Today, we talk about a student switching their journey from PharmD to MD (premed at this point).
Your questions are taken directly from the Nontrad Premed Forum. If you haven’t yet, be sure to register for an account for free and join a collaborative community of nontrad premeds.
Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
[01:00] OldPreMeds Question of the Week
“Hi everyone, so glad to have found this site and I have been listening to a lot of the podcasts lately, which has been quite informative, but none has really been able to set me on the course to a competitive chance.
My situation is unique, in that I have a Bsc Biochem (cgpa-3.53; BCPM-3.62) from 2008 (see attachment), went on to complete a PharmD (gpa 3.14 2012).I have been working in community practice ever since.
At age 32, I have come to realize my desire to make a greater impact on humanity through the field of medicine. I have a family who is supportive of my dreams, but I’d hate to disappoint them by making the wrong choices towards my pursuit.
I believe this platform has guided people towards a path of success & hoping I can gain some insights as well.
Here are my questions & concerns:
[Related episode: A Look Into the Pharmaceutical Industry with a Chief Medical Officer]
[02:13] Shadowing and Volunteering
Question #1: Would I need to do some more volunteering (I love tutoring) even though I did some tutoring during my undergrad days? What is more ideal for me as a candidate, Volunteering and/or shadowing. I have secured a shadowing with a psychiatrist. I may be able to also do hospice volunteering.
Answer: Shadowing is definitely important. Volunteering isn’t particularly important. It basically depends on your time commitments. If you have a family and don’t have time to do it all, then volunteering is typically one of the first things that get cut out.
As an admissions committee that reviews your application, they’re going to see who you are and what you’re time commitments are.'Don't be super concerned about trying to do it all, but shadowing is important.'Click To Tweet
[Related episode: How Should I Prepare For My First Shadowing Experience?]
[03:18] Research and Clinical Experience
Question #2: Is my community pharmacy practice sufficient as a clinical experience? As far as research is concerned, I did some independent research in the lab during undergrad (2007-2008) with no publication. Worked in a Pharmaceutical company as research associate for 1 yr before Pharmacy school. How sufficient are these even though it has been over 10 yrs?
Answer: It’s not necessarily the title, but what you are doing. If you have a community pharmacy practice and you have a hypertension clinic where you’re doing blood pressures and adjusting blood pressure medication in your practice, then this is clinical experience.
If you are not doing any sort of clinical interaction with the patient and you’re just standing in a retail pharmacy, talking to patients, and filling bottles, it’s a little less clinical.
I would also do some hospice volunteering.
[Related episode: How Much Clinical Experience Do I Need for Med School Apps?]
[05:15] Studying for the MCAT
Question #3: MCAT has been my biggest concern thus far. I have bought the TBR & tried to read up on some of the courses but I am having difficulty grasping Chemistry & Physics. Most of my core prereqs were completed by 2006, which makes it difficult to recall concepts and work around mathematical formulae.
Do I continue to relearn by combining TBR with EK and KA or Should I retake all my prereqs first (DIY postbac)? Would an online prep course (princeton|Kaplan|TestPrep etc) be adequate? I want to apply in 2020 but not sure which way to approach the MCAT.
PS: I am a Texas resident so I emailed all Med schools in Texas & they indicated that prereqs do not expire.
Answer: TBR refers to The Berkeley Review and EK is ExamKrackers and KA is Khan Academy.
If you’re having trouble grasping chemistry and physics, these are very important parts of the MCAT. You can relearn them through a course. Check out Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep). Go to mcatcoursereview.com to watch a review about it. Use the promo code MSHQ to save some money off the course.
There are a couple of options here. Go ahead and sign up for a course right now then take the MCAT in March or April of next year.
Or you could potentially take a course right now and take Chemistry or Physics, depending on where you’re at. If you need to focus on concepts and mathematical formulae, you only need to relearn that quickly. You don’t need a full course to do that again.
I think you can handle it without the prereqs as you did well on your science courses early on. You got your PharmD and did well out there and have been practicing as a professional. You’re obviously smart enough so have faith that you can go through this MCAT journey without going and retaking your courses which may delay your application.
[Related episode: 3 Biggest Mistakes When Preparing for the MCAT]
Need MCAT Prep? Save on tutoring, classes, and full-length practice tests by using promo code “MSHQ” for 10% off Next Step full-length practice tests or “MSHQTOC” for $50 off MCAT tutoring or the Next Step MCAT Course at Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)!
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