The WikiPremed MCAT Course

I got an email today from John over at The WikiPremed MCAT Course – An Open Access Learning Program for the Premedical Curriculum.. In the email he shared with me about the WikiPremed MCAT Course website that he and his team have been working on for a few years now.

I thought it sounded interesting so I clicked on over to check it out.

It really looks to be like a great resource for pre-med students who are trying to study for the MCAT. Even better, it’s a whole lot more affordable than the Kaplan or Princeton Review courses.

In addition to their online learning modules, they do provide written materials, flash cards, etc.

If you’re a premed student, consider checking them out. Even if you do go ahead with one of the more well-known review courses, it looks like this could be a really nice addition to your study regimen.

Also, another idea would be to read through the modules covering the sections you are learning in your Physics, Biology, Chemistry, or Organic Chemistry class.

You can click on over to the Wiki by using the link above (at the beginning of this post) or the link to the right under the “Student Resources” section.


Anxiety and Sleep Loss

This is just a random post. It’s 3:14 AM on June 4. I cannot sleep. I have finals this week and I also present my Final Project on Wednesday. For the past month I have had trouble sleeping. I think its anxiety.

I figured I’m probably stressed out about my senior project because if I don’t have that approved, I don’t graduate.. which means I don’t go to Loma Linda in August.

The whole sleep thing is frustrating because I cannot fall asleep at night, but I’m so tired in the afternoon so I take a nap. And then the cycle just keeps getting harder and harder to break.

Wonder how my sleep pattern is going to be during medical school…


MCAT Scores & LLU Interview

Last week was a pretty big week for me as far as premed related things. On Thursday I had an interview with . I have had many ask how the interview went, but I am never really sure. They ask if I felt good about it. My answer is simply that I don’t know. I think I was pretty emotionless after leaving the interview. I suspect it was because I was thinking ahead to the MCAT scores.

Thursday night at 9 pm (PST) the scores were posted. Am I happy with my score? Well they say that if you score above a 30 that you’re competitive. So I suppose I am happy with my numerical score; I’m really disappointed in my essays though.

During the summer, when I was taking the Kaplan course, I did very well on all the essays that I had graded. So when I got the MCAT result I was very surprissed about what I got. Thought about asking for a re-score but it’ll take about 4 months. By that time it’s probably too late; most of the applications I send in will already have been discussed and considered.

Oh well…


Secondary Applications

Last week my AMCAS applicaiton finally was processed. It took longer than I expected, but I’m glad it’s done.

I ended up applying to eleven schools and the secondary application requests have started trickling in. It’s kind of exciting, although I realize that secondary applications are given out to all applicants who submit a primary (at least for the private schools).

So now comes the though part. Do I fill out all the secondaries? They average about $90-$100 each. I am debating whether or not to wait until I find out my MCAT scores before submitting these applications…


Kaplan MCAT Prep Course Review

It’s been a little over a week since the MCAT (August 21, 2005). I took the test on a Sunday at U.C.L.A. After about a week of semi-relaxing — I’ve had jury duty and computers to work on — I thought I’d take a few minutes to post my thoughts about the course.

First off, Kaplan’s Pasadena facility was definitely adequate. My only complaint is that finding parking was difficiult and it was a bit far from home. However, those factors did not affect the quality of the actual classes.

Although located in an office building, it was designed as a classroom. There were four classrooms and a lecture hall that could be split into two smaller rooms. A computer lab, conference room, and “student lounge” were also available to students.

The first day of class was spent with an introduction to Kaplan’s policies for their higher score guarantee, parking locations, and other relatively trivial things. Then we were all given a Diagnostic test to establish a baseline score. We did not meet our instructor until the second class session.

Our instructor met us on the second day of class. Fortunately, at least that’s the way I feel, we had one instructor for the entire class (although we did have substitutes a couple times). This was because the instructor scored high enough in all of the categories when He took the MCAT.

On a personal level my instructor was really good. He was really friendly and easy to get along with — and he kept us on our toes by randomly calling on people in the class to answer questions. He said that it was better to be embarrassed now and remember, than to… uh… not…

Anyways, while he was our instructor, he was not someone who had done extensive study in any of the four basic sciences. He was a person who had done well on his MCAT and was now teaching it.

Instruction-wise, the course was okay. I think it was a good reveiw for those who have already covered the material more fully in the school setting. I’d say that the strength of the course lies in the practice exams.

There are five proctored exams given as part of the course. In addition to the five, students may take six more Kaplan tests and 10 MCAT exams previously released by the AAMC. The additional tests are not allowed to be taken from the center and cannot be written on. So it would be best for one to print it out at home (from Kaplan’s website) so that the work can be done on the test booklet instead of scratch paper.

The practice exams are crucial to preparing for the MCAT. It allows students to practice pacing so that come test day, they will be able to finish the real MCAT in time. Being familiar with the length and format of the test will make it so much easier. The MCAT is not something to approach without preparation. A future career depends on it; it also costs about $200 ($210 for Sunday exams).

The Kaplan course I took did not cost me anything since I recevied a free voucher. However, had I not had the voucher I think I would still have taken it. The practice and the pressure to study the material for each class was a huge factor in the score that I will be getting. I’m sure that had I not taken the course, I would not have been as prepared as I was.

My recommendation? Well, the course is expensive. Can you review the material without taking a prep course? Yes you can. However, for some the structure of the classroom lecture is what is needed to push them to study. At the same time, others might be so highly motivated that they can spend hours a day studying and managing their own time leading up to the test. I think that if you need the help getting motivated to study, $1500 is a pretty big motivation. You don’t really wanna waste that much money.


AMCAS Application

A couple days ago I just started putting filling out the online application. This application is used by most medical schools. One of the most annoying things about the process if that you have to enter the grade of every course you have taken in your college career. We already pay for the service. They could at least enter the data themsevles since they require an official transcript.

And to submit the application to a medical school isn’t cheap. I’ve been reading the book Ultimate Guide to Medical Schools by U.S. News and World Report. The suggest that each applicant apply to around 10-15 schools. The AMCAS fee for one medical school is $160 and then $30 for each additional school.

So, for someone sending the application to 15 schools, that would be $580. I’m not sure if there are additional costs yet or not… Oh well, let the fun times roll…