| PREMED ZONE
> Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2002 04:29:15
> Hi Rich,
> I sent you an email about two months ago regarding the challenges
> learning disabled students in gaining admission to medical
school. I greatly
> appreciated your taking the time to answer my questions.
I would like your
> advice on one more matter if possible. I took an introductory
> in the fall of 1998 and received a B. I will be enrolling
in a post-bac
> pre-med program in the fall of 2002. The program I am entering
> I take two semesters of calculus, in addition to two semesters
> based physics. I have truly forgotten nearly everything
I learned in both
> calculus and trigonometry. I would like to know if auditing
> course this summer and auditing calculus in the fall would
reflect poorly on
> my academic record? Would it be better if I were to re-take
calculus for a
> grade? thanks a lot,
Since you plan to auditing these courses AFTER you have already
I see no problem.
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 2002 14:53:06
Hello Rich, my name is Sam. I am currently
a freshman. Med school is my
one and only dream and is what I could ever ask for out of my
getting is means a lot to me. I am am chemistry major, with a
option. So I complete some of my chem core requirements and also
premed requirements. My concern is that my junior year, I will
to medical school and taking the MCAT, but it is also that year
that I will
be taking physical chemistry. From what I have heard, pchem is
hard and takes a lot of time to get down. If this is true, do
you think I
should change my major to biology, even though I have a better
statistically with chemistry?
Also, I was planning, or am planning
to take a Kaplan course to help me
prepare. I heard some mixed feelings about them. What is your
One more thing, did you say that it
is better to work for pay than to
volunteer? I always thought it was the other way around, which
is what I am
doing right now.
Ok, thanks a lot Rich. I really appreciate
As far as your first question regarding physical chemistry
generally is hard, but some of the difficulty depends on your
you feel good about being a chem major and you can avoid taking
a lot of
time intensive classes during the Spring of your junior year
deferring some labs (if possible) and biochemistry, etc. for
year then sticking with the chem major might be fine. If on the
you believe your chem major will most probably result in a lower
then you might want to consider a change in your major. There
is no "right"
answer from my end, but you should explore this issue more with
considerations in mind.
I am not very happy with the "corporate culture"
of Kaplan, they are not
generally very "user friendly", but do have some advantages
competition. For more info do a "SEARCH THIS SITE"
Goggle search of
Premed411.com using "Kaplan" as a search item.
From what I have heard there is a general misconception that
the key word in work experience. In fact I have heard from admissions
officers at med schools that clinical experience i.e. people
not paper is
most important. Usually volunteer work is all that is available,
but if you
are able to get paid work (but not from a relative!) that is
respected, because it typically involves a position requiring
responsibility and experience. I know of no "points"
going to those who work
for free unless those areas are unrelated (in any direct way)
to med school
admissions. Since paid clinical experience is hard to come by,
work experience is an acceptable option.
Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2002 00:02:27 EST
Hey Rich, what do you think about the practice tests and items
on aamc? I
believe there are six of them. Should I get all six of them?
practice test just have one test? What is the practice items?
It's a good
idea to get them now, since I will be taking ochem next year
and have them
If I am taking the april mcat in 2004,
should I enroll in kaplan in jan 2004
and when I do, will I be getting the practice tests or are those
available on aamc?
Thanks again Rich. I really appreciate
You sure have a lot of questions ;-).
I'll get back to you on that longer email you just sent, but
as to the aamc
tests see: MCAT Combination Study Pack (paper) ($ 130.00)
This is the best "bang" for your buck. When you
go to the aamc site you
should know that only the order online options are currently
up to date. You
will find more info on PT 1 and II and III at Premed411.com--do
search. PT 1 and PT II are old tests--they are dated but still
practice. PT III-VI are "modern" tests. I have not
look at VI yet. The
practice items are two MCATs worth of stuff--its very good practice--but
material is just a collection of ~30 VR, ~30 PS and ~30 BS passages,
its not in the form of an MCAT tests.
By the way the new online practice MCATs are really "phat",
they offer lots
of stuff, but I'd advise sticking to the paper versions.
If you are going to enroll in Kaplan to prepare for the April
2004 MCAT you
may want to enroll in November of 2003--in some locations Kaplan
"early bird" option.
Kaplan makes the aamc practice tests available in their "library"
can't take em home.
> Hey again Rich, it's me Sam.
I have some more questions for you... (oh and by
> the way, I never said this last time, but I absolutely love
> up the good work)
> First, After hearing what you said
and some deep thinking, I believe I will
> decide to change majors because obviously it will be hard
and considering that
> the same prof that will teach 1st/3rd term is the same prof
that taught my 2nd
> term of chem that I just finished. I absolutely do not like
the guy. He does
> not explain things well...and makes very hard exams...and
this is only general
> chem... Do you think as a biology major, I have a good chance--it's
> only 40% of bio majors that get in right? I think it is
the only thing I am
> interested in outside of chemistry that I will do well in...
