In today’s episode, Ryan talks with Ryan Nguyen, a 1st year medical student at Western University College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific. He now blogs at WhiteCoatDO.com., a premed blog that provides a wealth of information about the admissions process.
First, Ryan answers a question from a listener regarding going to medical school in a foreign country because it would be free while doing his practice in the US.
Here are some of Ryan’s thoughts:
- Going to a foreign medical school should not be your first choice
- Coming back to the US to do a residency is extremely difficult
- Don’t worry about the money. Thousands of student graduate every year with tons of debt but they’re able to pay off.
- The fear of debt should not be a reason to go to medical school abroad where tuition is free
- Live like a student now so you can live like a doctor later, not vice versa.
Moving onto the discussion, Ryan shares his experiences transitioning from undergrad to medical student, studying 8 hours a day, how his undergrad classes helped him in medical school, and his medical school application journey. The show also touches a little on their thoughts on a 3-year medical school curriculum.
Here are the highlights of the conversation with Ryan:
Ryan’s path to medical school:
- Adjusting to the volume and pace of medical school
- Contrast between undergrad and medical school
- Studying 6-8 hours a day
- Majoring in microbiology
Thoughts on 3-year medical school curriculum:
- An interesting experiment
- A nontraditional premed may be able to handle the workload
- Dr. Ryan Gray thinks it should even be 5 years
The importance of taking breaks:
- A time to decompress
- To keep you mentally refreshed
How he came to blogging:
- Having gotten inspired by other inspiring blogs
- Initially experimenting on his posts
- Finding his niche in documenting the application process
- Being able to network with other people on healthcare and social media
- Started PracticalPremed.com when he was a premed
- Created WhiteCoatDO.com when he got to medical school
Ryan’s MCAT Prep:
- Making MCAT as your number one concern
- Taking the Kaplan MCAT course
- Ryan’s peers used Examkrackers a lot and they did well
- Learning the small tricks along the way
- Ryan delayed taking the exam to make sure he was ready to take it
- Taking the practice test once every few weeks
- Relax 2-3 days before the exam (Something Ryan didn’t do but highly recommends it)
- Getting a 30 on the MCAT
MD vs. DO schools:
- Applying broadly to 30 MD and DO schools (half-half)
- 8-9 interview requests and going to 6 of them
MCAT mental tricks:
- Do the practice test the same way you’d take the actual test.
- Approach it as a game.
- Don’t memorize everything but understand the concepts and know how to apply the different concepts to the questions.
Systems-based vs. traditional learning:
- Western U doing traditional and systems-based
- Systems-based learning helps you integrate all information together at one time instead of taking courses separately
Some pieces of advice for premed students:
- Don’t be afraid to go after things if you really want them.
- There are so many outlets you can pursue to reinvigorate something and make something that makes it all worth it.
Links and Other Resources:
http://calnewport.com/blog/ (Study Hacks)
If you need any help with the medical school interview, go to medschoolinterviewbook.com. Sign up and you will receive parts of the book so you can help shape the future of the book. This book will include over 500 questions that may be asked during interview day as well as real-life questions, answers, and feedback from all of the mock interviews Ryan has been doing with students.
Are you a nontraditional student? Go check out oldpremeds.org.
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