• Study Groups

Study Groups, The Key to Success or a Social Distraction?

Study groups are essential for medical school and premed success, yet this is only true if you pick the right people to study with. Try to study with people who are getting good grades, who are organized, who have a study strategy you wish to emulate, and who won’t be a distraction. It’s better to study alone than to waste time "hanging out" with people over some text books. If you want to go have fun, then go do something fun with your friends!

Studying with other students who are doing poorly will rarely help you. It may seem obvious, but finding someone who is excelling effortlessly and copying their behavior is the easiest way to improve your study habits. If you're doing well and want to spend some time helping out other students, then go for it. Teaching information to others is one of the best ways to see just how well you know the information yourself. If you're doing well it is likely that other study groups will frequently ask you to stop by.

The most important factor to consider is if studying with friends is going to be more distracting than motivating. Even the most efficient study teams you can anticipate an element of socialization. This is not a bad thing. Often, hours of studying can get tedious, and having friends to pass the night with can help with your endurance. Short breaks for conversation can be helpful to recharge and ultimately keep you awake and attentive.

The point of a study group is for everyone to benefit from a group effort. Each person should have a role! For example, you  could have each person type up different chapter summery, or have different people make [...]

By |May 7th, 2013|Study Tips|0 Comments
  • Physician Salary

Physician Salary – How Much Money Do Doctors Really Make?

Students frequently ask me about the average physician salary. With the current discussion about our expensive healthcare system, physician salaries can be somewhat of a controversial issue. This is an important aspect of any career, and all students considering medical school should have a somewhat realistic idea of how much money they can expect to make.

This is overall a very difficult question to answer. Physician salaries vary greatly depending upon the specialty, the physician's experience level, business acumen and overall goals. Medscape recently released their physician compensation report for 2013. This is one of the more comprehensive reports on how much money doctors make.

Across all specialties, one third had an average income of over $300,000 annually. The current top three earning specialties are orthopedics, cardiology and radiology. Average salaries ranged from $170,000-$400,000, depending on specialty. Across-the-board, average salary for specialties tended to increase over last year.

One important consideration that is not included in this study is the number of hours worked per week and the relationship to salary. This is something that students need to consider carefully. Although dermatology had a median salary of $306,000, it is important to consider that they work significantly less hours than the average general surgeon with a median salary of $279,000. I personally think dollars per hour is a more realistic way to look at your future physician earning potential. About half of the doctors surveyed said they felt as if they were fairly compensated.

Business acumen also plays a strong factor in your future financial success. There are family medicine physicians who have built multimillion dollar practices and there are orthopedic surgeons filing for bankruptcy. It is also very important to factor in student debt, although this is an [...]

By |May 2nd, 2013|Pre-Med|1 Comment
  • Personal Statement Advice Panda

Personal Statement Advice from Panda Bear MD

Some of you may still remember Panda Bear, MD.

He was a legendary medical blogger with a unique sense of humor, and a brutally honest critic of our current health system and the process of medical training. Sadly, for personal reasons years ago he gave up his blog. It still exists as a ghost of its former self, hacked and displaying advertisements for medical supplies.

Scattered amidst the advertisements still stands excellent advice. Below is possibly one of the most useful articles about personal statement development ever written. Panda Bear, if you are still out there somewhere let us know...

(As those of you applying to medical school know, the personal statement on the AMCAS application is, at least by conventional wisdom, one of the most important parts of your application. It doesn’t seem fair when you think about it, that all of your effort to get good grades and to position yourself with extracurricular activities can be undone by a few lines of prose, but that’s just how it is. Here are some general rules that might help you get started.-PB)

You Are Not Applying For A Position In Management

Every generation has its peculiar bureaucratic vernacular. In the nineteen-fifties it was the breezy patter of the Madison Avenue ad men. In the sixties it was vacuous leftist duckspeak. Today it is the stilted jargon of the diversity Mafia with which the timid writer protects himself from the one true sin of diversity, that is, to have an original idea. In fact, if you can’t write a decent-sized page without mentioning “diversity,” “inclusiveness,” “open-mindedness,” or any of the other shibboleths of the ossified Pharisees who protect the academic temple from blasphemy, you’re not trying hard enough to [...]