Yes its about 40%. If Bio is what interests you, then that
is probably what you should major in.
> Second, I wanted to ask you for advice concerning me taking
ochem and physics
> next year. I think you will probably say that you don't
recommend this... I
> will be taking the higher level of ochem and lower level
(non calculus based)
> physics. I have never taken physics ever, not even in HS.
Do you think it
> would be a good idea to take the crammed course of physics
this summer at a
> community college to get a head start and just not transfer
Well you're not suppose to do that, of course, but it would
> Third, I have heard two sides to
studying for the mcat verbal... I feel very
> confident in the PS/BS, but not the verbal. I got somewhat
> average on the SAT for that section. I think you recommend
studying by going
> over and over it again and again to get familar with the
types of questions
> and develop a strategy. Also, I have heard you say to take
> require a lot of reading/critical thinking such as philosophy
> might go the history route, since I found out I just can't
> Which should I choose or which is more important in getting
a high score?
> Read a lot or just get familar with the questions?
Taking lots and lots of VR practice
passages under timed conditions seems to
be the bet.
> Fourth, I took AP math--first two terms of calculus in HS
and got credit thru
> a community college--is this OK?
As far as I know, yes, but you better confirm this--individual
results may vary ;-)
> Fifth, the personal statement is only 1 page right? I have
an advisor at OHSU
> school of medicine (where I want to go) and want to there...and
he said it
> should be 4000-4500 words--was he talking about something
Right. I hope so!
> Sixth, I currently go to Oregon State University, where
do you think a 3.8-4.0
> here would mean as compared to other schools?
That's a good GPA just about anywhere. On a scale of 1-5 (5
= best) Oregon State
University is about a 3.
> Seventh, what is the best way to
get VERY good letters of recs from profs?
SINCERELY get to know your professors, and let them get to
know you over an
EXTENDED period of time--do not be a brown nose &/or pest!
If they like you
and you do well in their class you should get a good letter.
To add the
"VERY" to good...Express an interest in the course,
and in the Prof AS A
HUMAN BEING. As you become more familiar with the Prof reveal
yourself to him/her and keep the door open should they wish reciprocate.
Find times to see your Prof. when there will be as few distractions
possible. Stay away from questions about your grade!!!! &
Keep to a minimum,
questions like "Will this be on the test?". Ask about
the course material,
and when you find something of interesting to you, talk about
it with your
Prof--especially if the material is also of interest to the Prof
WHAT THEY DO RESEARCH ON)
> And finally, eighth, my cousin
graduated from OHSU school of medicine. Would
> this give me an advantage over other applicants or not?
Should I mention it
It could give you an edge, but you want to mention it in passing
> I'm sorry for so many questions this time, but greatly appreciated
> last time.
> Thanks again Rich.
Take care Sam,
> Date: Tue, 30 Apr 2002 15:00:02
> I have a Bachelors in Computer
Science. What should I do know about Medical
> School? Do you or should you apply BEFORE you take the MCAT
or don't even
> bother until you've taken it.
> Jennifer Haskins
You can apply, but for the vast majorities of schools that require
your application will not be complete until your MCAT score is
if you do not plan to take the MCAT shortly after you apply,
you really have
no reason to apply.
> Date: Tue, 7 May 2002 11:19:44
> i have a question, i have gotten my GED and i need to know
if i have to take
> any other classes before i go to premed?
No, but high school level biology, chemistry and physics would
> Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 22:44:15
> Subject: Age maximums
> Can you give me a realistic outlook on acceptance into medical
school at the
> age of 43? I am a career Naval Officer with my last (current
> Commanding Officer of a naval combatant. I have a BSBA in
Finance and an MBA
> in Financial Management. I am completing requisite courses
> chemistry (org/inorg) and physics. I recently taught 13
semesters at the
> University level in management here in Florida. I retire
soon and strongly
> desire a career in medicine, specifically neurosurgery.
I have had numerous
> complex jobs in the past including flying as a weapons operator
on jets off of
> carriers, repairing advanced electronics including radars,
> communication systems. I have obtained high scores on MCAT
practice exams and
> am confident of achieving excellent scores when I take it
for real. My concern
> is my age. I asked a prominent neurosurgeon the same question
and he stated
> that most medical schools weigh the age of the applicant
and the potential
> years of public good the applicant can provide given the
years of training and
> education involved. I understand the age aspect but feel
that since I am in
> top shape both mentally and physically, time is a wasting.
What is your
> opinion? Today the news was talking about the two grandfathers
on the space
> shuttle performing extended periods of extra-vehicular activity,
so I guess
> not all is lost due to age!
