So at least weekly, I get emails from readers asking me about medical school and medical admissions. Recently, I’ve been noticing that I’ve been getting a lot of the same questions. While I don’t mind answering and mentoring, I wanted to remind you that the MEDICINE tab above is where I organize all my medical school related content including my medical school experiences as well as advice for pre-med students. As always you are always welcome to send me your questions or requests for me to review your application materials but please check the medicine tab above to ensure I didn’t already answer your question. Additionally, if you send a question and I respond with a link to one of my posts, I promise I’m not blowing you off, it’s just that I already answered it thoroughly and in great detail here on the blog.
Anyways with that being said, I decided to do a quick roundup of the top questions that I get asked regarding medical school and medical school admissions. This post is split into two sections 1) Medical School Experience FAQs and 2) Medical School Admissions FAQs. For each question I gave a quick answer and also included a link to a relevant blog post that provides an answer in more detail!
MEDICAL SCHOOL EXPERIENCE FAQs
(if you’re looking for questions about medical school admissions then scroll down to the next section below!)
- I’m starting my clinical rotations for medical school/ PA school/ nursing school etc and I need comfy shoes for the hospital. What do you recommend?
- I shared all about my favorite hospital shoes HERE. I swear by them and wear them nearly everyday in the hospital and in clinic.
- I’m starting XYZ rotation and I’m not sure what to expect. What does a typical day look like for you as a third year medical student?
- So far I completed Internal Medicine, Psychiatry, and I’m about to finish Neurology this week. After each rotation I write a “day in the life” post highlighting a typical day. So far I’ve written one for Internal Medicine and Psychiatry which you can check out by clicking on the previous links or by clicking HERE and HERE.
- I’m studying for microbiology and it’s really hard to memorize everything. What do you recommend?
- I swear by Sketchy Medical. I used Sketchy Medical and Sketchy Pharm. Recently they came out with Sketchy Path but since it wasn’t around during my pre-clinical years, I can’t review it. To learn more about Sketchy Medical and how I used it to maximize my studying and how I integrated it with my course materials, you can click HERE.
- I’m going to be on the wards soon but I’m nervous about looking bad using my cellphone or a tablet. Do you think it’s okay to pull out my phone? Additionally what apps do you recommend?
- I have an iPhone 7plus with 128 GB and it was the best gift I ever received. I use my phone all the time to look up medications, differential diagnoses, or to study during my down time. I have a list of apps that I use and love and you can find them all HERE.
- I need a durable bag for rotations. Do you have any suggestions?
- I have 2 totes that I rotate between. I did a round up the bags on my wishlist HERE. I plan on purchasing the Lo&Sons and the Everlane bags for sure at some point since I heard so many good things about them both!
- You blog, you do photography, you are involved with extracurriculars… how do you juggle it all?
- I am not perfect and I definitely have room for improvement in regards to finding balance. However one thing that keeps me sane is my planner. I use it daily to stay on task. My favorite planner is the Erin Condren Life Planner and I did an extensive review HERE. If you want to see specifically how I stay organized, how I fill in my planner weekly, and how I use it to keep track of my life as a medical student then click HERE.
- What make up would you suggest for clinics/ the hospital?
- Some days I go without makeup but most days I typically use a bit of concealer and blush and go. I know some people who do a full face with lashes every day for the hospital and some people go without anything at all. I say pick whatever makes you comfortable and confident (as long as it’s professional). To see my favorite makeup picks and a rundown of my 5 minute routine (because let’s be real, I don’t have time for anything more than that), you can click HERE.
- On your blog and social media you have mentioned wanting to do more than just practice. What is that about? Why are you going into medicine if you don’t want to be a doctor?
- I am very thankful and appreciative of my opportunities in medical school. With that being said, I don’t want to be a traditional doctor. My experiences have exposed me to MD’s who are doing a variety of things in healthcare, some of which does not include practicing in a clinic or hospital. I will likely go to residency and practice at least part-time because interacting with patients is enjoyable for me. However, I am very interested in other things including technology and innovation. I hope to combine those interests with my medical backround to have a larger impact on the communities around me. I shared a bit about my experience at the Healthcare Business Conference at UCLA Anderson. Click HERE and scroll to the bottom to see find a very quick recap of how the conference went. P.S. I highly suggest that all medical students explore other opportunities to be leaders and innovators in healthcare and medicine; We need more physician-leaders and change-makers!
- I am a minority/ woman and had XYZ situation happen to me because of my gender and/ or race. What should I do? Has this happened to you? How do you overcome being an underdog in a primarily male-dominated field?
