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studying tips

Student Life

5 Ways to Prep for Pre-Med

June 26, 2021

Congratulations on being admitted to a pre-med program! All the hard work you have put into your academics in the last couple of years has finally paid off, but if you’re planning on a career in the medical field, your work is only just beginning. Pre-med will be your first main challenge in pursuing your dream, and you need to prepare carefully if you want to make it through the selection process.

Start Studying for the MCAT

The MCAT, or the Medical College Admission Test, is used as the standard exam for those seeking admissions to AMA-accredited programs. It’s often considered one of the toughest preliminary admission exams out there. The exam covers four sections (biology, chemistry, psychology, critical analysis) and takes place over a lengthy 7.5 hours.

Due to the tough syllabus and questions, it’s never too early to start studying for the MCAT exam, especially during college. You will need a lot of prep materials which includes books, notes, and test papers. Make sure you’re choosing high-quality materials. For example, get the best MCAT prep books to maximize your chances on the actual exam. Your MCAT studies can give you an upper hand in your pre-med classes as well.

Reach Out to Your Advisor As Soon As Possible

The role of an academic advisor is an important one, especially if you’re gunning for a career in STEM fields. This is doubly important for pre-med since there are almost innumerable branches and specializations in the medical field. A good advisor can help ensure that you stay on track and fulfill all the basic pre-med requirements.

Reaching out to an advisor can also help you get a sense of what the program will be like in practice, get advice for classes to sign up for, and so on. A written recommendation from your academic advisor can make a favorable impression when you actually start applying to med school, so don’t ignore this aspect.

Know Your Long-Term Plan

You will have a hard time focusing on what you need to do if you don’t have a long-term plan. Being a doctor is a noble ambition, but it’s also a long road filled with many hurdles. By the time you finish both med school and college, you’ll likely be in your mid to late twenties. Investing in such a lengthy period of time requires deliberate planning.

Your long-term plans need to account for med-school admission and the financial investment behind your studies. You’ll also want to determine how to maintain a social life and participate in extracurricular activities. Once you get through med school, there are other things to consider, such as applying for a residency program, passing your medical license test, and finding a job.

Connect With Other Pre-Med Students

While preparing to begin your pre-med program, reach out and connect with other pre-med students in your program. Your school and program likely have events set up, either virtually or in-person, to help incoming students get to know one another. Take advantage of these opportunities.

Doing so will provide you with like-minded people to communicate and make friends with. By working on your preparations together, you can pool resources and help each other out in studying. This also gives you built-in accountability partners.

Remember to Relax and Enjoy the Summer

Last but not least, don’t forget to relax and enjoy the summer. While preparation is important, you also need to remember to enjoy the current moment. If you just graduated from high school, you owe it to yourself to relax and enjoy life a little before devoting yourself to your college and pre-med studies for the foreseeable future. Make memories that you can carry with you for the rest of your life!

If you’re short on cash, you can also start working part-time to save up some money. Training to be a doctor is expensive, from the MCAT prep materials to medical school itself. It can never hurt to have some extra savings.

Be Ready for the Long Run

Preparing for college can seem overwhelming under any circumstances, and getting ready for a pre-med program can seem even more so. However, with enough planning and preparation, you can pull it off!

Student Life

Tips for Staying Focused in Your Virtual Classes

March 30, 2021

Virtual classes can be seriously draining. It’s easy to drift off and become distracted during a virtual lecture.

With the option to turn your camera off, sometimes you can even forget you’re even in class! Here are some tips for maintaining focus.

Keep that camera on!

It can be so tempting to turn your camera off when other students are but keeping your camera on is a great way to stay accountable and engaged in class.

Ask questions

Participating in class is a good way to feel more connected to the online school experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in class because you are likely not the only one feeling the same confusion. Your participation might even encourage others to do the same!

Take notes

Even if your professor posts their lecture slides online, it can be helpful to take notes in order to stay focused on the material. Boost your muscle memory by taking notes by hand, or type them if you’re in a pinch and don’t have a pen and paper handy.

Utilize office hours

Visiting your professor during office hours is a great way to make connections amidst a socially distanced time and to get further help with your class material. This is extra important if you’re in a large lecture full of hundreds of other students. Check with your professor to see when they are providing virtual office hours.

Be mindful of your environment

It’s a lot easier to stay focused when you are in a calm environment. If possible, try to find a quiet, comfortable spot to take your classes. This doesn’t mean your couch or bed! You can also try to communicate with others in your household that you need to be uninterrupted for certain hours of the day.

Good luck in your virtual classes and make sure to check out more of our ​articles​ for advice on navigating college life in the era of COVID-19.