Neurosurgery is certainly an ambitious path, but it sounds
like a good fit
considering your background. In 2001 four individuals over 55
to medical school (real grandfathers) and the average percentage
for those 38 and above was around 20%. I agree with the assessment
neurosurgeon you spoke with made, but given your background,
if you do in
fact score well on the MCAT I'd bet you would have better than
even odds of
> Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2002 10:14:24
> I am a lieutenant in the navy (submarine line with a strong
> nuclear engineering). I am 31 yrs old and I am seriously
> resigning my commission in order to spend the next two years
in an attempt to
> gain acceptance to medical school. (If accepted I will reenter
the navy and
> let them pay for it.) I graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy
with a 2.97 GPA
> (B.S. Systems Engineering requiring 151 hours in only four
years). The academy
> is academically rigorous (there's no such thing as grade
inflation) and the
> classroom is only one part of the entire program. I mention
this to qualify
> my less than stellar grades. I also need to take Organic
> Biology. I received a 'B' and a 'C' in General Chemistry.
My questions are:
> 1. First and foremost, is there any hope for me? Assuming
I take the
> required courses as well as the MCAT and perform adequately,
what are my
> chances of matriculating somewhere? (It is a big risk to
take two years off
> at my age without knowing my odds.)
> If the answer is YES:
> 2. Should I retake general chemistry as a refresher and
as an attempt to
> boost those poor grades?
> 3. What else can I do to improve my chances? Any other advice?
> Thank you and keep up the good work.
IF you do WELL in Organic (and Bio) on the MCAT and get clinical
you have a good chance of acceptance (A's or A and B in Orgo,
30 or better
on the MCAT). Yes retake General Chem.
> Date: Tue, 23 Apr 2002 11:23:41
> Hello Rich,
> If one's objective is to get into an Ivy League/top med
school, how important
> is the choice of a post bac premed program? I'm considering
Columbia, NYU and
> Rutgers. I'm leaning towards Rutgers because it's the most
> the top schools look more favorably at Columbia/NYU post
bac med graduates
> than Rutgers'? How much of a difference will it make? (Columbia/NYU
> cost twice as much as Rutgers).
While admission committees do evaluate your GPA in terms of
the school you
attend, usually the most important factor is how well you do,
school you attend. For the schools you mention the difference
is probably no
more than 5%.
> Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2002 05:41:21
> Hi Rich,
> I'm not sure if you're still answering emails asking for
advice, but i'll give
> it a shot.
> I'm a senior at the Unvirsity of Maryland, College Park
> Biochemistry. Unfortuntely, i haven't done very well the
past 4 years. My GPA
> is a 3.2, and I've recieved D's in P.Chem 1 and P.Chem 2.
I'll be repeating
> those during the summer and next semester. However, my MCAT
score is 38 (13P
> 13B 12V). Do you think I can be admissible to one of the
> schools (like St. Georges), or do the D's completely destroy
> Do student's with D's ever get into MEdical School?
> Thanks for you site, it was very helpful and informative!
A 38 on the MCAT is like having a GET OUT OF JAIL FREE card!
If you clean up
your GPA either undergrad or postgrad you can get into med schools
Carribean or in the USA. If you did very well in a medically
program your undergrad grades would not matter much at all. With
a 38 on the
MCAT you could choose which med school to attend.
Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2002 18:35:28
Thanks-alot for the website. Your responses to those with questions
great. I am wondering if i have a shot for medical school or
DO school. I
am graduating with undergrad with a gpa of 3.15 in biology at
age 21. I
recently took the mcat last week and felt pretty good about it.
believe that i have a realistic shot at med schl, but i feel
that I have a
realistic shot at DO school. What do i have to do to have a realistic
at DO school? If my scores are 27-30, do i have a shot at med
school or DO
school. However, the fact that I want to be a family physician
school a realistic option. I am graduating from relatively unknown
in VA but am from CT. Does this affect my chances of getting
in to a
northeastern osteopathic school? Also, what do I need to be doing
on my off
year (i have taken the mcat during my sr yr because i expected
to take a yr
or two off before going back to school)? Exactly what kind of
should i do, hospital work, clinical work, medical missions?
Should I take
some extra courses (such as biochem. which i elected not to take)
summer or in the fall? Finally, what about foreign med schools?
How do u
become a md or do in the states after going to a foreign med
school ( i have
heard off many sets of exams and the difficulty of obtaining
the states)? Thanks alot for considering my questions. Michael
Since your GPA is low a 27-30 on the MCAT would give you a
shot at a DO
school, but not a good chance for admission to a US MD school.
graduated from a lesser known school (with a low GPA) this does
chances, but a good MCAT score can help to make up for this.
If what you do
during your year off does not become part of your application
than taking additional courses like biochem can make your life
the other hand if you are lacking clinical experience and can
get a firm
commitment to work at a specific location, than this information
can go into
your personal statement and be worked into your interviews.
As far as foreign med school if and when you check them out,
find out about
the rate of passing for the USMLE. If you pass the USMLE you
license to practice medicine in the US, and you can continue
in a residency program. Generally speaking you will be at a disadvantage,
especially when competing for the more sought after residencies.