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Ask Me Anything Highlights

Here are some highlights from my recent Ask Me Anything Post on the Reddit Pre-Med Community.

You can read the full thread Here
Q: What was the single piece of information you wish you'd known most heading into medical school?

Your first two years don't matter. All you have to do is learn enough to do fantastic on step 1. The "pre-clinical" information you learn, with a few exceptions, is almost completely useless as a practicing physician. Don't stress, and get pulled into all the drama of other pre-clinical students. Have fun, learn as much as you can, and get ready to focus during 3rd and 4th year when it really counts. Also take a badass vacation before med school because getting the time off to travel is going to be tough for the next like... 7 years.

Q: Why did you choose emergency?

EM is a very broad specialty which appeals to me. Specialty selection is a very personal choice. Also I hate being on call. I absolutely despise it. When I'm off, I can do WHATEVER I want with no fear of getting pulled back into the hospital. Also in terms of dollars per hour its fantastic.

Q: What are the dollars per hour like?

For a new grad you can expect 130-230/hr depending on the part of the country you are practicing, and how your reimbursement is structured.

Q: Is this hourly rate after malpractice? Can you generally pick up as many hours as you want? What's the average number of hours per week?

Malpractice is typically paid for by the contract management group. This is pretty standard for EM. In my current situation I could take as many hours as I wanted and people [...]

By |March 22nd, 2015|Medical School, Pre-Med|0 Comments

Why Med School Average USMLE Scores Are Meaningless

With the number of med students increasing faster than the number of residency positions, students are becoming more and more concerned about their USMLE Step scores to increase their odds of getting into a comparative specialty or residency program. I quite frequently hear requests from pre-med students asking about the average USMLE scores at different universities, with the idea that this can be used to compare the quality of each schools pre-clinical education. I have always cautioned against using this metric, and now I finally have at least some proof.

Study investigators from McMaster university (Yes, its a Canadian study) decided to see if their interview process was able to select students who could score higher on their board exams the MCCQE (which is similar to our USMLE step 1). From their group of 1071 students they were able to identify students that passed their Multiple-Mini-Interview system. They then followed these students and tracked their board scores at different universities. Overall they found that people who passed the MMI interview did statistically significantly better than students that didn't. They also found that it didn't matter what school these higher achieving students went to.

Although this was not the direct outcome of the study it does offer some evidence that points towards what I always thought. Competitive high achieving students are going to score highly no matter where they go, and less competitive students will probably do worse, no matter what great school they go too.

Keep this in mind next time someone tries to argue that one school is "better" than another because their average step scores are higher. Your ability to score highly on step 1 is much more dependent on your own study habits, work ethic [...]

By |March 9th, 2015|Pre-Med|0 Comments

Med School Multiple Mini-Interviews

Most pre-medical students preparing for the interview trail are now familiar with the multiple mini-interivew (MMI) format for med school admission interviews. However, these are actually a fairly recent development. I was lucky enough to not be subjected to these during my interview experiences. With med school applicants up, and there being a surplus of qualified candidates with great scores, schools are looking for more objective ways of picking the best applicants. The multiple mini-interview format offers an appealing way of taking the most subjective of evaluations and assigning a numerical value.

For those not familiar with the multiple mini-interview format, it is one in which applicants are given many different shorter "interviews" instead of the traditional 2-3 longer ones. These interviews are not the open ended "So tell me about yourself" style of questions used in the past. They are often very direct, specific questions. There is usually less conversation, and the format almost parallels the process of an oral exam. There have been numerous studies showing that this method of interviewing can actually predict a candidates performance in medical school and even their changes of passing their licensing exam. Some evidence shows that a properly administered MMI is even more predictive than an applicants GPA score.

A recent article published in the annals of emergency medicine takes another twist on this format. Although the format makes it much easier for schools to select the most qualified applicants, how do the applicants feel about it? I know I personally wouldn't be happy with this format. When it comes to selecting a medical school there is a certain degree of intangible "fit" that needs to be evaluated by both the applicant and the interviewer. This [...]

By |October 21st, 2014|Pre-Med|0 Comments

The Importance of Minimizing Student Loan Debt

Attending Medical School is easily the most expensive decision a young adult could make. Cost of attendance can easily double the mortgage of a nice house. Student loans are nearly impossible to default on, and will follow medical students for decades to come. Minimizing student loan debt can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over the repayment of the loan

The financial departments of most medical schools make taking out loans far too easy. They are willing to hand over hundreds of thousands of dollars to students with no income and typically a negative net worth. Never again will money be so easy to acquire, and so hard to pay back. At a time of historically low interest rates federal student loans still charge an absurdly high interest rate of 6.8%.

Compound interest is an incredibly powerful concept, that you need to understand before signing your promissory notes. Lets take two examples. Student A takes out a loan to cover $30,000 in yearly tuition plus $2000 dollars a month in living expenses. Student B decides to spend $2500. Over the course of 4 years, student B will owe $24,000 more than student A. But this is just the start. Assuming both students defer payment during a 4 year residency, Student A will owe a total of $283,000. Student B will owe $315,000 at graduation. If they use a 10 year repayment plan, student B will pay an additional $13,000 dollars in interest over the life of the loan

In summary, an additional cost of $6000 dollars a year will add around $37,000 dollars to the total amount repaid. If student A invests the difference of $37,000 after 20 years it will grow to close to $85,0000.

Keep this in mind when you are choosing between [...]

By |September 15th, 2014|Pre-Med|0 Comments

How To Become a Doctor

My first infographic about how to become a doctor.

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Please include attribution to www.StudyBypass.com with this graphic.

