Do I Have Enough Clinical Experience as a MD/PhD Applicant?

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ADG 214: Do I Have Enough Clinical Experience as a MD/PhD Applicant?

Session 214

This student wants to know if her 300 hours of clinical experience is enough as a MD/Ph.D. applicant.

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[00:20] Question of the Day

An MD-PhD applicant, who is currently putting her application on pause since she got a 500 on her MCAT score plans to retake it, is asking about clinical experience. She has about 300 hours of clinical experience and is asking if she needs more and whether it is considered heavily for MD-PhD since they also do a lot of research.

Regardless of the number of clinical hours completed (whether it’s 300 or 3000 hours), it is important to consistently engage in clinical experience.

Emphasis on the total number of hours alone is not as significant as the consistency of obtaining a certain number of hours each month. Having 300 hours from three years ago is not preferable, but consistently gaining clinical experience over time is what truly matters.

Anyone going through the application cycle must demonstrate consistency in clinical experience, shadowing, and other related activities. It is also important to highlight the new “anticipated hours” section in the AMCAS application, as it allows applicants to showcase their ongoing commitment to these experiences.

[2:35] Common Mistakes of Students Taking MCAT

Q: What are the common mistakes students make when taking the MCAT?

A: One of the biggest mistakes students make is doing too much content review. Continue to take some full-length exams. Using question banks (Q banks) like those provided by Blueprint MCAT or UWorld can be helpful. You should also evaluate whether you are improving and consider seeking help from an MCAT tutor to identify any content or strategy issues.

“Students who want to or need to retake the MCAT will put extra pressure on themselves on the retake, and stress themselves out even more”Click To Tweet

Know that this is not make or break, you can retake the MCAT and you may do poorly again, and that’s okay. You can retake it again.

[8:59] Advice for an MD-PhD Applicant

Q: What advice can you give applications for MD/Ph.D. programs in terms of how medical schools and Ph.D. programs evaluate applicants, particularly regarding the average number of research hours? She added that she already has 1,500 hours of research and that being a type one diabetic was her seed.

A: There is no number of research hours needed. When applying to MD/Ph.D. programs, you are essentially applying to two schools: the MD school and the Ph.D. program. You will be submitting two extra essays and your interview is two days long.

It is important to not overlook the medical school aspect of the application and emphasize that clinical experiences and activities are still necessary. 

Focus on your personal statement and activities from the perspective of applying to medical school and then shift the focus to the Ph.D. side when writing the other essays. Express your passion for research, detail your aspirations and goals as well as the significant impact you hope to make as a physician-scientist.

Some individuals apply to MD/Ph.D. programs primarily for free tuition, but lacking research experience can easily lead to their applications being screened out.

“Keep in mind that there's no free pass as kind of your first question alluded to, there's no free pass to go.”Click To Tweet

[12:50] What is the Application Academy and When Will It Start?

Q: What is the Application Academy and when it opens up?

A: The Application Academy is a program that helps students with their medical school applications.

Some students have expressed frustration with the timing of the current program’s progression. As you move through different stages of the application process, you can work on secondary applications while still working on primary applications. To address this issue, the plan is to change the format to a year-round program, allowing students to join whenever they are ready.

The idea is to have rotating classes throughout the week, with different classes focused on primary applications, secondary applications, interview preparation, and more. The classes will be recorded for students who are unable to attend live sessions, and they can still submit their work for review and watch the recordings later.

[16:03] Accommodations Due to Being Diabetic

The student mentioned applying for accommodations for the MCAT since she was diabetic. If you are diabetic, you should check your glucose levels during test days to analyze how stress impacts your blood sugar. 

Data from previous test days can help identify patterns. This will then allow you to make adjustments. Whether you need to take more insulin or consume more sugar in the morning to counteract the effects of increased cortisol during the exam.


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The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Personal Statement

The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Application Process

The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Interview

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