In today's episode, Ryan talks with Dr. Rashid Taher, an ophthalmologist and vitreoretinal surgeon based in Miami and the founding partner of DrSmarts.com, an awesome online tool to help you study for the MCAT, USMLE, or COMLEX. It features a huge database of their partners' test questions as they have partnered with third-party test prep companies.
Once you sign up for a free account at DrSmarts, you get a sampling of all these test questions and they will keep track of those questions and see how well you do as well as incentivize learning where you get points as you answer the questions and you earn points which can then be converted to money or which you can donate to schools and other organizations as well.
Here are the highlights of the conversation with Rashid:
What drove Rashid to sub-specialize
- Realizing how precious vision is to everybody
- Wanting to become an expert diseases and conditions related to the retina
His dad's impact on his career being a pediatrician and giving him the exposure
- Allowing him to grow up and make his own decisions
Having the privilege as a physician to explore other doors of opportunity: Exploring the business side of it and outside the sciences
The hardest part of his premed path:
- Making a commitment to pursue a lifelong career
- Being committed to lifelong learning
- Understanding that you are a student for life
Questions Rashid would ask his premed self:
- Is this what you really want to do for the rest of your life?
- If so, are you willing to commit to it?
Read as much as you can on topics outside of medicine.
Remind yourself to keep reading journals, books, politics, economics, and social issues.
His go-to books: Books on politics and history
How he got started with DrSmarts:
- Their commitment to being teachers to your patients and to the next generation of physicians
- Founded the website with his brother
- The site is an extension to their desire to impart knowledge and education to students everywhere who are pursuing their dreams of academic and professional success
- Creating a destination for premedical and medical students to reduce the anxiety and take away the cost of preparing for the standardized exams
- Providing a free platform that provides test prep questions through third-party sources
- With 3,500 questions within their Q banks as well as full-length text books to reinforce learning
- Partnering with other third party sources that want to showcase and put their best foot forward
- Providing free content to students to help them reinforce what they're learning in the classroom
- Providing them test prep questions on a daily basis to help them prepare for the ultimate standardized exams
- Providing a free resource for students to help address the student debt burden
- Giving them the opportunity to earn money as they learn
- Giving them an opportunity to earn money for a charity and/or association they're affiliated with
- Showcasing different third party companies' materials giving students the real sense of the types and sorts of test prep companies out there
DrSmarts provides an individualized dashboard to:
- Track your progress
- Identify your areas of weakness
- Determine if you need further remediation – Helping students to make an educated decision about who they want to choose if they feel they need further remediation beyond what they offer
Gamification of the educational process:
- Offering weekly rewards by answering six daily quiz questions
- The top point earners on a weekly basis earn money redeemable within their vendor ecosystem
- Fostering a healthy competition on the site to help students commit to the learning process
- Hoping to offer scholarships down the road
- For every correct answer on the daily quiz, they will donate on your behalf to a student association or charity you're affiliated with
Some pieces of advice for premed students:
- Reinforce what you're learning as you progress through your 4-5 years of college.
- Your diploma or degree is the most powerful tool for the rest of your life and build upon it the foundation of your future.
Links and Other Resources
- Free MCAT Gift: Free 30+ page guide with tips to help you maximize your MCAT score and which includes discount codes for MCAT prep as well.
- Check out our partner magazine, www.premedlife.com to learn more about awesome premed information.
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