So it’s your dream to become a doctor, huh? Well, that certainly is a very noble profession to work hard at. There are just so many things about being a medical professional that are very fulfilling. Aside from the highly alluring pay, you get to create a difference in people’s lives. You get to help them overcome whatever it is that ails them and get paid a hefty sum too. If you ask me, this right here is the textbook example of “hitting two birds with one stone.” But seriously, being able to help the community and actually making an impact in other people’s lives, no matter how small, is the best feeling in the world – ever.
This is why I can’t help but root for you as you go chasing after this dream.
However, that’s also just it. Rooting for you is all that I can do. In fact, it’s all everyone else can do for you at this point. You have to work hard from this point on by yourself; you have to keep at it by yourself. The road isn’t going to get shorter; it sure won’t get any easier either. So it really comes down to how badly you want this dream of yours to come true. Are you willing to burn sweat and shed tears just to be able to make your passion your profession? Well, if your answer is YES, then you are quite the brave heart indeed. It only goes to show how much of a great fit you are for this role. As a little good luck charm, shall I give you a couple of med school tips, future doc?
The First Step Towards Becoming A Medical Professional
Every professional starts out as a student just as every master starts out as an apprentice. You can’t become an expert at anything if you don’t take the time to learn thoroughly. Since medicine deals with real lives and real people, it’s a very strict discipline. You’ll find that this is all because of how important and dire the work involved is. When you work as an accountant and you make mistakes in your calculations, your company suffers financial losses. When you’re a doctor and you make a mistake, it’s not just money that’s lost. What may be put in peril is much more important than any paper currency – a life.
This is why the medical discipline is truly a strict one. It’s all for good reasons.
That is not to say that you have to be perfect, though. There’s a reason why doctors are said to “practice” medicine. This means that there really is no telling what can happen inside the hospital room. The most mentors can do is minimize the chances of false or wrongful diagnosis and create better prognoses. This way, more and more lives get a chance of being saved. In other words, medical standards are placed on the shoulders of any practicing professional. You can’t just do “medicine” half-heartedly; you have to invest your whole being into it. In order to do that, you have to be willing to let go of countless and countless of hours to dedicate yourself to studying. No summer breaks, no lingering relationships, and no drama. For a certain time period, you have to be prepared to let go of everything and face your studies head on.
If you’re an aspiring doctor, then I presume that you have done your initial research about medical studies already. Otherwise, I would really start to question your sincerity towards this endeavour. If I may make a wild guess, you’ve probably come across terms like MCAT, USMLE, and NBME – and I tell you that all these acronyms will matter in this journey of yours no doubt.
Before you can even become a med student, the very first exam you need to take is the MCAT or the Medical College Admissions Test. It’s a general and related sciences examination that aims to determine your learning aptitude and attitude for the sciences. After all, medicine is all about clinical science – Physics, Chemistry, and Biology are some subjects you are bound to come across with. The MCAT exam serves as the initial screening exam for people who ever wish to become doctors. So I think you might already know even without me saying this but this exam is something you shouldn’t take lightly. Remember, first impressions matter! You have to start out strong if you ever want to catch good attention in the medicine industry.
The MCAT, being an admissions test, basically decides your fate in this industry. Of course, it’s not like you can’t take it again if you fail but it’s always better to make good impressions from the very start. It’s not just to appeal to others’ opinion of you too. It’s more like you have to pass on your first try for yourself. Being able to work hard at something and actually reaping the fruits of your labor later on is the best feeling in the world. It just makes you want to try even harder. So I guess passing with flying colors in the MCAT will determine your confidence in taking up this particular field of study.
Also, the MCAT is not a pass or fail exam. I think you should know and understand this very well before you let your mind jump to conclusions. The examinees results are graded through percentiles which mean that everyone gets a score. As to whether you get a score high enough to get into your first choice medical school is a completely different story. Every school set different standards for accepting enrolees, you see. Some have very high requirements like only letting in those who’ve score in the 94th percentile or higher during the MCAT.
While I would like to say that our current education system is completely non-selective, medical schools are an exception. But their selectiveness is not out of personal bias; it is all in an effort to make sure that they get the cream of the crop. They would want to leave future generations in the hands of extremely capable people. I mean, what would happen if anyone can just become a doctor? What if we all start saying YES to people just because we see that they want something so bad? The world will be thrown into chaos, for sure. Standards are set for a reason. It just so happens that the field of medicine have much more intricate requirements than others.
I just said that some of the most prestigious schools require applicants to hit a certain percentile rank in the MCAT before they consider their applications. However, that doesn’t mean there is absolutely no hope for you. There are many recognized universities and medical schools in the entirety of the United States that allow students who did not do too well in the MCAT to still continue their studies in medicine. They just lower the percentile average for admission and allow them to study under probationary conditions. Like, if they do well in the following year, they can become full-pledged med students. After all, it’s not very accurate to judge a person’s abilities through one examination alone.
Still, if you’re aiming to enrol in one of the top tier schools of the country, then acing the MCAT is definitely something you should do. So, what is the MCAT really like?
What Is The MCAT?
The MCAT or Medical College Admissions Test is the prerequisite exam every medical aspirant must take as part of their application requirements for med school. This is a preliminary test that aims to gauge the ability and knowledge of the applicant in the basic sciences. After all, medicine is all about science – particularly, life science. This is why it is necessary that someone who studies it and aims to make a living in the medical field in the future must have the right aptitude and attitude towards learning it. The MCAT makes sure that every aspirant has got what it takes to study medicine for real.
As for the technical details, this exam consists of at least 230 items that are science-related. It’s divided into 10 parts with each section having anywhere between 4 and 7 items plus 15 standalone questions in the science section and 9 passages on the CARS. Each section may have a different approach or style of questioning but all items are multiple-choice. There is no essay portion in the MCAT exam. The entirety of the test is expected to run for 6 hours and 15 minutes with a short break in-between for meals and reviewing, of course. While some people like to “wing” this exam and leaving their fates to the unknown, you might not share the same sentiment. If you want to get into a good school it is important that you score higher than average, after all.
Should You Take MCAT Tutoring Classes?
If you can handle studying alone and you’re totally comfortable with it, then you may also opt to review by yourself for the MCAT. However, there are also various institutions that provide tutoring assistance for this particular exam. This would include us, too. So if you want to check out our MCAT tutoring service as well as all our other services (including USMLE reviews and study guides), you can pay this website a visit. Tutoring will help you review not just the answers to the MCAT but actually understand the concepts behind them. A team of reputable and highly knowledgeable professionals will assist you in your studies.
If you’re thinking of getting a higher average from the get-go to create the perfect impression for your first-choice med school, then passing the MCAT with flying colors is definitely a must! It will surely add pizazz to your application.