By |March 29th, 2014|Pre-Med|0 Comments
  • Pick the best medical school

How to Pick the Best Medical School

It can be challenging to pick which medical school is best for you. After spending four years of undergrad jumping through hoops, you now find yourself holding not one, but multiple acceptance letters. Congratulations!

Your next decision could vary well shape the rest of your career as well as your future financial success.

There are multiple factors to consider in making this decision. It is my opinion some of these factors should be highly considered whereas others should not play into your decision-making at all.

Important Factors

1) Fit - Most students and advisers will emphasize the "fit" of the program. Fit is often poorly defined. This typically refers to everything from your experience with students on the interview day to your general subconscious feelings about the school. It will be even further emphasized when it comes time to pick a place to train for residency. Fit is that innate gut feeling you get when you think about a school, and is something that should be taking seriously.

2) Location - You're going to spend four years living in this location. Make sure you pick a town that is conducive to your hobbies and lifestyle. Consider this an opportunity to experience a different part of the country for four years. If you have a spouse or other family considerations then this is perhaps one of the most important factors in making your decision. You can always plan a trip and re-visit the school and town to get a better feel for what its like to live there. Also don't forget all 4 seasons! Winter in the North or Midwest can be quite a shock to someone from the southwest.

3) Cost - Your medical student education will likely be one of [...]

By |January 11th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments
  • The MCAT Planner

The MCAT Planner – Review

The MCAT is often thought of as the gatekeeper to becoming a physician.  The MCAT is a main factor in the amount of stress and anxiety that most students experience during their pre-med years.  It doesn’t have to be this way! There are many tools out there to help students prepare for the MCAT.

The StudyBypass team recently had the opportunity to review “The MCAT Planner” 2013 edition by Future Doctor Isaac Dodd.

This reference is 833 pages of organizational greatness.

Planning for this massive test is an absolute necessity. Few highly motivated students have the discipline to set a study schedule and stick to it.

This will not provide you with information you need to know to do well, it’s a system that you can use with any other references that will help you score as high as you possibly can.

Sections include preparation for the test, study strategies, planning and scheduling, and even an exam day checklist.  Set weekly goals and monitor them. Record and trend your MCAT practice scores. Identify areas of strength and area of improvement.

This is a highly valuable resource for students who desire an organizational framework to help the face the MCAT.

Remember having a plan takes away a considerable amount of anxiety !Learn more about The MCAT Planner here!

By |October 11th, 2013|Pre-Med|0 Comments

Inquarta Medical School Admissions Counseling

If you're struggling with medical school admissions -- personal statement, how to be more qualified, interview prep, etc. --  I have a resource I want to recommend to you.

We have been so overloaded with personal statement submissions that I highly recommend taking some time to look through his personal statement coarse before you start writing

My friend Don Osborne has been working in the medical school admissions world since 1994. He's got some great online courses to help premeds with their application to medical school. I've looked through his course content personally and can tell you that I really love the advice he gives.

Take a look at these courses and find the right one for you:

How to Write Your Medical School Personal Statement
How to Write the Medical School Secondaries
How to Prepare for the Medical School Interview

Don's got many years of admissions experience; he has had several medical school admissions committee members on his staff, including one dean of admissions of a major Chicago medical school, and he's spoken to groups of premed advisers about his experiences as an adviser. He stands by his courses, so if you have any problems, be sure you reach out to him. He's a good guy and will take care of you.

I did some arm-twisting and got Don to arrange for a 10 percent discount for anyone from StudyBypass. Use coupon code "bypass" on checkout to get your discount.

By |July 1st, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How To Improve Your GPA Using Community College

There are many tactics out there to help students improve their GPA. Let me show you how to improve your GPA using community college.

Let's face it, a highly motivated premed can get an A in almost any community college course with minimal effort. Some courses offer a ridiculous number of credit hours for fairly little effort. You can even take classes online that only require a few hours of work each week.

Remember that AMCAS will report your science GPA and your overall GPA. Taking easy science courses at a community college may increase your GPA, but could create some red flags. Your overall GPA can easily be bumped with 12 credit hours of things that you may consider hobbies. You would be shocked what you can get credit for.
Explore your local community college for classes that interest you and you can pick up some extra A's to pad your GPA with.

Many premed's are often interested in getting their EMT certification and some community colleges will offer this certification. This is a great way to add another 12-16 credits of 4.0 to your GPA. Which can make a huge difference!

By |May 25th, 2013|Pre-Med|1 Comment
  • Are Doctors Happy

Are Doctors Happy? Physican Job Satisfaction

Just how happy are doctors?
As pre-med students begin to shadow and gain more real world experience, eventually they come in contact with a physician who isn't exactly satisfied with his job. Quite frequently these doctors go out of their way to warn prospective students about their career choice. They typically start with, "If I could do it all again, I would have been something else". Often they could rant for hours ,if given the chance, about the myriad of reasons that it's not a good idea to be a doctor in today's society. But just how common is this?

Medscape recently performed a survey which touched upon physician job satisfaction and came up with some interesting results. Only 51% of doctors said they would choose another career in medicine. Only 42% said they would pick the same specialty. Surprisingly, only 19% said they would choose the same practice settings. About 48% of physicians  surveyed feel they are unfairly compensated financially for their services.

So really, it's about a 50/50 chance! When asked about aspects of their job that physicians found rewarding, the number 1 response was "Being very good at what they do". Job satisfaction is a very interesting subject with lots of legitimate research and data behind it. For pre-med students who find this data alarming I highly recommend reading "So Good They Can't Ignore You" by Cal Newport. This is an excellent read that touches upon satisfaction and career choices and has a lot to offer for any pre-med who is still on the fence.

You can Purchase it here!

For the full Medscape survey results click here

By |May 11th, 2013|Pre-Med|0 Comments