My Medical School Application Journey (So Far)

pre-medimageI had my first medical school interview a few days ago, and I feel like cataloguing my experiences here, as a way to both share the experience I’m going through in applying to medical school as a non-traditional applicant with a disability, and also as a way to collect some of my impressions in one place.

To back up a little, I applied this summer. After my final final exam as an undergraduate (physical chemistry), later that afternoon I started filling out the application. No rest for the determined. I submitted my application in July, applying to 19 schools. This sounds like a lot (and it is) but I know people who’ve applied to double that many. In September 2016, I sat down with my finances to plan out how much I needed to have saved for each step of the process and had determined that if I met those goals, I could apply to ~18 schools. So pretty much on target.

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It’s Been Awhile

writingI just thought I’d give a quick update.

I originally started this blog to write about writing, and TV, and disability issues, and science, and music but I also struggle with blogging. Sometimes it feels more like a duty than something I enjoy doing. That’s especially true when I’m so busy with school and my job, and just trying to find time to write is a real challenge.

This year, I set a goal to write at least 4 days a week for at least an hour. That doesn’t add up to a lot, just 4 hours a week, and yet it’s still been difficult to find that time. Most weeks, I’ve met that goal, but there’ve been a few weeks I didn’t. There have been lots of weeks, like this last one, where I spent as much time writing as I would on a full-time job.

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MCAT Results

I just realized I never updated my site with the results.

Scores for my test date came out on Oct 27th, a little bit after noon and very soon after I got off of work. I was still at my workplace (a tutoring center) and everyone was busy, so I was just walking around the office, pulling up the scores on my phone.

Here are the results:
IMG_1239Needless to say, I’m over the moon about my score. And hugely relieved that I don’t need to tackle this beast of a test ever again.

I’m also really, really grateful to all the people who helped with this, and all the events that fell into place, like winning a prep course I never could’ve afforded, my boss letting me basically take the month before the test completely off, the people who helped me get accommodations, all the people who helped me understand physics better, all the people who were understanding when I wasn’t all that available this summer and early fall, the people who knew exactly when a much-needed break was mandatory and invited me out to do things, all the encouragement and support that people around me offered (via text, long phone calls, emails, conversations), all the professors that gave me a solid background in the sciences, and whatever luck allowed me to get a verbal score that was better than my practice tests.

When I got my score, I was in shock. I won’t lie, I expected to get a good score, I knew I had solid understanding of the subjects (tutoring a lot of them was a major help), but there seemed to be so many factors in all of the sections that I really was preparing myself to get a lower score than predicted, and had told myself I would not retake anything over a 510. So  to get a score that high, I was kind of in shock. I still remember after I first checked it, trying to write my first text to tell someone and my hands shaking so much I couldn’t get the text out right away.

This past weekend, I celebrated with a karaoke party, which was a total blast!

Who knows what will be next?

~EJ

MCAT Postmortem

mcatimagesI’ve finally emerged from the all-consuming world of studying for the MCAT and wanted to give a little overview of the whole experience, including the actual test, and the study process.

I took the test on Wednesday, September 23. It was harder than I expected in some areas and easier in others.

Chem/Phys

This was consistently my best area in practice, from the time I took the official Sample Test right after signing up for the exam, to the Official Guide which I took a week and a half before my test (and got 100%!) to the official question packs for chemistry and physics. I took a year of biochem ending this June, and have been tutoring gen chem and o chem for almost four years, so I felt like I had this section in the bag, just had to work on physics, which I did a lot this summer to strengthen some weak areas.

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My Study Schedule and Week 1 Progress Report – MCAT 2015

mcatprepimagesIn my last post, I talked in general about my study plan, what I planned to go back and cover in content review, and sort of the thinking behind certain aspects of the plan. Here, I want to detail the plan, partly because I’m hoping that making it public will help make me accountable. And also, if anyone reading this who is also taking the test wants to chime in or use a similar plan, that would be awesome.

To see the general plan, click here.

Now, down to the nitty gritty.

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My Study Plan – MCAT 2015

mcat booksSo, I’ve spent a lot of time since signing up for the test trying to make a (somewhat) realistic, doable and foolproof study plan, as if such a thing could exist.

I took stock of all my old study materials, all the resources out there now, and of how I did on the Sample Test, as well as a half-diagnostic from a company called Next Step. That was interesting, sorta reflective of the official Sample Test except I did a bit lower on everything, and somehow did worse on CARS (verbal reasoning) than I did on psych/soc (which is just so weird to me because I haven’t taken those classes in over a decade and really don’t remember anything so it was mostly guessing, funny how that worked better for me than actually trying to think through the CARS section). From those two samples, I made a list of what my weaker areas are.

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Battling the First Practice Test (Diagnostic) – MCAT 2015

mcatpracticeA few days ago, I took the official AAMC (company that issues the MCAT) sample test as a diagnostic to see where I’m at. Took it on the comp using my wonderful black background and took part of it on my iPad while the iPad was dying. Since it’s timed, I got a charger but the cord was short and I had to sit scrunched under a desk so it could charge while taking the test. Uncomfortable testing conditions for sure, but at least I had that black background!

Oh and contrary to the image I found for this post, this sample test was not free!

Here are my impressions of the sections. I don’t think I’m allowed to discuss specifics for the sample test so I will be more general here.

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