ADG 182: Can I Get Past My Low CARS & My Stutter?

Can I Get Past My Low CARS & My Stutter?

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ADG 182: Can I Get Past My Low CARS & My Stutter?

Session 182

Ask Dr. Gray: Premed Q&A is brought to you by Blueprint MCAT. Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

The episodes in this podcast are recordings of our Facebook Live that we do at 3 pm Eastern on most weekdays. Check out our Facebook page and like the page to be notified. Also, listen to our other podcasts on MedEd Media. If you have any questions, call me at 617-410-6747.

[00:26] Question of the Day

Q: My name is Natalie. I live in New York. I made DACA pre med. So that’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. How do I build the perfect school list?

A: This is an easy question. It’s very similar to an international student in terms of how to build a school list as an international student.

You go school by school. Find out which schools accept international students. In your case, it’s school by school, and which schools will accept DACA students.

There may already be good resources out there, if you just Google medical schools that accept DACA students, and hopefully, maybe that narrows down your search.

Q: After eligibility, what questions should I be asking myself to be able to build myself a good school? 

A: From there, it’s just like every other school list. Listen to The Premed Years Episode 437. It’s my number one resource right now for building a school list.

I interviewed Joanne Snapp, former director of admissions at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine turned director of the health professions advising office at UC Davis. And now, she does private advising.

We talked about how to build the ultimate school list. It comes down to ignoring stats, number one, which is very scary to tell students and for them to hear. Ultimately, you have to be good enough for stats.

Once you’ve considered yourself good enough stat-wise, then that goes out the window. Look at everything else. Look at the location, the class size, their outreach programs or their international programs. Are they urban or rural?

“Find out what works best for you. It takes a lot of time and students don't like that. They want the shortcut. And there's no shortcut, unfortunately.”Click To Tweet

[05:10] Which to Prioritize: MCAT vs. Primary App

Q: “I delayed my MCAT. So I’m taking it at the end of the month. I’m getting a little bit overwhelmed. So I don’t know what to do. Should I focus more on studying for my MCAT? Or should I completely finish my application and submit it as soon as possible?

A: At the end of the day, you need to do well on the MCAT because that’s a big part of this. And you need to get your application in. Ideally, you would have had your application in by now.

It’s July as of this recording and if you’re taking the test at the end of July, it’s already past the date that I typically recommend. That doesn’t mean you can’t. But it means that your application is getting later and later. The question is how close are you to being done with the application?

Our student says, she’s actually done with the primary, there are just a few parts of her personal statement that she wasn’t sure about. After reading that section of her essay, I saw the interaction she made with the patient as well as the reflection on why it made her want to become a doctor.

[10:24] In a Rut with the CARS Passages

Q: “I’m doing the AAMC section for the CARS passages. How do I get out of a rut? 

A: Figure out what was it about the passage that you just weren’t able to connect with. What was going on with the passage or with the questions that led you to not do as well as you were doing previously? And then figure out what that block is. Then constantly iterate and improve from there.

“Get to a point where all of the negative self-talk goes in and out.” Click To Tweet

With your working memory, you’re reading the passage. And then you’re taking up half of your working memory, which are just thoughts about how bad you’re doing. This just leads to you doing bad.

Understand that you’re not going to be perfect reading these. It has nothing to do with you being a non native English speaker. It has to do with how difficult these passages are. 

Even as a native English speaker, I get totally twisted in some of these passages when I’m doing them for The MCAT Podcast. I have no idea what I just read. But I’m going to keep going because I have to. And I assume that something’s going to click later on. Or I can take a little bit of extra time. If I get a question that I think is from this paragraph that I read and I have no clue. I can take a little bit more time and re-scan it to figure out what’s going on.

But the more you put negative self-talk in, then none of the passages will be sticking. You really just have to give yourself grace, as you’re going through this. You have to read the passage and go, there are going to be words in here that you don’t know. There are going to be sentences in here you’ll be super confused about. And that’s okay. Just keep going.

[17:52] Dealing with Stress and Anxiety

Q: Any final advice for me as I am getting stressed?

A: Take care of yourself, get sleep, drink lots of water, and exercise as much as you can. Get that application in as soon as possible.

Also, understand that you may get your secondaries the day after you send in your application. So this is another thing to think about, especially, when you’re two weeks into taking the MCAT.

Let’s say you turned your application in today, and you could start getting secondaries tomorrow, even with your application not yet verified.

And so, if you think that’s going to freak you out and stress you out, then maybe don’t submit it yet. Maybe you do wait until after you take the MCAT so that you can submit it and just start cranking on secondary essays.

“If you submit today, with your MCAT in two weeks, and you have secondary essays sitting in your inbox, is that going to throw you off of your MCAT game?”Click To Tweet

As far as the DO application is concerned, you don’t have to worry about those for now because the DO timeline is a little bit longer. So the later that you apply DO-wise, it’s okay. The verification timeline for DO schools is days and not weeks. So don’t worry about the DO application right now. Get the AMCAS one and if you want to just apply to one school at this point, that’s fine. Just know that that one school may send you a secondary tomorrow.


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The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Personal Statement

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