Route 1: Becoming a Pre-Med Student
Succeeding as a Pre-Med Student
Successful candidates for admission to med school are disciplined and hard-working, and have a love of learning. This goal extends beyond medical education, because in today's world physicians must be life-long students. Future physicians must be academically strong, especially in the sciences, and must be able to use their knowledge in critical thinking (applied problem solving).
The typical student admitted into a U.S. medical school has a grade point average of 3.5 or more, as well as a composite MCAT score of 30 or greater (at least 9 or 10 on all three sections). He or she must also be well-rounded and must have a humanitarian concern for people. These last factors are demonstrated by letters of recommendation from faculty, personal statements on applications, and by the interview porcess.
How do I Do All This?
Here are some suggestions on how to succeed as a pre-med student:
Hit the ground running!
- Success in high school doesn't automatically translate into success in college. A science major is demanding, and will require a large committment of time.
- Even though extra-curricular activities are important for med school applications, don't jump into these right away. Wait to see how much spare time you have.
- If you are involved in sports, this is a plus, but you will need to forgo some other extracurriculars because of the heavy demands of athletic competition.
Form good study habits!
- Read the required reading before class.
- Don't wait until just before an exam to review.
- Small, frequent study sessions are better than fewer sessions of 3-4 hours at a time.
- Try to learn and apply concepts, rather than just memorize facts.
Ask for help early!
- If your first exam is a 'C' or lower, don't assume you can catch up later. Go see your professor to get some suggestions for improvement.
- If you don't understand a concept from class or reading, get help. Don't wait for an exam to demonstrate that you don't know the material.
Get enough rest!
- Keep up with the material.
- Last-minute "cramming" and all-nighters usually don't work.
Don't be obsessive!
- Forgive yourself for a poor performance, and resolve to do better.
- Keep your spiritual life as a high priority.