCAT, so we don’t have personal experience, but SDN does have a few threads about this comparison. 

This site also does a fairly simple comparison.

Oct 28 '13


DNA repair mechanisms are a life saver!



DNA repair mechanisms are a life saver!

(Source: trulymaddydeeply)

Sep 29 '13

Anonymous asked:

What are essentially the most important things med school admissions look at when looking at applications?

To make a very generalized assumption about the ADCOMs, we would assume that those who review your application would take ALL aspects of your application into account.

We assume that ALL of the following are considered when weighing applicants:

  • Undergraduate GPA
  • (Graduate GPA if applicable)
  • MCAT score (highest, lowest, mean, median - This depends on the school)
  • Personal Statement (Do you seem sincere?  Are you able to cohesively convey your motivation for entering medicine?)
  • Activities/Awards (What have you done to prepare yourself for medical school OUTSIDE of academics?  Are you well-rounded?  Who are you as a person?)
  • Answers to Secondary Application questions (This is HIGHLY varied among schools.)
  • Background/Demographics (Medical schools use this information to generate a “well-rounded” and “diverse” class.)
  • Interview 

The bolded items reflect the things that we think are the first to grab the attentions of the ADCOMs.  Some schools automatically reject students who do not meet their cutoff GPAs or MCATs.  These schools usually list that preference on their websites.

Disclaimer: Every medical school and ADCOM is different.  Do some research into the schools that interest you to learn more about their goals and missions.  IF you are still interested in being a part of these goals/missions, then tailor your application to these schools.

Hope this helps.