- I’m sorry that happened to you. I shared a bit about my experiences being an African-American woman in medicine HERE.
- I’m a pre-med/ medical student and I’m interested in starting a blog or social media account where I share my experiences. Is it a good idea for medical professionals to have social media?
- I wrote a piece regarding my views on social media in medicine on KevinMD.com which you can find HERE. I think social media and blogging can be good (if used wisely). I used to be very secretive about my blog but I’m no longer that way and in fact, it’s even on my resume now. Through my blog I work with brands, I mentor pre-med students, and I get to express myself creatively. I also get to share my passions and build a community of like-minded individuals. I’ve gotten opportunities and features and most importantly I’ve had a a lot of fun. I’m proud of the little internet home I built and I think that everyone should start a blog or a digital outlet if they feel motivated to do so.
- I’m always so busy and feel like 24 hours is never enough. How do you manage your time?
- Medical school pulls you in so many directions. Between all of my hobbies, commitments, and school, sometimes its hard for me to find time to do everything. I shared a bit about my favorite time management tricks HERE.
- I’m starting medical school and I have no idea how to organize myself or how to study. Do you have any tips to help me get off on the right foot?
- The way you studied in undergrad may not work for you for medical school. The material is much more dense and there’s a lot more of it than you may be used to. Depending on your school curriculum, you may also be expected to learn at a faster pace. I shared some study and organization hacks that I used during my pre-clinical years HERE.
MEDICAL SCHOOL ADMISSIONS FAQ
- How do I get a good letter of recommendation for medical school?
- It may be tempting to pick someone who’s name carries a lot of weight. But think about your experiences and try to pick someone who can speak the best about you. I wrote a lengthy post on letter of recommendation requests HERE and also the EXACT steps I took to request them.
- I know I’m a pre-med but how do you study as a medical student? Any tips for organization?
- I shared this in the section above, but I’m very big on organization. I have a post on my top 7 tips for staying organized HERE.
- I’ll be starting medical school next fall and I’m so excited. What should I do during my last summer before I start?
- You can do whatever you want. Keep in mind that at many schools, students use the summer in between 1st and 2nd year (aka your last summer vacation ever) to do research or a meaningful project so don’t feel pressured to do real work/ research. I have a whole post HERE about some options you can look into. Personally, I spent my summer before medical school with my family and friends and then I moved into Los Angeles 3 weeks before orientation started. This gave me time to wait for my car to ship from across the country, to unpack, buy furniture, and get situated before school began.
- I’m a pre-med student and I want to find research opportunities. Do you have suggestions on some research programs I can apply for?
- I made a list of various programs that my friends and I have applied to or participated in. There’s a few more that I found online and included because they looked interesting. You can find the list HERE but keep in mind that this is not all-encompassing and you should do some research on your own. If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for then try finding a mentor or a professor who is working in an area that interests you and see if they’ll take you under their wing!
- I’m filling out the AMCAS application for medical school and I don’t know what to select as my most influential activity. What did you pick and why?
- Every application is different, but I suggest you pick something that was truly meaningful to you. If your interviewers have access to your application before the interview (some interviewers don’t, it depends on the school) then they may ask you about it. I wrote a whole post on selecting your most influential activity and you can find it by clicking HERE.
- I have a low GPA/ MCAT score. Is it too late for me? What can I do to get into medical school?
- This is the number 1 question I get on the blog. I wrote a very lengthy post HERE about facing the music when it comes to low stats and medical admissions. So many people have thanked me for this post and it’s probably my most popular post to date. Be warned… there’s a lot of tough love and I really challenged you to self-reflect. The first step to making a comeback is figuring out what went wrong in the first place and you can’t do that without being 100% honest with yourself.
- I received multiple acceptances but I can’t decide on where to go. Should I focus on ranking/ prestige or should I be practical and choose the more affordable option?
- Hands down, it would have been cheaper for me to stay in-state and go to school in NY. I chose my school for a variety of reasons and at the end of the day it was the best option for me despite the price tag. In THIS post, I outlined the top factors you should consider before selecting a medical school and I also talked about some of the factors that influenced my choices as well.
- I’m pre-med but I’m having a hard time staying organized and keep track of everything I need to do for school. How do you organize yourself?
- I’m pre-med so I’m not in medical school yet, but I want to know about what your day is like as a medical student.
Okay so that was a lot but I hope it was helpful to have everything organized in one place. As always, you can always email me with any additional questions you may have! My medicine posts are the most popular so I will continue to update that section as often as I can.