By |May 1st, 2013|Pre-Med|0 Comments
  • How to Match

5 Ways Not To Match

5 Ways to Minimize Your Chances of Obtaining a Desirable Residency

Let’s face it, medical students drink. Each year a few will take it too far and end up with a DUI, public intoxication, or other less desirable charges. Many residency program directors carefully evaluate the "Risk/Reward" ratio when accepting residents, and any hint of pre-existing substance abuse is a big red flag. Whether it was a one-time slip up, or a pattern of reckless behavior, any criminal charges can make it difficult to get into your desired residency program or even specialty of choice.

Dishonesty is not one of the key personality traits residencies are looking for in their applicants. Even the larger specialties tend to have a very small circle of program directors. Word gets around. Be very careful about how much "elaboration" you decide to include on your application.

Not everyone has the charisma to interview well, but all residency applicants should have the social skills to not completely blow it. Make sure you spend some time on the programs website and talking to residents at the dinner. Think of at least 1 intelligent question to ask in order to sound interested. Under no circumstances be rude, condensing, or abrasive to the program coordinator, secretary, or any other ancillary staff. Your interview begins with the e-mail you send the program accepting the interview. At most programs the residency coordinator holds the power to get your application thrown out if you are disrespectful!

Contrary to popular belief, couples matching, when done in a smart and reasonable way does not decrease your chance of a successful match. However, attempting to couples match into two extremely competitive specialties can sometimes be quite difficult. In order to couples match successfully [...]

By |April 28th, 2013|Medical School|0 Comments
  • Non-Lethal Weapon Injuries

Non-Lethal Weapon Injuries in the Emergency Department: Mini-Review

"Non-lethal" or "Less-lethal" weapons are becoming more frequently used by law enforcement agencies and knowledge of the associated injuries is useful for emergency medicine providers. Aside from chemical irritants such as "Pepper Spray" and the "Taser" some departments are now using "non-lethal" projectiles. These “bean bag rounds” also known as a “Flexible Baton Rounds” are frequently cased in a shotgun shell, and fired by a standard 12 gauge shotgun. A more broad term for these weapons are “Impact Munitions”. They are designed to stun or temporarily incapacitate a suspect so they can be arrested with less danger to both the suspect and officer. Other options are foam rubber projectiles or wooden dowels.
 
In 2004 the institute of justice assembled a collection of incident reports to better understand their effect. Over 373 incidents were investigated where 969 projectiles were fired. These incidents were voluntarily submitted by over 100 different law enforcement agencies. Over half of the incidents involved “emotionally disturbed persons” demonstrating suicidal intent, and nearly all were men. They were used more often against suspects wielding cutting weapons or clubs. Suspects were mostly often shot in the abdomen (34%), Chest (19%), and legs (15%). Only 2% were shot in the head, and 1% in the groin. 80% of impact munitions discharged resulted in “injury”. 80% of these injures were bruising and abrasion that did not require medical treatment. Eight individuals were killed by the munitions and two additional deaths resulted from officers mistakenly firing real bullets, believing them to be impact rounds. The resulting mortality was found to be 2.7%. Three of the deaths occurred from broken ribs that “pierced the heart or lungs”. Mechanism of other deaths or serious injuries was not reported. Distance was [...]

By |April 25th, 2013|Residency|0 Comments
  • Rejected from Medical school

Rejected from Medical School – Now what?

Rejected from Medical School? Whats Next?

 
The summer I realized I was not going to matriculate directly from undergrad to medical school was a pivotal moment in my medical career. It forced me to reflect on what I wanted to accomplish with my life, and what I was willing to do to achieve my goals. That summer of reflection started with an interview for a job that I thankfully did not get. The job interview went something like this:
 

"Why do you think you didn't you get into Medical School?"- Interviewing MD, with big research lab
"Well... I must not have had a high enough GPA or MCAT scores."- Me
"Do you plan to re-apply?"- Interviewing MD,with big research lab
"Yes."- Me
"Well, how is working here going to fix your GPA or MCAT scores?"- Interviewing MD
"Well I think it will add value to my application in other areas to off set my GPA and MCAT scores."- Me.
 

What I failed to realize at the time is that this physician, although insensitive, was not necessarily trying to be cruel. It was a question I had to answer; why had I not gotten accepted, and how was I going to fix it before the next application cycle? I was not going to fix it by adding more rat dissections to my already massive repertoire of horrible research assistant gigs.
 

