Even if you’re not applying to medical school this year, the things you do in and out of school should be focused on fulfilling medical school application requirements that you’re going to need to complete to be a competitive application.
But there’s one big problem: You don’t have enough time. How are you supposed to get great grades, accumulate patient contact experience, create relationships with your professors AND have a life?
It’s a tough balancing act, but there are a few things you can do this year that will save you time and prepare you for your future medical school application.
Cramming Works (If You do it Like This)
Cramming saves time, but is it effective? You might cram all of your studying into one frantic night right before a major test so you don’t have to spend more time studying throughout the semester, but most of the time cramming doesn’t lead to better test scores.
Here’s the way to do it better: I call it Reverse Cramming. Instead of cramming the night before the test, take a day or two at the beginning of the semester to get ahead of the professor and see where they are going. Skim the course outline and the course material, and whatever confuses you in your Reverse Cramming session will be the focus of your studying later on.
Record your lectures
Most premeds won’t Reverse Cram because it’s so far out of the average study pattern, so if you’re not going to reverse cram, record your lectures instead. Use your phone and review your lectures regularly. Hearing course information a second time is one of the best ways to retain new and challenging material. You can even playback the recording at a faster speed using MySpeed.
Save Time on Essays, Get Better Grades
Writing courses? Social sciences? History and Art? Ha! Those are a breeze compared to Bio, Chemistry, and Physics — right? But then you start writing the big term paper and you’re not sure how you should go about writing it.
The best piece of writing advice in college: Don’t be creative. That’s counter-intuitive, but here’s how it works: Don’t take an alternate viewpoint on the dominant interpretation of the text and don’t try to write a poetic paper that shows off your literary legs without properly addressing the prompt.
For example: If all of the authors in the assigned reading say the sky represents all the possibilities in life, don’t disagree with them. Re-state the general opinion and respond to every single question posed by the prompt.
Sticking to a straightforward style will save you writing time and result in higher essay grades.
Backup your essays
With all of the cloud-based options available, there’s no reason to ever lose any progress you make on your work. Use these tools to backup your writing:
- Microsoft Office Online
- Email your paper to yourself
Tell Your Professors You’re Premed Right Away
It’s something every premed wants, but very few ever get: A glowing letter of recommendation that actually impresses an admissions committee. The problem is that most premeds wait too long to start building the kind of relationships with professors that result in great letters of recommendation.
Here’s how you save time and get letters of rec faster: Introduce yourself to the professor very early in the semester and tell them that you’re premed. Once they know that you’re aiming for medical school it will be easier to start a conversation with them in the future. After a few conversations they’ll know enough about you to write you a strong letter.
The Most Important Number on Your Medical School Application
When it comes time to apply, you’re going to want to submit the highest MCAT score that you can. Start preparing for the MCAT now, even if you’re not planning to take it this year. It’s a huge hurdle to jump — it’s unlike any test you’ve ever taken.
MCAT test-taking strategy is one of my core strengths, so I invite you to join me and other premeds on a weekly MCAT strategy call that will give you the technique you need to master the logic of the MCAT.
Join the MCAT Club now. You get access to our weekly MCAT Club meetings and a bunch of very valuable online MCAT courses, all for a really affordable price that is much lower than any other MCAT course online.