This is an important question for all rejected pre meds to answer, and not be scared or embarrassed of. If the issue is your GPA, there are tactics to bump this up. If it's the MCAT, there is a threshold under which you can't fix your application with padding and optimizing strategies. This is a compilation of most common reasons applicants fail to get accepted [...]

By |April 24th, 2013|Pre-Med|3 Comments

Study Tips: Make It Interesting!

As I'm sure you've realized by now, some things are easier to study than others. Have you ever met someone who is able to name the winning team for the 1987 World Series, but can hardly remember the last five presidents of the United States for their history test? The human mind has an interesting mechanism for prioritizing the things we remember. Unfortunately, as an undergraduate student you are often forced to memorize and regurgitate information that may not be of any importance to your current life or future goals. Even in medical school, once you've decided upon becoming an OB/GYN, the subtle nuances of cardiothoracic surgery become tedious. When faced with these situations:

1) Stress is a double edged sword. Though at times it can be crippling and make your life seem awful, there are circumstances where it is useful. If you already received mediocre score on a previous exam, then stress can be a powerful tool to encourage you to put in the time required to do well on the next. When you're frantically studying to avoid a perceived negative consequence (such as getting a B, or having to re-take a course during spring break) this can be quite useful.

2) Be creative and see if you can find some relevance to what you are studying and your own life. One study tip I like to use is to pretend that I have to teach this information to a friend or family member. Perhaps something will develop about the subject matter that you are studying, and by knowing all of the tiny details you can talk intelligently about the issue and maybe impress people. For example I have always had a very difficult time memorizing [...]

By |April 18th, 2013|Study Tips|0 Comments
  • Study Bypass How to get into Medical School

How To Get Into Medical School

Lets start with the basics of how to get into medical school

The first thing you need to do is ask yourself, am I sure I want to be a doctor?

Are you prepared to put in hundreds and hundreds of hours in preparation to achieve your goal? If your looking for a way to impress a guy or girl, let me assure you there are much easier ways.

Are you ready to sacrifice some of the best years of your life? How will you respond when you're stuck overnight in the hospital for a 28 call when all of your friends are going out of town doing something fun? After eight years of higher education are you going to be okay with the fact your friend who got a two-year associate's degree is making more money than you?

For most premeds it doesn't make any difference. They have their minds made up for a variety of reasons, good or bad, and are determined to become a doctor. So lets move on...

Unlike medical education in other countries. In the United States it is a requirement that all pre-med students obtain a bachelors degree or higher before starting medical school. Note this degree does not have to be relevant to medicine necessarily, provided that you have taken the prerequisite courses. The required prerequisite courses differ for each medical school. However they universally require courses such as English, biology, organic chemistry and upper level math.

A high GPA can be one of your biggest assets towards applying to medical school. If you've already started off on the bad foot don't worry there are programs available to help improve your GPA and even specials master programs you can obtain which can overshadow a [...]

By |April 15th, 2013|Pre-Med|2 Comments

Welcome To Study Bypass

Welcome to Study Bypass

Lets just be honest, medical education in this country is tough. Thousands of student every year are asking, "How do I get into medical school?"

Undergrad, as a pre-med, is stressful and breeds a competitive atmosphere. There are hundreds of hoops to jump through, and in the end your 4 years of work are watered down to a few page application and a MCAT score. Subtle errors can sometimes make the difference between getting accepted and spending another year repeating the process. Every application cycle, hundreds of our nations best future doctors are outright rejected. The current system is broken and some of the most excellent, creative, responsible students are left asking "why?" Given the system is unlikely to change, we must adapt. I hope this website will be useful to all pre-meds, from those still in high-school to those planning their 2nd round of applications. Let us help you get into medical school

For those currently applying, I will offer a free basic personal statement review, a more detailed editing options, and practice Skype interviews

For those currently applying, I am happy to review your current platform, identify weaknesses, suggest strengths, and set your application up for maximum success. It's never too early to start preparing once you have made this decision

Through my experiences with higher education I have honed my study and test taking skills to a fine point. Armed with knowledge of efficient study techniques, and my high yield test taking strategy, virtually any test can be concord. I hope this collection of tips and tricks will be helpful for both pre-med students, as well as students of other disciplines. My test taking strategy, though perfected using the MCAT and [...]

By |April 7th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments